【Tokyo Stroll】The cafe that you want to visit to see someone #5: “café Benisica” – The Birthplace of Pizza Toast
“A café that has continued to be loved for 60 years”
In this entry to my café series, I visited the familiar Yurakucho, the center of modern Tokyo culture. This year, long-standing café Benisica turned 61-years-old. I stopped by to have my fill of their amazing pizza toast. The café is a 2-minute walk from Hibiya Station via Tokyo Metro lines, and 4-minutes on foot from Yurakucho Station via JR lines, making it an easy place to get to.
The café opened all those years ago in response to the large number of cinemas and theatres dotted around Yurakucho. They wanted to create place where people could relax on their way back from seeing a show.
Upon arrival, you can still observe stylish older ladies strolling into the café. The scene hasn’t changed one bit which I found to be wonderful.
Café Benisica is famous for being the birthplace of original pizza toast. They even have a sign at the entrance telling you that! Eye-catching!!!
Without further ado, let’s head on in♪
I take one step into the café, and… Huh? What’s this?!
That’s right. At Benisica, you can enjoy vacuum brewed coffee. This was the first time I had seen a vacuum coffee maker up close, so I gazed at them with a keen interest.
Inside, I gazed at the café décor and objects scattered around of Hibiya, a town which changes with the times. You can feel the weight of the times instore – all the wonderful items look stylish simply by being placed in there! The café interior is a collection of warm colours. It’s a place where you can relax and feel comfortable.
This is Benisica’s famous pizza toast, costing ￥950 (tax included). They have plenty of set menus, and drink menus are ￥1,350. The story behind the pizza toast was how if you didn’t go to an Italian restaurant back then, you couldn’t eat pizza. So, they took pizza and turned it into something you can eat casually – toast. Since then, it has continued to be a much-loved menu item with customers for almost half a century.
After hearing the story, I took no time at all ordering my own pizza toast! To drink, I chose a strawberry shake. Just so you know, the shake doesn’t come in set orders, so be careful.
Thick servings of cheese and put onto chunky slices of toast. “The soul of the pizza toast is in the cheese!” is what you’ll be saying at its presence on the toast. Its generous serving makes this pizza toast suitable not just as a light meal, but even a whole lunch. As well as the standard ingredients like salami, onion and bell peppers, I was happy that there were mushrooms too.
The bread’s texture is fluffy! I was hungry, so I made short work of it. Thank you for the meal.
This is the owner of Benisica, Setsuko Murakami, who told me the story of the café. She’s a very wonderful person who loves her husband very much. Not only did she tell me about the café – I got to hear about her husband’s way of living and thoughts too. The words of people that have walked the road of life longer than me are deep and enlightening.
I stored the owner’s story safely onto the shelves in my heart. The next time something happens, I’ll rely on those special words she graciously taught me and work hard.
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