While this season’s anime is dominated by intense action ahead of the return of My Hero Academia next month, not every show needs world-ending stakes to provide top-quality entertainment. Cooking anime can be intense, with shows like Food Wars! showing how fierce competition can be in the culinary world, but it’s also a genre with plenty of wholesome, laidback series to enjoy.
Reddit appreciates both sides of the genre and had no shortage of further recommendations when it came to anime all about food and cooking. These are their top picks.
10/10 Yumeiro Patissiere (2009)
For fans with a sweet tooth, whether for desserts or when it comes to anime, there aren’t many shows more appropriate than Yumeiro Patissiere, which centers on the cake-obsessed Ichigo Amano and her life at a prestigious culinary school. Redditor The_Stann comments that, although the show is “aimed towards children,” they still “found it enjoyable.”
Though the drama and romance that springs up as Ichigo learns to compete with the “Sweets Princes” that dominate the school might seem a little clichéd for older viewers, the beautiful sweets and desserts they serve up are enough to make it a worthy entry in the cooking anime genre alone.
9/10 Toriko (2011)
For anyone who was steering clear of the cooking anime genre out of fear it lacked any good action, Toriko proved in 2011 that this didn’t need to be the case. Essentially an action shounen anime that uses the kitchen as the battlefield, it’s no coincidence that the first episode of the show is a crossover with One Piece.
Adapted from one of the most popular food manga, Redditor vagabondeluxe admits that the anime might not be “as good as the manga” but still recommends it as a strong contender in the genre. For anyone who can get past an absurd premise, Toriko beats out all other cooking anime for sheer over-the-top macho action.
8/10 Restaurant To Another World (2017)
Set in a restaurant that plays host to strange customers from fantasy realms, Restaurant To Another World puts a smart culinary twist on the ever-popular Isekai genre. Crucially, it’s full of the kinds of lovable characters that define the genre and it’s their interactions whilst serving up mouth-watering food to their unusual customers that makes the show great.
That’s likely why it’s the first choice of Redditor Yri4lf12, who only had to comment “Restaurant to another world” to receive plenty of support for the recommendation. Despite the fantastical nature of the premise, the show has a slice-of-life style that makes it easy casual viewing as the restaurant’s likable staff are the only consistent characters.
7/10 Cooking Master Boy (1997)
A classic anime from the 90s set in 19th-century China in an imaginary era of cooking-based conflict, there’s a good reason why Cooking Master Boy received a recent reboot. Centered on Mao, a young chef trying to prove himself in order to take up the title of Master Chef at his late mother’s restaurant, the show is considered a hidden gem by many fans.
Redditor MusubiKazesaru is one of those fans, and they tell others not to “get turned off by its ugly poster,” as the show’s animation is actually “pretty solid” and only complements a show that blends action and comedy very well. In fact, the visual style is one of the things fans missed most about the show’s recent reboot.
6/10 Gourmet Girl Graffiti (2015)
For fans who like great short anime series, Gourmet Girl Graffiti is one of the best out there in the food genre. Centered on middle-schooler Ryou Machiko, the show is a cute slice-of-life affair with the simple message that sharing good things with others makes an activity like cooking all the more fulfilling.
Redditor FilipinoSpartan puts forward the show, though they mention that “it focuses more on the eating of food than the cooking of it.” This might make it offputting to viewers that don’t enjoy gratuitous eating scenes, but there’s a love of food at the show’s heart that can be irresistible to cooking fans.
5/10 Sweetness And Lightning (2016)
One of the most popular entries on the wholesome, slice-of-life side of cooking anime, Sweetness and Lightning is all about a single father learning to cook for his young daughter after the untimely death of his wife. Redditor Letho72 puts forward the show as “a good wholesome experience centered around cooking.”
As the title implies, the show is full of sweet moments as well as plenty of scenes of delicious food being made. Whilst anyone hoping for drama or big twists would be disappointed that it never really leaves its saccharine comfort zone, some fans just want simple wholesome fun and the show more than delivers on that.
4/10 Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World (2018)
Continuing the mix of fantasy and cooking that made Restaurant To Another World popular, Isekai Izakaya changes the setting to a traditional Japanese bar run by the charismatic veteran chef Nobuyuki Yazawa and friendly waitress Shinobu Senke where patrons from the fantastical city of Etheria regularly come and eat.
Redditor ConfusedMantaRay points out one of the things that might make it more interesting than its predecessor, noting how “it introduces the Japanese “izakaya” and some of their traditional food.” Despite its Isekai references, the show is surprisingly educational, with the strange visitors from another world the perfect self-insert for an unfamiliar viewer willing to learn about some traditional Japanese cuisine.
3/10 Yakitate!! Japan (2004)
A show that approaches the cooking anime genre with as much enthusiasm as its title implies, Yakitate!! Japan is all about one of the best chefs in anime, Kazuma Azuma, and his quest to come up with a signature bread for his home country. Redditor fuzzyjustin recommends the show but comments “be warned, Yakitate is about baking!”
Yakitate’s focus on bread and pastries might not appeal to someone looking for something more hearty but at its heart, it’s a traditional shounen anime about competing with others and trying to achieve a goal, which has a universal appeal. It doesn’t take itself too seriously either, meaning it’s full of funny moments too.
For fans of the ever-popular Fate series, Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family marked a break from the action of the Holy Grail wars to enjoy some light-hearted food-based fun. The short episodes are centered around Emiya Shirou’s attempts to show off his amazing cooking skills with unique ingredients and the characters from the show this attracts to their dinner.
Redditor Renn_Renn23 insists that “you don’t really need to know anything about the series to enjoy the cooking and wholesomeness.” While it is primarily a show to please Fate fans, the characters manage to charm in the short amount of time they’re onscreen, making it a worthy watch for anyone who enjoys seeing food being made and eaten by friends.
1/10 Food Wars! Shokugeki No Soma (2015)
By far the most popular cooking anime, Food Wars! lives up to its reputation for serving up wild dishes and having even wilder scenes of them being eaten. With great animation, inventive cooking ideas, and a compelling plot line in the form of Soma’s mission to graduate from an intensely competitive cooking school, the show is still considered by many to be a step above the rest.
Redditor Anime-Reddit67 agrees, saying that “Food wars is still honestly your best choice for a cooking anime.” Though realism isn’t its strong suit, there’s something uniquely fascinating about watching characters throw together mouthwatering dishes from limited ingredients and under high pressure that only helps make Soma’s journey more interesting to watch.
NEXT: 10 Best Non-Battle Shonen Anime