Mai Dreamin is the number 1 maid cafe chain in Japan, with 6 locations in Akihabara alone. They also have cafes in Nagoya and Osaka. I’ve visited 2 of their locations in Akihabara, and it was definitely a lot of fun.
For those who don’t know, maid cafes are establishments where young girls dressed in maid outfits serve you adorably presented food and drinks, sing, dance, and do delicious food spells for your amusement. Some of the effort is lost when translated into English, as the girls call you things like Master and Madam, and as you can tell that sounds a lot more dirty than it is actually meant to. Also, the “making your food and drinks delicious” spells just don’t sound as cute, with the Mai Dreamin coined “美味しく慣れ萌え萌えキュー” (oishikunare moe moe kyu) becoming “delicious, delicious, moe moe kyu”. Although the last part is the same, it just doesn’t sound as good. Also lost are the maids adding “nyan” (the sound cats make according to Japan) to the end of words and sentences. So watch plenty of anime before you go, so you can catch some of these ridiculously cute expressions.
The food offered by Mai Dreamin has grown in variety over the past few years. During my last visit, they offered the standard maid cafe omurice (omelette over fried rice with ketchup) and Japanese curry dishes as well as a selection of cute creations, pasta, salads and small dishes. Plus an extensive variety of drinks. You can see the full menu on their site. This is what I decided to go with:
Although the website says that the charge is 500 yen per hour plus 1 order, this is, in fact, a lie. You have to order 2 things each, and this doesn’t include chekkis (a polaroid photo taken with the maids). You are not allowed to take photos of the girls with your own camera, and if you want the maids to perform or any souvenirs, be prepared to cough up even more cash. We were lucky because when we went someone else ordered a maid performance, so we actually got some entertainment. All in all, the bill comes to around 2500-3000 per person if you order 2 items and a chekki (500 yen each). They have sets with the chekkis included at around the same price, but you don’t really get as much of a choice when it comes to food. The portion size is better than it used to be though, and the meals are pretty filling. It’s definitely not the cheapest maid cafe around, but it is the most well known, so they must be doing something right.