If You Come to Kyoto, Check Them Out! 5 of the Hottest Spots in Kyoto Known for their Cuisine
Visited by throngs of tourists from all over the world, Kyoto is not only just about beautiful sceneries and shrines and temples, as it is also home to a lot of delicious dishes. Here are five of the best shops in town that even foodies and gourmands in Kyoto frequent.
Located just about 10 minutes from Karasuma Station by foot, AWOMB is a popular spot that is known for having the longest line of customers in all of Kyoto. Its specialty is the Teori Sushi (hand-rolled sushi) (prices start at 1,680 JPY (incl. tax)), which is sushi rolled by hand under the concept of “oru” (a term that means interweaving different items). When you order this special, you will be get to choose from a variety of ingredients, such as obanzai (Kyoto-style side dishes) that centers on fish and Kyoto vegetables in season. You can make your own sushi combination by putting any topping over the sushi rice and then wrapping it in nori seaweed. The obanzai and condiments/spices that are neatly arranged in rows on a black tray look really so colorful and beautiful that you’d almost feel bad about eating something that looks like a work of art! Aside from the gorgeous setting and the delicate flavors, the fun you get in making your own original sushi is truly exceptional. There is no doubt if you dine at this place, you will be able to create a memory from your journey that you will never forget.
2. Gion MAVO
Gion MAVO is a French restaurant that is tucked in one corner of Kyoto’s Gion district, which is home to rows of high-class restaurants. It has become a hot topic of conversation among gourmands in Kyoto as soon as it opened, catapulting it into becoming a famous spot that is visited by customers from all around Japan these days. Here, there is only one item on the menu: the Omakase Course (a course in which the dishes served are chosen by the chef) (6,000 JPY (excl. tax and service charge) for lunch and 12,000 JPY (excl. tax and service charge) for dinner) that is available strictly by advanced reservation. This course is created according to the changing seasons in Japan, so it is filled with exquisite dishes that are overflowing with the sense of the seasons. Together with your food, you must try the Tea Pairing (Sai (3,500 JPY (excl. tax and service charge) for lunch and 4,000 JPY (excl. tax and service charge) for dinner. The teas in this course are specialty teas that are particular about the tea leaves used, the extraction temperature/time, extraction method and serving temperature, so when they are paired with the dishes in the same way as wine, they will draw out the delicious flavors of the dishes. MAVO is a place that is definitely recommended to those who want to spend a little special time to commemorate their trip.
Pincho-style assorted appetizers
Tea served in a wineglass
Obase is a standalone elegant restaurant that is housed in a renovated machiya (traditional townhouse) that is more than 100 years old. Here, you can enjoy Italian dishes that lavishly use seasonal ingredients, centering on vegetables found in Kyoto, so they have a distinct Japanese feel. The only thing that customers can order here is the Omakase Course, which is priced at 4,000 JPY (incl. tax and service charge) for lunch and 8,000 JPY (incl. tax and service charge) for dinner. The dishes that are made through simple cooking techniques using Japanese ingredients and capitalizing on the rich flavors of those ingredients are actually closer to the taste of Japanese cuisine than Italian food. When you dine here, you will be provided with a knife and fork, along with chopsticks. Try this restaurant to taste creative Italian dishes with Japanese flavors that you can only have in Japan.
4. % ARABICA Kyoto Arashiyama
Representing the second shop of Arabica Kyoto that aims to be the top player from Japan in the world of coffee and in the coffee culture, % ARABICA Kyoto Arashiyama is a coffeehouse that is located right beside Togetsukyo Bridge. It has a stylish interior that resembles a tearoom with a design that is dominated by the color white, and from the huge glass windows, you can marvel at the Katsura River that flows right in front of your eyes, and at the Togetsukyo Bridge. Here, you can enjoy coffee with a robust taste that comes from the carefully selected beans and brewing technique, as well as admire gorgeous latte art designs. There is no space for drinking coffee inside the shop, but there are benches outside, encircling the shop, so how about treating yourself to a short coffee break while gazing at an unobstructed view of Arashiyama?
5. Nishiki Ichiha
Nishiki Ichiha is a café that opened in Nishiki Market, which is said to be the kitchen of Kyoto. Here, you can relish desserts and light dishes that are obsessed about the use of carefully chosen Ujicha (green tea from Uji, Kyoto), in a space that is filled with that unique Japanese vibe. You might find it difficult to choose from the diverse menu that includes seasonal Japanese sweets and the Uji Matcha Cream Ogura Sandwich, but this shop’s specialty is actually the Ichiha Fondue (1,500 JPY (excl. tax)). When you eat the various colorful fruits and dumplings in the wooden box by covering them in sauce that generously uses Uji matcha, you will feel a certain kind of bliss in your spirit. The shop on the first floor also sells rusks (twice-baked bread), sponge cakes and other pastries that would be perfect for souvenir, so make sure to take a peek! Note that the Kyoto Ujicha Popcorn (prices start at 400 JPY (incl. tax)) that uses Kyoto Uji tea is only available here, so you must get that, too.
The spots featured in this article are all places that have been creating a buzz among gourmands in Kyoto. Go ahead, taste their delicious offerings with your own tongue and see for yourself what the buzz is all about.
*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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