Located *inside* the combined book store and CD / DVD / comic rental shop TSUTAYA in Tamano-shi, this cafe appears to be a Starbucks-wannabe. They have a similar style of decor, and similar menu offerings. Still, since we’re unlikely to get a Starbucks in Tamano-shi anytime soon, Cafe di Espresso isn’t a bad runner-up.
The store can be accessed from inside the TSUTAYA shop or from the street. Here’s what the entrance from the TSUTAYA side looks like:
Since the cafe is connected to the shop, I understand that TSUTAYA has a real need to protect their merchandise from shoplifting, but the magnetic gates are really ugly and detract from the atmosphere.
You can see what the store looks like from the street side on the website (see link below). It’s also not very attractive, but again I understand that they’re limited by the TSUTAYA building.
Once you’re past the ugly magnetic gates, the interior is actually nice. Here are some shots of the counter and the main room:
See what I mean about it being Starbuck-y? Still, Cafe di Espresso has more open floor space than Starbucks does (at least the ones in Japan–they are so overstuffed with cushy chairs that it’s difficult to nagivate the room), and I like that they are attached to a book store. The smoking section is completely walled off from the non-smoking section, which is also a big plus. Cafe di Espresso also provides a nice selection of current magazines (in Japanese, of course), in case you didn’t buy anything at TSUTAYA.
Cafe di Espresso is a subsidary of the Kohikan chain of cafes.
Cafe di Espresso must do pretty decent business; everytime I pass by, there are always a good number of people inside, and the snack and dessert case is always nearly empty. Unlike Starbucks, Cafe di Espresso usually only has 1 or 2 people on staff, so the person taking your order is the person who also makes your drink. It’s not a chain-production kind of place, even though it does obviously fall into the “fast food” category.
They are currently running a Hawaiian Cafe Fair, which runs through September 3rd, 2013.
I ordered the Coconut Coffee Frosty, and my sons each got a Strawberry Frosty (not on the Hawaiian menu, obviously, but also a seasonal drink).
The Coconut Coffee Frosty was a good treat, but there wasn’t much coconut about it other than the toasted bits on top of all that darn whipped cream. It would have been nice if it had included (and maybe it did but I couldn’t tell) some coconut-flavored syrup. The boys’ Strawberry Frosties were REALLY good–I highly recommend these if you can get one before they stop serving them.
+ What I like about this cafe: Service was friendly but not over-the-top, large drink selection, ok to bring your kids to this cafe, open feel of the interior, Wi-Fi available.
– What I didn’t like about this cafe: Chain store, but hey, I knew that before I went in.
Address: 〒706-0011 岡山県玉野市宇野1-11-1 TSUTAYA玉野店内 1F Okayama-ken, Tamano-shi, Uno 1-11-1, Tsutaya Tamano 1F
Hours: Everyday 9:00am to 11:00pm; open year-round
Date visited: July 19, 2013