Located underground in the elegant suburb of Ebisu, LUXIS Aqua Restaurant & Bar is a different kind of themed cafe. From the moment the elevator doors open and you step into the dimly-lit, blue-infused world of LUXIS (Japanese: ラグシス), you understand why their name is a portmanteau of the words “luxury” and “oasis”.
The massive aquarium rises up before you as you step into the main dining area; fish, turtles and other marine life swimming about to their own tunes. The atmosphere is mature and classy, making it a good choice for a romantic date night, wedding receptions, or other private functions. Stretching over two storeys, there are 200 seats, with a range of private rooms. There is also a glass VIP room for up to 12 people, and celebrities are said to secretly frequent the establishment.
Unfortunately, as typical of night venues in Japan, there is a sore absence of a non-smoking section.
But how does it rate otherwise?
The theme: fish tanks
In terms of its self-professed main attraction, LUXIS definitely doesn’t disappoint. 6 metres wide by 5 metres tall, the aquarium dominates the room completely. We were given a nice corner booth with the fish tank on one side. The shark, tropical fishes and sea turtles swam leisurely around the tank as we dined. Combined with the soft music and moody lighting, it’s a very calming experience. You could probably have a nice nap here (if it was your house, that is). Best of all, this turtle hovered around our table for most of the night. Out of the corner of my eye, I kept seeing it watching us eat.
It was cute and hilarious, albeit it did make it hard to have a serious conversation.
Don’t forget to check out the toilets too, which also feature live fish in mini tanks. While the novelty is great, I’m can’t help but feel sorry the poor fish, who has to watch people pee all night long. I do hope they at least rotate the fish out everyday.
The cuisine is a mix of Italian and French, with a wide range of wine offered. On the Italian side of things, the restaurant boasts 16 types of pasta, as well as oysters and pizza.
The Chef’s Recommendation on Hot Pepper is the Char-grilled Lamb Shank with Orleans Mustard Sauce, or the Saga Beef Sirloin Steak. Asahi Beer, who strangely also runs a “Gourmet Guide” website, also recommends the Saga Beef, as well as the Diced Marbled Tuna with Anchovy Butter Sauce and the Organic Vegetable Grilled Salad with Cream Cheese Sauce.
Ignoring that completely, we ordered a salad, a pasta and this beef hamburger-looking thing below.
To honest, it was nothing to write home about. I wouldn’t have remembered what we ate if I hadn’t taken photos. Heck, I took a photo and still don’t remember what we ate. I’m not a foodie so to me it was delicious enough, but many Japanese reviews have stated the food is nothing special. YMMV. As with most themed cafes, go for the novelty, not the food.
Despite the luxurious feel of this restaurant, the dining experience is not as expensive as you might think. Courses start from 4,800 yen per person. If ordering ala carte, you can still expect to spend around 4000-5000 yen per person, plus drinks. There is also a service charge, which starts from 540 yen (varies depending on seat allocated). All major credit cards are accepted.
LUXIS Aqua Restaurant & Bar is located a convenient minute’s walk from the West Exit of Ebisu Station on the JR Yamanote Line, or Exit 2 on the Hibiya Subway Line.
Address: 東京都渋谷区恵比寿西１‐７‐３ ZAIN恵比寿 B1F
B1F ZAIN Ebisu, 1-7-3 Ebisu-nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
It is open everyday, from 4pm to 5am the next day.
How to make a booking
The establishment’s official website seems to have died, and their Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2016, so bookings are best made through third-party restaurant booking sites like Hot Pepper Gourmet, Ikyu or Retty (all Japanese). For online bookings in English, Voyagin (run by Japanese conglomerate Rakuten) seems to offer bookings for the cost of the table charge. Alternatively, if you speak Japanese you can book the old-fashioned way and call the LUXIS Aqua Restaurant & Bar directly (03-5428-2288).
I rate LUXIS Aqua Restaurant & Bar: 9/10 for the classy atmosphere and delivering on the promise of a gigantic aquarium. It really is overwhelming. Minus 1 point for lack of non-smoking area.
Food: 7/10, average
Customer service: 7/10, average
Cost performance: 6/10, the dish prices are reasonable, but I don’t like the table charge based on proximity to the fish tank. Especially since it’s unclear which seats constitute a 540 yen charge, and which a 1080 yen charge.
If you do get a chance to visit while in Tokyo, let me know what you think!