One of the better places for craft beer in Kyoto (there isn't much competition), Bunglaow has ten taps devoted to Japanese craft breweries as well as a good menu of French and European bistro fare. There's no sit-down bar, just a standing bar area on ground floor (which is open-air in summer), a couple of tables on the ground floor and several tables upstairs.
Shijo Horikawa Higashi-iri Kashiyacho 15. Open 3pm-midnight. Closed Tuesdays.
If you want French wine with your kaiseki, this is the place - most bottles are under Y6000, although they have a number of Bordeaux wines in the Y40,000 range for big spenders. Besides kaiseki and mini-kaiseki they also serve sushi and bento boxes; they even deliver within the area.
Shinmachidori Bukkoji-sagaru, Iwatoyamacho 416. (2 blocks W, 2 1/2 blocks S of Karasuma-Shijo) Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-9:30pm daily.
This converted Taisho-era storehouse is owned by an antiques dealer, and he's stocked the huge interior with lovely Asian-style furnishings. Several of the dining areas look out onto the courtyard garden, and there's even a small room out in the middle of the garden if you're lucky enough to snag a reservation. The food is good Japanese-style Chinese fare, and the rather filling Y4800 prix-fixe menu is a nice choice.
Nishikikojidori Muromachi-Nishi-iru, Tenjinyamacho 283-2. (on N side of Nishiki-koji, just W of Muromachi) Open 11:30am-2, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
Another French bistro-cafe arrives in Kyoto: this one is a branch of the excellent Tokyo-based chain, known for their authentic French style and well-prepared food. The Y1000 lunches are a good deal, and there's a full dinner menu from 6pm.
Karasuma-dori Shijo-sagaru, Suiginyacho 620 Cocon Karasuma 1F. (on W side of Karasuma-dori, just S of Shijo) Open 11am-11pm daily.
This prefab-style izakaya-cafe offers a lot of healthy-looking dishes (vegetable chips, sesame tofu) along with more ordinary izakaya fare (raw horsemeat, garlic fried potatoes). Drinks include shochu and unusual soft drinks like honey and black vinegar soda.
Karasuma-dori Shijo-sagaru, Suiginyacho 620 Cocon Karasuma B1F. (on W side of Karasuma-dori, just S of Shijo) Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
A branch of a popular Kobe Cantonese restaurant, Old HK is known for their impressive dim sum lunches (Y3400 for all you can eat, with a 90-minute limit) - they even have dumpling trolleys making the rounds of the dining room.
Karasuma-dori Shijo-sagaru, Suiginyacho 620 Cocon Karasuma 1F. (on W side of Karasuma-dori, just S of Shijo) Open 11:30am-3, 5-9pm (LO) daily.
One of the best of the tonkatsu chains, Kyoto-based Katsukura offers nice side dishes like yuba (tofu-skin) croquettes and excellent Kyoto-style pickles. And they're open all afternoon if you need a late lunch.
A specialist in Kyoto vegetables, Kamo offers a nice vegetable-centered buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is Y490, lunch is Y880 (60-minute limit), and dinner is Y1350 (80-minute limit). Add on an extra Y950 for an open-bar plan.
Ogisakayacho 276. Open 7-10, 11am-3, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
This small espresso stand, wedged into the front corner of a United Arrows clothing boutique, is a branch of a famous Aoyama espresso bar with an international cult following. Espresso runs Y250, and an iced cafe latte is Y520.
This 200-year-old ryokan is now known mainly as a restaurant, with excellent seafood-centric kaiseki service. Small private tatami rooms look out onto tiny courtyards or miniature gardens, and there's a quaint little "Western" dining room with old-fashioned furnishings. Lunches start at Y8000, and dinners run from Y16,000; there's even traditional breakfast service if you're in the neighborhood early (Y4500).
Shijo-agaru Gokomachi 407. (on Gokomachi north of Shijo) Open 7:30-9am, noon-1, 5:30-7:30pm. Closed Wednesdays.
Kyoto's long-established Indian-food pioneer still turns out reliable curries in a smartly decorated dining room. Full-course dinners start at Y3000, although a la carte choices can be more economical.
Teramachi-dori Shijio-agaru, Kikusui Building 3F. (NE corner of Teramachi and Shijo) Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-9pm. Closed 3rd Wed.
Although it's just steps away from the busy Shijo-Kawaramachi intersection, Tagoto is hidden away behind a narrow entrance and a long, lantern-lit passageway. The food menu includes budget-friendly mini-kaiseki dinners (Y3000) and all-you-can-eat lunch specials (also Y3000) as well as more standard kaiseki and bento-box choices.
Shijo-dori Kawaramachi Nishi-iru. (entrance alley is on Shijo, just west of Kawaramachi) Open 11:30am-3, 4:30-9pm daily.
Fresh Kyoto yuba (tofu skin) is the focal point of the menu here, with unusual dishes like yuba and roast duck carpaccio and yuba dumpling pizza. The dining room is attractively appointed in Kyoto-modern style, with shoji screens, bamboo blinds, polished blond-wood horikotatsu tables and dark-wood platforms. There's a big a la carte menu as well as set menus - budget around Y3500 at dinnertime.
Nishikikoji Higashinotoin-higashi-iru, Libertus Nishikikoji 3F. (on Nishiki-koji-dori east of Karasuma-dori, west of the north entrance of Daimaru) Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-11pm. Closed second Wednesday.
This quaint little shop inside Nishiki Market serves traditional Japanese sweets with green tea, and they also prepare some rather novel variations on grilled mochi - peanut butter, mentaiko and cheese among them.
Nishiki-koji-dori, Yanaginobanba-higashi-iru. (along Nishiki Market street, south side) Open 11am-5:30pm daily.
On the ground floor is a top-class produce shop with picture-perfect Kyoto vegetables, while upstairs they've set aside a tiny room for lunch. There's only one choice - a prix-fixe menu of small dishes highlighting the best of the vegetable world, priced at Y2100. [See FULL REVIEW.]
Nishikikoji Yanagibanba-nishi-iru. (from Karasuma-Shijo crossing walk 4 streets east to Yanagi-no-banba-dori, turn left and go one block north to the market arcade, turn left again and Yaoya no Nikai is on the left) Open 11am until they run out daily.
The takoyaki at this Nishiki Market stand gets high marks from local Kyoto connoisseurs. Six pieces of jumbo takoyaki will set you back Y180; other options include takoyaki with cheese, spring onions or both (Y250-Y350).
Higashi-Uoyacho 185-6. Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays.
This second branch of the popular Wan Nyan Chu cafe is in a quieter location with a more relaxed atmosphere. The price is Y1500 (+tax) for the first hour, which includes green tea and sweets. You can also order juice or beer by the bottle.
This popular shop lets you cook your own kushiage skewers in a deep-fryer right at your table. It's all you can eat, including various side dishes and a big variety of skewered tidbits. Y2625 per person, with a 90-minute limit. Lunch is served on weekends only.
Turning out one of the best natural-foods buffets in town, Harvest's kitchen focuses on farm-fresh vegetables and traditional Japanese recipes, with more than sixty dishes to choose from. Weekday lunch service is Y1399 (+tax) while dinner is Y1799; add an extra Y199 for unlimited soft drinks (mostly juices and teas).
Shincho 68, Mosaic Dining 8F. Open 11am-9pm (LO) daily.
The "originator of teppanyaki" is Misono's claim, and they've certainly been around long enough, serving Kobe and other local beef steaks since the 1940s. The decor and prices are more down-to-earth than the average hotel teppanyaki house, with dinners starting in the Y5000 range.
Kawaramachi-Shijo-agaru, TSC Tower 5F. (on E side of Kawaramachi about 2 min. N of Shijo (at first traffic light)) Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-9:30pm (LO). Closed Tuesdays.
This charmingly old-fashioned shop serves state-of-the-art Western dishes circa 1922, when they first opened their doors - pork chops, grilled chicken, shrimp croquettes, potato salad and the like. And wait'll you see their wine list!
Kiyamachi-dori Shijo-agaru, Nabeyacho 221-25. (from Shijo walk 150 m (2 1/2 blocks) N on Kiyamachi; when you see a big red lantern turn R into a very narrow alley, then L, then L again) Open 5-10pm (LO). Closed Thursdays.
Third-generation kaiseki chef Yoshihiro Murata takes a fresh approach to the cuisine, drawing on French and other European influences and using some non-traditional ingredients (like Japanese pears soaked in pear brandy). This is a modern, downtown branch of the long-established family shop. Prix-fixe lunch starts at Y4000, dinner from Y10,000.
Kiyamachi Shijo-sagaru. (on E side of Kiyamachi, second building S of Shijo) Open noon-1:30, 5-8:30pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays.
We're not sure whether to call it casual modern kaiseki or creative Kyoto cuisine, but the food here is exquisite in both flavor and presentation. The nine-course menu follows a traditional kaiseki sequence of preparation styles, and as each dish arrives the waiter provides detailed explanations of the many seasonal ingredients incorporated therein, right down to the origins of the miso paste and seasonings. The prix-fixe menu (the only choice at dinnertime) is an incredible bargain at just Y4000.
Nishi-Kiyamachi-dori Matsubara Sagaru, Nanbacho 420-7. Open 5:30-11pm. Closed Sundays.