Kyoto, which is the center of Japanese cuisine, has many famous restaurants that serve up fantastic soba (buckwheat noodles). Below are five stores that you should stop by when visiting Kyoto.
1. TAGOTO The CUBE Branch
This is a branch of TAGOTO, which is a long-established Japanese restaurant. It is in a convenient location that’s right by Kyoto Station. People who visit the restaurant often have the set menu, which includes seasonal varieties of soba or standard soba with saba (mackerel) sushi and freshly fried tempura. In addition to soba, they serve up a wide selection of a la carte dishes that are unique to Kyoto, such as those made with yuba (tofu skin) or fu (wheat gluten). They have English menus.
Price range: Around 1,300 JPY
Located in a business district, this famous restaurant has the feel of a refuge. The buckwheat, wheat, and rice used here are all milled or polished in-house, allowing customers to enjoy their rich flavor and umami (Japanese savory taste). Their voluminous lunch sets are popular. You can choose from four types of soba – differentiated by how they’re milled or what type of buckwheat they’re made from – for their set menus. In the evening, they also offer a la carte dishes and sake.
Price range: Lunch - around 1,000 JPY, dinner - about 3,000 JPY
This is a famous restaurant that has earned a Michelin star. The soba, made with buckwheat that is stone-milled in-house, are all prepared on the day that they are served. Note that the restaurant closes when it runs out of noodles. The noodles are on the thin side, chewy, and have an elegant and pleasant flavor. People who visit the restaurant often have the Kamo Seiro, which consists of cold noodles with a warm sauce and duck meat.
Price range: Around 1,800 JPY
4. RYUHEI SOBA
This restaurant is located in the nature-rich Katsura area. The menu, made with fresh well water that is said to be underground water from Mt. Atago, consists of a variety of items like soba, river fish dishes, and unagi (eel) pot. The soba is made to suit the manner in which it is cooked. Some are roughly milled and have a strong flavor, while others have a gentle sweetness. There is also a wide selection of sake that has been carefully selected by the owner.
Price range: Lunch - around 2,950 JPY, dinner - around 6,750 JPY
This restaurant can be found in the bustling Shijo Karasuma area. The soba are made with buckwheat from Hokkaido and are prepared by hand every morning. The standard soba are wonderful, as are the restaurant’s original varieties, such as Okra Tororo Soba that consists of cold noodles with okra and Japanese yam. Enjoy them with sake, of which there are around 100 varieties to choose from. English menus are available.
Price range: Lunch - around 850 JPY, dinner - around 3,000 JPY
Soba can be quite different from restaurant to restaurant, so try a few and compare them!
*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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