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With the highest concentration of anime and video game specialty stores on the planet, it’s pretty easy to go over-budget spending a day in Akihabara. But while some otaku might claim that Japanese animation is their lifeblood, eventually everyone needs to eat something.

So for everyone with a crying wallet and a grumbling stomach, a new restaurant has just arrived in the neighborhood, serving pasta to-go, starting at just 190 yen (US$1.88).

Last June, the affordable dining scene in Akihabara suffered a setback with the closing of Sandwich Counter, a sandwich and coffee joint on Chuodori Street. Thankfully, like a cheap and edible phoenix rising from the ashes, a new restaurant, simply named Pastas, has opened in the same spot.

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Located right next to Suehiro Station, at the northwest corner of Akihabara’s fuzzy boundaries, Pastas’ menu allows for extensive customization, with prices to match. 190 yen (plus Japan’s 8% consumption tax) will get you 200 grams (seven ounces) of plain pasta. While that may not make for the most mouth-watering meal, it makes for a nice last resort if you’ve blown all your money on anime merchandise, since you can’t eat your latest manga or Blu-ray purchase (well, technically you can, but a diet of paper and hard plastic is pretty lacking in nutrition, plus it’ll tear up your insides something fierce).

Assuming you had the willpower to save more money for lunch, you can add another 200 grams of pasta for an additional 100 yen. Shelling out another 100 yen will get you sauce and toppings, and there are also 100-yen side orders like sausage and salad.

▼ Any of the pasta dishes shown at the bottom of the poster are just 390 yen.

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At these prices, it’s probably best not to expect Michelin Guide-quality flavor. Still, Pastas is managed by the same group responsible for Saizeriya, recently ranked in a survey as Japan’s second-favorite cheap restaurant, so it’s likely to be at least pleasing to many people’s palates.

One drawback, though, is that there’s no space to eat inside of Pastas. Thankfully, due to its colorful subculture, Akihabara is one of the best places for people-watching in Tokyo, so find a bench with a view of the street, and you’re all set. Plus, if after you finish your meal you find yourself craving dessert despite being broke, you’ll only be a short walk away from the Akiba Blood Donation Room and its supply of free cookies and manga.

Restaurant information
Pastas (Suehiro branch) / Pastas(パスタス) 末広町店
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Soto Kanda 3-16-13, Akihabara Kadan Building 1st floor
東京都千代田区外神田3丁目16‐13 秋葉原花壇ビル1F
Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Source: Himajin Sokuho, Akiba Souken
Images: Akiba Souken