I used to walk past Zoka on a daily basis for over a month while working in Mejiro a few years ago but never really had the chance to check it out until recently.
It’s definitely one of the most Western looking cafes in Tokyo as evident by almost everything from the dramatic stylised font used on it’s sign to the spacious ground floor to the serving sizes and strength of it’s coffee.
This Western influence is due to the fact that this Tokyo cafe is actually a branch of a North American company of the same name and from what I can see, not much was lost in the translation. (Zoka also opened a cafe in Chiba at Nagareyama Otaka no Mori if you happen to be heading to the suburbs and you’re after some good coffee.)
This Tokyo cafe in Mejiro is in a very cool location, literally right around the corner from Gakushuin University and within walking distance from several other major universities and colleges which results in a very youthful customer base that creates a nice fresh atmosphere that’s definitely missing from a lot of other cafes in Tokyo.
The coffee is very strong and you definitely get a lot of value for money though be warned that if you’re used to the over heating of milk from your trips to Starbucks you may be surprised at how quickly your drink cools here.
There’s quite a lot of options when it comes to sweets though I was disappointed by the lack of imagination concerning the sandwiches. When I visited, three out of the four options contained fish of some kind and the fourth option which didn’t was sold out (strangely I don’t think anyone had bought any of the fish sandwiches which made me wonder why they serve them in the first place). I did find this Japanese sandwich issue to be quite surprising considering just how Western the rest of the business is. If you’re like me and you don’t eat fish or you just don’t like it on a sandwich, you may find yourself feeling frustrated depending on what other customers have bought that day.
This was the only negative experience I had at Zoka though and I would definitely recommend dropping in if you’re in the area. It has some of the best coffee you’ll find in Tokyo, a nice vibe and some good views from the window on the second floor.
Train Line: Yamanote Line
Features: 100% smoke free
Menu Language: Japanese & English
Hours: Sunday; 8am – 9pm, Other Days; 7am – 10pm
Address: 〒171-0031 東京都豊島区目白3-3-1目白スクエアビル1F・2F
1F/2F Square Building, 3-3-1 Mejiro, Toshima Ku, Tokyo 171-0031
Map: View on GoogleMaps
Directions: Zoka Coffee is incredibly easy to find. Just walk out of the main exit of Mejiro Station and turn left. The Zoka Coffee building is directly in front of you on the corner of a side street.