Kyoto Gion, Kodaiji
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Heian Shrine area

Au Temps Perdu - Tea shop [ Open 11am-8pm. Closed Mon, 1st, 3rd Tues. ]
Au Temps Perdu has a grand location - Higashiyama to the east, Heian-jingu to the north and the Shirakawa River out front. They serve no coffee, but an extensive range of teas as well as sherry,...
Cafe Cube - Italian [ Open 10:30am-6:30pm. Closed Mondays. ]
Cafe Cube, inside the Hosomi Museum, serves nice Italian food at lunchtime, with a Y1500 set menu that includes appetizer, salad, pasta, bread and tea or coffee. The museum itself houses a private...
Kyoto Nama Chocolat Organic Tea House - Tea shop [ Open noon-5pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays. ]
Black tea from Uji, the renowned tea-growing region south of Kyoto, is served in an array of pots and cups from throughout Japan. It's serious pleasure at a leisurely pace. A double pleasure is to...
Okariba - Izakaya [ Open 5-10:30pm. Closed Mondays. ]
The owner-chef of this rustic izakaya is also a hunter who bags much of the game served here. The menu includes unusual meats like wild boar (barbecued or stewed), bear stew, and sashimi of...
Tranq Room - Cafe [ Open noon-midnight. Closed Tuesdays. ]
The dynamic menu at the Tranq Room is testimony to Yukihide Hirata's quest for the exotic. He hit that target recently with his all-organic Nama-yuba Donburi - shimeji mushrooms and fried tofu in a...
Tsuruya - Kyo-ryori [ Open 11:30am-2, 5-7pm (LO) daily. ]
Another very famous, very expensive Kyoto kaiseki restaurant with top-class food and service. Located near Heian Shrine, they're known for their more-lavish-than-usual gardens, which can be viewed...

Gion

Picasso - Liquor shop [ Open 2pm-midnight. Closed Sundays. ]
A wine specialty shop. The big selection here is strongest in French and Italian wines.
Udon Museum - Soba/Udon [ Open 11am-10pm daily. ]
Apparently udon noodles come in 45 different variations depending on where you are in Japan. At least that's what we learned in the small "museum" area of this udon restaurant. The main attraction...
Plus Sake Bar Plus Cafe - Bar [ Open 5pm-midnight (Sat, Sun noon-midnight) daily. ]
Dozens of varieties of craft sake are ready for tasting at this small sake bar and cafe attached to the Jam Hostel. They also offer umeshu (ake "plum wine") and several other sake-based fruit...
Matsuno - Unagi [ Open 11:30am-8:30pm (LO). Closed Thursdays. ]
Accessible Kyoto-style grilled unagi, in a popular little shop just east of the Minamiza kabuki theater. Unagi seiro-mushi (steamed eel) is one of their specialties. Eel over rice starts at Y1785,...
Izuju - Sushi [ Open 11:30am-8pm. Closed Wednesdays. ]
This 100-year-old shop specializes in saba-zushi (mackeral pressed onto squares of rice), although they have other seasonal fish as well. A six-piece assortment of saba and inari-zushi is Y1340.
Takocho - Oden [ Open 6-9:30pm. Closed Wednesdays. ]
This no-frills counter shop has been here for more than 100 years, devoting themselves generation after generation to the mysterious art of gourmet oden preparation. Swimming in the konbu broth are...

Kodaiji Temple area

Minoko - Kaiseki [ Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-8pm (LO) daily. ]
This elegant old teahouse is a wonderful place to experience cha-kaiseki. Distinct from regular (banquet-style) kaiseki, this is a very formal style of meal associated with the traditional tea...
Wakuden - Kaiseki [ Open 11:30am-2, 5-10pm. Closed Sundays. ]
This venerable old traditional ryotei has three branches around town, but this is the most luxurious, with a gorgeous setting and world-class food. Lunch starts at Y15,000, dinners from Y25,000.
Karoku - Yakiniku [ Open 5-10:30pm (LO) daily. ]
The setting looks a lot like a typical traditional Japanese restaurant, with a gorgeous interior courtyard, but the food is first-rate Korean - high-grade yakiniku plus side dishes like tripe...
Kikunoi - Kaiseki [ Open noon-2, 5-8pm daily. ]
Chef Yoshihiro Murata is well known in Japan for his frequent TV appearances and his innovative cooking style, incorporating European influences for a new approach to traditional Kyoto-style kaiseki....
Doi - Kaiseki [ Open noon-3:30, 4-8pm daily. ]
First-rate kaiseki in a gorgeous traditional ryotei setting. One unusual feature is their "table kaiseki," where you get to sit in a regular chair instead of on a floor cushion and save a lot of...
Il Ghiottone - Italian [ Open noon-2:30, 6-9:30pm (LO). Closed Tuesdays. ]
The original, very modern Italian cuisine here takes full advantage of the high-quality vegetables and seafood that are locally available. Dinners average around Y5000 a la carte for food, while the...

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