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Dec 6, 2009 10:04 AM

Worst Kaiseki "Hyotei" in Kyoto , Japan ,3 stars michelin

Just back from Kyoto and Tokyo. Went to "Hyotei" in Kyoto and though quite expensive at Y37,000 ++ per head our group was expecting an exceptional kaiseki experience especially in Kyoto.We had stayed at many 5 stars Ryokan in Japan and travels to Japan 3-4 times a year for the food. Kitcho Arashimaya , Tsuruya , Mizai and Kikunoi Honten and Hyotei are all 3 stars kaiseki. Unfortunately, we picked Hyotei.The staff who speaks English was very rude when she called our hotel and was able to be connected to our room . She wants to re-confirm our reservation but extremely arrogant and unpolite.We arrived on time, party of eight people and was seated in a tatami room . Normally at 3 star Japanese kaiseki meal there would be a hand - written menu . Nothing in our case .Our meal was fish , fish and more fish, ah , one soft-boiled egg .We ordered sake but other than bringing in the food no other service like pouring the wine or explaining what we are eating was given.In terms of the food , terrible. Service: not much. At least there should be presentation : other than shiso leaf and a few maples thrown in on the plate ,I can do better . I think photos speaks for everything : under "shrimpwonton".

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  1. Gotta agree I'd be pretty pissed to spend 37,000 for that.

    2 Replies
    1. re: steamer

      37,000 yen per head at Hyotei means you paid 10,000 yen extra as their dinner starts at 27,000 yen but instead of getting more, it sounds like you got less so...did they at least explain what you paid that extra 10,000 yen for?

      1. re: kikisakura

        That really doesn't look that good, wow!

        Thanks for letting us know.
        A link for the lazier among us:

    2. Wow. Underwhelming in deed. My sympathies.

      1. Independently of what it looks like (and I have to say it looks pretty pedestrian), it sounds like you got shortchanged on the number of dishes. Was that all the food you got?

        1. Yes, uncle yabai, that is " all " the food . We picked y 37,000 because it is middle upper range.Did not expect it to be so bad . Thanks lost squirrel on the flickr link. This is the first time I ever complained about a restaurant because I don't want anyone to have such an awful experience in Japanese dining . I have stayed at Gora Kadan, Asaba, Horai and the service , presentation , selection of seasonal food is worth the price .

          3 Replies
          1. re: shrimpwonton

            Thanks for the report. It looks like the $7500 yen lunch kaiseki at Kikunoi has more food and better quality with better presentation than this $37000 set. I wonder what is served in their $23000 set then if $37000 is like this ?!

            1. re: shrimpwonton

              shrimpwonton, between Gora Kadan and Asaba which one you think its food is better?
              Or any other recommend ryokan?


              1. re: CPMK

                I found the food at Asaba to be better than Gora Kadan's. In general, I liked Asaba more than Gora Kadan, although I thought the onsen at GK was better overall, but not by much.

            2. Just wanted to comment on the "rudeness" of the phone caller. Obviously I have no idea what was actually said, but I wanted to share some insight. I have lived and worked in Japan for nearly 4 years, and I too have thought at times people were speaking "down" to me or patronizing...etc, when in reality it was not the intention. What my theory is on this is that Nihongo is very monosyllabic (sp?) and does not have emotion tones the same as English, so when people are trying to speak English (ESL no less) very very politely it sounds very cold and robotic, but not their intention. I'm sure in her mind she was sounding very professional and would under no circumstance (especially in Japan) want to be rude to a guest.
              Just my 20 yen...

              1 Reply
              1. re: 5chevin5

                Agree with 5 above.

                Plus, Japan is the premier nation on this planet where the aphorism: "If you want to attract bees, it's much better to use a honey than a hammer" truly applies...

                Actually, given the recent weakness of the dollar, it's about 15 yen by now...