Kaiseki, Whiskey and Ex-Geisha

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Kyoto is a place where you can eat all the way back to the Edo period.. the most unique experience you will ever get in any corner of the universe.

Here is a starter list of restaurants and food joints you should check out.

Ippodo Tea Room – a 14th century KABOKU Tearoom, get immersed in their Tea-Making Workshops, or simple yet nerve wrecking – be a part of the tea ceremony.

Kaiseki Kichisen

If you have time for only 1 kaiseki meal in Kyoto, go downright traditional at Kichisen. Known to the locals endearingly as’kisen’, this homey restaurant is nestled in a double-storey terrace building in the Shimogamo disctrict, just 10 minutes walk from Shimogamo-jinja – one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan – in the wooded surrounds of Tadasu no Mori forest. The wood-swathed kaiseki restaurant, which boasts 4 tatami rooms and 5 counter seats, won 2 Michelin stars in year 2009

Host waiting for us at the door to take us to ‘our dining room’ which is private for the two of us and the chef. 

Sake in Powdered Ice Basket

Small bites of fish and tofu 

Chef Yoshimi Tanigawa handing over one of our dishes

Acquiring a deep appreciation of cooking at the age of nine, Yoshimi Tanigawa was convinced that cooking was his mission in life. Later, he came to Kyoto and studied traditional Japanese cultural arts such as ‘tea ceremony,’ ‘flower arrangement,’ ‘incense ceremony,’ ‘calligraphy,’ ‘Japanese poetry,’ etc., in order to polish his sensitivity and acquire inspiration for his profession.

Chef Yoshimi Tanigawa beat Morimoto in the Japanese Iron Chef and he gave us a CD of that episode. Take that, Mr. Morimoto – who has never lost since then!

Each dish was pure. YES PURE is what comes to mind.

Freshest ingredients, natural plating techniques, high art form and delicious, ofcourse.

Dessert – Yuzu fruit cup.

Did You Know? That Kaiseki is the origin of the multiple course dining that high end restaurants serve right now. Yes. another Asian import into the western culture.

SOBA Noodle

Honke Owariya – Try this 540 year old Soba Noodle Restaurant.

Womb is a cafe-style Japanese food restaurant with one long table and Masaki Tokuda designed original chairs with fashionable exposed concrete. People can enjoy the food while watching the miniature landscape garden in front.

Izakaya

I forgot the name of this place but its on the same street as the Screen Hotel.

This was one of the best izakayas I have ever had, each small plate was heaven in your mouth and I wish I can go back one more time to have their Chicken Karaage.

Chicken Karaage – Deep fried chicken niblets

Meat Skewer with a egg yolk ball

Yakiniku

Another highly recommended experience is to go to Hiro by the Kamo river.

Mats on the floor with low tables and grills

With a killer view and an amazing breeze

While you are cooking some bad ass meat

Late night Ramen

Ubiquitous – just follow the crowd to a Ramen joint.

Drink //

I enjoyed every minute of walking around Ponto-cho and entering the little bars that might just have an ex-geisha as the host.

Sent James Club – If you are into Whiskey and Jazz, this is the place to go.

A small cozy bar with one bartender who has all the liquor in the giant closet behind him. Quiet Jazzy time.

Mamachicka – You are lucky if this place is open the night you are going.

The host, who used to be a Geisha, is the owner of this bar and her name is Mamachicka. She knows how to make her guests have the best time of the night. And mum is the word~

Curator. Dreamer. Designer. Founder of FreshGrub. Based in NYC. Seeking Inspiration Everywhere.

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