I sometimes run into people who have moved to Kochi from other parts of Japan. Even if they are just from across the mountains in Tokushima, people usually comment on the number of cafes Kochi has. Apparently, we eat out a lot more in Kochi. Although we have all of these cafes, the downtown area seems to lack a really comfortable place to lounge for a while. The only place that really even comes close is a place named after the devil character from the Faust legend, Mephistopheles.
The cafe is impossible to miss as it has, by far, the most interesting facade in Kochi. Take a look at the picture to see the mural and collage that make up this whimsical facade.
While the outside is very funky, the inside is quite typical of other older cafes in the city. It's a fairly large cafe with counter space and several tables on the first floor. There's even a nice little patio area out back, but I've never seen any tables set out there. If you can't find seating downstairs, there is also an upstairs seating area.
All in all, Mephistopheles is a very comfortable cafe, and calls you to relax there for a while. With low lighting and big padded seats that have been softened over the years like your grandmother's old recliner, you feel like spending the whole afternoon reading.
This is a good thing as the food is really nothing special. While it's got some nice little touches that most cafes don't bother with, it's still just your standard menu of curry and rice, sandwiches, and caseroles. Don't get me wrong, you will be perfectuly happy with your meal, but this isn't the reason you want to go.
Another good thing about Mephistopheles is that they are open everyday of the week, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
If you find yourself downtown needing a rest and want to spend some time relaxing in a nice environment, Mephistopheles is your best bet. I'm still looking for the perfect place, but for now, Mephistopheles is my go-to relax space.
Just in case you're wondering about the name like I had, the owner of the cafe apparently found a carved head of Mephistopheles at Sunday Market. It's funny how we find inspiration in small things, but I'm glad that head somehow found it's way to be sold at the market some day years ago.