This Japanese cafe in SoMa has many things going for it: a relaxed energy, quick and friendly service, and excellent options for a casual, mid-week lunch (they’re closed on weekends). That’s why, when you arrive, you’ll see indoor and outdoor tables filled with people on their lunch breaks, solo diners settling into a corner seat with a book, or friends grabbing a quick bite to eat. One look around the plant-filled, minimalist space and you’ll want to hunker down too, whether it’s with a spicy tuna rice bowl or a chicken katsu sandwich that literally gives us butterflies.
What exactly is it that makes us want to enter into a committed relationship with Cafe Okawari’s chicken katsu sandwich? A neat stack of cabbage is piled on top of a tender piece of thigh that’s fried to golden-brown perfection, making for a delicate, satisfying crunch when you bite into it. The sandwich is then drizzled with sweet katsu sauce and mayo and placed between thick slices of milk bread so soft it’ll stick to your teeth. It’s simple, impeccably done, and absolutely delicious.
The sandwich isn’t the only reason you should come to this low-key spot, though. Cafe Okawari also makes a rich Japanese curry more soothing than Cardi B ASMR, which you can pair with a variety of proteins like shrimp or chicken katsu. They also have great rice bowls topped with spicy tuna or beef, and excellent matcha lattes - basically, everything you could possibly need for a weekday pick-me-up. Just order at the counter, grab a seat, and soak in the space with a meal you’ll probably end up setting as your lock screen.
The deep golden-brown piece of katsu chicken is made with thigh so it’s extra tender, and sandwiched between soft, pillowy slices of milk bread. Do we have actual romantic feelings for this sandwich? Highly likely.
The silky smooth curry is rich and fragrant, and super comforting on a chilly day. It comes with rice and you can choose a protein, like crispy potato croquettes or chicken katsu - whatever you land on will soak up the curry really nicely.
If you’re in the mood for something lighter, the spicy tuna don is a great bet. The rice and fish are topped with fresh slices of cucumber and radish, plus a heap of green onions.
We always get a side of these when we come here. They’re smooth and creamy inside, perfectly fried, and just fantastic.