In the hierarchy of Kyo ryori, or Kyoto cuisine, obansai is at the bottom. Essentially it is home cooking that has wound its way from the homestead to the restaurant. At Okudohan it remains uncomplicated and comforting -- as it should be.

Customers are first greeted by the owner's dog, an adorable Shiba Inu that goes by the name Hana-chan and enjoys a pat on the head while you sip on the bar's original cocktails.

Gogyo's secret weapon is kogashi ("burned") ramen. For each bowl, a couple of ladlefuls of lard are heated up in a wok and then ignited, filling the kitchen with billowing fire and smoke. The charred residue is then tipped over the noodles, giving the ...

You can order the chicken in quarter or half sizes (to eat in or to go), with a side of french fries, onion rings, rice or corn. The other exciting thing on the menu is the Maui Wowie, a hot sandwich of shredded chicken ...

It also does several excellent varieties of poke, a salad of raw, marinated seafood and chopped vegetables. But the restaurant's strongest point is its lively selection of daily specials that keeps it steps ahead of Tokyo's one-trick-wonder Hawaiian joints.

The pancakes at the Tokyo outpost of Oahu's popular Cafe Kaila are indeed very good. They are light and fluffy but not at all vapid; they're incredibly filling and include a surprisingly generous amount of fruit.

At Kishiya, every bowl of noodles is served fresh, so it may take a little longer than the other kishimen restaurants in town. There over a dozen kishimen dishes to choose from, as well as a variety of udon and a range of okazu ...

The curry made at Irish Curry (that's the name of the restaurant) is, in fact, the classic Japanese curry and rice dish (adapted many moons ago from an Indian curry recipe introduced by the British), but with one not-so-secret ingredient: Guinness.

I order the zaru soba for around ¥700. The noodles are served plain and chilled with just a few nori flakes sprinkled on top, with a side of dipping sauce. The sauce in most soba restaurants does, unfortunately, have fish-based dashi as an ingredient, ...

The waiting time for hinadori and oyadori is about 15 minutes as the bird is put through the fire, which leaves plenty of time to order (and finish) drinks and bites from the menu; we had torimeshi (chicken-rice) and clear chicken soup, which whet ...

It comes as a relief to find somewhere that's calm, aimed at an adult demographic and serious about its food and drink. Not that you're likely to stumble unaided on this cozy basement izakaya, despite its location just a few minutes' walk from Shibuya's ...

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