Kyoto, Japan Restaurants: Best Local Cuisine

PUBLISHED: May 19, 2019

Kyoto, Japan is famous for its kaiseki cuisine including tofu, and Buddhist vegetarian dishes. This city is also a great place to get a taste of traditional Japanese food. Those of you who will be visiting Kyoto, you don’t want to miss the best places to eat during your stay.

Hyotei

Hyotei is one of the most unique restaurants in Kyoto. It’s a kaiseki restaurant that focuses on the best of Japanese dishes. Located in a beautiful, traditional Japanese building, Hyotei is one of Kyoto’s most respected venues of kaiseki fare. When visiting this restaurant, don’t expect Western dishes. The food here consists of fish and vegetables and will definitely give you a traditional Japanese dining experience.

Shigetsu

Inside the grounds of Tenryu-ji Temple, is the restaurant, Shigetsu. This is a fantastic place if you are in the mood to try traditional Japanese Buddhist food, also known as shojin-ryori.

The fare here is light and might not make you feel full. It’s good for an afternoon of exploring the temples, and it won’t slow you down. Shojin-ryori observes the rules of traditional Buddhist vegetarian. No animal products are used during the preparation. While dining, you can relax with great garden views of Tenryu-ji Temple.

Tousuiro

No trip to Kyoto would be complete without trying their famous tofu. This little gem is located on a narrow lane that runs along the canal. Tosuiro is a favorite with Kyoto’s vegetarians. Not only is the atmosphere classic Kyoto, but the food is also delicious. All of their dishes are mouth-watering while the presentation is eye-catching. In warm months, dine on the outside deck, overlooking the Kamo-gawa River.

Ippudo Ramen

The ramen you get in western countries comes nowhere near to the perfection you get at this restaurant.  The soup and noodles here are fantastic and come with crispy dumplings. After you try the noodles and soup you’ll understand why this is one of the most popular places in Japan for Ramen: For a real feast, get a plate of dumplings to go with your ramen.

Nishiki Warai

Okonomiyaki is a type of Japanese pancake cooked on a griddle at your table and it is one of the most delicious Japanese dishes available in Kyoto. Nishiki Warai is a great place to try this tasty dish.

Although many places will give you the ingredients so that you can cook them yourself on the griddle, this place is full service. They will bring the finished dish to your table, and grill it, though you can dress it up yourself. Additional menu items include fried noodles and great drinks. This cafe is located in the Nishiki Market.

Honke Owariya

Honke Owariya is likely the best soba restaurant in Kyoto. Honke Owariya is a great place to savor a bowl of soba, also known as buckwheat noodles. This place is extremely popular with locals, so it is recommended that you arrive early to avoid long waits. Menu items include everything from plain noodles to full meals with all the trimmings. You will eat on a tatami mat floor around a low table, so this may not be the right place for everyone, especially if you have back or leg problems.

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