Train Line: Hibiya Line
Features: 100% no smoking, some organic coffee and outdoor seating area.
Menu Language: English & Japanese.
Address: 〒106-0047, 東京都港区南麻布5−16−8
106-0047, Minato-Ku, Minami Azabu, 5-16-8
Map: View on GoogleMaps
Directions: To get to Cafe Appassionato, head out of Exit 1 at Hiro-o Station and turn left. When you get to the main intersection, turn left again and walk for one block. You should see the cafe directly in front of you across the road. Look for the outdoor seating on the street level.
While a new cafe (just opened in early 2012), Cafe Appassionato is in fact an offshoot of an American cafe chain that appears to be striving for a more authentic Italian cafe feel yet still trying to cater to those who want a quick coffee or frapachino on their way to work.
On the surface it works. The interior design is very clean and fresh and the whole place has a very bright, warm feel to it. Unfortunately though the quality of food and coffee really affects the overall experience.
On my first visit I ordered one of their sandwiches and an organic coffee. I always try to drink organic coffee, even at home, so it was great to see this option on the menu. The cup sizes on display also looked promising, offering good value for money. I was very disappointed however when my organic coffee was served in a small cup that measured about half the size of my hand which was of course a lot smaller than I was expecting and a little frustrating because an organic coffee costs more than a regular coffee. The sandwich was equally frustrating as the bread was so tough that it took me fifteen minutes to finish it. Looking around at the other customers I wasn’t the only one having trouble as I saw people of all ages forced to rip the bread apart with their hands just to be able to eat it.
Wanting to give the place a second chance, I came back the next week and ordered a latte and a cake. The cake was fine but my latte was served with no foam whatsoever (which would make it a flat white, or just a white coffee). When I checked with the staff that they had indeed made me a latte, they confirmed that it was and didn’t think anything strange about the lack of foam.
As a policy I don’t feature cafes that I wouldn’t recommend, or that I myself would not visit again. While the food and coffee leaves a lot to be desired though, the location and the seating is what convinced me to include Cafe Appassionato in 25 Cafes in Tokyo. The entire place is very clean (something surprisingly rare in cafes in Tokyo) and as previously mentioned, well designed and the upstairs seating offers great opportunities for people watching while the outdoor seating (something even rarer to find in Tokyo) is worth mentioning simply because outdoor seating is so hard to find in Tokyo.
If you’re just after a basic coffee and a cake, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Indeed I’ve had several co-workers who have had good experiences here. Personally though, I find it’s location to be it’s best feature.