For fans and non-fans alike, your trip to Japan should include a visit to the Final Fantasy Ezorea Café in Akihabara. Themed cafes are quintessentially Japanese and no trip to Japan would be complete without a stop at one of them. While cat cafes, maid cafes, and now even owl cafes are located all around Tokyo, there is a limited number of game-based cafes and there is only one Final Fantasy (FF) café.
Firstly, finding the café itself is like a treasure hunt. The café is just outside the lights and sounds of Akihabara proper. The café is not well marked, it’s run by Pasela so the outside of the café looks like a normal café. Nowhere outside does it give any hint that you’re in the right place. However, once you go inside, there is a huge sign on the opposite wall next to a small gift shop. The receptionists also confirmed that I was in the right spot and pointed me to an elevator.
On the second floor, there is a counter that services not only the FF café but two other themed cafes on the same floor. The appropriately dressed FF café waitress handed me a menu, an order sheet with a small pencil attached and a laminated instruction sheet in English. Unlike some of the other themed cafes I’ve been to, this is the first to have not only an English instruction sheet but also English speaking staff.
The waiter showed us to our seats. Once everyone was seated, he started explaining how the café worked in Japanese. The English speaking staffed floated and gave clarification where needed. Basically, with every food order guests receive an FF coaster. Those who pre-booked and bought their tickets at LAWSON also received a coaster. There was a 2-hour time limit to our magical experience; guests who wanted to leave early were free to do so, but at the end of the 2 hours the staff were going to do a raffle and give away small prizes.
Guests who pre-booked also received one free drink. Even though it was barely afternoon, why not order a drink with lunch, right? The menu included pictures for every order and the drinks order sheet was in English. However, the food menu was not, but the English speaking staff member was more than willing to help out, though.
Cocktails, salads, and noodle dishes were the first to be brought and the meat dish took a notably longer time to arrive. Still, the food was good and the presentation pleasing (Unless you’re brave enough to order a bowl of cold, blue noodles). Each dish was somehow related to the Final Fantasy 14 game: either a character was featured somehow or it resembled a meal that a character eats in the game. The whole atmosphere was pleasant and of course, all decorations were game-related and the music was from the game as well, but even to a non-gamer such as myself, it wasn’t overwhelming.
At this particular time of year, small colorful Easter eggs were displayed around the room and guests could freely color white Styrofoam eggs if they wanted to. If you colored your egg with some Final Fantasy design, you were able to put it in the café for all to see or take it home with you.
The Final Fantasy café is definitely a fun experience for those who know the game and even for those who don’t. The food is pretty good and the prices are reasonable for this theme-style restaurant and English speaking staff can answer all of your questions. If cats and maids aren’t your style then I’d suggest giving Final Fantasy Ezorea a try when you make your trip to Japan!
Pasela – FF Eorzea Website*Japanese Only