If you have never had an opportunity to try omuraisu (オムライス) in Japan, then you ought to put it on your to do list. Omuraisu is exactly what you might expect it to be, considering the pronunciation of the word: an omelet, combined with rice. While this might seem simple and perhaps boring, omuraisu is a popular treat here in Japan, and there are a variety of restaurants located across the country that serve the dish exclusively. One such restaurant, located in Tokai Village, Ibaraki, has better omuraisu than the rest. The name? Lettuce Cafe.
I had an opportunity to visit the Lettuce Cafe today, and, to tell the truth, I was pleasantly surprised. Gone were the typical formulations of omuraisu. Gone were the typical appetizers. Instead, I found myself confronted with at least a dozen different omuraisu concoctions: sausage with cheddar cheese omuraisu, basil sauce omuraisu, shrimp, cheese and tomato sauce omuraisu, and many more more. Lettuce Cafe serves other items of course, but after tasting their omuraisu, I understood immediately that it was their magnum opus. Even so, omuraisu is not all that the Lettuce Cafe has to offer. A salad bar with fantastic greens, a dessert bar complete with soft cake and fresh whipped cream, and a drink bar that offers fresh-squeezed orange juice is included with every meal. Most of the meals cost around thirteen hundred yen. My favorite thing about the Lettuce Cafe, however, is not the food.
The Lettuce Cafe's atmosphere is a combination of a cozy cottage and a New-York loft. The artsy, rugged, yet, homey feeling of the place really made an impression on me, and it was certainly my favorite part of the visit. The chairs were unique, and the wall was lined with rare and interesting books. The space was wide, but felt close, in a way that a family member might. Considering the cost and everything that is included, I'd argue that the Lettuce Cafe is one of the best omuraisu restaurants in all of Ibaraki.
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My name is Philip Gregory. I live and work in Japan as the chair of the English department and head of Marketing for a language school in Ibaraki. I have traveled throughout Japan, and visited Japan as a tourist prior to living here. I am an author and musician, and a secular humanist. You can find me on Youtube by searching my name, or on my blog: www.pgregoryspeaks.blogspot.com