FFXIV: Eorzea Cafe - A Realm of Food, Drink & Fun

A Brief Introduction

Where to begin I wonder? 
Since it's my first Article on Odigo I should probably start by saying 
Hi! My Name is Dan, and welcome to the article!
I have several more articles planned in the near future after my recent visit to Japan in mid April so keep your eyes peeled for more :)

Now that's out of the way, let's get to it shall we?

FFXIV: Eorzea Cafe

A Realm Of Food, Drink & Fun

First thing's first, let's get the big elephant in the room out of the way.
If you play or have played any of the Final Fantasy games in the series, then you are far more likely to love visiting this cafe than if you have never seen or played a game in the series, particularly if the game you play or have played in the past is FFXIV specifically, which this cafe is based on. That's not to say of course that if you have never played, are not a fan or not even heard of the series before that you can't have fun and enjoy your visit, but it's fair to say that it helps.

The first thing that strikes you about the Cafe is just how much detail they've gone into to make it look and feel like it's part of the Carline Canopy from Gridania in the game, from the wall fixtures to the background music and even right down to the mosaic "Window" art they have on the walls, it really does set a great scene
Mosaic Wall design and playful mini moogle statues === Photo Credit: David Carillet (A Member of our party)
The staff are very friendly and attentive, though please note, it's much easier to get through conversations with them if you or one of your group has at least some basic proficiency in Japanese. You are in Japan after all so the level of English from the staff is, understandably, minimal.
That said a few earlier articles and posts that you may or may not see for the cafe suggests that there were no English versions of the menu available, so I did query whilst there and they advised that they had recently updated the new menu's to incorporate English descriptions into the primary menu they use, so you're all set on that front!
Quick snip of the drinks menu, English is listed at the bottom of each menu item underneath the Japanese and the prices are even listed in Gil :D
Perhaps I should jump back in time at this point to the very beginning of the story...
Where is the cafe? How do you get here? When can you go? Do I need a reservation?
Let's go in order shall we?

Where Is The Cafe?

Well, Google is your friend (You'll probably hear me say this a lot), but essentially, it's right on the corner of the main street through Akihabara, just after the bridge over the kanda river, in a building called Pasela Resorts and it's on the second floor.
X Marks the Spot?

The Board Outside Pasela Resorts...see the REEEALLY tiny Eorzea Cafe sign in the middle? Yeah, that's the one, on the 2nd Floor

How Do You Get There?

Come on now, you were reading the last question right? google is your friend :)
Punch in the address details (or even just searching Eorzea cafe Tokyo should suffice) on your phone, laptop, iPad, whatever your using while you're out there and then plot your route to it from your current location, or indeed your hotel, or your closest station to Akihabara Station (which if you check the pic above, is just on the right hand side, so it is really close by) There are plenty of options to travel around Tokyo and in particular to popular places such as Akihabara, so whatever fits your itinerary best should suffice.

When Can I Go?

Eorzea Cafe is open from 11:30am until 10pm every day of the week

Do I Need A Reservation?

So...here's the tricky part.
Whilst the venue is open 11:30am until 10pm, they section off the day into several time slots of 2 hours with breaks of half an hour between so they can cleanup and reset the room for the next sittings. Which of course means that in order to get in, you have to be in one of the assigned time slots.
The Opening Times and Time Slots

"But Dan, how do you get assigned to one of the time slots?" I hear you ask.
Well, there are technically 3 ways to do this.
  1. Via a 3rd party booking agent such as Go Voyagin, This is the "safe" option if you already know when you want to go and you want it secured before you arrive. Please take into account however that 3rd party fee's do apply if you go with that route (Link: Here )
  2. By rocking up first thing of a morning (about 10.30am) outside the venue to see if they have spare slots. This really is literally luck of the draw, if they have any spaces left at all for the day, then they decide who gets one by doing a raffle style draw first thing in the morning. If you get a low enough number then you're all set to pick a time! But if you get a higher number you probably won't get one. This really is a hit or miss method with no guarantee of a seat on the day.  
  3. Visiting a Lawson shop in Tokyo and using one of the Loppi machines. This is the method we used.
    This was....an experience :)  I'll say this now...if you want to use the Loppi machines, then you will have greater success if you have a decent understanding of the Japanese language, a super helpful shop assistant, the google translate app with the JP language pack, or a combination of some/all of the above. For us it wasn't "too" bad, as we had the app and myself plus one other in the group had basic JP language skills, but that translation app with the active picture translation really is a god send and it still took us 30 mins to figure it out. There is a link here that will give you a few pointers on how to navigate on the machine. It's not specific for this Cafe, but it should help a little.
    Now, after reading upto this point, you're thinking, why on earth did you use this method if it was quite difficult?
    Well the answer is simple... this is the option you use for the middle of the road if you didn't book in advance before you got to Tokyo with a 3rd party and you don't fancy chancing the queues on the door first thing of a morning. Using this method you can book a time slot upto 7 days (I believe..) in advance, depending on what is available with a guarantee that you will secure the spot you pick, There's a small cover fee included and some interaction with your email address is a must in order to confirm certain details but you'll eventually be able muddle through it and get it done.
    **SUPER IMPORTANT** Make sure that you go over to the counter with the receipt that prints out from the Loppi machine as you only have a 30 minute window to get it redeemed and paid for. But once that's done, your all set to go to the venue and hand your ticket receipt in at the desk outside the cafe.
With booking your seat now out of the way, let's get down to the details of the cafe itself :)

Arrival

First thing to do is head over to the reception desk on the second floor, hand them your reservation ticket and you'll be lined up with the other guests in your time slot ready to go in. Whilst in the queue they give everyone in your party a little cactpot raffle ticket (if you play the game you'll know what it is) a Menu to look at, a pencil and an order sheet to get your first (free) drink in, an iPad to place orders with and you also get a choice of special collection "Coaster" with a job type from the game on it (was all about the Dragoon for me :D ).
It was all about the Dragoon Coaster and the Scholar's Cocktail for me :)

Being Seated & Your Initial Drinks Order 

Once the cafe is ready they'll show you in and start seating you. If you filled in your initial drinks form, then hand it to your server and they will bring them over after a few moments, along with another coaster.  (which they'll now start giving you a new random coaster after each new food or drink order for the rest of your stay). 
Cost a little more than most of the other drinks, but my god it was a big drink! Yes! That's a whole Pineapple pretty much!

Food Orders & The Cactpot Draw

So, you're in, you're seated and you have your drinks. That can only mean it's time to order your food right? Well, luckily they've just given you a menu and an iPad (that is now our best friend) to order with! Go through the menu in front of you if you need the finer details, but it is essentially the same thing on the iPad itself too with a simple point and click for whatever you want to order. Select what you want, add it to your basket, process the basket and hey presto, you're food will be on it's way soon.
With your first order out of the way and being cooked, the staff now start addressing the room in order to grab your attention for the Cactpot draw to take place. It's time to grab those tickets they gave you as you walked in to see if you get the lucky prize or not. There are 3 possible prizes, but each sitting has a different prize available for the third place and runner up tickets ranging from a free drink to a Moogle toy etc. But then it comes to the grand prize draw.
I can't confirm if this ever changes or not, but the day we went, the Grand Prize was a Mega sized Moogle Dessert with literally the full works, sparkler and everything. But because the staff were all speaking in Japanese, we found it a little difficult to follow at the time and didn't really realise what exactly the grand prize was. So when our number was drawn out, we were a little nonchalant thinking we'd won a round of drinks or something to that effect thinking, ah sweet that's great... 
My god were we in for a shock a little later on...
Deciding our orders... === Photo Credit: David Carillet (A Member of our Party)

Time To Dig In

With the Cactpot draw out of the way, it didn't take long for our food to arrive and we got stuck in straight away. All of the dishes available were "themed" to be relevant to the game and the majority of them really did looks pretty amazing. Sure there's a bit of a novelty value to this cafe, but we really were taken aback by just how good the quality of the food itself was too. We had a few different things on the go, Chocobo Salad, Ultros Squid Balls (one of which had a wasabi suprise..... ) etc, and we really enjoyed ourselves trying out the different things.
I couldn't possibly recommend any more on just how good it is to try something out that's different, be it the squid dish or the fiery "Bomb" dish, it's why you are here after all! Get stuck in, place a few orders and discover what flavours are awaiting you as you'll likely be pleasantly suprised!
Small sample of the food menu

The Grand Cactpot Prize

Just as we were all mulling over the idea of either trying another dish or moving on to the desserts, the room suddenly started getting livelier for some reason with audible gasps and cheering and we were wondering what all the fuss was about. And then it came around the corner....and we thought wow, who is that for? is it someone's birthday or something?
"Congratulations & Enjoy the Grand Prize!"
The Cacpot Jackpot Moogle Dessert Prize! (Yes, those are cornflakes at the bottom!)

WAIT.....WHAT!! o_o you mean this is the thing we won on the cactpot raffle?? 
Holy crap....how are we going to eat all of this!
Yup, That's right folks, the grand prize was a massive Moogle dessert which looked like it was more suited to 10 people not 5! But once we realised that this is what we'd won we were over the moon and started hacking away at it as best as we could! We pretty much got it down to the very last layer but it was certainly a challenge after all the other dishes and drinks we'd already been trying up to that point.

FFXIV: Eorzea Cafe - Overview

I think it's safe to say our group enjoyed the visit here and whilst it did take 30-40 minutes of pain trying to get the tickets sorted out on a Loppi machine a couple of days before we attended, it really was worth the effort to do so. 
The amount of detail the owners went into for this was incredible and it all really added to the atmosphere of the venue from the big obvious things like the Gridanian mosaic effect and the weapons and art displays around the room, to the little things like the music playing in the background, the themed food/drinks and the coasters that they hand out to you, which also promotes socialisation between the tables as you are encouraged to trade your coasters if you have multiple of the same one or are after that one specific coaster that you really want.
It might not be everyone's cup of tea, particularly if you are not a big fan of Final Fantasy or don't know much about the series (or FFXIV in particular), but even with very little knowledge, there is easily the scope here for people to enjoy themselves. though it of course goes without saying that if you are a Final Fantasy XIV fan in particular then you are going to get more out of the experience here than if you aren't, Heck, there's even a couple of PC's and PlayStation's in the centre part of the room to log in on your character if you wanted to whilst you are there. 

Ratings:

Drink: 8 out of 10
Great variety, well presented, A little lacking on the alcohol front, but it didn't matter too much to our group.

Food:
7 out of 10
Solid showing and some creative dishes, far exceeded our expectations as many of these themed cafe's don't bother putting much effort into the food side of things, whereas here they really did.
Service: 8 out of 10
Staff were super friendly and were very quick when it came to servicing your food and drinks. There was somewhat of a language barrier in a couple of instances, but it can't really be helped when the customer's native language isn't the same as the server.
Atmosphere: 9 out of 10
The ambience was perfect, they had background music from the game, it wasn't too noisy, it wasn't too quiet and the detail for the setting itself was just amazing. Absolutley nailed it
Cost: 8 out of 10
For the the method we used to obtain the entry tickets it cost us 800¥ per head, (which is roughly £5.50 at current exchange rate) I've heard that going via 3rd party it can cost around 2000¥ per head. If you manage to get in on the day with the raffle then the entry fee is zero, but you also don't get the "free" first drink on the door this way. Food and drinks wise, most items were between 500-1000¥ (about £3.60 to £6.85) but they did also have a higher tier of food items that would set you back about 1600¥ (roughly £11) per item.  For 5 of us it cost around 8000¥ (Roughly £55) so it was about 1600¥ (£11) a head, though you do have to bear in mind we didn't have to buy any desserts after winning the cactpot prize so you'd have to add those on to that total.

Overall Score: 8 out of 10
Thanks for Reading everyone :) さようなら

Thank you for reading the article guys, I hope you found it both entertaining and informative :)
I'll be posting more articles in the near future so keep your eyes peeled!
Thanks Everyone.
Dan.


Daniel Powell