At which Family Restaurant do you get the best meal for your money at breakfast time? We find out!

When you need a tasty, hearty meal for a decent price in Japan, there’s no better place to go than a family restaurant like Denny’s, Royal Host, or Gusto. With a variety of both Japanese and western-style dishes, you have plenty of tasty options to choose from, plus they almost always offer a drink bar with unlimited free refills, which is always a bonus.

They all, coincidentally, also offer breakfast. And while they may be a far cry from the breakfast you’re used to in your home country, their breakfasts are good enough to satisfy that craving you might have been harboring. But with three different choices…which one is the best value for your money?

Lucky for you, our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa went to all three for breakfast and found out which ones offer the best bang for your buck.

The menus at each of the three restaurants are all slightly different. At Denny’s, for example, their breakfast menu is the most simple (unlike American Denny’s). The price for a standard “Morning Set” at Denny’s, which comes with access to the drink bar, is 599 yen (US$5.25).

There are basically two kinds of the 599 yen set at Denny’s. One is bacon eggs, sausage, and a salad, which you can order with either bread or rice and miso soup. The second is a fancier salad, which comes with either bread or rice and miso soup. We opted for the bacon, sausage, egg variety which was a simple but delightful breakfast.

By the way, they do also have Japanese-style breakfast options, though those vary more in price.

Gusto’s breakfast menu, on the other hand, has a lot of variety. Prices range from 399 to 699 yen, and the higher the price, the bigger the portions.

The great thing about Gusto is that the drink bar not only comes with drinks but unlimited soup, which was a big plus in Seiji’s eyes. The meal with the biggest portions had a fried egg, a sausage, a salad, and a monstrous Salisbury steak.

It’s enough to hold you over for lunch, that’s for sure!

Based on the amount of food you receive in each meal, Seiji thought Gusto was a pretty strong contender for the title of Top Value Breakfast.

Royal Host is, in general, arguably the most expensive out of the three family restaurants, so Seiji was unsurprised to see that their breakfast was a little more expensive than the others. Their cheapest morning set was 450 yen, which bumps up to 660 yen with the drink bar, making it about the same price as Gusto’s biggest breakfast sets.

Their most expensive offering is the Morning Angus Sirloin Steak Meal (1,830 yen). Of course, it’s got steak in it, so you would expect it to be pricey, but the Omelet Morning set doesn’t even have steak and it still costs 1,210 yen.

However, it turns out that despite the overall higher prices, at Royal Host, you get way more bang for your buck, and the reason why is because Royal Host’s food is of a greater caliber than the others.

Of course, Seiji knows that no one goes to a family restaurant wanting a luxury meal or to spend a lot of money, but Royal Host is worth it. You can totally see the difference in the quality between the three, even down to the most seemingly insignificant part of the meal, the bread roll.

At Royal Host you can choose between Japanese-style sliced bread or an English-style loaf. The English-style loaf Seiji ordered was the real deal. It had a natural sweetness and fragrance that made it oh-so-good. Gusto’s little loaf of french bread (shown below) was nothing in comparison.

Of course, you might expect there to be such a difference because it’s more expensive, but the difference between the bread made that even more obvious. The last time Seiji ate bread this good was when he stayed in a motel in the countryside of Northumberland in the U.K., which was surrounded by wheat fields.

Considering it costs somewhere in the vicinity of 300,000 yen to fly all the way there from Japan (in times before COVID), Seiji considered Royal Host’s breakfast menu to be well worth the price if it could take him all the way back to that time he ate delicious bread in England.

Plus, the fact that it’s breakfast that Seiji’s raving about is important, too. Seiji is normally someone who doesn’t care for breakfast, and he would never regularly stop by a family restaurant for breakfast on his way to work. If it’s going to cost over 500 yen, he’d much rather eat natto at home (which costs far less) before heading out.

He’d need to have something he’d really want to eat before he went to the trouble of going to a family restaurant for breakfast, and for Seiji, Royal Host’s breakfast menu supplies that.

So you might think Royal Host is the one family restaurant that isn’t worth the price. Seiji once thought so, too. But no longer. The price may be high, but the quality is better than you would even expect from the price. Perhaps that’s what gives Royal Host the best value for your money. Plus, Royal Host is one of the few restaurants which allows you to take home your leftovers–so if you order too much, you won’t be wasting your money.

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