Inakatei

When faced with a six-page menu allied with a supplementary page loaded with specials and all in a language that makes less sense to you than abstract art, what do you do? Get up and leave is one answer, as proven by the nearby ...

Cafe Salon

Kitayama is five stops on the subway from downtown Kyoto, but it might as well be a million miles away for the tourists who trudge around the city in search of Kyoto tropes: temples, shrines, teahouses and geishas who are more than likely tourists ...

What’s

Culinary epiphanies don't happen often, but when they do, they are food for thought. I had one recently dining on prime Japanese beef and it was an experience that, on reflection, recalled a childhood event. Not that I grew up eating wagyū — far ...

Chocolat Bel Amer

First established in Tokyo, Chocolat Bel Amer has now opened a boutique in a gorgeous traditional machiya (town house) fronted by a Japanese maple tree. In a rather bold move, it is directly opposite Inoda, an institution among Kyoto's cafes. What connects both these ...

Sara

Midway through lunch at Sara, a family-run restaurant in northern Kyoto, I started to suspect that the chefs subscribed to a philosophy of daintiness. The food was as pretty as it was good to eat, but the portions were decidedly petit. This was especially so ...

Awomb

Before getting into Awomb, a few observations on queues and queuing. Or, in American parlance, standing in line (or on line). 1. Nothing turns me off queuing like seeing a queue. 2. Besides staging a crash outside your new shop or restaurant, nothing generates ...

Spice Chamber

Spice Chamber is actually more like a closet, or a long coffin; I wondered while I waited for my curry if I could touch both walls at once. At kappō (counter-style) restaurants, you have to leave your guard down a little. One of the ...

Qu’il Fait Bon

I would like to go back to Qu'il Fait Bon on Valentine's Day, but I think humans would sooner live on Mars before I'd secure a table there on that occasion. On a recent midweek visit, however, at two in the afternoon it was a ...

Inoda Coffee

Inoda is one of Kyoto's long-established coffee chains, and has several outposts dotted around the city, but the cafe and shop on Sanjo Street is a treat, with its space to seat ratio in the region of 10 to 1. It's all quite old-world and ...

Weekenders Coffee

To get a sense of how much the Japanese coffee scene has evolved over the past decade, pay a visit to Weekenders Coffee. This specialty coffee shop in northeast Kyoto — which marks its 10th anniversary next month — ranks among the city's most ...