Preliminary Kyoto List
Thanks again to all who commented on my Tokyo list and questions - everyone's input was so helpful! I think we're staying in Hotel Mume in Kyoto. Here's a very rough preliminary list for Kyoto; please let me know if you have any input. Thanks so much!
Giro Giro (modern kaiseki)
Yoshiya (upscale kappo-ryori)
traditional kaiseki - very unsure; seems like every place has gotten mixed reviews!
vegetable - Isoya, Heikichi Negiya, Tenryo-ji Shigetsu
obanzai - Masuda, Waraji-Tei, Usui
tempura - Yoshikawa, Tenyou
kushiage - Wabiya Rakucyu Tei
yakitori - Wabiya Korekido
We probably would like to do traditional kaiseki for at least one meal, maybe a lunch...seems like all of the big names have gotten mixed reviews online so would be grateful to hear any recent experiences or thoughts...we're already working on booking a lot of expensive meals in Tokyo!
If you want something totally unique, I highly recommend Mamezen Ramen, which is a tiny one-man operation that specializes in ramen made with a soymilk-based broth. I was just in Kyoto a few weeks ago and was determined to find it (inspired by this: http://kyotofoodie.com/mamezen-soba-s...), and boy was I glad I did. It's an adorable, homey little place, tucked away off the street, down a narrow line of stepping stones. It's on the modest side - casual atmosphere and limited menu, and beer in cans. The guy/chef who runs it is incredibly sweet - you just won't find anything like it. You feel like you've been invited right into someone's home, and he lovingly prepares each batch to order. I highly recommend both the signature ramen (a medium or large size - the small leaves you wanting more!), as well as his yuba donburi. Oh, and there's an English menu available. Anyways, my husband and I were so enamored with this little gem, that we went back a second time during our 2-week stay! Don't miss this for a casual lunch!
Dear cb-addict, may I strongly suggest you think twice before going to giro giro?
Alternatively, have a look at this family run, always full and excellent value for money restaurant just south of Kyoto station - Kashin. email@example.com or check their facebook entry www.facebook.com/pages/Kashin-Kaiseki...
Enjoy the trip and bring an umbrella!
re: The Cookbook Addict
Very smoky and very crowded. The kitchen fumes and cigarettes mean you must add the cost of the cleaners to the bill. You will not be able to wear your suit the next day.
They serve two groups, one at 6 one at 8. The hasun-starters for the second group are made in advance and kept on the dish washing counter waiting for the guests to arrive.
They serve one main dish on almost all turns - fish head stew with burdocks in reduced dashi and mirin broth. Tasty, but not a reason to go.
Their selection of sake is not refined nor special and definitely not remotely as sophisticated as what Kashin will offer, at a lower cost.
I followed hblnk's advice. I can wholeheartedly second Kashin near the Kyoto train station. If hblnk is also the English teacher in Kyoto who posted an on-line video eating at Kashin, then he is a one man PR dept. introducing Kashin to Western visitors to Kyoto.
I also posted a comment and some photos here.