Taihou is the kind of place where everybody gets to know your name. On a recent visit for Sunday lunch I stayed well past last orders, past dessert, past an impromptu cheese course, only leaving before chef Kouki Watanabe and his staff sat down for their meal and a power nap before gearing up for the evening dinner rush.

Kouki’s father started Taihou in 1974, and while he’s still involved, it’s the younger Watanabe who wears the toque (which he does). Besides being a family-run restaurant, Taihou feels like a family restaurant: It’s busy, informal and home to some of the best Sichuan cuisine in Kyoto, which explains the line of people, round the clock.

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