Gion Karyo, Kyoto

Set in an old Kyoto house, Gion Karyo is a kaiseki restaurant located in the heart of Gion.  It is a great kaiseki place for people who are not as familiar with Japanese cuisine or not adventurous (like myself). The food served at Gion Karyo is nothing bizarre or unique to the taste buds. If you have any food restrictions or allergies, you can inform them in advance, and they will prepare your food accordingly.  The staff speaks sufficient English, and there are English menus available.

The interior decorations were simple, with not much ambiance.

 

 

I made reservations in advance. When you are presented to your seat, there will be a menu ready on the table. The price for the lunch course is ¥ 5000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The dishes were beautifully presented. However, for me, it lacked taste. Most of the dishes tasted similar and were a little bland. There was no wow factor for me.

The highlight for me was the dessert and coffee. For dessert, I had some matcha arrowroot dessert accompanied with ice cream and caramel cake. My brother had the Crème brûlée. The matcha arrowroot dessert tasted like matcha jelly with evaporated milk and soybean flour – very fragrant.

Overall, the food was basic and average, especially for the price. But it is definitely a foreigner-friendly restaurant.

 

Gion Karyo

Websitehttp://www.karyo-kyoto.jp/gion/

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:30 Am to 8 PM

Telephone: +81 75-532-0025

Address: 605-0074 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Gionmachi Minamigawa, 東山区祇園町南側570-235

 

Gontaro, Kyoto

Gontaro is a famous udon noodle restaurant in Kyoto. There are three branches in Kyoto. I went to the main branch located downtown on Fuyacho Dori, between Nishiki market and Shijo Dori.

The restaurant had a Kyoto machiya style exterior with a stone path leading to an automatic sliding shoji door. The interior is decorated in Sukiya-zukuri architectural style, common in many Japanese tea houses, creating a tranquil ambiance. There was only one waitress dressed in Kimono. She did not speak much English, but she could understand some of the things I said. She was nice and had a smile on her face the whole time.

The restaurant offers a variety of Soba and Udon noodles with some side dishes. The prices are reasonable. There is also an English menu available.

As I was craving fish, I ordered the Nishin udon (¥ 1200), a Kyoto specialty. It is basically a piece of dried herring placed on top of the udon. At the time, I did not know it was dried herring. On the menu, it stated sweet stewed herring. The soup was delicious, but I did not like the herring. It was dry and chewy. I guess I was not used to eating dried fish.

If you are in the area, this is a good place for Soba and Udon noodles.

 

Gontaro

Website: http://gontaro.co.jp/english/kyoto/index.html

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday except for Wednesday 11:00 AM to 21:00 PM

Telephone: +81 75-221-5810

Address: 604-8053 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 麸屋町通四条上ル