Hello Kitty Themed Restaurants
What Hello Kitty fan wouldn't enjoy a dining experience in a cute and fancy restaurant or cafe adorned with her favorite feline friend?
I certainly would jump at the opportunity!
Unfortunately, such restaurants are few and far between--but fret not! I have scoured the internet trying to find the best places to enjoy Hello Kitty themed food all over the world. If you can't enjoy these places in person, I hope you can at least enjoy the digital tour!
I definitely had a great time putting this list together. :)
If you know of any locations not listed here, or of some delicious Hello Kitty themed recipes or party ideas, please feel free to let me know in the comments below!
Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae, Seoul, S. Korea
Hello Kitty Cafe in Hyehwa, Seoul, S. Korea
Hello Kitty Cafe in Daegu, S. Korea
Hello Kitty Cafes in South Korea
South Korea may not be the homeland of our favorite feline, but it is definitely the home of the Hello Kitty Cafe! Fans of Hello Kitty can enjoy a cafe experience at 7 different locations in and around Seoul.
The Hongdae location in Seoul is, by far, the most well known and popular among Kitty fans and tourists. There have been stories of 2-hour waits just because of how packed it was! However, if you visit this location later in the evening, you may have a better experience as fewer people will be out and about. In the video I've included on the right from "Know Your Kimchi" the hosts note on their blog that their daytime experience was really not all that thrilling and the atmosphere was a little anti-cute. However, my friend, Mio really enjoyed her nighttime experience was very fun and she was overwhelmed by the cuteness. Really, what it comes down to is personal preference, and good luck. If you happen upon the Hongdae cafe at the perfect time you may love it, if not, you may hate it.
Visiting the Sinchon location, which really isn't much further away, seems to be a good idea for those who really aren't interested in being around a lot of tourists and are looking for something more cutesy. It is known, but not as frequented, it seems, as the Hongdae cafe. According to Cute in Korea, the experience seems to be way more enjoyable than one you may have at Hongdae.
Even lesser known are the locations in Hyehwa and Daegu. I will be getting the inside scoop on Daegu later in the year when Mio goes for a visit--but as for these two locations, the most I could find were some photos and a couple experience videos on YouTube. They definitely seem to be more local favorites than for tourists.
Unlike most other franchises, all of the Hello Kitty Cafe locations do not look exactly the same. Each has its own special look that sets it apart from the others. This makes the experience more interesting in if you Hello Kitty Cafe hopping--it enhances the desire to visit them all.
All of the cafes still follow strict Hello Kitty decorating rules; lots of pink, lots of bows, girly girly girly, and pack Hello Kitty into every little niche, nook, and cranny possible!
Other Hello Kitty Cafes in South Korea
Along with the cafes I listed above there are several other Hello Kitty Cafes throughout South Korea. These cafes do not seem to be popular or very well known by tourists at all. So if you are in South Korea and would like to go to a Hello Kitty Cafe that isn't going to be crowded and overrun by tourists (or if you're just looking for an opportunity to test out your Korean with native speakers) try checking out the Hello Kitty Cafes in Daehangno, Samchung, Changwon, and Daejeon. For help finding these places check out the official Hello Kitty Cafe website.
Things People Love and Hate About the Hello Kitty Cafes
Everyone who has visited these cafes agrees, the decorating is wonderful, the cuteness is off the charts, and the sweets are absolutely adorable. These cafes come straight out of the dreams of Hello Kitty fans. This is the perfect place to hang out with the girls, treat yourself to a pick-me-up, and enjoy Seoul.
Depending on who's making your drinks they can be tasty or just blah. The desserts have also received mixed reviews. Everyone seems to agree that the cafes are a bit pricey, but considering this is supposed to be something special and not....well a McDonald's for example, the prices are generally seen as fair for the occasion. Lastly, most people who have visited the cafes wanted to know, what the heck is up with the music?! Lots of American throwbacks it seems, and not very cute.
Puroland in Tokyo, Japan
Hello Kitty Themed Restaurants in Japan
Japan may be the home to Hello Kitty and the other cute and cuddly members of Sanrio, but it is certainly not the best place to find Hello Kitty themed restaurants. In fact, in my research, I could only find TWO places dedicated to Hello Kitty food (although I'm sure Sanrio brand edibles are sold everywhere).
The first is Puroland in Tokyo Japan. If Hello Kitty was Mickey Mouse, Puroland would be Disneyland...except much much smaller. Puroland is a Sanrio's theme park--and may be the reason why Hello Kitty cafes and restaurants aren't seen much in Japan--they don't want competition! But I'm just speculating. Puroland has both an indoor and outdoor theme park. Everywhere you go you're surrounded by Kitty and her friends. All the shops, cafes, rides, and booths are inspired by the Sanrio characters. So if Hello Kitty isn't necessarily your favorite, you may have some luck finding a Pochacco, Chococat, or even a Keroppi cafe as well.
The second place you can find Hello Kitty about is in Odaiba in Tokyo at Hello Kitty's Kawaii Paradise--located in the mall. It seems to be a large Sanrio store, not unlike one you would find at the mall here in the USA. The big differences are that Kawaii Paradise has a cafe where you can sit and enjoy yummy Kitty treats and it also has an arcade where you can win prizes and get pictures taken in a purikura (photo booth). I do wish the Sanrio stores here were more like this!
Hello Kitty Sweets Cafe in Taipei, Taiwan
The Hello Kitty Sweets Cafe in Taipei, Taiwan is not so different from the cafes you'll find in South Korea. However, in addition to the cafe beverages and sweets you'll find at the other cafes, the Sweet Cafe also serves more substantial meal foods--like their trademark hamburgers.
I have read mixed reviews on the food. Some customers believe the atmosphere, food, and service were absolutely perfect! Others feel the exact opposite. Because of this it's hard to get a read on how nice or poor the Sweets Cafe actually is. Though, I certainly wouldn't pass up the opportunity to try it out for myself if I had the chance! I think this is another case of personal preference, being in the right place at the right time, and having luck with getting a good cook on duty when you arrive.
Dreams Restaurant in Beijing, China
This is probably my favorite Hello Kitty themed restaurant on the list. Though the Dreams Restaurant in Beijing is Hello Kitty themed, the décor and atmosphere of the restaurant is sophisticated and welcoming enough to invite Kitty fans of all ages in.
If only they could bring something as wonderful as this to the USA!
Makitti in Waikiki, Honolulu, HI, USA
I did not have much luck finding restaurants or cafes like the ones listed above in the USA. However, I did come across one themed restaurant in Hawaii called Makitti. In addition to being Hello Kitty themed, there is also a very strong Hawaiian luau vibe. A Hello Kitty statue welcomes you into the restaurant where you can enjoy fusion food--which may not be shaped like Hello Kitty's head, but is said to be delicious! (And that's all the REALLY matters, right?)
The themed décor at Makitti isn't overly done, so--while Hello Kitty fans will enjoy themselves, their not-so-fanatic friends and relatives will be able to have a great time as well. Husbands, boyfriends, and brothers will be especially happy to know that the place is covered in the color pink, dainty bows, and lace. In fact, the only pink you'll come across here is in the lei flowers.
What are bento boxes?
Bento boxes are, essentially, Japanese lunchboxes. In Japan, moms (and girls trying to impress their favorite guys, or cheer up a friend, or who just enjoy cooking) spend a lot of time and energy trying to come up with the most adorable and creative boxed lunches.
A friend of mine, who studied abroad in Japan, said her host mother would wake up hours before everyone else just to put together her children's bento boxes.
Sort of puts your PB&J to shame, doesn't it?
Hello Kitty Food
For those of you who are unable to enjoy Kitty themed foods around the world, do not dispair! Look out for these food items or have a hand at creating your own Hello Kitty bento boxes for a super kawaii mealtime or themed party. Perhaps you could even add some flair to your lunch and some cheer to your day by creating Hello Kitty bento boxes for yourself or for your kids.
Hello Kitty Bento made using molds
Hello Kitty Futomaki, using mold
Hello Kitty x Pikachu Bento, made without molds
Hello Kitty cake pops recipe
As you can see, YouTube is a great resource to learn different ways of infusing Hello Kitty into your meals. If your little by isn't so interested in Hello Kitty themed lunches, try looking up different kinds of bento boxes as well. The possibilities are endless! Once you get a feel for it, why not try to come up with your own ideas, as well?
If you're thinking of hostig a Hello Kitty party there are plenty of other ideas you can find online, like this Hello Kitty cake pop video. Just do your homework and you're sure to have a wonderful event!
Where to buy Hello Kitty themed foods
Online is probably the quickest and easiest way to get what you're looking for. But, Asian food markets typically have plenty of Sanrio themed foods, alongside many other cute snacks and treats. If you don't know of any Asian food markets in particular, seek out the nearest Little Tokyo, Chinatown, or Little Korea in your area--you're bound to find our friend, Kitty there.
If you're from NYC or can commute to NYC, I'd suggest visiting the Sunrise Mart over by St. Mark's Place. When I was in High School, my brother, sister, and I would go there and stuck up on all our favorite Japanese junk food and come home with shopping bags full of the stuff. So if you're in the city, and this is what you're in to, definitely stop by the Sunrise Mart!
Around the corner (heading towards E. 9th st..) there is also a GREAT Japanese restaurant. Not Hello Kitty themed, but certainly delicious.
This Hub will be updated every time I learn of a new Sanrio/Hello Kitty themed cafe or restaurant so if this is something that interests please follow!
If you know of a location that is not mentioned here, please share in the comments below and I will be happy to include it as soon as possible.
If you would like to share any of your own pictures or video taken at any of these locations or share reviews on your own experiences, please let me know in the comments. It'd be very helpful to have more input from people who have actually been to these places!
Thank you very much and I hope you enjoyed! <3