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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Japan > Kyoto

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Restaurants in Kyoto

From Buddhist shojin ryori (vegetarian cooking) to refined Michelin-starred restaurants (the city boasts nearly 100 of them), Kyoto showcases the amazing sophistication and scope of Japanese cuisine. Its offerings amount to a true nirvana for food lovers, many of whom come to sample the city's elaborate kaseiki banquets - a centuries-old custom defined by an array of seasonally inspired small dishes made with care and often costly ingredients. Kyoto is not all haute cuisine though, and travellers on a tight budget will find scores of tiny hole-in-the-wall soba (noodle) shops, lively food courts and bento box lunch offers set at affordable prices.

The restaurants below have been grouped into three pricing categories:

Expensive (over ¥10,000)

Moderate (¥5,000 to ¥10,000)

Cheap (up to ¥5,000)

These prices are based on the cost of a meal for one person, excluding drinks.

Expensive

Gion Karyo

Cuisine: Japanese

Taking a more contemporary approach to kaiseki cuisine, Gion Karyo is situated in a stunning old Gion building with sleek interiors. The menu changes daily, but its ten-course tasting option is highly recommended. English menus make ordering a breeze, although be quick with reservations to ensure you get to try all the amazing food on offer.

Address: Higashiyama-ku, 570-23 Gion-machi Minami-gawa, Kyoto, 605 0074
Telephone: +81 75 532 0025
Website: http://www.karyo-kyoto.jp/gion

Hyotei

Cuisine: Japanese

This legendary restaurant near Nanzenji Temple serves the finest kaiseki (multi-course dinner) imaginable. Over four centuries old, Hyotei was originally a teahouse serving pilgrims on their way to prayer before becoming a restaurant 170 years ago, and its kaiseki remains instilled with ceremonial aesthetics. The rustic setting, gracious staff and sense of timelessness conspire to create a truly extraordinary dining experience.

Address: Sakyo-ku, 35 Nanzenji Kusagawa-cho, Kyoto,
Telephone: +81 75 771 4116
Website: http://www.hyotei.co.jp/en

Kappo Sakamoto

Cuisine: Japanese

This tiny one-Michelin-starred kappo (meaning counter) is hidden away down a nondescript street in the Gion district overlooking the Shirakawa River. The family-owned outfit is helmed by chef Ryuta Sakamoto, who prepares 15 to 12 exquisite dishes with seasonal ingredients for a handful of well-heeled guests. Seating is at the wooden counter or at the two lower tables.

Address: Higashiyama-ku, EF Building 1F Gion Sueyoshi-cho, Kyoto, 605 0085
Telephone: +81 75 551 2136
Website: http://www.gion-sakamoto.com

Moderate

Kushikura

Cuisine: Japanese

Kushikura specialises in top-quality yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and other skewered dishes using seasonal ingredients and local vegetables. Set in a beautifully restored machiya, a Kyoto-style townhouse, the best seat is at the restaurant counter, where you can watch meals being grilled to perfection over smouldering charcoal. The service is always friendly and efficient.

Address: Nakagyō-ku, 584 Hiiragi-cho, Kyoto, 604 0826
Telephone: +81 75 213 2211
Website: http://www.fukunaga-tf.com/kushikura

Manzara Tei Pontocho

Cuisine: Japanese

This elegant izakaya (Japanese-style pub) occupies a townhouse along the Pontocho alleyway and offers casual table seating downstairs and a traditional dining room upstairs. The menu features fresh seafood, sushi and other local delicacies such as tofu and yuba (tofu skin) complimented by locally brewed beer, sake and shochu - a potent Japanese spirit.

Address: Nakagyo-ku, 1-198 Higashisawaragi-cho, Pontocho-dori, Kyoto, 604 8016
Telephone: +81 75 212 0028
Website: http://www.manzara.co.jp/pont

Yoshikawa

Cuisine: Japanese

Tranquil Yoshikawa is located in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) near the Imperial Palace and boasts a mouth-watering tempura counter where guests can watch chefs expertly prepare dishes from scratch. Its tatami-strewn dining room serves eight-course kaiseki banquets at Western-style seating overlooking an ornate Japanese garden.

Address: Nakagyo-ku, Tominokoji, Oike-sagaru, Kyoto, 604 8093
Telephone: +81 75 221 5544
Website: http://www.kyoto-yoshikawa.co.jp

Cheap

Asuka

Cuisine: Japanese

This homely little restaurant found near the Heian shrine serves teishoku (set meals) for under 1,000 yen, making it a must for big appetites and small budgets. Bustling Japanese mama-sans (women managers) cook and serve the set menus that include one rice, fish or meat dish, four side plates, and a miso soup for good measure. English-language menus and a foreigner friendly vibe add to the appeal.

Address: Sanjō-dōri, Higashiyama-ku, 144 Nishi-machi, Kyoto,
Telephone: +81 75 751 1941
Website: http://www.asuka-kyoto.net

Omen

Cuisine: Japanese

Many agree that Omen makes Kyoto's best udon (thick wheat) noodles, renowned for being served in a tasty broth and topped with lashings of fresh ginger, roasted sesame seeds and pickled daikon radish. The menu also boasts excellent side dishes such as tempura vegetables, tofu and grilled hamo (conger eel). There are three locations in Kyoto, but the best is near Ginkakuji Temple.

Address: Sakyo-ku, 74 Ishibashi-cho, Jodo-ji, Kyoto, 606 8406
Telephone: +81 75 771 8994
Website: http://www.omen.co.jp

Ramen Sen no Kaze Kyoto

Cuisine: Japanese

Japan's ultimate comfort food comes in the form of ramen - a slurping noodle broth usually served with fish or meat and various toppings. It's worth waiting in the out-the-door queue at Ramen Sen no Kaze for one of their hearty bowl-loads, well matched by a side of gyoza dumplings. The menu also offers plenty of vegetarian and vegan ramen versions.

Address: Shijo Agaru, Shinkyogokudori, 580 Nakanocho, Kyoto, 604 8042
Telephone: +81 75 255 01 81
Website: http://www.ramensennokazekyoto.com