Soba Dokoro Sasaki: Traditional soba sets worth lining up for

by J.J. O'Donoghue

Special To The Japan Times

Soba Dokoro Sasaki is worth a stopover if you’re heading north into Kyoto’s hills to catch the trees in their autumnal colors. It’s billed as a soba restaurant, but there’s plenty of udon and tempura dishes on the menu, too. Your best bet is to opt for one of this restaurant’s substantial set menus.

Sasaki dresses itself very much like an old-style Japanese restaurant; seating is divided between tables and chairs, and zashiki (floor seating). The staff are more efficient than friendly, but that doesn’t stop the crowds: the line at the door builds up quickly, especially on weekends. Thankfully the wait is not interminable as soba and udon are served and eaten fast.

The standard ¥1,460 zaru-soba set (cold soba served on a basket accompanied with a dipping sauce) becomes a hearty meal with extra toppings such as tempura prawn, eggplant and perilla, as well as sides including pickled radish and a bowl of rice topped with chirimen sanshō (dried baby fish seasoned with shoyu and pepper).

The wariko soba set arrives stacked in a three-tiered bento box. The top level contains soba and a fried egg, the middle section contained thin strips of laver and fish eggs, and on the bottom there’s dashi-sweetened omelette and shoyu-marinated shitake mushrooms. Sasaki is worth checking out for the range and value of its noodle sets.

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