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Eating in Kansai


Mr Vigs
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I have visited Tokyo before, in 2000, but it was very brief. This time we'll be in the Osaka-Kyoto area for about 5 days. I would love to hear what anyone can recommend while we're there. Budget is of no concern (I always go all-out on vacations), love to try just about everything (but in context; i.e., I want to eat on Japanese food when I'm there, not hamburgers or french food!). I understand that Osaka/Kyoto is famous for the okonomiyaki and tofu. Address and names would be greatly appreciated!

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If you have some cash to spare (or are willing to charge up your credit card), try this kaiseki place in Kyoto. The one is Arashiyama is, I think, the main location though they have others around the city (Granvia Hotel, Royal Rhiga Hotel, etc.), as well as a few in Osaka. Lunch at the Arashiyama location starts at just under Y40 000.

Is that Japanese enough for you?

Also check out the many other suggestions for Kyoto and Osaka. There have been many other suggestions posted both recently and in the past, in this board. Start with the pinned "Eating in Kansai" thread (or some other similar title).

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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I have visited Tokyo before, in 2000, but it was very brief. This time we'll be in the Osaka-Kyoto area for about 5 days. I would love to hear what anyone can recommend while we're there. Budget is of no concern (I always go all-out on vacations), love to try just about everything (but in context; i.e., I want to eat on Japanese food when I'm there, not hamburgers or french food!). I understand that Osaka/Kyoto is famous for the okonomiyaki and tofu. Address and names would be greatly appreciated!

I just got back from my first visit to Osaka & Kyoto. As it was a family trip celebrating my daughter's 6th birthday, we didn't hit up too many memorable dining experiences, instead going more for the quick service variety.

The one meal that was excellent was for Kyoto style Tonkatsu at Katsukura on the 11th floor of the Isetan Department store in the JR Kyoto Station. This was by far the best Tonkatsu I've had in Japan and the restaurant has their act together. Tender flavorful Tonkatsu, designer interior, house-made Tonkatsu Sauce, great ceramic plateware, excellent Yuzu dressing and an average of JPY1200 per person made it quite a deal. Very popular, but our wait wasn't too long to get into the small dining room. While not expensive or overly high-end, it would make a memorable addition for this type of Japanese cuisine.

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If you have some cash to spare (or are willing to charge up your credit card), try  this kaiseki place in Kyoto.  The one is Arashiyama is, I think, the main location though they have others around the city (Granvia Hotel, Royal Rhiga Hotel, etc.), as well as a few in Osaka.  Lunch at the Arashiyama location starts at just under Y40 000.

Is that Japanese enough for you?

Also check out the many other suggestions for Kyoto and Osaka.  There have been many other suggestions posted both recently and in the past, in this board.  Start with the pinned "Eating in Kansai" thread (or some other similar title).

Have you dined at Arashiyama? I know it is famous - and I wonder if it is as good as its reputation. Robyn

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  • 2 weeks later...
Have you dined at Arashiyama?  I know it is famous - and I wonder if it is as good as its reputation.  Robyn

Do you mean at Arashiyama, or at the Arashiyama branch of Kitcho? I've eaten at a number of restaurants in the Arashiyama area, and like anywhere, the restaurants I've eaten at range from the bad to the average. I don't normally get to eat at the really expensive places unless someone else is paying.

As for Kitcho, I've not had the fortune to dine there. I've been thinking of springing for lunch one day, though. None of my Japanese friends or co-workers have dined there, either. Even for the average Japanese (who has quite a bit of disposable income), it's just too expensive. The non-Arashiyama branches are comparatively cheaper, though. So I might try one of those one day.

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The one meal that was excellent was for Kyoto style Tonkatsu at Katsukura on the 11th floor of the Isetan Department store in the JR Kyoto Station.  This was by far the best Tonkatsu I've had in Japan and the restaurant has their act together.  Tender flavorful Tonkatsu, designer interior, house-made Tonkatsu Sauce, great ceramic plateware, excellent Yuzu dressing and an average of JPY1200 per person made it quite a deal.  Very popular, but our wait wasn't too long to get into the small dining room.  While not expensive or overly high-end, it would make a memorable addition for this type of Japanese cuisine.

I second the vote for Katsukura. This place has awesome, juicy tonkatsu, and also several other types of "katsu" including croquettes, yuba rolled around some veggies and katsu-ed, and a ground pork and shiso patty that is katsu-ed. Everything is good there. Also, notice the barley-rice mix (mugi-gohan) that you get.

There are a few other branches around Kyoto. I never went to the one in the Isetan, but there are two off of Shijo-dori (both on the North side of the street).

Ohh...heres the website :wub:

http://www.fukunaga-tf.com/katsukura/main.html

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Also, dont neglect to eat the sweets and tea in Kyoto. There was a great tea & sweets shop, also on Shijo-dori, closer to the eastern end of the street, on the south side of the street... you will notice it by the line of people waiting outside.

They have the shop on the ground floor selling green tea and green tea sweets of all sorts and the "cafe" is up the stairs on the second and third floors.

Heres some examples of what I ate there:

MatchaParfait.jpg

MatchaSweets.jpg

And if you are a nut for green tea like I am, then you can always go to Uji.....

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  • 3 weeks later...

I meant the Arashiyama branch of Kitcho. It does indeed look very expensive. And I'm wondering whether it's worth it. We'll be spending about 3 weeks in Japan - we'd like to have some "big deal" meals - and I'd like to distinguish between the places that serve great food - and the places that simply have great reputations. It is very difficult to get accurate information about restaurants in a country which is so far away - and about which so little (comparatively) is written in English. Robyn

Have you dined at Arashiyama?  I know it is famous - and I wonder if it is as good as its reputation.  Robyn

Do you mean at Arashiyama, or at the Arashiyama branch of Kitcho? I've eaten at a number of restaurants in the Arashiyama area, and like anywhere, the restaurants I've eaten at range from the bad to the average. I don't normally get to eat at the really expensive places unless someone else is paying.

As for Kitcho, I've not had the fortune to dine there. I've been thinking of springing for lunch one day, though. None of my Japanese friends or co-workers have dined there, either. Even for the average Japanese (who has quite a bit of disposable income), it's just too expensive. The non-Arashiyama branches are comparatively cheaper, though. So I might try one of those one day.

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  • 8 months later...
Mr Vigs:<p>Welcome to Japan!

About okonomiyaki, yakiniku, and unagi, I do not have specific info at my hanc, but will post here when finding an appropriate one!<p>As for Ramen which is my major,  I would recommend you Yonakiya.

(Data of Yonakiya)

Address: 36 Ootsukaminami Miozomachi, Yamashiro-ku, Kyoto

Tel: 075-581-7083

Bus. Hours: 11:00-18:00

Closed: Mon., 1st&3rd Sun.<p>If you need entertainment, visit Menbaka Ichidai where you can enjoy fire show in fron of you.

menbaka3.jpg<p>Do you need shop data?

Today I ate at menbaka ichidai. WOW it was really good. I made the trip to kyoto just to eat this ramen. If you don't know about menbaka ichidai let me tell a little about it. The main attraction is the fire negi ramen. Shoyu ramen is topped with negi and garlic paste and then oil that has been heated until it catches on fire is poured on top. People with long hair must put their hair back with a supplied sanitary hair band, everyone must wear paper smocks and follow the master's instructions at all time. The taste was also a high point. The negi and garlic aroma was really special. I can't recommend their gyoza, chashu, or yakimeshi though. If you are in kyoto and wan't a cool dining experience check it out.

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  • 4 months later...

From the article:

"We opened Kanso in July 2002 after deciding we wanted to create something unique. As we had lots of connections to food suppliers, getting cans of food cheaply and quickly from overseas was no problem. It was, we believe, the first establishment of its kind in Japan," says company spokeswoman Hitomi Sairyo.

Kanso's bohemian atmosphere has been described by certain critics as "late '90s chic homeless-shelter," and the menu will satisfy a variety of palates.

Unique it is, I guess I don't have any other comments.... :blink:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Seems oddly patronizing to the homeless...and the bit about canned bear and sea lion swimming in that brown gook they call "curry" isn't very respectful of native wildlife, either...

Edited by IgnatzH (log)

Joe Franke

The Invasive Species Cookbook: Conservation through Gastronomy

www.bradfordstreetpress.com

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Seems oddly patronizing to the homeless...and the bit about canned bear and sea lion swimming in that brown gook they call "curry" isn't very respectful of native wildlife, either...

Speaking of "oddly patronizing," a lot of people happen to like Japanese curry, and a lot of people like eating meat. If you're looking for something to complain about, factory farming of pigs and chickens is a lot more "disrespectful" of animals than serving their meat in a sauce that you disapprove of.

As for your first point, the style of this particular bar has nothing to do with homeless shelters - standup bars are very trendy at the moment, and so are exotic canned goods.

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I live pretty close to this "restaurant". If I can find someone to go with me I will check it out. I used to work in a homeless shelter and we received some really strange stuff in donations so I can imagine what this place has to offer.

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  • 6 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I had really amazing sushi tonight at Koyoshi Sushi. I think it's one of the places Anthony Bourdain has featured on his show (but I don't think I ever saw that episode). It's a teeny tiny place, with only 11 seats, and barely enough room to turn around (for example, I was sitting at the end of the counter, and I couldn't get up to leave until my friend left, first, because it was just too tight a fit to get out).

The rice at Koyoshi is perfectly cooked and seasoned--not mushy at all, and not too sweet or too sour like at almost every other place I've been to. He doesn't provide soy sauce for dipping, but he dresses each piece of sushi personally, either with sudachi (or some other kind of lime-looking thing), a brush of soy sauce, or just salt (or sometimes the salt and sudachi). The anago is freshly grilled (just before it's served to you), and has the tare is perfect.

I was with a friend, and we had toro, kampachi, anago, uni, ikura, and hotate. For the two of us, the bill came to Y5500. Is that a lot? I don't often eat sushi, so I'm not familiar with prices.

It was a perfect meal.

Well, perfect except for the cockroach that landed on my arm right before we left...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last Thursday, I accompanied our S3 students (high school seniors/twelfth grade students) on their fall ensoku. We went to Arashiyama to make sweets (I made nama yatsuhashi), and then had lunch. It was the most interesting meal I've ever had on one of these trips, and the tastiest!

Overview:

gallery_11355_1724_390013.jpg

We were provided with a menu that specified the order in which we should eat the dishes. The other chaperones and I mostly followed the order, but since I couldn't read the menu very well, I skipped around a bit.

The first course:

gallery_11355_1724_314941.jpg

The thing in the glass was very tasty--probably my favourite of the meal. It was tofu with ikura, in a thick broth with, iirc, yuzu. The little persimmon thing was also very interesting--it wasn't persimmon at all, but fish and egg(??).

gallery_11355_1724_40477.jpg

gallery_11355_1724_127807.jpg

Also was a little skewer of stuff.

gallery_11355_1724_353407.jpg

The blood-pudding looking thing was konnyaku, which I think was supposed to taste like figs. The little potatoes were not potatoes, but seed nagaimo. They were less slimy than nagaimo, and were more like taro, I thought.

Next were the fried foods.

gallery_11355_1724_451630.jpg

Anything fried is good. Enough said.

These were the garnishes on one of the plates.

gallery_11355_1724_102240.jpg

The puffed rice was a bit stale, but I liked it. Along with it was something that looked like sushi, but it wasn't. It was cooked fish on a ball of potato salad. Very interesting (you can kind of see it--top right of the first picture).

Another favourite at the chaperones table was this cabbage-roll thing.

gallery_11355_1724_443943.jpg

But it wasn't a cabbage roll. It was taro mixed with other things, wrapped with yuba. Very light, very flavourful.

There were a few other dishes that didn't make it onto my camera. I was told the meal was probably about Y5000, which I thought was reasonable. I wonder how other schools eat on their school trips...

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  • 2 months later...

So where was this place in Arashiyama?

I was just looking for info on places to eat this weekend in Arashiyama and northern Kyoto (Kita-ku...Kitano Tenmangu sort of area)...when I looked at your photos I remembered that some of the very first multi-course kaiseki-type meals I had in Japan were in the autumn in Arashiyama, looking out over the river.

Also wanting ideas for lunch or snacks in Uji...lunch in Nara...

Can you tell that I'm headed south on the sleeper train this weekend with my family?

I don't think we'll have trouble finding things to eat Monday afternoon in the Namba area (vaguely) before we head off to KIX later, but please shower us with recommendations for things to eat or see, and PM me if you'd like to join us!

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So where was this place in Arashiyama?

I was just looking for info on places to eat this weekend in Arashiyama and northern Kyoto (Kita-ku...Kitano Tenmangu sort of area)...when I looked at your photos I remembered that some of the very first multi-course kaiseki-type meals I had in Japan were in the autumn in Arashiyama, looking out over the river.

The restaurant was Togetsutei, located just by Togetsukyo (on the less busy side of the bridge). The room we were in also had a nice view of the river, and I thought the price was reasonable. I'd go there again! :smile:

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

We didn't get to eat in Arashiyama, but I am sure that Togetsutei would be a great experience - a much quieter surrounding than the busy restaurants of Gion or Ponto-cho.

After a quick bread-and-coffee breakfast (my husband was delighted to find that the doorstopper toast "morning set" is still alive and well in Osaka!) and a rushed curry lunch, we had very little time to spare for food in Kyoto until dinner.

We ate with relatives at the Izumo-ya restaurant on the corner of Shijo and Ponto-chou Doori and Shijou Doori (close to where we were staying in the cheap, basic, but pleasant Iroha Ryokan). Didn't think to take photos, sorry.

It was reasonably good, and had a view of the river - something that usually comes with a big price tag in Ponto-cho. It's basically an eel restaurant, but they had other dishes too. My sons were delighted that the eel donburi was called "mamushi-don" (snake-bowl), Kansai sylte. :hmmm:

Pontochou-Izumoya

We enjoyed another Kyoto treat too - a type of senbei that my former sister-in-law remembered was a favorite of mine. The sesame-flavored wafers are not only tasty, they have a delicate arabesque pattern all over them. They are called Shirakawa-ji, made by Tamaru-ya, whose website is below.

Tamaru-ya

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