Kyoto is filled with history and tradition, and its food choices reflect that. Take a look at our list of the best restaurants in Kyoto to find the most mouthwatering dishes to sample as you tour Japan’s cultural capital.
You can always count on the small no frills hole-in-the-wall restaurants to deliver the best food. At Okonomiyaki Katsu, there are just two tables and five counter seats. This is one of the best places to taste authentic okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake made of fried eggs and cabbage. The family-run restaurant also makes delicious Yakisoba, a Japanese stir-fried noodle dish.
The esteemed Mishima-tei has been serving customers since 1873, so you know they are doing something very right. Located in the Teramachi Shopping Arcade, Mishima-tei is a great place to sample sukiyaki, a common Japanese dish made of thin slices of beef cooked in sake, soy, and vinegar broth and dipped in raw egg. Plus, it’s located right above a butcher, so you can be confident that what you get is very fresh.
This hole in the wall ramen restaurant is one of the best spots to mingle with locals. Not only is it a great place to sample some of the most delicious ramen in Kyoto, but you also get your daily dose of culture.
Chao Chao Sanjo Kiyamachi
This Osaka-based franchise Gyoza restaurant may constantly have a line out the door, but you’ll find that the wait is well worth it. This is one of the best restaurants in Kyoto for Chinese dumplings at a great price. Try the pan-fried dumplings, filled with cheese or shrimp, or the boiled Gyoza.
At Omen, you’ll be gobbling down delicious udon noodles. Located close to the Ginkaku-ji temple, at the Omen, thick udon noodles are served alongside a hot or cold broth and vegetables. The very popular restaurant also has an a la carte menu. There is traditional tatami seating as well as some counter seats and tables for those who aren’t comfortable sitting on the ground.
Giro Giro Hitoshina
At Giro Giro Hitoshina, you can enjoy kaiseki, the traditional multi-course Japanese meal, at an affordable price. The kaiseki restaurant is very lively, and the open kitchen welcomes patrons to chat with the chefs. The seasonal menu includes eight courses. If you are hoping for a counter seat, book a few months out.
For one of the best bowls of soba, come to Honke Owariya. The restaurant is popular among locals, so be prepared to wait. Try a plain bowl of noodles or go for the gold and order the whole set with all the garnishes. Hey, you only live once. The seating is traditional, so be prepared for tatami mat floors and low tables.
The ramen at Ippudo is delectable, and as a result, there is often a line outside. Make sure you order the bite-sized gyoza alongside your ramen, because they will blow your mind. Although it’s not listed on the menu, there is an option for vegetarians.