Kyoto Karasuma-Oike/ City Hall

Karasuma-Oike area

Sarasa 3 - Mediterranean [ Open 11:30am-11pm (lunch to 2pm). Closed Wednesdays. ]
Sarasa is all about reasonably priced food in a huge old tobacco shop. The menu is broadly Mediterranean with a Japanese fringe, and most dishes come on large white platters that lend an air of...
Wine Grocery - Wine bar [ Open 6pm-2am. Closed Sundays. ]
A cozy little wine bar with an extensive list - mostly French - ranging from Y6000 to Y100,000 per bottle and more (the median price point seems to be around Y15,000). There's also a choice of six...
Sentido - Coffee shop [ Open 7:30am-7pm (LO). Closed Sundays. ]
Great single-origin espresso is served in this pleasant little shop; they also have a nice house blend. Open 8am-6:30pm Saturdays.
Somushi Tea House - Tea shop [ Open 10am-9pm. Closed Wednesdays. ]
The air is fragrant with incense as you walk into this charming teahouse - newly built in 2003 and tastefully decked out with Kyoto-style artwork and furnishings. Besides tea and dessert you'll also...
Umenohana - Tofu [ Open 11am-3, 5-9pm (LO) daily. ]
Excellent home-made tofu is the core of the menu here, with tofu-centered set meals at various price levels (Y4000-10,000).
Inaseya - Izakaya [ Open 11:30-2, 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Mondays. ]
Chicken sukiyaki is the specialty of the house here, and they use only the very best free-range birds - slightly chewy and very flavorful - in all their dishes. Sit in the zashiki room overlooking...
Bakujun - Beer bar [ Open 5:30pm-2am. Closed Mondays. ]
This quiet bar has good food and craft beers, although the atmosphere is rather subdued. There are eight taps along with a selection of bottled beer (both Japanese and Belgian), with beers ranging...
Yoramu - Bar [ Open 6pm-midnight. Closed Mondays, 1st Sunday. ]
You'll find a fantastic trove of unusual, limited-edition sakes in this off-the-beaten-track sake pub. The food menu is just as eclectic, and well suited to the drinks.
Owariya Honke - Soba/Udon [ Open 9am-7pm daily. ]
This legendary soba shop first opened for business in 1465. A nice introduction to the menu is the Hourai soba with eight toppings, including shrimp tempura, mushrooms, leeks and sliced egg; it's...
Cafe Bibliotic Hello - Cafe [ Open noon-11pm (LO) daily. ]
This converted townhouse on a quiet back street has the air of a very hip used bookstore - the comfortable chairs and tables are surrounded by shelves upon shelves of books and magazines that you're...

Kyoto City Hall area

Sarasa Fuyacho Pausa - Cafe [ Open noon-midnight daily. ]
This hip little cafe has a very comfortable atmosphere, and is plugged into the local art and underground music scene. At dinner the inexpensive menu features Mediterranean-influenced dishes like...
Cafe Independants - Cafe [ Open 11:45am-midnight daily. ]
Perhaps the Bohemian epicenter of Kyoto, this student-hangout basement cafe features artfully exposed brick, peeling paint and well-worn stone floors. The 75-year-old building also houses a great...
Mishimatei - Nabemono [ Open 11:30am-9pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays. ]
This traditional shop in a lovely old building has been preparing first-class sukiyaki for 130 years now, and they're still going strong. Budget around Y8000 at dinnertime, or a bit more for their...
Katsukura - Tonkatsu [ Open 11am-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...
Asakura - Izakaya [ Open 7pm-2am. Closed Tuesdays. ]
A small sake pub with a fantastic selection of unusual regional sakes from around Japan. The food menu is limited to small snacks, including a wide selection of imported cheeses; if you thought sake...
Tousuiro - Tofu [ Open 11:30am-2, 5-9:30pm (LO) daily. ]
Good home-made tofu is the specialty here, with multi-course tofu dinners starting from Y4859. Lunch is by reservation only.
Pittoresque - French [ Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-9pm daily. ]
Luxuriously over-the-top French cuisine revolving around rich ingredients like foie gras, lobster and domestic beef. The degustation menu is Y13,000.
Hafuu - Yoshoku [ Open 11:30am-1:30, 5:30-9:30pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays. ]
Yes, there is such a thing as gourmet yoshoku, and Hafuu leads the way with nicely prepared tongue stews, fried shrimps, cutlet sandwiches and other Japanese-style Western classics. The modern...
Japonica Cafe - Cafe [ Open 11:30am-11pm (LO) daily. ]
This casual cafe features an eclectic menu (Thai green curry, shrimp ajillo) and a few interesting craft beers from brewery Shiga-Kogen on tap and in bottles. They also have a music store, and host...
Kati Thai Cafe - Thai [ Open noon-2pm, 5:30-10pm. Closed Mondays. ]
The only item that polarizes diners at Kati is the Mekhong rum. Beyond this very potent brew, the menu of Thai classics has everyone in agreement - the food is good. Formerly housed in a converted...
Bouchon - French [ Open 8am-2:30pm, 5:30-9:30pm (LO). Closed Thursdays. ]
The decor is old-school budget French (checkered tablecloths, tiny tables, a big counter at one end of the room), but the menu is a cut above the decor, with good country-style cuisine at...
El Fogon - Spanish [ Open 3pm-3am (rest 5:30-11pm LO). Closed Wednesdays. ]
El Fogon is a little slice of Spain in downtown Kyoto. Serrano ham, Moorish tiles, and a terracotta floor: it could be somewhere in Andalucia.
Nekokaigi - Cat cafe [ Open 11am-8pm (enter by 7pm). Closed Tuesdays. ]
"Relax with cute cats" is the mission statement at this small cat cafe, which has more than a dozen resident cats ready to hang out with. Admission is Y900 for the first hour, with coffee, tea and...
Park Caffe - Italian [ Open noon-11pm daily. ]
Park Caffe is nowhere near a park but it's a great place to watch the world go by. Sunlight streams in through the floor-to-ceiling window. A marvel of design economy, there are three seating areas;...
Cordon Noir - Bar [ Open 7pm-3am. Closed Wednesdays. ]
A specialty bar with an amazing selection of rare Scotch whiskeys; the bartender also mixes good cocktails. The food menu includes the Scottish favorite haggis.
Misogigawa - French [ Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-9pm (LO) daily. ]
Paris-trained owner-chef Teruo Inoue prepares world-class "French kaiseki" - a fusion of modern French cuisine with a Japanese sensibility and local ingredients. The old wooden building on narrow...
Tsukada Nojo - Japanese regional [ Open 5pm-midnight daily. ]
First-rate Miyazaki chicken dishes, regional Kyushu fare and local shochu brands are the specialties at this reasonably priced, unpretentious Miyazaki-based izakaya chain. Budget around Y3000-4000...
K6 - Bar [ Open 6pm-3am (5am weekends) daily. ]
A pleasant, medium-sized bar with a serious selection of single-malt Scotch whiskies and one Japanese microbrew beer (Yona Yona real ale on tap).
Ikumatsu - Kyo-ryori [ Open 11:30am-1, 5:30-7pm (LO) daily. ]
Mini-kaiseki lunches start at just Y7000 at this 200-year-old ryokan, and there's a pleasant riverfront terrace that's open May to September. Full-blown kaiseki menus are Y14,000-20,000. They also...
Tadg's Gastro Pub - Beer bar [ Open 11:30am-2, 6-10pm (LO) daily. ]
One of Kyoto's hangouts for craft-beer aficionados, Tadg's offers eight Japanese craft beers on tap along with a good selection of US imports by the bottle. Bar snacks include fish and chips,...
Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen - Japanese [ Open 11:30am-10pm daily. ]
This sprawling building was once the private mansion of one of Kyoto's leading merchants, and its beautiful garden and riverfront setting make it a popular spot for parties and banquets - this is...