I think we can agree to say that there are essentially two types of restaurants: some we go for convenience because it’s not that expensive, it’s quite close and sort of cosy. Some we go to treat ourselves, because it’s quite pricey, rather unique, and it takes a bit of effort to get there at all. Personally, that is the reason why I might love a restaurant one day and not want to go again for a month: yes it was nice, but good Grace was it a hassle. Tonight maybe I’ll just have a burger.If you ever find yourself in such a case, I might have good news, because Hiroshima offers one very versatile restaurant, which can satisfy both your need for a proper restaurant to go to on a specific occasion, and you crave for a cosy restaurant to go to when you just feel don’t feel like eating at home. That restaurant is 28cafe.
To be truthful with you, I’ve lived in France a large part of my life and more specifically in Paris for a few years, so eating and drinking on a terrace is essentially part of my culture. Consequently, going abroad is always synonym for a struggle to find a nice eating terrace, where I can enjoy a simple meal or a drink on a sunny day. Hiroshima has a few such places and they are lovely: 28cafe is one of them.
The terrace is quite nice, as it lies next to the Higashi Senda park.
The park is a nice strolling spot for locals, where people and whole families usually gather to have a barbecue or a picnic. It is surrounded with restaurants and a shopping centers so it’s a really great spot to go in general. As a plus, it’s quite pretty and thus really enhances the whole 28cafe experience. For instance, oftentimes I go have lunch at 28cafe and then go to the shopping center next door to buy groceries for dinner. I also sometimes just go for a stroll to the park and end up stopping at 28cafe for a quick drink, or just to enjoy the view.
Technically, the terrace belongs to another building, the ‘CLiP’ building, inside of which the restaurant is, but most people use this terrace to eat food they got from 28cafe.
If you’re as lucky as I was a few times, you might stumble upon the 28cafe food truck. It opens outside of the building, right in front of the terrace, and allows you to order directly outside and to go straight to your terrace seat where you’ll be served. The terrace experience is therefore 100% complete, and I frankly enjoy it. If the food truck is not there, you can still go upstairs and order from the takeout menu, and eat outside, it takes a few more steps but is not that much of an inconvenience. Although, note that this is not the actual menu of the 28cafe, but only the takeout menu.
My personal recommendation would be the 28 burger (28バーガー): it is really cheap and yet very tasty, and with a bit of fries, it really allows you to just lay back and enjoy a quick, satisfying meal under the Sun, next to the park, on a lovely terrace. You might also enjoy a simple coffee (or tea, whichever your poison is), a beer, or an ice-cream.
I thought a lot about the reason why people (or at least, people I know) love terraces so much: it’s cold in the winter, hot during the summer, impracticable whenever the weather acts up… Yet I always go back to them, because they offer you an experience, they add something to your meal that not even the most sumptuous restaurant room could offer: life. Terraces bestow upon customers not only a meal but also and foremost a privileged view of the outside world. That is why a terrace opening to a dumpster would most probably be disregarded as unappealing, even if the terrace itself was quite luxurious and clean. In our case at hand, I must say the terrace offered by 28cafe is rather notable, to say the least. Sitting there, sipping coffee, you get to see the most exquisite aspects of other people’s daily lives: children playing with the water fountains, families eating a picnic on the green grass, friends sitting in circles and laughing, youngsters playing football, seniors enjoying an afternoon walk, young couples sitting on a bench eating ice cream, dogs running around unleashed… all under the benediction of a sunny day, enjoying Nature’s most precious gift. Life itself is the view offered by the terrace, and I believe that is something one may only find in a few places. I found one in Hiroshima, and I am quite happy with it.
Then come upstairs! 28cafe has not yet revealed all its cards, or any cards at all to be honest. The actual restaurant is upstairs, and the menu is completely different from what I described earlier.
The restaurant is quite exquisite, it combines the minimalistic approach of a casual cafe with the elegance of a proper restaurant. It offers seats for large parties as well as counter seats if you’re eating alone, or even sofa seats, perfect for a date!
The restaurant offers a few courses which can give you really affordable dinner options (the cheapest course is 5.000 yens) or you can go for something a bit fancier (there is a 12.000 yen course), which you can pair with a good bottle of wine or one of their delicious cocktails.
They serve exquisite fish-based cuisine (from the fish carpaccio to the creamy shrimp pasta), but I would also recommend the pizzas! If you don’t mind spending a bit on French wine, you will get a culinary experience worth the detour.
As I said earlier, 28cafe lies right next to the Higashi Senda park, which is a 10-minutes walk from the Takanobashi tram station (鷹野橋駅). Once you’re there, head for the ‘CLiP’ building and you will then just have to follow the sign to the second floor.