When it comes to a cheap but hearty meal, I think we all know the best place to go.
Japan has a type of restaurant called “family catering“, and if you have spent a lot of time in the country, you have probably visited one. They often offer a combination of western and Japanese style staples, including pasta, hamburger steaks and teishoku dishes, at a reasonable price, and since there is something for everyone, this makes them perfect places for families. together. They are also popular for dining with friends and even, for some people, acceptable first date spots, so they are simply excellent!
Of course, not all family restaurants are the same. Some are more expensive, some have bigger menus, some offer alcohol and some don’t. But there are definitely some that stick in people’s minds as favorites. That’s why voter-based ranking website Goo Ranking decided to see which one is everyone’s favoritebut this time entirely based on cost performance.
9 (tie). Jolly Pasta and Jonathan’s
It’s no surprise that these ended up a little lower in the rankings, as their menus tend to be a bit more expensive than other family restaurants. Jonathan’s offers everything from Japanese cuisine to Western-style meat plates, pastas and pizzas starting at 699 yen (5.27 USD) and going up to 1,499 yen, while Jolly Pasta focuses on pasta dishes from around 700 to 1,000 yen. Both restaurants offer a drinks bar, which offers you unlimited refills of different types of soft drinks, teas and coffees for a reasonable price.
8. The Big Boy
Big Boy is primarily a meat restaurant, serving sets with burger, steak, and chicken, which naturally makes their menu a bit more expensive. But, like any self-respecting family restaurant, they also have omelet pasta and rice, so unless you order a steak or a huge portion of meat, you’ll probably average less than 1,000 yen per plate at Big Boy. They also offer a buffet bar with rice, salad, curry and soup, in addition to a drinks bar, so you can get plenty of food for a relatively low price.
7. The taste of steak
Everyone likes to eat meat at a reasonable price, especially when it tends to be more expensive in general, which is why we’re not surprised to see Steak Gusto on the list. But we didn’t expect it to beat Jonathan’s or Big Boy. Steak Gusto’s all-meat appetizer menu, unlike the more diverse lineup at regular Gusto establishments, offers a wide variety of steaks in addition to burger and chicken, but plates average over 1,000 yen. with portions similar to other restaurants. The most expensive dish is a 200 gram (7 ounce) fillet steak for 2,594 yen. However, their buffet bar offers desserts as well as the standard salad, soup, rice and curry, so perhaps the sides are where the best value is.
6. Coco’s Restaurant
Not to be confused with CoCo Ichibanya, pretty much everyone’s favorite curry chain, Coco’s Restaurant is a family restaurant serving your typical burger, pasta, pizza and salads. Their prices are pretty average across the board, ranging from 600 yen to over 1,000 yen for steaks and meat dishes, so no matter what you order, you’re not going to spend a lot. Plus, their shaved ice in the summer is amazing, so worth visiting just for that.
Bamiyan is unique in that it is a family restaurant that serves mainly Chinese dishes like dumplings, chili prawns and stir frys. They are served in a more family style, so you order a bunch of small dishes for the table instead of individual plates for each dinner (although you can do that too). Most sharing dishes cost less than 300 yen on average, although main dishes cost around 500 to 800 yen. All in all, you probably won’t spend much and you can get a wide variety of dishes for everyone to enjoy.
4. Bikkuri Donkey
A Hamburg specialty restaurant, Bikkuri Donkey sets itself apart from other meat-oriented family restaurants by offering burgers as large as 300 grams (10.6 ounces) at reasonable prices. Their standard 300 gram basic hamburger set, for example, costs 1,200 yen, which is a pretty good deal when other restaurants only offer 150 or 200 grams of hamburger for that price. Bikkuri Donkey is ideal for meat lovers with a big appetite who don’t want to spend a lot!
A bit of a dark horse, Joyfull is a small, family-run restaurant with only 650 restaurants across the country, and its largest clientele are in Okinawa and Kyushu. Nonetheless, it earned its number three spot in the cost performance rankings thanks to its 500 yen lunch menu, which lets you choose two types of meat in addition to rice and a salad, and for just 50 yen. in addition you can add the drinks bar. For 100 yen more, you can also add dessert, unlimited rice refills, or miso soup. The amount of food you get makes this probably one of the best lunches you can have.
Not to be confused with Steak Gusto (although operated by the same parent company), Gusto is one of the most popular family restaurants simply because it’s easy to find, with over 1,300 of them around. across the country. The price of their menu averages around 800 yen, but where the best value lies is in their recently expanded alcohol and “bar food” menu. Their bar food is usually less than 400 yen per plate, except for the beef stew dish and tuna yukhoe, and their alcoholic drinks range from 200 yen for a glass of wine to 500 yen for a mug of beer. . They also have a daily weekday happy hour that brings the price of a mug of beer down to 250 yen. It’s a great place for a drink, but also for solo dining, as some branches offer great solo booth amenities.
It won’t come as a shock to family restaurant veterans that Italian restaurant Saizeriya has established itself as the best value chain. Their alcohol is the cheapest at just 100 yen per glass of wine, and their food is way cheaper than any other restaurant. Their basic hamburger steak, for example, is only 400 yen, and many of their basic pasta dishes are 300 or 400 yen. No food on their menu is over 1,000 yen, including steak, and most dishes are 600 yen or less. Saizeriya was also rated the most satisfying restaurant of 2021, so you can’t go wrong bringing your family or friends to Saizeriya for a cheap meal.
Of course, these rankings are entirely subjective and voting matters a lot more than you might think. Cost performance includes not only the quantity of food for the price, but always the quality, service, variety and many other things. For example, Royal Host was not on the list, but during our visit we found that it offered the best value for money breakfast, despite being the most expensive. If you’re looking to get started in the search for your own family restaurant at the best value, this list of candidates is a great place to start.
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