Photo: SoraNews24

We eat at 3 Japanese family restaurants to find the one with the best-value breakfast

By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

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 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.


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 UK, 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.

Images © SoraNews24

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- We try Japan’s top-ranked hotel breakfast for ourselves, find out if it’s worth the trip to Kobe

-- Japanese restaurant chain’s solo-diner boxes look depressing, but are actually pretty awesome

-- Import immediately! The top 3 Japanese chain restaurants

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Gusto hands down! Royal host is fly but not so on the wallet.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Gusto hands down! Royal host is fly but not so on the wallet.

agree! gusto has the best value- royal host has the worst.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

It's none of them for me.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

My kids love a Jonathans brekkie now and then and I like the selection of teas they have.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Coco's Restaurant is pretty good too.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japanese wieners suck though, how I wish they'd just do some decent sausages.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Breakfast in Japan sucks.

American diners make the best breakfasts, hands down.

UK trucker cafes are also awesome.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Breakfast in Japan sucks.

Absolutely the worst.

American diners make the best breakfasts, hands down. 

UK trucker cafes are also awesome.

I totally agree, even Gordon Ramsay said you can’t be an American breakfast, there’s just no way and then what he likes to do is expand on American breakfast which is always great

0 ( +4 / -4 )

American breakfasts are ok but I can't get on with the sweet n savoury combo, I don't want anything sweet near my eggs n bacon. Give me a full english, then i'll have pancakes n stuff after if I still want to eat anything.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

best breakfast is made one at home...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I had one for the first time in ages today, but a Sausage Egg McMuffin set beats all of the above and is 350 yen if you use the app. That's with a cafe latte, which they used to charge more for.

I sometimes make my own breakfast muffin at home with real ingredients. The 100 yen shops sell muffin sized metal rings to fry eggs in to get the same thickness. The extra height works well in a sandwich.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

best breakfast is made one at home...


4 ( +4 / -0 )

Guys...for 15 years I'd go to the flight line cafe at Yokota Air Base before it closed some years ago. Best SOS in Japan...yeah, I know that's not saying much, but for $4.99 you could have sausage gravy on a biscuit, two eggs, and some forgettable hash browns (which I never ate). Other than that I prefer the Japanese breakfast (with salmon, no natto) at Dennys. I stayed, with a client, at the Yokohama Hotel once and they charged us 5000 yen each for the breakfast buffet. Outrageous even by Japan standards. In the final analysis, I recommend that you try the breakfast buffet at the Komaki Grand Hotel Onsen in Misawa-shi, Awamori-ken. Keep your yukata on and prepare yourself for a 2 hour breakfast if you can handle it. Enough variety of Japanese rural food to sink a ship. Enough said.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The good thing about eating breakfast (or any meal) out isn't the food, it's not having to clear up afterwards.

If the food is good, that's a bonus.

Invalid CSRF

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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.

I stopped reading here.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Actual Mexican breakfasts *

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

sausage gravy on a biscuit

Whatever is that? Please enlighten me, thank you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For breakfast give me a toasted bagel spread with chèvre and topped with smoked salmon along with a cup of English Breakfast Tea and watch my old face light up with delight.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Times are tough and we all should be saving money by going for the cheapest option from the three. Don’t do this regularly though as a healthy home cooked breakfast is much more beneficial both to the wallet and health!

I was surprised to see so many people ordering drink bar only at family restaurants in Tokyo and sitting there for hours doing their work on PC or trying to recruit someone for pyramid schemes…lol ! Paying customers couldn’t get a sea because of selfish people like these!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Cheap does not necessarily equal value. Gusto is the cheapest of the three. But, the quality of the food reflects the low price. So, there is very little value to me.

Royal Host is the more expensive of the three. But, it's also the highest quality. And, it's not very expensive at all. So, for me, it offers the best value of the three in the article.

Price is not always indicative of quality, though. Coco's restaurant (not to be confused with Coco Ichiban Curry) is more expensive than Gusto, yet is of similar quality.

And, McDonald's breakfast items are cheaper than Gusto, yet higher quality, such as it is. Probably the best "cospa" for a Western breakfast in Japan.

Obviously, the best Western style breakfast in Japan would be what Western residents make at home, as many have mentioned. I personally make awesome scrambled eggs and kickass omelettes. But, that's really not what the article is referring to.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites