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local specialties of kyoto

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what kind of food is kyoto best known for, and where should i go to get it? i will be staying at heianbo ryokan near kyoto station, but of course am open to other areas as well. thanks so much for your help!

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  1. Kyoto is most famous for its "Kaiseki" cuisine, the local variant of which is called "kyo-kaiseki."
    If you are an adventurous eater who can enjoy an omakase (completely determined by the chef) menu, I would highly reccommend the experience, you will not forget it.

    As far as where one should eat kaiseki or kyo-kaiseki, I have heard much praise for Daitokuji Ikkyu: http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/7096.... which is near the Daitokuji Temple on Kitaoji.
    Be prepared to spend at least 4500 yen (about $40) and up per person for lunch at any good kaiseki place, and at least 80-100$ and up for dinner.

    1. thanks so much for the recommendation! i would love omakase, and as i don't speak japanese it would probably be easier.

      1 Reply
      1. re: shirlotta

        While Kyoto is known internationally for its kaiseki, I have found that people around Japan typically think about tofu (and yuba), the local homestyle cuisine (o-banzai) and vegetables as what makes Kyoto unique. Both of these feed into kaiseki cuisine in a less highbrow manner.

        If you are looking for good places for tofu and yuba, I have two recommendations:

        1) the area around nanzenji temple is known for its tofu. Okutan is one good restaurant. For a pricier but better setting, I recommend try Nanzenji Gimmond http://www.gimmond.co.jp/kyoto/khome-... and click on Nanzenji Gimmond

        2) Along the Kamo River in downtown is a place called Tosuiro that is excellent. Ask the hotel to make reservations so you can outside on the "Yuka" or outdoor platform along the river http://www.bento.com/kyototofu.html

        In terms of Kyoto homestyle cuisine, there are plenty of places. Many places dont have English menus so I would ask at the hotel or just ask for an o-makase. Some suggestions:

        1) Hime-Gozen http://www.himegozen.jp/
        Great renkon tempura (lotus root), nasu dengaku (eggplant with miso) and let her do the rest. Great sake here too.

        2) Manzara(Honten) Ebisuawa-agaru, Kawaramachidori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto Tel 075-253-1558
        http://www.kyopro.kufs.ac.jp/dp/dp01....
        http://www.manzara.co.jp/honten/index...

        Hope that helps

      2. oh, that sounds amazing. i had heard about kyoto's vegetables. and i love tofu and homestyle cooking! thanks so much for the suggestions!

        1. I was in Japan in May and found just about any restaurant excellent fare. However, if you don't mind hopping on the train for a bit, try going to Osaka especially Dotonbori - sooooooooo many restaurants in that area (the tako-yaki place was my favourite - just look for the huge octopus out front). I was told by a local that money is spent on food in Osaka - my kind of town :)

            1. re: Yukari

              http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/7006....

              In Nishiki, I particularly enjoyed Yaoya no nikai if you have time for lunch.

              1. re: Shokutsu

                Beware, Yaoya no Nikai is not a drop-in-for-a-quick-meal kind of place, since its been well reviewed by Japanese (and American) media. I tried to go there for an early lunch (around 11:30 on a weekday) and was told there was an 11⁄2 hour wait. So if you want to go there, you'd better reserve well in advance.

                1. re: E Eto

                  thanks guys! i'll try to make a reservation.