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Jul 17, 2006 08:54 PM

local specialties of kyoto

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: 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 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

        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
        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

        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


              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.