Looking for a place in Niigata to get natural, organic, vegetarian food? Look no further! Marilou is a place you must try.

marilou (3)Marilou has been around since 2001, originally with a focus on home cooking from all over the world. It was in 2005 when they made the switch to a macrobiotics– a way of eating that focuses on whole, natural foods, nutritional balance and is heavy on minimally processed vegetables and grain. They cannot not eat meat but the diet as a whole includes animal products very sparingly. As such, as far as I can tell, most of their dishes qualify as vegan, at the very least vegetarian.

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Their menu is very simple:

Veggie Lunch ¥1280
+Drink 1480
+Drink and 1 dessert of the day
+Drink and two desserts of the day

Take out bento ¥1080
Kids’ bento ¥700
+miso soup ¥200

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Their meal sets change weekly (they post the weekly meal here) and because they pride themselves on using locally grown, organic vegetables native to the area that naturally change with the seasons. Additionally, the brown rice that they serve is sasanishiki rice grown in Kita Ward in Niigata and also go to the organic market in Niigata that happens once or twice a month.

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The lunches consist of brown rice, miso soup, homemade pickles , one main dish, four side dishes and tea or water. Their drink options are coffee (from Tsubame), “grain coffee” made with wheat so it is naturally non-caffeinated, apple bancha (tea), soy milk, and “grain coffee au lait” (+¥50) all of which can be served hot or iced.

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The desserts contain no dairy products, eggs or white sugar, and they too change weekly. This time we were lucky to come right after they went on a trip to Okinawa and they had brought back starfruit!

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They also carry their own pancake mix that is also vegan (but not yet gluten free, they are working on that) that they sell all over the country. You can enjoy these pancakes in house during “cafe time” from 14:30~17:00 on Saturdays and Holidays only!

They are also extremely kid friendly and in addition to floor seating and a play nook, they have multiple size options for children from just a kids’ dessert (¥250), just rice and miso soup set so they can share food with the adult (¥300), kids’ mini set (¥600) , and kids’ set which is the same as the regular set just smaller portions (¥800).

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At a glance

Food: 6/10
As someone who does not eat this style of food often, it wasn’t particularly exciting for my palate but definitely good and I would not mind having it again.

Atmosphere: 7/10
Casual. Quiet. If you don’t like floor seating you might have to speak up and maybe share a table with another customer… or just wait for them to leave?

English Friendliness: 2/10
All of their signs and menus are in Japanese and Japanese only. However, since their menu is simple you should be able to manage using the information provided in this blog post.

Price Range: ¥1000-2000

Mon-Fri: 11:30~15:00
Sat, Holidays: 11:30~17:00
Closed: Sundays, Irregular Closures (mostly Mondays) which can be checked here

Location: (Zoom out or click here for English)
〒950-0902 Niigata Prefecture, Niigata, Chūō-ku, Higashinaka-dori, 1-86-28, Sakai Building 1st floor
(〒951-8116 新潟県新潟市中央区東中通1番町86−28 サカイビル 1F)
Phone: 025-228-0470 (reservations accepted but not necessary)

Can be accessed via bus by getting off at either the Shiyakusho-mae or Higashinaka-dori bus stops. They also have 2 parking spots but they are shared with other businesses nearby. So come in and ask them where best to park. If you park in a nearby parking lot/ramp  you can get one free drink if you show them the ticket.


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