Yak and Yeti is a restaurant we go back to time and time again for two reasons. One is the super friendly staff who never fail to put a smile on our faces. And the other is their legendary Vegetable Phuraula, Nepali style spicy vegetable tempura. It’s amazing. This restaurant is super popular with vegetarians for the range of tasty vegan options they have on their menu but you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy them. They are soooo good. And of course they have plenty of carnivorous options too. We usually share one curry and a naan bread and get a range of their fantastic appetisers. Here’s what we had last time.
Generally, they have two Nepali beers available, Mustang, which has a subtle but musky flavour, and Nepali Ice which is crisper and lighter on the tongue. The spicy papadums were a special treat from the restaurant, and went so nicely with that first beer. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago we went to check out the new location for Falafel Garden. A short walk north of Demachiyanagi on Kawabata, this new shop opened on April 28th. The old Falafel Garden was always a popular spot, but I think I like this new one even more. It’s bigger, more comfortable, they have a nice big garden out the back and if you are lucky you can snag a balcony seat upstairs and sit outside in the cool breeze watching those dinky little toy-like trains of the Eiden line roll by.
And the food of course is as good as ever. Mewby ordered a double sandwich set of chicken kebab and falafel (1290 yen).
Whereas I went for a simple large falafel sandwich (1150 yen). Did we get fries with that (100 yen)? Yes, we did! It was great, but I think in retrospect, my eyes were bigger than my tummy and a medium sized sandwich would have sufficed.
So to summarize, the new Falafel Garden is just as good as the old one, if not better, and those healthy, nutritious, golden balls of goodness are just as tasty as before. Keep this fine institution going and give them some of your custom at the location below!
Open: Everyday 11:00 am ~ 21:30 (last orders) ~ 22:00 (closes)
The 2nd floor is non-smoking.
Now that Obanzai’s organic buffet is closing, it is good to know that there are alternatives. Kamo serves up all organic locally grown vegetables in all kinds of tasty combinations. They take pride in the fact their vegetables are 都野菜 or “Miyako vegetables” which means they are truly local. Apparently the famed label 京野菜 – “Kyo yasai” does not always guarantee that the veggies actually come from Kyoto! Mewby and I went there a couple of weeks ago for lunch and thought it was pretty good value. Here’s Mewby’s lunch:
As you can see there is plenty of variety. Here are the details:
Morning light meal buffet(7:00 ～ 10:00): ￥480 (includes a soft drink)
Lunch-time buffet (11:00 ～ 16:00): ￥880 （when full they have a one hour limit）
Dinner-time buffet (17:00 ～ 23:00): ￥1,300 （when full they have an 80 minute limit）
Limitless soft drinks: ￥300
All You Can Drink with alcohol: ￥950
Location: On the south-east corner of Higashinotoin and Ayanokouji. One block east of Karasuma and one block south of Shijo. Here is a MAP.
Check out also these 360 degree panoramic views of the interior: http://nasukamo.net/panorama.html
Thanks to Gary Bloom and Barbara Stein for passing on the sad news that the organic buffet restaurant Obanzai is closing at the end of this month. Though not 100% vegetarian, this buffet was very veggie heavy, all natural and good value too. The owners of the building have decided to demolish it however, and so the restaurant, unwillingly, has to go too. I wonder if they will try to set up shop elsewhere? Well Barbara has suggested people go along before the end of the month to say goodbye and show their support, and I think that’s an excellent idea. Grab one last all-you-can-eat buffet while you’re there too. They are damn tasty.
Location: 1F of Ichii Bldg., on the east side of Koromonodana, north of Oike
See also: My 2007 posting on Obanzai.
We found another great curry place! Mewby and I stumbled across Chakra last night while out for an evening stroll, and although we hadn’t intended to eat out, we were tempted in at the thought of Bengal curry goodness…
There are a lot of choices on the menu, and everything seems pretty reasonably priced. There are also a lot of vegetarian/vegan options: 8 different veggie curries to choose from! Mewby being carnivorous chose a chicken korma (1,200 yen):
And I had a Shaee vegetable korma (1100 yen). Both of our meals were delicious.
The sweet naan (500 yen) we ordered to accompany our meals was the star attraction though. Packed with dried fruits and coconut, we both loved it.
Chakra is on the corner of Gojo and Higashioji at the bottom of the Kiyomizu slope – an area that basically shuts down in the evenings, so I think this restaurant gets most of its business at lunchtime. If you go in the evening, it’s nice and quiet, and the background ethnic music is gentle on ears the too. Bento lunch boxes (700 yen) and takeaway meals are also available. All in all, we were very happy with our Chakra experience and will definitely be back to try more items on the menu.
Godfather & Cobra Indian beers available!
Monday – Sunday: 11:00 – 22:00
On the west side of Higashioji Street just north of Gojo at the bottom of Gojozaka. The Gojo Zaka bus stop is right outside. Here is a MAP
Here’s a valuable new resource for health loving Deep Kyotoites: a very well laid-out site with a tonne of useful information!
Organic Kyoto was created by Kyoto resident Alice Miyagawa and launched on 16th August 2013. Living in Japan since 2002, she realised it would be a great service to have a comprehensive website that could be found by searching the English keywords “organic” and “Kyoto”. Continue reading
Though there are quite a large number of vegetarian establishments in Kyoto, most of them are located in the north of the city, and the few there are in the city center tend to sell nothing that isn’t healthy and nutritious. Good vegan junk food is pretty hard to come by. There used to be a branch of Speakeasy on Shijo that did a passable veggie burger, but that closed down back in 2010. Since then our vegan brethren have been denied the delights of fast and convenient processed treats at a convenient location and forced to endure a steady diet of tofu and wholegrain rice. No more! Vegan cafe Matsuontoko is here to save the day, slap bang in the center of town, with a fine array of vegan fake-meats!
So convincing are these fake-meats that one of Mewby’s friends was half-way through her “kara-age” before she realised it wasn’t chicken at all. And that was only because Mewby told her.
“Really,” Mewby told me. “You’ll be amazed.”
“Well, alright then.” I said. So I went. And here’s my order.
How good was it? Very good. The bread was actually really nice too. I was entirely satisfied. But I decided to pig out on onion rings anyway. They were nice sweet onions and non too greasy.
And for a mere two hundred yen extra you get a lovely little cup of tofu ice-cream, cream and vegan brownies.
In short, whether you are vegan or no, if have a hankering for fast food at a reasonable price, Matsuontoko is the place to go.
Matsuontoko is just east of Shinkyogoku, three streets up from Shijo. Here is a map. Check the website for other items on the menu. There are a lot of choices.
Open: 11:00～24:00 （Last Orders: 23:00）
Lovers of vegan burgers may also be interested in: Morpho Cafe
Sunday, September 30th, 10 am to 5 pm
This year’s Vegetarian Festival will be held at Umekoji Park, which is an odd choice of venue given the organizers’ values and the immediate proximity of that infamous animal-gulag: Kyoto Aquarium.
As in previous years, there will be music, crafts, children’s activities, massage stalls, information booths, and speeches on topics ranging from animal liberation to nuclear power (non too popular apparently). I imagine there might be some vegetarian food stalls too, but given my experience of the last few years, there won’t be much variety, portions will be small and prices will be high.
Naturally, I do hope I am proved wrong and that this year the organizers have seen fit to concentrate a little more on the Vegetarian aspect of their event. Looking at their website though I doubt it. Here are the details if you want to give it a try:
Kyoto Vegetarian Festival 2012
Sunday, September 30th, 10 am to 5 pm
Rain or Shine, Free Admission
Umeko-ji Park, Shichijo side
Directions – Train/Bus
●From Kyoto Station (JR Line)
On foot: 20 to 25 minutes
By Kyoto City Bus: 3-minute walk from Umekoji Koenmae bus stop (Route 205, 208 or 33)
By Aquarium Shuttle: 0-minute walk from Umekoji Koen bus stop
●From Tambaguchi Station (JR Line)
On foot: 15 minutes
●From Shichijo Station (Keihan Line)
By Kyoto City Bus: 3-minute walk from Umekoji Koenmae bus stop (Route 208)
By the “Aquarium Higashiyama Line” bus: 0-minute walk from Umekoji Koen bus stop
●From Omiya Station (Hankyu Line)
By Kyoto City Bus: 10-minute walk from Nanajo-Omiya Kyotosuizokukan-mae bus stop (Route 207)
Here is a map.
The concept of Morpho is “Vegan” which doesn’t use animal foods. Anything can be eaten easily in the present age, so various health problems have arisen… Those with an unbalanced diet and people with food allergies would benefit from the healthy vegan foods offered at Morpho cafe. A delicious meal can be prepared using “veggie meat” similar to animal meat.
-From the Morpho Cafe menu
Many thanks to the members of Kyoto Book Club who first introduced me to Morpho Cafe. Unfortunately on that occasion I had promised to meet Mewby for dinner later on, and so could only watch in hapless envy as my companions ordered and consumed the most fantastic looking vegan meals and cakes. I’m happy to say that I finally persuaded Mewby to come up Horikawa with me on Sunday and the food was just as good as it looked!
Here’s my soy meat burger. It was everything I had dreamed it would be.
And here’s Mewby’s “chicken nanban set”, that was on the daily special’s menu. Continue reading
I’m always on the look out for comfy little cafes where I can ensconce myself in a quiet corner and read a good book. Last Monday I went to Cocokara Cafe for the first time and found it suited me nicely. Cocokara takes its name from a desire to serve the needs of both the heart (心 kokoro) and the body (体 karada). To put your heart at rest they emphasize comfort. The interior is small, bright, cheerful and easy on the eyes and as they write on their website anyone from backpacker to work-shirking salaryman should feel comfortable here. For the body they put a big emphasis on a healthy menu. Butter, lard and white sugar are shunned, and instead there are lots of whole grain rice dishes with plenty of wholesome vegetables. Though they aren’t a vegetarian cafe per se, they do have a lot of vegetarian options. I was in the mood for pasta when I visited, so I tucked into a plateful with mushroom and broccoli in a soya milk béchamel sauce.
A lovely big plate of hot & peppery pasta goodness.
All in all this is a nice little spot. I think I might take Mewby here this weekend, so we can try some of their non-dairy, low-calorie sweets. If I have one tiny quibble, it is that they should probably take their music selection off of repetitive loop. There’s only so many times I can listen to Carole King doing the Locomotion before I have to leave. Here’s a shot of the interior:
Cocokara Cafe + Dish is open from 11:30～21:00 （Last orders 20:00） every day except Sunday.
They also sell bento lunch boxes from 10:30 until they sell out.
You can find it on the east side of Higashinotoin just south of Nijo. Here is a map.