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Five Select Restaurants to Enjoy Lunches Unique to Kyoto

Obanzai of seasonal ingredients served on small plates and beautifully colored mamezushi that look like wagashi sweets—We introduce five lunch restaurants in Kyoto for those of you who want to enjoy cute Kyoto-style gourmet dishes served in small portions. Try a variety to find your favorite flavors! <*The information is from KansaiWalker (issued July 4, 2017)>

The Third Branch of a Super Popular Restaurant Offers "Teaezuzhi" You Can Create Yourself

At the Gion Yasaka branch of AWOMB, which offers items under the concept of "aeru" (dress or mix), you can enjoy "teaezushi", your very own unique chirashizushi you create by selecting the ingredients yourself. There are approximately 50 different ingredients to choose from, including a variety of uniquely Kyoto ingredients such as vegetables from Kyoto, yuba and conger eel. There are also eight condiments, which are tasty however you combine them!

Teaezushi (2,970 JPY, 240 JPY for extra rice). First, create a base by placing condiments such as grated Chinese cabbage and soy sauce jelly on the sushi rice. Then, choose from the luxurious selection of ingredients with varying flavors and textures to create your very own taste. Fruits such as kiwi are available to put on the rice as well. The sweetness of the sushi rice goes surprisingly well with the juices of fruits!

Hojo Anmitsu (790 JPY). A beautiful dessert of matcha green tea and white sugar kanten agar with dried fruits and soybeans.

The restaurant was previously a kappo restaurant serving Japanese cuisine and makes use of the zashiki seating. There is a table for eight in the middle of the first floor (photographed).

"The namafu wheat gluten with sesame folded in is from Hanbeifu and the kinshi tamago omelet strips are homemade. The dobinmushi dish of food steamed in an earthenware pot can be enjoyed as is, or the dashi stock can be poured on sushi rice," explains the manager, Rina Shimoyoshi

<Phone: 075-204-3564; Hours: 11:30 am - 3:00 pm (last order at 2:00 pm), 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm (last order at 7:30 pm): Holidays: Unscheduled; Capacity: 24; Parking: None; Access: 15 minutes on foot from Keihan Gion Shijo Station>

AWOMB Gion Yasaka Branch

463-8 Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

A Popular Shop of "Tsuke Yasai" Offers Luxurious Lunches

Isoism offers fantastic "tsuke yasai" (marinated vegetables) of vegetables primarily from its own Isozumi Farm marinated in oil, dashi stock, and vinegar. Since April, it has also been offering lunches of 12 tsuke yasai served with rice seasoned and cooked with various ingredients​ and soup. The delicate flavors of vegetables have been evolved further to surprise your taste buds with each bite.

Isoism Lunch—Plate of 12 Tsukeyasai (1,800 JPY). Twelve tsuke yasai are offered like appetizers. The recommended tsuke yasai is the slightly sweet Tomatoes Marinated in White Wine with Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese (left back). You can also taste the flavors of vegetables in the Duck with Burdock Marinated in Spicy Soy Sauce and Okra Marinated in Plum Vinegar Served with Conger Eel.

The cool Herbful drink is also recommended. Photographed are the Refresh (left; 500 JPY) with mint, kiwi, etc. and Healthy (right; 500 JPY) with rosemary, white grapes, etc.

The table seating on the second floor. There are product descriptions on the tables so you can read about tsuke yasai. Take a look so you can find out what the ingredients are!

The manager, Kenji Honda, explains, "We marinate thinking about the best way to make the vegetables taste even better. They are a la carte dishes rather than tsukemono pickles. The top recommendation is the Kyo Tomato that has been marinated sweetly with white wine and honey."

<Phone: 075-353-5016; Hours: 11:30 am - 3:00 pm (last order at 2:00 pm), 5:30 pm - about midnight (last order at 11:30 pm); Holidays: Tuesdays (unscheduled); Capacity: 56; Parking: None; Access: 7 minutes on foot from JR Kyoto Station>


114 Shichijo-dori Karasuma Nishi-iru Nakai-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Lustrous and Gorgeous Sushi Like Wagashi Sweets

Kashiwai, which is originally a tableware shop, offers lustrous "tsumamizushi" that look like wagashi sweets. These sushi are colorful with the white of fresh yuba tofu skin and grilled conger eel and the red of salmon. In addition to ingredients from Kyoto, the sushi includes Omi konnyaku from Shiga. The sushi flavors are spiced up with a touch of plum. There are 15 pieces of sushi, each of which has fabulous flavors.

Summer Tsumamizushi (15 pieces; comes with wagashi Japanese sweet and red miso soup) (2,916 JPY). Includes timely seasonal ingredients such as Omi Konnyaku with Plum-flavored Jellyfish (middle left), Fresh Yuba (middle third from left), and Grilled Conger Eel with Sansho Peppers (front second from left.) Best to make reservations.

The restaurant is in a Western-style brick building. There is a shop that sells works by artists as well as antique ceramics and takeaway sushi.

<Phone: 075-722-7339; Hours: 9:00 am - 11:00 am, 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (last order): Holidays: Wednesdays (open if it is a national holiday); Capacity: 20; Parking: 3 (free); Access: 10 minutes on foot from Kitayama Station on the Subway.>


55 Kamigamo Imaigawara-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto

Tiny and Colorful Mamezushi! Hold Them Daintily as If You Were a Geisha

Gion Mametora's adorable "mamezushi" are cute sushi that are about 3cm long so that geisha can eat them with their tiny mouths. Fifteen different sushi, each as beautiful as gems in both color and form, come in clean-cut boxes made of paulownia wood.

Mamezushi-zen (4,536 JPY). The tiny sushi are filled with a variety of flavors, such as mackerel sushi with a hint of shiba pickle flavors and sushi made with fresh seafood. A course that includes eight mamezushi is also available in the evening (10,454 JPY and up).

The restaurant is hidden away at the end of a backstreet in Gion. There is a nice view of greenery from the windows.

<Phone: 075-532-3955; Hours: 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (last order), 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm (last order); Holidays: None; Capacity: 90; Parking: None; Access: 5 minutes on foot from Keihan Gion Shijo Station>

Gion Mametora

570-235 Gion-machi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Obanzai with Plenty of Vegetables and Dashi Stock

IZAMA serves the Gozen of Nine Obanzai that includes nine obanzai (traditional Kyoto-style home cooking) dishes made with plenty of seasonal vegetables and aromatic dashi stock and soba somen noodles with fabulous texture. This is a set you will want to savor that includes ingredients that are unique to Kyoto made with the outstanding skills of the chefs.

Gozen of Nine Obanzai (1,800 JPY). This is a gozen (set) that includes a variety of seasonal ingredients. The creative dishes that are unique to Kyoto, such as a dish with tofu from the famous Kyoto tofu shop, Hiranoya, served with a thick sauce, will help you forget the heat of the summer.

This restaurant is on the first floor of Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shinmachi Bettei. It is a modern Japanese-style space from which you can see an old storage house and courtyard.

<Phone: 075-251-2500; Hours: 6:30 am - 10:00 am (last order at 9:30 am), 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (last order at 1:30 pm), 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm (last order for food at 9:00 pm and for drinks at 9:30 pm); Holiday: None; Capacity: 70; Parking: None; Access: 7 minutes on foot from Hankyu Karasuma Station and Shijo Station on the Subway>


Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shinmachi Bettei 1F, 361 Rokkaku-cho, Rokkaku-sagaru, Shinmachi-dori, Nakagyo-ku,Kyoto-shi Kyoto

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 07.26.2017]

*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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