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Mar 18, 2010 06:25 AM

Going to Nara this weekend: recommendations!

I am so surprised how little came up when I searched Nara!

Can anyone recommend some inexpensive restaurants in Nara? It doesn't have to be cheap, but just nothing super fancy please.

I will be traveling with a vegetarian who doesn't eat fish (I know, I know) so places with veggie options, or completely vegetarian restaurants, are extra appreciated.

Also, I've been living in Japan for 6 months, and my friend for 3 years, so we are totally up for finding good foreign restaurants of any kind. I can get excellent seafood and traditional Japanese food here in Kanazawa, but there is very little foreign food. I'm having some pretty strong cravings! Anything from Indian to Greek, and especially good Mexican, would be appreciated!


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  1. I've been in that situation too and the best bet (for a veggie and a foreign-food starved friend) is Falafel Garden, a great Israeli restaurant that makes a mean falafel as well as chicken shwarmas, hummus, baba ghannoush, and a few other things as well. The original one is in Kyoto; the Nara branch just opened up last year. When you exit Kintetsu Nara station, turn right into the covered shopping arcade. Falafel Garden is a few blocks up on your left. Very reasonable, about 600 yen per sandwich.

    For good Mexican... try Osaka :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: kamorgans

      Actually, Falafel Garden is the one place I'm definitely planning to go to! Yeah, I went to El Pancho in Osaka a few weeks back. Pretty good for Japanese Mexican. Thanks for the tips.

    2. Thought I'd report back, in case anyone else wants future Nara food advice. First off, Falafel Garden is awesome. I tried both the falafel and the chicken shwarma (we went twice), both smeared with a side of hummus. Really really tasty. They do to-go so we grabbed some take out for the train ride home.

      I used this website and found some great places:

      Nara has a really great cafe culture, which is something I really miss living in Japan. We went to Third Place Cafe, which is completely adorable and you will want to hang out there reading magazines and chatting with friends. They have truly tasty, large, cake-like, fresh baked all day, muffins. I tried the matcha with black beans and a black sesame - both were great. My friend liked her raspberry muffin. They also had one with honey coated walnuts that looked delicious.

      Went to Floresta for organic doughnuts. Got one to eat on the spot and one to go for the next morning. I don't recommend the to-go option. The next morning my early grey doughnut was insanely greasy and left a film in my mouth. Yuck. The one I ate fresh was good.

      Cafe Wakakusa is also very cute and bright and lovely. We just had drinks, but they have crepes and pasta bowls. My green tea latte was tasty and my friend was raving over her hot chocolate.

      So, just a few recommendations if you want a little break from Japanese food. I did also get some good okinomiyaki and ate plenty of conbenie onigiri and mochi sweets, so I didn't abandon Japanese food completely.