You won’t mind lining up! 5 Recommended Shops for Delicious Tonkatsu in Kyoto
Have you ever tried tonkatsu? A favorite among Japanese people, tonkatsu is made by covering a thick slice of pork with wheat flour, beaten eggs, and panko, and then deep-frying the pork cutlet. Here are five recommended restaurants in Kyoto where you can taste crispy, juicy tonkatsu!
1. Tonkatsu Ichiban
Located near Umekoji Park, Tonkatsu Ichiban is just a 10 to 15-minute walk from Kyoto Station. It is a hidden gem of a restaurant serving Western-style food that you can find in an alley behind the main avenue. Their tonkatsu (starting at 850 JPY (excl. tax)) uses Camborough pork from pigs that were raised in the great outdoors of Hokkaido. This pork is characterized by the delicious taste of its red meat and its high-grade, sweet-tasting fat, and it's so delicious you definitely wouldn't mind eating every day. Here, the tonkatsu is served not with tonkatsu sauce, but with the restaurant’s homemade demi-glace sauce. Aside from tonkatsu, they also offer a full range of other dishes such as fried shrimp, Salisbury steak, and omurice (chicken rice topped with an omelet).
※Photo shows the Hirekatsu (Pork Tenderloin) Tonkatsu (1,000 JPY (excl. tax))
The tonkatsu restaurant Okuda is a shop filled with a homey vibe where customers can eat on the counter or at the raised tatami-floored seating area. It is situated in Mototanaka, where there are many students, so it has long been known to serve delicious, voluminous, and high-quality dishes under the motto of creating low-priced food. This restaurant uses local pork for its tonkatsu. The most popular item in its menu is the Mizorekatsu Teishoku (880 JPY (incl. tax)), a set meal. This set includes pork loin tonkatsu topped with a large amount of grated daikon radish, sliced spring onions, and nori seaweed. It is a healthy dish that is eaten by dipping the tonkatsu in the restaurant’s homemade ponzu (citrus soy sauce).
3. Tazumura Kyoto Daimaru Branch
Located on the 8th floor of Kyoto Daimaru facing Shijo-dori, Tazumura is a restaurant that is designed based on the concept of “tonkatsu shop filled with brightness and cleanliness.” The interior of this shop has a calm atmosphere that comes from adding a Japanese taste to its Western style. The tonkatsu has a crunchy texture thanks to the use of special coarsely ground panko. By sealing in the meat juices, the tonkatsu achieves a juicy consistency. Tazumura also uses a lot of ingredients that can only be found in Kyoto, including rice from Kyotango, Kyotanba Kougen pork, Hiei yuba (tofu skin) and Namafu Dengaku (seitan baked and coated with miso). (Sample dish: Hire Hitokuchi Katsu Teishoku (starting at 1,310 JPY (incl. tax)))
4. Keitei Kyoto Takashimaya Branch
Keitei is a dedicated tonkatsu shop that is located on the 7th floor of Kyoto Takashimaya in the Shijo Kawaramachi area. Here, choice kurobuta pork and branded pork from all over Japan are aged under thorough time and temperature control. You can get a taste of the superb tonkatsu set menu (starting at 1,860 JPY (incl. tax)) that is skillfully prepared by chefs at the peak of the meat's deliciousness. The Kagoshima Kurobuta Rosu katsu-zen (2,891 JPY (incl. tax)) comes with Himalayan salt that draws out the flavors of the pork loin. With this dish, you can enjoy the appeal of Kagoshima kurobuta that is known for its smooth, soft, and crispy meat.
5. Kimukatsu Kyoto Branch
Kimukatsu is a tonkatsu shop that is located inside COCON Karasuma that is directly linked to Shijo Station and Karasuma Station. The regular dish, the Kimukatsu (with cabbage, 1,500 JPY for ala carte), is characterized by its unique way of cooking. This dish is made by cutting only the delicious parts of locally raised pork loin, slicing them into 25 pieces of mille-feuille-like ultra-thin slices, arranging them one on top of another and then carefully deep-frying the tonkatsu. It comes in seven different flavors, including black pepper, garlic, ume shiso (pickled plum and perilla) and yuzu kosho (yuzu citrus zest and chili peppers). If you are unsure about what to choose, then it would be a great idea to order an assortment of various types of tonkatsu that you can taste and compare. The magic of this dish is its fluffy texture and the natural meat juices that are kept between the pork slices.
This list features a wide array of tonkatsu shops from Kyoto Station, the gateway to Kyoto, up to Kawaramachi, a prime business district in the region. So, choose the tonkatsu restaurant that is near the place you are visiting and then enjoy your meal there!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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