The best hot chocolate in Tokyo

Warm up with a sweet cup of goodness
Max Brenner's 'Hug Mug' holds some of the best hot chocolate in Tokyo
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By Ayumi Ichikawa

French-style chocolat chaud is the king of liquid chocolate, a luxurious delicacy that can barely be mentioned in the same sentence with cocoa powder-based versions. Often made from high-quality choccies, this decadent treat has stolen the heart of many a Tokyoite, leading to fierce competition among the city's sweets artisans. We've scoured the streets for the tastiest creations out there, and now present the definitive top 20 picks. What better way to forget the woes of winter than sitting down by the window and sipping on a steamy cup of chocolatey goodness? 

The best hot chocolate in Tokyo

Restaurants, Cafés

Max Brenner: Hot Chocolate

icon-location-pin Omotesando
Warm up your hands with one of Max Brenner's original 'Hug Mugs' – they're meant to be held with both hands. Choose your poison from a selection of milk, dark and white, or go for the 'Spicy Mexican', a hot chocolate made with steamed milk and a blend of spices that includes nutmeg and cinnamon. ¥550
Shopping, Chocolate and sweets

Le Chocolat de H - Paul Bassett: Chocolat Chaud

icon-location-pin Shibuya
The hot chocolate at Shibuya's Le Chocolat de H is served up in matching cups and a pot (holds two servings), and is available only in winter. Thick and rich, the chocolate has a heady aroma, and is just right in terms of sweetness. Perfect for a quick break from work or shopping. ¥950
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Restaurants, Cafés

Henri Le Roux: Chocolat Chaud

icon-location-pin Roppongi
Friends of thick, rich chocolate are in for a treat at Henri Le Roux. Using a hearty helping of house originals to create a full-bodied drink that delivers on all counts, these people have really grasped the essence of chaud. The Venezuelan chocolate, with its characteristic bite and scent of raisins, is absolutely superb. ¥864
Restaurants, Cafés

Palet d'Or: Chocolat Chaud

icon-location-pin Marunouchi
This refreshing chocolat chaud is easy to drink, yet boasts a rich, deep flavour. The exquisitely balanced mixture reveals the taste of the cocoa in all its glory – try it with one of Palet d'Or's cakes for a satisfying combo. Greedy choco fans will be happy to hear that one order gets you two full servings, making up for the slightly steep price. The same great taste is also available for take-out (¥540). ¥1,512
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Restaurants, Cafés

Jean-Paul Hévin: Chocolat Chaud Parisien

icon-location-pin Roppongi
Jean-Paul Hévin is passionate about hot chocolate; he even published a book about it in France. The limited-edition servings on tap each season aren't to be overlooked, but first, do try out this classic Parisian favourite. Served from a impressively sized pot, the brown nectar is best combined with whipped cream to mellow down the taste a bit. ¥1,212
Shopping, Chocolate and sweets

Pierre Marcolini: Simple Hot Chocolate

icon-location-pin Ginza
This one's for those who prefer a dense, rich concoction. The 74% chocolate, the same grade used in their cakes and ice cream, is thoroughly melted into milk and a bit of fresh cream. With a deep flavour and powerful aroma, you'll feel like you're eating as much as drinking. ¥1,188
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Chocolat Chaud Guayaquil | Time Out Tokyo
Photo by Laurent Rouvrais
Shopping, Chocolate and sweets

La Maison du Chocolat: Chocolat Chaud Guayaquil

icon-location-pin Marunouchi
Two varieties of chaud are on the menu here: Andalusia (¥999), which features an invigorating tinge of lemon and a refreshing flavour, and Guayaquil, a deep and rich beverage with a tinge of vanilla, best enjoyed with a spoonful of fresh cream. ¥972
Restaurants, Cafés

Cacao Sampaka: Ana Marina

icon-location-pin Marunouchi
The most popular choice at this Spanish chocolatery is the 'Ana Marina' (small size ¥500), deliciously flavoured with cinnamon and light enough to make it one you'll want to enjoy on an everyday basis. Adventurous drinkers might want to try the chocolate champagne (¥600), an exciting, refined creation. Take-out available.
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Restaurants, Cafés

Lindt Chocolat Café: Hot Chocolate

icon-location-pin Ginza
The Lindt Chocolat Café serves two varieties of hot chocolate, milk and dark, and offers to-go cups as well. Using carefully selected ingredients to add an appealingly gentle yet not too sweet flavour to both drinks, the Swiss craftsmanship here is top-notch. Combine with a croissant for a luxury breakfast. Small ¥617, medium ¥772
Restaurants, Cafés

Inamura Shozo: Chocolat Chaud

icon-location-pin Yanaka
They say that careful temperature control, tireless testing, and ingredients hand-picked by the chef are behind this extra special take on hot chocolate. The product is made to order, heated to 70°C in a small pot, and served at exactly 60°C, making the entire process seem almost ridiculously scientific. The taste can't be faulted though – this is quality throughout. ¥600
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Restaurants, Cafés

Nonna & Sidhi: Hot Chocolate

icon-location-pin Ebisu
The 100%-cacao hot chocolate here comes courtesy of Italy's Domori, a widely respected brand in the world of high-end choccies. The taste is so rich you'd swear there was nothing but pure chocolate in the brew, making it a must-try for every dessert connoisseur. Take-out orders are available. ¥540
Shopping, Pâtisseries

Le Pommier: Chocolat Chaud au Yuzu

icon-location-pin Shimokitazawa
This yuzu-flavoured drink, available only in January and February, has been popular ever since Le Pommier first opened its doors. Yuzu peel is added to milk and fresh cream, simmered, then mixed with plenty of bitter chocolate. The combination works much better than one could expect, resulting in a refreshing drink that'll raise your spirits in a heartbeat. ¥756
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Restaurants, Cafés

Théobroma: Spicy Chocolat Chaud

icon-location-pin Shibuya
Sweet and mildly addictive, one sip of this drink releases a spicy aroma with hints of pepper, nutmeg, chilli and cinnamon. All orders come with either caramel or chocolate sprinkles, while the drink itself is also available in 'bitter', 'dark' and 'herbal' varieties. ¥864
Shopping, Chocolate and sweets

Debailleul: Chocolat Chaud

icon-location-pin Marunouchi
This modernist Marunouchi café imports its wares all the way from Belgium and serves up a remarkably thick, almost bitter mixture that's best enjoyed on those really chilly days. Try sitting by the huge windows, taking in the stimulating aroma while watching thickly padded Tokyoites hurry by outside. ¥771
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Shopping, Chocolate and sweets

Minimal: Hot Chocolate

icon-location-pin Yoyogi-Hachiman

‘Bean to bar' chocolate is definitely bubbling under in Tokyo. Maintaining in-house control of the entire production process, such specialist makers share a commitment to producing only the finest choc. One of the first exclusively bean-to-bar focused shops in the city, Minimal uses its ‘Nutty’ chocolate, made from Haitian beans, for this decadent mixture served with milk. Don’t be surprised to find tiny cacao nibs still floating around in your smooth drink. ¥650

Shopping, Chocolate and sweets

Origines Cacao: Chocolat Chaud

icon-location-pin Jiyugaoka

Run by pioneering chocolatier Yukihiko Kawaguchi, Origines has attracted plenty of fans with its chaud since opening back in 2003. Bitter chocolate is mixed with 100% cacao for a punchy, aromatic brew that's served out of a narrow-mouth cup in order to preserve the heat for as long as possible. Combine the drink with a macaron at the in-store café or get one for the road. ¥600

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Restaurants, Cafés

Jean-Paul Hévin: Eau du Chocolat Grand Cru

icon-location-pin Marunouchi

Only available at Jean-Paul Hévin's new Chocolate Bar in Marunouchi, this concoction is made simply with hot water and brings out the full aromas of the bitter chocolate. For a gentler flavour, try the milk-based 'Chocolat Chaud Parisien', or choose from some of the quirkier mixtures – how about a hot chocolate with cheese? Take-out available. ¥584

Shopping, Chocolate and sweets

Le Chocolat De H Ginza: Chocolat Chaud

icon-location-pin Ginza

Find a seat at the counter in the back of Le Chocolat De H's Ginza flagship and while away the hours while pouring yourself heavenly, extra-creamy hot chocolate from a sizeable pot. The seats also offer nice views of the bar, so you can watch your chaud get prepared and take in the aromas while you wait. Even the background music here is top-notch. ¥1,200

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Restaurants, Cafés

Blondel: Chocolat Chaud 80%

icon-location-pin Higashi-Ginza

If you have a hard time choosing at restaurants, stay away from Blondel: the Swiss choc purveyors offer a whopping 15 varieties of hot chocolate at their Ginza outpost, with flavours including chilli, ginger, rum milk and even whisky. You can also adjust the cacao content, with 80% – our favourite – being the upper limit. Considering you get around two and a half cups in one pot, the ¥1,300 price tag isn't too off-putting. 

Restaurants, Cafés

Dandelion: European Hot Chocolate

icon-location-pin Asakusa

Opening in newly trendy Kuramae in February, San Francisco bean-to-bar import Dandelion's 'European' has been a hit in the Bay Area, so we're already eager to try the treat, made exclusively with fine Ecuadorian cacao. Getting one of their original cookies or marshmallows on the side is another nice touch. Take-out available. ¥580

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