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The plant-based Chicken Chunk burger with tandoori sauce and a side of fries from the Vegetarian Butcher in Nishi-Ikebukuro, Tokyo.

The plant-based Chicken Chunk burger with tandoori sauce and a side of fries from the Vegetarian Butcher in Nishi-Ikebukuro, Tokyo. (Kelly Agee/Stars and Stripes)

Living in Tokyo on a vegetarian diet means finding restaurants that serve filling, satisfying meat-free meals can be a challenge.

Uncannily, a meat-eater friend let me in on a place he likes to eat in Nishi-Ikebukuro that sells entirely plant-based food, so I had to give it a try.

The Vegetarian Butcher is a plant-based brand from the Netherlands that launched in 2010 and now has stores and restaurants globally.

Its Ikebukuro location can seat 20 to 25 customers and offers an English menu.

The Vegetarian Butcher is a plant-based brand from the Netherlands that launched in 2010 and now has stores and restaurants globally.

The Vegetarian Butcher is a plant-based brand from the Netherlands that launched in 2010 and now has stores and restaurants globally. (Kelly Agee/Stars and Stripes)

Popular items that the restaurant offers are a variety of mock-meat burgers like the Holy Cow, the Chickened Out and varieties of mock-fish sandwiches. Burgers come with a drink and a side option of fries, broccoli or carrots.

Other items include vegan chicken nuggets and bratwurst. The Vegetarian Butcher also offers various pastas, including minced Bolognese, pepperoncino with mushrooms, and cabbage pasta carbonara style.

Drink options include organic black and royal milk teas, tropical mango juice, blood orange juice, sparkling water, Coca-Cola and ginger ale.

I ordered the plant-based Chicken Chunk burger with tandoori sauce, a side of fries and a ginger ale for 1,690 yen, or about $11.80. The burger came topped with lettuce, onions and tomato; I added jalapenos and a vegan cheddar cheese. I liked the slight spiciness of the tandoori sauce and it tasted healthy, so I felt great afterward.

For dessert, the butcher serves cheesecake, tiramisu and apple sherbet.

Customers can also purchase plant-based meats by the gram, just like at a regular butcher, either inside a store in the restaurant or online.

At the Vegetarian Butcher, customers can purchase plant-based meats by the gram, just like at a regular butcher.

At the Vegetarian Butcher, customers can purchase plant-based meats by the gram, just like at a regular butcher. (Kelly Agee/Stars and Stripes)

The Vegetarian Butcher

Location: Basement, 3 Chome-29-9 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima City Tokyo, 171-0021

Directions: A 7-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station via the west, or central exits

Times: 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday and Wednesday through Saturday.

Price: Most entrees cost less than $12.

Information: Online: thevegetarian-butcher-jap.com

author picture
Kelly Agee is a reporter and photographer at Yokota Air Base, Japan, who has served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years. She is a Syracuse Military Photojournalism Program alumna and is working toward her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Her previous Navy assignments have taken her to Greece, Okinawa, and aboard the USS Nimitz.

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