Americans often have a big sweet tooth.
In Japan, even traditionally sweet dishes can taste salty to the Western palate, but for those who want a dessert before their meal or even as a meal, Japanese restaurant chain Sweets Paradise is the place to be.
Sweets Paradise is a Japanese buffet specializing in desserts. The chain has many locations, including eight in Tokyo.
The standard buffet is dessert-focused, with the most basic and cheapest option consisting mostly of cakes and cheesecakes. However, customers can upgrade in stages to unlimited ice cream or, ultimately, the savory buffet which includes pasta, fries, soup, salad, and fruit.
For drinks, Sweets Paradise offers flavored water, juices, coffee, and tea. Alcoholic beverages are available at an additional cost.
The menu is seasonal, so flavors and decor change every few months. There is no English labeling or symbols identifying common allergens.
Hidden in the tea bar is a laxative “diet tea” offered without any identifiable warnings or identifying markers, so it’s highly recommended to use a translation app if you don’t understand Japanese.
Vegetarians should also beware, as almost all basic buffet dishes contain gelatin.
The many pitches are often very busy. Expect at least a two hour wait if you visit without a reservation. You can make a reservation by downloading the Sweets Paradise app.
The app cannot be found by its English name in the App Store, and it has no in-app translation options, requiring the user to be able to read and write in Japanese. Some locations limit the number of people that can be placed on a reservation, often a maximum of eight.
If you want to book, do it about a month in advance.
If you’re new to Japan, get to the buffet early, join the long waiting list, and shop around until there’s availability for your party.
Once inside the restaurant, whether or not you have a reservation, you have to wait in line to see the host enter.
When your turn comes, you go to a vending machine to choose which of the five packages you want to buy. This will determine which buffets you have access to and how long you can stay.
Once you have purchased your meal plan, you will receive a wristband, hand sanitizer and plastic gloves.
The basic buffet is 1,100 yen, or about $9.60, and gets you 50 minutes. The upgrade to the standard package includes the basic buffet with access to standard drinks. It costs 1,320 yen and gets you 70 minutes.
The recommended package lets you stay 80 minutes, costs 1,490 yen, and includes the basic buffet, standard drinks, and Haagen-Dazs ice bar.
The special buffet package gives access to savory dishes such as the salad bar and “super crispy potatoes”, in addition to everything included in the recommended package.
The final package is called the Fruit Paradise, which costs 2,580 yen and allows 100-minute unlimited access to all buffets, including the fruit section.
Children from 4 years old to elementary school students get a discount with prices ranging from 870 yen to 1,800 yen for children’s price.
Portions, such as pre-cut slices of cake and dishes to place food on, are large by Japanese standards.
There’s something for anyone who wants to try something new. For those who like to eat sweets, Sweets Paradise is definitely the place to be.
Location: The chain has many locations, including eight in Tokyo.
Hours: Varies by location
Prices: Range from 1,100 yen to 2,580 yen depending on the buffet plan you purchase (yen only, no credit cards)
Information: Online: sweets-paradise.jp