Hi,I’m Keiko from Osaka!
If you want to taste the Kyoto-style home cooking, make sure to try an obanzai restaurant.
Obanzai is traditional home meals that use local ingredients that are in season. Obanzai dishes have been passed down generations and therefore truly the “soul food” of Kyoto.
They are usually simply made, fairly inexpensive, and super healthy.
The emphasis is placed on drawing the natural flavors of the ingredients than adding heavy seasoning.
Dishes vary by season and availability but expect lots of Kyo-yasai (Kyoto vegetables), tofu, miso, pickles, and stews.
Obanzai heavily vary depending on the regional culture and ingredients, so dining at an obanzai restaurant is a popular thing to do for the Japanese tourists visiting Kyoto.
Here are 5 best obanzai restaurants to taste Kyoto’s soul food!
Local tells Top 5 best Obanzai restaurants in Kyoto!Have traditional home cooking
1.Mukadeya/百足屋This is a picturesque obanzai restaurant that you can enjoy the Kyoto atmosphere.
Mukadeya is housed in a beautiful machiya (traditional town house) that used to be owned by a Kimono trader in Kyoto.
Just like any machiya, the entrance is rather small and narrow but the restaurant stretches deep back, with a beautiful garden centrally located inside for customers to enjoy.
Obanzai here are served in a kaiseki style (course meal), simple yet elegant way to enjoy the best of Kyoto’s seasonal ingredients.
The lunch course here ranges from ¥3,240 to ¥5,400 while dinner course ranges from ¥5,400 to ¥10,800.
English menu is available. Mukadeya is around 5 minutes’ walk from Karasuma station.
2.Banzai HASEGAWA/万菜 はせがわAt Banzai HASEGAWA, you can try all you can eat obanzai that comes with a fish dish, rice, and miso soup.
Except for the fish dish, you can have all you can eat!
This is a great choice for someone wanting to try a little of everything.
Though “all you can eat”, this is a fairly healthy way to do so since obanzai here are mostly vegetables and tofu, ranging around 10 dishes.
The building has recently been renovated, so you can enjoy the healthy meal in a relaxed environment.
All you can eat obanzai lunch is at ¥950 or dinner at ¥1,500 (+300 with miso soup).
The restaurant is conveniently located in the middle of the city, along Sanjo.
3.Hokkoriya/ほっこりや“Hokkori” in Japanese means warm and relaxed, and that’s the atmosphere you will enjoy in Hokkoriya.
Located in the traditional picturesque district of Ponto-cho, Hokkoriya is a high-end obanzai restaurant that obtained the Michelin 1 star for the last 7 years.
The restaurant only has about a 10 seating capacity, yet people from all over the country flock here.
The food here is so popular that there are now cooking books published that introduce how to prepare their obanzai at home.
The unique feature here is that you can also have oden (a type of stew-like Japanese food where various ingredients are simmered in a stock).
In a quaint restaurant, over the counter, there are various obanzai that are displayed in big plates from which you can point to pick what you want.
This is a place for you if you want to experience the traditional home meals in the Kyoto’s elegant atmosphere.
This is also a perfect place to bring a business guest, though reservation is highly recommended.
Hokkoriya is in located in Pontocho, within a walking distance from Sanjo station.
Next,let’s go to a machiya style obanzai restaurant in Kyoto!
4.Matsutomi ya Kotobuki – Ichie/松富や壽いちえMatsutomi ya Kotobuki is housed in a 100 year-old renovated machiya.
If you want to try the natural and clean taste of vegetables and grains in Japan, this is the place.
Matstomi ya Kotobuki’s policy is to provide the safe Japanese ingredients without using any chemical or without using too much seasoning.
It mostly cooks its food using only sake, soy source, a bit of raw sugar.
It provides customers with the Japanese ingredients that are best in each season, ensuring that we can appreciate the actual taste of the ingredients.
All you can eat (60 minutes) obanzai lunch buffet is available at ¥1,050, a great way to enjoy a bit of everything.
It is around 10 minutes’ walk from Marutacho Eki on Karasuma Subway line or Nijojo Mae station on Tozai Subway line.
5.Ichiba Koji – Teramachi/市場小路 寺町本店Ichiba Koji is located close to Nishiki Market, a perfect place for you to have a healthy lunch meal while you shop in the Market.
Obanzai or not, the menu is extensive, so I am sure everyone in your family will find what they are looking for, from a healthy light lunch full of vegetables to a sizzling Japanese steak lunch.
There is a lunch set that can also be recommended.
You can choose one main dish (tofu and yuba, pork, beef, Salisbury steak, or chicken), an obanzai plate consisting of 8 dishes, a miso soup, all you can eat multi-grained rice, and all you can eat fresh tofu.
This great lunch plate ranges from ¥1,000 to ¥1,500.
The nearest station to Ichiba Koji is Kawaramachi Station.
Top 5 best Obanzai restaurants in Kyoto
- Mukadeya・・・Mukadeya is housed in a beautiful machiya (traditional town house) that used to be owned by a Kimono trader in Kyoto.
- Banzai HASEGAWA・・・ At Banzai HASEGAWA, you can try all you can eat obanzai that comes with a fish dish, rice, and miso soup.
- Hokkoriya・・・ Hokkoriya is a high-end obanzai restaurant that obtained the Michelin 1 star for the last 7 years.
- Matsutomi ya Kotobuki – Ichie・・・If you want to try the natural and clean taste of vegetables and grains in Japan, this is the place.
- Ichiba Koji – Teramachi・・・Ichiba Koji is located in Nishiki Market, a perfect place for you to have a healthy lunch meal while you shop in the Market.
I hope you’ll enjoy Kyoto-style home cooking!
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