Last Updated on June 10, 2020 by hungryoungwoman
So, you’re in Kyoto and you’re looking for a good place to eat? Well, you’re in the right city, that’s for sure. Kyoto is a fairly big place, and the local gastronomy has something to offer to just about anyone. Therefore, here’s a list of best restaurants in Kyoto to help you choose, in no particular order.
No matter if you’re into fine dining, street food or traditional dishes, if you’re a vegan, vegetarian, can’t eat gluten, or avoid a certain type of food for religious reasons, you’ll find the best places to eat in Kyoto for you here! However, as everywhere else, some places are better than others, which means you need to know where to head if you want the best experience. Check them all out, you won’t regret it.
This post has been written by travel blogger, Joe from onedayitinerary.com telling us all about the best restaurants Kyoto while also giving advice about places to go in Kyoto and some of the best places to stay in Kyoto!
Best Restaurants in Kyoto to try this year!
We’ll open with some heavy hitters from the fine dining category. Kichisen has not one, not two, but three Michelin stars and its philosophy revolves around the Japanese tea ceremony. Their dishes are a feast for eyes, not just your mouth, with some excellent sushi and sashimi being the main stars. Of course, there are some other main dishes too, and everything is prepared with only the finest ingredients.
If you want a dinner to remember, this is a must eat in Kyoto! But don’t make your decision just yet because there is another candidate you should take into consideration
If you’re thinking of Michelin star restaurants, Kyoto has another contender apart from Kichisen – Hyotei. What sets it apart from the rest of the pack is its tradition, you see, the place started out as a tea house, but that was about 400 years ago! Incredible! And there’s even a beautiful garden around it.
Kaiseki is the name of the game here, and their main dish is Asagayu, a type of rice porridge. Could we name this the best Kaiseki in Kyoto? Maybe. You have to try to find out. A truly exquisite place with a great vibe of traditional Japan and another excellent way to enjoy Japanese food.
And now for something completely different. While this is not a restaurant per se, Nishiki Market is an obligatory stop on your one day in Kyoto, especially if you’re a foodie.
There are quite literally dozens of small shops and street food vendors there, so this is the perfect place to do some serious tasting. Okonomiyaki, yaki-soba and so much more can be purchased here, ideal dishes if you’re in a hurry and need something to restore your energy before you continue sightseeing. Do not miss out on this!
If you’re a vegan, you must be worried about finding the best place to eat in Kyoto for vegans. Well, worry no more! Izusen is just the kind of thing you’ve been looking for, and the restaurant’s interior is designed beautifully, in a traditional way.
The place is actually located in a temple called Daikotu-Ji, which only adds to the experience. The food is delicious, carefully prepared, and presented on the plate, so you’re in for quite a treat. Everything is plant-based, of course, but the tofu dishes are particularly interesting. Enjoy!
Maybe you just want some good old sushi, and in an atmosphere, that kind of brings you closer to the city’s everyday life? Azuma Sushi is just the place for that – an honest restaurant with counter seats only that serves the best sushi in Kyoto in an intimate atmosphere.
It’s nothing too classy but it is excellent if you want some good sushi and maybe soak in some of the city’s vibe. Furthermore, there is a really impressive variety of sushi here, from squid and octopus to freshwater eel and sea urchin.
Ganko Sanjo Honten
Should you happen to be in town with your whole family and thinking about where to eat in Kyoto, this is a great place where you can take them. The prices are reasonable, their booths are spacious, and they offer loads of different Japanese dishes, with sushi taking center stage.
It’s likely to be crowded since many tourists come here, but a lot of locals will come in too because the food is just so good. Oh, and they have an English menu, which is certainly something to consider in Japan.
Meat lovers, this one’s for you! Mouriya Gion is a fantastic place if you want to try Kobe beef.
Yes, it can get pricey, but the feeling of that beef melting in your mouth is worth every penny. But while the beef is the star of the show, it is by no means the only thing the restaurant has to offer. Side dishes, desserts, soups, salads… everything here is of the very highest quality and you can be sure you will love every single bite.
Great food, great service, one of the best places to eat Kyoto food!
Trattoria Macedonia Yuki
But, as mentioned in the introduction, there’s something for everyone in the city, and if you want some high-quality Italian dishes, Trattoria Macedonia Yuki is the answer!
Excellent pizza, delicious pasta, and tiramisu to die for will transport you immediately to Italy. No matter where you come from, you will love it here, and the welcoming atmosphere and delightful hosts make you really feel appreciated.
Next on the best places to visit in Kyoto for Japanese food is Kagizen.
Tea is big in Japan. I mean, they are almost obsessed with it! Therefore, you may want to go through an authentic tea-drinking experience to see the intriguing ritual first hand.
Kagizen is a great place for that because it will provide you with traditional tea recipes and wagashi, the kind of sweet that is traditionally served with tea. Yes, tradition is really taken seriously here, and when you combine that with quite a calming atmosphere, you get a perfect place for taking a break from that hectic city life outside. Take a moment to appreciate it.
Ramen is a quintessentially Japanese dish, but apart from it being incredibly tasty, it’s also pretty affordable.
Nevertheless, some restaurants prepare it better than others, and one such establishment is Ippudo Nishikikouji. As a matter of fact, the restaurant is so successful that it has branched out into the US, Australia and Hong Kong.
The selection of ramens is extremely impressive, and you get the feeling that there’s not a combination they don’t have. Need something cheap, warm and tasty? You’ve found it! I can broadly classify this as part of cheap eats Kyoto.
There’s a little bit of everything on the menu of Arash’s Kitchen, but every single dish there is expertly made and can make your mouth water.
Pizzas, various sandwiches, salads, and most importantly – kebab. Yes, this is a place with a quite special vibe and Turkish, Persian and Indian dishes, something that functions incredibly well in Japan.
Vegetarians and vegans will easily find something for themselves here, plus the restaurant is halal, so Muslim travelers can enjoy themselves. Tasty and very pleasant making it one of the top restaurants in Kyoto for halal food.
Dragon Burger Kyoto
You must be getting pretty worried by now, given that no burger joints were mentioned. Well, if you want a good old burger, Dragon Burger Kyoto is the place to go if you also want to try cheap food Kyoto can offer.
The patties are juicy and succulent, the fries are beautifully crisp as are the onion rings, and the deserts are excellent (ice cream in particular!).
All in all, it’s a really pleasant burger experience, with excellent food, warm atmosphere, and attentive hosts. What more could you ask for?
Inoda Coffee Honten
Last, but not least, if you’re looking for a great way to start your day in Kyoto, head to Inoda Coffee. The coffee is quite good, and you can get some good hearty American-style grub at a reasonable price if you order their breakfast set.
A pretty good way to fill up before you start exploring the city, all in a nice relaxed atmosphere.
And that’s it, those are some of the best places to eat in Kyoto, Japan!
It really is amazing how diverse the food offer is here, but there is a fair bit of places and restaurants that aren’t covered in this text, so don’t be afraid to do some exploring and you might come up with your own set of good restaurants in Kyoto. Sometimes, even a simple search “Kyoto restaurants near me” on Google can help.
After all, visiting Kyoto is quite an adventure. For example, the city has seven restaurants that have three Michelin stars! Wow!
So no matter if you’re here alone, with your significant other, with your family, if you want an authentic tea-drinking experience, an exquisite fine dining restaurant or just a good old burger or a pizza, you’ll find it easily in Kyoto.
Not to mention all those tasty Japanese dishes, both sweet and savory. Foodies will be in heaven here, and if you’re not one, you could very well join them before your trip is over. Bon appetit!
Want some inspiration on the best places to stay Kyoto? Find a hotel according to your budget here:
Until then, happy eating! xx
P.S. To save and read later, here are some pinnable versions 🙂
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