Kyoto Station

Kyoto station complex

Sepporai (Kyo-ryori). 075-353-9565
Accessible tofu and vegetable-centered Kyo-ryori in this tastefully decorated restaurant near Kyoto station. There are only four sakes, but they're chosen to go with the food; you can also choose from several fruit liqueurs. Prix-fixe dinners are priced Y2800-4500, lunch (served until 3pm) from Y1500.
SunHigashi-Shiokojicho 901, Kyoto Station Bldg East Zone 2F. Open 11am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Gozanbo (Teppanyaki). 075-342-5521
Top-class teppanyaki in a very stylish setting inside the Hotel Granvia. Steak lunches start at Y5,000, dinners at Y10,000.
SunJR Kyoto Station, Hotel Granvia 15F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Kitcho (Kaiseki). 075-342-0808
In case you can't get reservations at the main branch of Kitcho, or if you can't swing a bank loan to cover your meal there, this is a more affordable, yet still elegant, alternative; full kaiseki service starts at around Y11,800.
SunJR Kyoto Station, Hotel Granvia M3F. Open 11am-2:30, 5-8:30pm (LO) daily.

The Cube, Isetan

Hanamarutei (Okonomiyaki). 075-365-8730
Kyoto-style "negiyaki" and the oddly named pizza-style okonomiyaki (with ingredients like tuna, cheese, tomato and corn) are among the choices at this inexpensive shop.
SunJR Kyoto Station, The Cube, 11F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
Katsukura Kyo-eki Bldg (Tonkatsu). 075-365-8666
Excellent Kyoto-style tonkatsu - you'll find tofu and yuba side dishes and other local touches, along with great tsukemono (pickles). The tasteful interior features earth-toned stucco walls and modern artwork.
SunJR Kyoto Station, The Cube, 11F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
Kushinobo (Kushiage). 075-365-8734
Reliable kushiage from this Tokyo-based chain. Full-course dinner-size sets start at around Y2000.
SunJR Kyoto Station, The Cube, 11F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
Kyohyakusai (Kyo-ryori). 075-365-8733
Obanzai-ryori - Kyoto home-style cooking - is the specialty here, and you can choose from a wide selection of local delicacies in tiny portions. At lunchtime you get one main dish (tempura, fish, Kyoto-style chicken) plus an all-you-can-eat buffet, starting at around Y1400. Budget around Y3500 at dinnertime.
SunJR Kyoto Station, The Cube, 11F. Open 11am-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Tagoto (Soba). 075-365-8729
Tagoto serves budget-priced set meals built around soba, tempura, and various Kyoto-style side dishes.
SunJR Kyoto Station, The Cube, 11F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
Aoi-jaya (Japanese). 075-352-6233
Red-bean-paste sweets and other traditional Japanese desserts are served here with green tea; there's also inexpensive standard Japanese fare like tempura and soba.
SunJR Kyoto Isetan 11F. Open 11am-9:15pm (LO). Closed some Tuesdays.
Fujino (Tofu). 075-352-5401
This well-known tofu specialist has several branches in town, but this is probably the easiest to find. Multi-course deluxe tofu dinners average around Y4500; lunches run Y2000 or so.
SunJR Kyoto Isetan 11F. Open 11am-9:15pm (LO). Closed some Tuesdays.
Isetan (Retail). 075-352-1111
The sprawling basement food floor of Isetan Department Store is a convenient place to buy bento boxes and other take-away food before you take the train.
SunJR Kyoto Station, JR Kyoto Isetan B1F. Open 10am-8pm. Closed some Tuesdays.
Kyoto Ramen Alley (Ramen). 075-361-4401
If you don't have time to travel the length and breadth of Japan, here at least is your chance to try some of the best ramen from around the country. Seven well-chosen shops serve ramen in various regional styles, from Sapporo to Kumamoto. There are also little stands selling roast chestnuts, soft ice cream and takoyaki.
SunJR Kyoto Station 10F. (connecting passage from Isetan 10F) Open 11am-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Mimiu (Japanese regional). 075-342-0012
Traditional Osaka dishes like udon sukiyaki (their specialty) and much more; the multi-part chef's menu (Y1800) is a good introduction.
SunJR Kyoto Isetan 11F. Open 11am-9:15pm (LO). Closed some Tuesdays.
Shozankaku (Kyo-ryori). 075-342-0070
Shozankaku specializes in yuba (tofu skin), paired with top-quality vegetables and seasonal ingredients like bamboo shoots, mushrooms and fresh-water fish. Yuba-centered lunches start at Y2700, dinners Y3500, with a gorgeous Y10,000 omakase kaiseki menu if you're in the mood to splurge.
SunJR Kyoto Isetan 11F. Open 11am-9:15pm (LO). Closed some Tuesdays.
Sushi Sei (Sushi). 075-352-6223
Tokyo-style sushi from a long-established, very reputable shop in Tsukiji market. Set menus start from just Y2100, although a la carte can be somewhat pricier.
SunJR Kyoto Isetan 11F. Open 11am-9:15pm (LO). Closed some Tuesdays.
Ten-ichi (Tempura). 075-352-5371
A conveniently located Kyoto branch of one of Tokyo's more famous tempura shops (Bill Clinton was taken there during a presidential visit). Dinner menus range from Y1500-6300.
SunJR Kyoto Isetan 11F. Open 11am-9:15pm (LO). Closed some Tuesdays.
Wakuden (Kyo-ryori). 075-365-1000
Yet another Isetan branch of a Kyoto culinary landmark; this one features a pleasantly modern interior and a panoramic northward-looking view of the city. Food and drink averages around Y4000 at lunch and Y10-12,000 at dinner.
SunJR Kyoto Isetan 11F. Open 11am-2:30, 5-9pm. Closed some Tuesdays.
Ichiba Koji (Izakaya). 075-365-3388
At first glance this looks like your typical chain izakaya, but the quirky menu offers Kyoto-style dishes and a big tofu section as well as Asian dishes and the mysterious "beer fondue nabemono." Drinks include premium sake from Kyoto breweries as well as Spanish and Australian wines. Non-smokers will appreciate the smoke-free section.
SunJR Kyoto Isetan 9F. Open 11am-11pm. Closed some Tuesdays.
Kagaya (Japanese regional). 075-342-0022
Kagaya serves Japanese food with an emphasis on the seafood and other specialties of Ishikawa Prefecture and Kanazawa on the Sea of Japan coast. Regular dinners start at Y3000, with kaiseki service from Y6000.
SunJR Kyoto Isetan 8F. Open 11am-3, 5-10pm (LO). Closed some Tuesdays.
Kokkekokko (Yakitori). 075-365-3390
Excellent, skillfully prepared free-range chicken and a good selection of premium sake brands make this a popular spot for after-shopping snacking or late-night drinking. The decor is simple but chic Kyoto modern, with a panoramic view of central Kyoto and the mountains beyond.
SunJR Kyoto Isetan 10F. Open 11am-11pm. Closed some Tuesdays.

North and east of station

Kushiya Monogatari (Kushiage). 075-354-8444
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. At lunchtime (until 4pm) it's Y1,575.
SunHigashi-Shiokojicho 590-2, Kyoto Yodobashi Bldg. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Dai-ichi Asahi (Ramen). 075-351-6321
A very popular late-night ramen shop with a devoted following.
SunlateTakakuradori Shiokoji-sagaru. (just S of Takakura-Shiokoji crossing, a few minutes NE of JR Kyoto station) Open 5am-2am. Closed Thursdays.
Shinpuku Saikan (Ramen). 075-371-7648
One of Kyoto's most popular ramen shops, specializing in Kyoto-style ramen.
SunHigashi-shiokoji-dori Takakura-sagaru. (just S of Takakura-Shiokoji crossing, a few minutes NE of JR Kyoto station) Open 7:30am-11pm. Closed Wednesdays.
Shoya (Izakaya). 075-351-0091
Good-quality fish and seafood at bargain prices at this outlet of a popular national chain. The menu also includes many local Kyoto touches and a decent sake selection. Most seating is in small private and semi-private rooms.
SunShichijo-dori Karasuma-higashi-iru. (at the corner of Shichijo-dori and Karasuma) Open 11:30am-2:30, 4:30-11pm daily.

South of station

Tony Roma's (American). 075-692-2714
An American chain specializing in ribs, located inside the Aeon shopping mall just south of JR Kyoto Station.
SunNishi-Kujo Toriguchicho 1, Aeon Mall Kyoto 1F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.

Keihan Shichijo

Grill, The (International). 075-541-3203
The Hyatt Regency's all-day restaurant puts on a sumptuous, and very popular, Sunday brunch buffet for Y3950. Prix-fixe dinners, featuring meat and seafood from the wood-burning oven, start at Y7500. Breakfast 6:30-11am; lunch 11:30am - 2:30pm; dinner 5:30 - 10pm. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunSanjusangendo-mawari 644-2, Hyatt Regency Kyoto. Open 6:30am-10pm daily.
Touzan (Japanese). 075-541-3201
Ceramics, sake bottles and patterned tiles embellish the minimalist modern Japanese design at Touzan. Private tatami rooms have been reinterpreted as dining alcoves created by suspended blinds, while the main dining area looks out onto a wide Japanese rock garden. On the Grand Menu, perennial favourites like tempura, nishin soba and Kobe beef sit alongside more exotic fare like seared sea cucumber entrails. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunSanjusangendo-mawari 644-2, Hyatt Regency Kyoto. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-10pm daily.
Trattoria Sette (Italian). 075-541-3204
trattoria sette has filled the void of casual restaurant-cafe cum bars in one of Kyoto's most historic districts. After being overawed by the 1001 statues of the goddess of mercy at Sanjusangendo temple this is a good place to gently bring yourself back down to earth. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunSanjusangendo-mawari 644-2, Hyatt Regency Kyoto. Open 11am-10pm daily.