Food in Tokyo is pretty damn good, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that there are great meals to be had in Kyoto besides the traditional Japanese food it’s known for. These are the top five food spots we liked best. We only wish we had a better camera. Please excuse our sub-par photos.
1. Italian at Colori Caffe
A friend of a friend in NYC heard we had plans to visit Kyoto and introduced us to Yossi, Italian restaurant owner and chef extraordinaire. From the moment we met, I knew we were going to be friends. I could go on and on about how awesome she is, but I’ll save that for another day. This girl does everything by herself, from the buying of the food to the cooking to the serving to the cleaning. Crazy, right? But she does everything so flawlessly and seamlessly that we were able to really enjoy the food.
On a quiet narrow side street in the outskirts of Ginza is one of the best eel (unagi) restaurants in Tokyo called Chikuyoutei (pronounced chiku-yo-tey). We joined a few ladies who lunch for an extravagant unagi meal at the headquarters (called honten) of this Michelin-starred restaurant, which consisted of not one but two eels prepared different ways. Since this was a splurge, we decided to take one of the private tatami rooms instead of taking a table at their sit-down joint next door.
A nicely-dressed employee met us at the door to lead us into a private dining room. As she ushered us through the narrow hallway, past the cute little outdoor garden and into our room, it was clear she had no interest in adding to our eel-consuming happiness that day. She huffed around in a subtle Japanese “you killed my family and I shall have my revenge” way, which is much harder to detect than when a disgruntled McDonald’s employee in New York City rolls her eyes and sucks her teeth when you ask her if you can please have another packet of ketchup.