Saga-Tofu Ine is the name of a Japanese tofu restaurant located in western Kyoto's Arashiyama area. One of the nicer restaurants in the area, it has a fancy downstairs dining area next to an indoor-outdoor koi pond, an upstairs dining room with views of the mountains, and a food preparation area along the street where you can watch the cooks make tofu dishes.
I selected the Teoke Kumiage Yuba Set (1,580 Yen), and Laura chose the Nonomiya Set (1,890 Yen). The Teoke Set, the smaller of the two, featured a bamboo tub filled with kumiage yuba (thick soy milk skin) in a hearty soy milk soup stock with wonderful ginger sauce, along sides of pickled vegetables, osumashi soup with gluten, rice with grains, and a few kinds of mochi. For perhaps the first time in Japan, I had a meal with several items I really didn't like, including some of the gluten dishes, one of the sauces for the yuba soup, and some of the toppings on the mochi.
Laura really enjoyed her Nonomiya Set, which featured yudofu, or boiled tofu. It also came with the kumiagi yuba, a fried tofu fritter, a steamed tofu and egg custard, and the same the rice, mochi, and pickles in my meal. I thought the food was average, but Laura raved about it. I'd rather not pay 1,500 to 2,000 Yen for a vegetarian dish.
The restaurant is located just a short walk north of the Randen tram line's Arashiyama Station, and directly across from the entrance to the bamboo forest.
Sushi sho Otowa is a large sushi shop just a block from the river in Gion, north of Shijo-dori. The company has about 15 total sushi restaurants.
We went here on the advice of a local bar owner, though I have to admit, I'm not positive this was the sushi restaurant he recommended, but it's where we ended up. The big sushi chef was friendly and attentive, making sure we were happy with our food, even replacing a piece of sushi one of us didn't particularly enjoy.
We had a wide variety of nigiri including tuna, fatty tuna, two types of eel, shrimp, mackerel, salmon and more. Pretty good food, but a bit expensive at about 2,500 to 3,000 Yen per person.
Iroha Karuta Honten is a big Japanese restaurant located in the Hanamachi district of Pontocho in Central Kyoto. We stopped here due to its wide variety of foods including sushi, yakitori, okonomiyaki, and other dishes.
We sat at a big table for six in the far back corner of the restaurant. After quickly scanning the menu, we decided on a variety of foods including sake, yakisoba, okonomiyaki, a selection of sashimi, a vegetable stir fry, edamame, pork and kimchi, and two different yakitori selections (including chicken and leeks, chicken skins, beef, cheese wrapped in bacon, chicken hearts, and ground beef).
The food was pretty good, especially the yakisoba, the stir fry and the yakitori. The okonomiyaki was not very good.
Our bill was around 8,000 Yen for plenty of food for four people.
In Nishi Market in Central Kyoto, there is a small Chinese dim sum shop called Yakuzen. It sells dim sum on a stick to go from the front of the shop, and they have a sit down restaurant upstairs. We stopped by here for a few pieces of dim sum on a stick while we walked through the market. Each piece was abut 400 Yen, and the ingredients included cuttlefish, sweet potatoes, lotus root, fish, and even fruit.
A nice, quick stop for a snack in Nishiki!
Happy Pie/Happy Bicycle is an oddly named restaurant and gift shop located just up the hill from Yasaka Pagoda in eastern Kyoto's historic Higashiyama neighborhood. The name of the little shop might be unusual, but it is fitting since they sell only meat pies and small bicycle models.
The small restaurant on the left side of the building sells only Kiwi's Pie brand, Australian-style meat pies. These small, circular creations are basically like sandwiches filled with meat or vegetables and lightly baked with a flaky, crispy crust. We tried their traditional meat pie and a shepherds pie, for around 500 Yen each. I also had a Corona beer for another 500 Yen, we sat on the back patio and enjoyed the fresh air.
The shop is located opposite of Yasaka Pagoda at the southern end of Higashiyama.
Cocoyanen is a restaurant on Kiyamachi Road in the Pontocho area of Kyoto. The small restaurant, part of a larger regional chain, specializes in okonomiyaki, and they have a few other local specialties like takoyaki and yakisoba. The most unique feature of the restaurant are the iron grills, called teppan, built into the tables where you complete the cooking of your food.
I started with a medium Suntory draft beer for 504 Yen, then we chose the "Favorite Mix" Okonomiyaki, which incorporated pork, squid, shrimp and scallops for 924 Yen. We also had an order of pork and kimchi yakisoba, for the same price.
Falafel Garden is a small restaurant near Imadegawa Station. They serve falafel pitas, chicken kabab pitas, chicken kabab bowls, chicken kabab plates, and falafel plates as their main dishes. If you are (or are with a) vegan, the pita falafel is vegan. The prices are all very reasonable, the pitas are 550 yen (chicken) and 520 yen (falafel), and the plates are 900 yen (chicken) and 800 yen (falafel).
They also have some side dishes, as well as brownies and baklava.
The restaurant is small inside, with just a few tables but they do take-out, so many people order the pitas to go.
Iyemon Salon is rather unique. It is a tea and lunchroom during the day, as well as a craft gallery and kimono exhibition are upstairs. In the evening it serves dinner with a full bar. Its multi-focus space is the result of being on the first two floor of a kimono company:)
Eating here is a pleasure, whether for lunch or dinner, but don't neglect the shop and kimono gallery as they are well worth your while.
Favorite Dish: I had curry and rice with Japanese pickles, called カレー in Japanese. The Japanese curry is a bit milder and sweeter than we normally find in an Indian restaurant and quite pleasant.
While the specialty of this restaurant is "silken tofu", the meal we were served was much more than that. I don't know the prices as the meal was included in our tour, but on the whole Kyoto is less expensive than Tokyo.
Favorite Dish: The tuna and yellowtail sashimi. It was very fresh and toothsome.
Somushi is a Teahouse and as such serves tea and a few small set meals. It is owned by an artist whose fabric works are displayed therein. We sat at the rough wood counter. They didn't speak English, but they had a translated menu. While we waited for our dinner we looked at scrapbooks of the artist's work. It was a very lovely and unique experience.
Favorite Dish: I had the vegetarian meal [pictured], which was very delicious and tasty. My tea was ginger-pomegranate.
Paris 21 is a French restaurant located in the Teramachi shopping area. The menu is slightly different each month, but they seem to always have salad, pizza, pasta, and their delicious beef steak and french fries. The dish consists of french fries topped with beef steak and gravy with some spicy mustard on the side.
As you would expect from a French-themed restaurant, they do serve alcohol; beer, wine, whiskey, and cocktails.
The ambience is nice and classy and although you can certainly find cheaper places to eat, the price for the food isn't bad, although if you order alcohol you'll pay significantly more.
On a main street heading towards the Gion section of town we found this hidden gem. As you enter the restaurant stands the sushi bar ...... with more private tables are towards the back part of the place. The sushi chefs speak basic English and were extremely friendly ... a English menu with photo's were provided ...
The food was excellent with a great selection .... we choose to have the set dinner sushi menu at 5200 yens about $65 US per person. Glad we did, eat some great sushi with numerous cuts of excellent fish .......
If your in the area and looking for a quiet and nice place you can't go wrong here !!!!
We happened to be going thru Kyoto station and were looking for a place to eat, so we went to the information board and saw a Grill Skewers restaurant ... located on the 10th floor above the Istean department store ..... upon entering we were given an English menu with photo's on them ....
Had some mushroom, chicken, shrimp and beef skewer's .... the prices were fair about 300 yens each skewer's and I had the best draft beer on my entire trip here ... I didn't get the name but it was a local Kyoto beer but I took a photo of it .....
Also since your the 10th floor you get awesome views of Kyoto ....
Looking for a fast and cheap place then you can't go wrong here !!!!
When speaking to other travelers one of the first questions I get is always .... how's the food and how do you order .....
So I must say .... English is the international language of tourism ... just like English is the language of business, education, aviation, etc, etc.,
The Japanese people understand that speaking and reading Japanese for a non native is difficult. So they have made it a point in putting up signs everywhere a tourist and traveler might venture to in English.
And restaurants all over Japan have photo menu's ... Kyoto being a big destination is no exception. But patience and good manners go a long way in Japan ...... So when ordering pointing and smiling also works wonder ...... We entered numerous restaurants where no one spoke English and we had no problem ordering and eating .......
So when your on the run, don't be scared or intimidated by stopping in at a restaurant in the train station, the bigger the station the more selection you get .....
And eating in the train station saves you time and money ...... a big concern while in Japan since it's an very expensive travel destination !!!!!
A casual atmosphere and reasonably priced food make this tiny place popular. Omen (vegetable udon) is the specialty, and the house's traditional style is to serve the wheat noodles in a flat wooden bowl, the sauce in a pottery bowl, the vegetables delicately arranged (sushi style) on a handmade platter with a bowl of sesame seeds alongside. You dip and mix yourself, unlike at other udon shops where it all arrives like a stew swimming in one bowl. Tempura, sushi, lightly fried tofu, and kamonasu dengaku (fried eggplant topped with a rich miso sauce) are among the other dishes offered.
We had Noodles with shrimp and bamboo shoots and some type of green vegetable !!!! It was great ... Very casual ... and they provide an English menu.
The portions are huge, 2 people can eat from 1 order !!!!
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