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

shrimpwonton Dec 6, 2009 10:04 AM

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 : flickr.com under "shrimpwonton".

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  1. steamer RE: shrimpwonton Dec 6, 2009 03:29 PM

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: steamer
      kikisakura RE: steamer Dec 6, 2009 05:11 PM

      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
        lost squirrel RE: kikisakura Dec 6, 2009 05:58 PM

        That really doesn't look that good, wow!

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

    2. J.L. RE: shrimpwonton Dec 6, 2009 11:49 PM

      Wow. Underwhelming in deed. My sympathies.

      1. u
        Uncle Yabai RE: shrimpwonton Dec 7, 2009 12:58 AM

        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. s
          shrimpwonton RE: shrimpwonton Dec 7, 2009 08:29 AM

          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
            skylineR33 RE: shrimpwonton Dec 7, 2009 08:55 AM

            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
              CPMK RE: shrimpwonton Jan 4, 2010 02:47 AM

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


              1. re: CPMK
                Uncle Yabai RE: CPMK Jan 4, 2010 03:47 AM

                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. 5chevin5 RE: shrimpwonton Dec 11, 2009 04:35 PM

              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
                J.L. RE: 5chevin5 Dec 11, 2009 05:22 PM

                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...

              2. s
                sirapol RE: shrimpwonton Dec 11, 2009 10:04 PM

                Haha Sorry but this restaurant has been established for over 400 years, and my understanding is that back then Japanese didn't consume red meat products, thus it'd not be a surprise for ur meal to be mostly vegetable and fish. And its very first customers were buddhist pilgrims plus the restaurant itself intentionally tried to maintain its longstanding tradition that however may disappoint some people. I dunno that's just my guess

                I've been there both lunch and dinner, paid the same amount of money.

                anyhow I still wonder if i were to pay more would the set come with meat?

                1. Taste RE: shrimpwonton Jan 5, 2011 11:42 PM

                  Many thanks for the review of Hyotei, and all the comments. ^^

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