The number of restaurants in Kyoto is amazing. Lots of old traditional Japanese restaurants, and plenty of new places as well, both Japanese and foreign, the choice is plentiful. Here are just a few suggestions from our own experience. New places open and old ones close, all the time. It is quite difficult to follow up, there are just too many. Don’t hesitate to let us know about any good and/or interesting place you came across.
Some of the places mentioned below will not accept a reservation from outside Japan or from foreigners (because of possible cancelation). We’ll gladly help our guests to book a table.
You can also use the following web site to find a place and make the reservation by yourselves: https://www.opentable.jp/start/home
We are often asked about two of Kyoto’s unique features, namely the famous “Kyo Kaiseki” or Kyoto Haute Cuisine, and the Geisha / Maiko. Here is a great opportunity to experience and enjoy both at the same time.
This time, I’d like to mention a different kind of restaurant, a different kind of food. It is about a well known “Yudofu” restaurant located near Nanzenji temple. Junsei serves “yudofu”, or boiled tofu in English, a popular dish around Nanzen-Ji
To try Shojin Ryori (精進料理), Zen Vegetarian Cuisine, this is a good address. It’s located next to Kodaiji Temple and is open from lunch to dinner, non stop. The type of Shojin Ryori provided is called “Fucha Ryori”, and was brought to Japan by Chinese monks during the Edo period.
Now, for something different, only available during the cold winter months. . . Snow Crab. From Shijo Kawaramachi Crossing, walk South on the Kawaramachi dori street for five minutes — you find this restaurant with a large crab hanging on the face of the building.
Kikunoi, a Michelin 3 stars Kyo Kaiseki restaurant is one of our favorite place to enjoy Kyoto style haute cuisine. We often select this place to celebrate birthday, friends and family reunion and other special occasions. Here is the Menu for Satsuki (May).
To celebrate the visit of Akiko’s parents and our son 21st birthday, we managed to get a table in July. We choose to have lunch and took the basic course. It was, as usual, a memorable experience.
Kikunoi is a ryotei or restaurant of fine Japanese cuisine located in the Gion-Maruyama district of Kyoto. Michelin 3 stars, this is one of our favorite place to enjoy Kyoto style haute cuisine (Kyo Kaiseki), which makes the most of Kyoto’s seasonal delights.
Well, Japanese food is not for everyone, and may not be for all the time. Once in a while, one may crave for something else, for a good pizza or a nice plate of pasta, for example. And in such case, Il Pappalardo is probably one of the best option you can have in Kyoto.
“Otonari” (Next Door, or Neighbor) is our local yakotori restaurant. It is located on Gojo street, near the Kiyomizu-Gojo Train Station (Keihan line), a few minutes away from Gojo Machiya, Kiyomizu Machiya or Gojozaka Machiya.
Sure, nobody will specially go there from across the city, but if you’re visiting Kiyomizu-Dera Temple or are walking from Gojo street up to Shijo street along Higashiooji street, then this is certainly a good option. The place is pretty standard, but the food is cheap, copious and good.
Michelin one star Unagi restaurant in Gion, where the eels are cooked by a living national treasure, Mr. Kiyoshi Nakagawa. A very small shop housed in a traditional machiya, located on a very quiet street, next to Hanami Koji, in Gion …
“Kaiseki Ryori” is an elaborate dining style popular among aristocratic circles and Kyoto style kaiseki ryori (kyo kaiseki) is particularly refined, placing an emphasis on subtle flavors and local and seasonal ingredients.
Akiko selected Tempura Endo Yasaka, a place in Gion, just south of the Kennin-Ji Temple . It’s an old place located into a machiya. We chose to be seated in a private room (an old tea room) opened to an inside garden.
For the Saint Valentin’s dinner, we decided to go somewhere special and choose Chihana, a Michelin Three Stars restaurant. This restaurant offers some of the finest in Kyoto traditional seasonal cuisine.
Michelin 1 star French-Japanese restaurant.
If you’re looking for something different, we’d recommend you to try Stephan Pantel. It’s a good French restaurant with Japanese taste.
I didn’t try many Sushi restaurants in Kyoto. For me Sushi is “Edomae” which means a “Tokyo dish”, and it has to be fresh, very fresh. Kyoto is far from the sea, so they developed a different kind of Sushi
A very traditional Japanese restaurant. High class. Running business since 1659 (more than 350-year!).
If you want to try real Kyoto dishes, this is a very good address.
Shabu-shabu, is a Japanese dish featuring thinly sliced beef and vegetables boiled in water. Sukiyaki, a variation, consists of meat slowly cooked or simmered at the table, alongside vegetables
All-you-can-eat Korean BBQ
I know, there are times while in Japan when you crave for some meat, I mean some good red meat. Korean BBQs are certainly one of the best solution and this one is a great value option.
A mere few minutes from our Sanjusan Machiya, this Sushi restaurant is one of our favorite. High quality sushi at bargain price!
A Michelin Guide two star restaurant in the heart of Gion, right behind the Kenninji temple.