Add this to your list of cheap eats in Tokyo!

Shabu shabu is great, but so are tons of veggies and sweets, right? Mr. Sato recently visited Shabu Tabe, a shabu shabu restaurant located in Tokyo’s Mitaka City. The restaurant has introduced a new campaign where you can order a buffet-only option for just 780 yen (US$5.86) per person. With such an absolute steal, Mr. Sato couldn’t resist trying it out.

Some shabu shabu restaurants have a buffet-style salad bar full of veggies to add to your hot pot soup, so this deal is just that plus side dishes, rice, noodles, and desserts are also available. The 780-yen deal doesn’t include any soup for boiling vegetables, but there’s also a 980-yen version of the buffet-only option that includes broth.

The menu mainly advertises shabu shabu, but if you keep searching, then you can find the buffet deal.

▼ This all-you-can-eat experience lasts a whole 80 minutes. Not bad for under 1,000 yen at all!

▼ To see how much he could get with the cheapest option, Mr. Sato went with the 780 yen course.

Mr. Sato made his order and headed over to the buffet corner at Mitaka’s Shabu Tabe. The refrigerated case in the middle is entirely vegetables, meaning you can make a scrumptious and colorful salad that you can refill as often as you want.

▼ Who needs meat when you have all this?

▼ The only downside is there’s a fair amount of raw veggies that aren’t exactly edible when uncooked, like mushrooms and potatoes.

Still, there are plenty of options to munch on without boiling first, like cabbage and sliced onions. Japanese potato salad and macaroni salad are also available.

▼ There’s also plenty of lettuce.

▼ You can also enjoy different salad dressings.

When Mr. Sato went, his options were Ceaser, aojiso, and a wafuu (“Japanese-style”) dressing. He wished there was more variety, but it was understandable considering the buffet’s price.

▼ Want rice to go with your veggies? There’s plenty of it.

And though shabu shabu meat isn’t included in the menu, there are still a couple of meat options.

▼ Like Japanese-style curry…

▼ …and gyudon beef bowl! Yes, this is also part of the all-you-can-eat menu.

There’s much more included in the lunch buffet deal: the dessert bar! There’s a soft serve ice cream machine that you can add cereals, mochi, kinako, red beans, and syrup to, among other toppings.

▼ There are mini cream puffs, too.

▼ There’s even a shaved ice machine!

You can make your own kakigori and top it with one or all of the four flavors available.

▼ Nope, we’re still not done: there’s a cotton candy machine, too.

▼ And the final part of the dessert bar: the waffle makers.

That’s right, you can make waffles topped with ice cream topped with cereals, mochi, and more. Kids will love it, adults will love it; everyone will forget all about the shabu shabu.

Now that we’re all done introducing the restaurant’s offerings, let’s see what Mr. Sato chose. He went with a hefty salad, a small beef bowl, and some fruit.

▼ He had plenty of leafy greens in there, as well as some macaroni salad.

You might wonder what’s the appeal of going to a salad bar at a shabu shabu restaurant in the first place, but vegetables are just as important as the meat in a good hot pot.

▼ That means they’re more likely than not going to be scrumptious.

▼ And now for the main course.

The beef bowl was mildly flavored with soy sauce, but there was no fatty taste or texture to it at all. It was simple, hearty, and filling.

▼ Mr. Sato thinks this would also taste good with curry on top, like a curry gyudon bowl.

He polished off his meal with some citrus fruits and called it a day. It was a fantastic meal, even without the shabu shabu.

If you’re a fan of veggies or dessert–or gyudon–then Mr. Sato highly recommends this budget-friendly lunch spot. The buffet-only option is available from open to 4 p.m. and, as we mentioned above, lasts 80 minutes. Note that if you visit on a weekend or public holiday, the price will be 220 yen higher. Now get your shabu shabu-less shabu shabu on!

Restaurant information
Shabu Tabe | しゃぶ食べ
Address: Tokyo-to, Musashino-shi, Nakacho 1-14-11 Seibu Plaza Bldg 3F
東京都武蔵野市中町1-14-11 西武プラザビル3階
Open 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (last order 9:30 p.m.)

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