Category Archives: Restaurants

Tadg’s is back!

Tadg and Mika McLoughlin are opening a new establishment “Tadg’s Gastro Pub” on the site of the former Merry Island restaurant this Friday. Here’s the good word from the man himself via his blog:

Dear Friends,

We have moved and are just a three-minute walk north of or original site at the Empire building. Go up Kiyamachi, cross Oike, it’s right on the right (east) side. It is the same location as the former Merry Island restaurant. We officially open from 5pm this Friday 11th April. We have changed the name to “Tadg’s Gastro Pub”. We are starting off with 5 taps featuring the best selection of Japanese craft beers, We will be stocking 10L kegs, the smaller kegs will ensure we will always have a quick turn over, therefore a greater selection of the best craft beers in Japan in stock. We will be adding on more taps and will also have a great bottled beer selection to complement our taps.

Our food menu, will have some of our favourites as well as some new additions.

It will take a little while to streamline, our goal will be seasonal, healthy, delicious.

…We are now open for lunch running the current Merry Island menu after Golden we will be introducing a completely new menu. More information anon.

As with all new businesses it will take us a little time to familiarise ourselves with our new surroundings. We will endeavour to make it as smooth as possible, so we thank you in advance for your patience if there are any hiccups.

We look forward to seeing you.

Tadg & Mika

New Address: 1F 498 Kamikoriki-cho, Nakagyo-ku, 604-0923 Kyoto, Japan

Tel: 075-213-0214075-213-0214

And here is a MAP.

For menu details and other information please refer to Tadg’s blog.

Saganoyu Cafe

saga no yuIf you’re in the Saga area, the cafe Saganoyu is a pleasant spot for lunch or a cup of coffee. Originally built as a public bathhouse in 1923, the building has been thoroughly renovated and was reopened as a cafe in 2006. You can still see the original tiling on the floors and the faucets along the walls. Continue reading

Kamo’s All You Can Eat Veggie Buffet

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:

IMG_7926 (Medium)

Here’s mine:

IMG_7927 (Medium)

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

IMG_7933v2Location: 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:

Bellota Concha on Tominokoji

Bellota Concha is a Spanish style restaurant specialising in seafood fresh from the market. Mewby and I ate there once last year and enjoyed it, so I thought it would be a nice spot to celebrate our anniversary.

IMG_7615 (Medium)
They have two floors, so if you are upstairs you get one of these funky bells to call for service. We started our meal with a white asparagus and anchovy salad…

IMG_7612 (Medium)
Then a bowl of steamed mussels in white wine. The bread here is also very good: soft, white and chewy.

IMG_7621 (Medium)
Now for paella. Most people would probably just order one medium sized paella and be satisfied, but I’m greedy so I ordered two small ones. One had oysters and spring onions:

IMG_7625 (Medium)And the other was a seafood assortment:

IMG_7626 (Medium)
We finished off with crema catalana and Torta de Santiago (a kind of almond pie).

IMG_7623 (Medium)Everything was splendid and tasted great! I spent just under 10,000 yen that night, but I did order a lot of food, so I imagine you could get away with a 7,000 yen bill and have plenty to eat and drink. Anyway, Bellota has good food, good service and a nice atmosphere. If you have a special occasion coming up then I recommend it.

IMG_7637 (Medium)Bellota Concha is just south of Shijo on the west side of Tominokoji. There is a map at the bottom of this page: There are also other Bellota branches throughout Kyoto, which you can find on their website.

TEL: 075-351-5829
Open every day for lunch: 11:30〜15:00 (last orders at 14:30)
Open every day for dinner: 17:00〜24:00 (last orders at 23:00)

Chakra Indian Restaurant

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):

chicken korma

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!

Open: Monday – Sunday: 11:00 – 22:00
TEL:  075-525-1260
Location: 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.

La Jolla – Californian Mexican Grill

Many thanks to Ted Taylor for introducing me to this great Californian-style Mexican restaurant yesterday afternoon.

IMG_7552 (Medium)
Below is yesterday’s lunchtime menu. Pretty meaty as you can see, but you can also get vegetarian versions of all these items.

IMG_7548 (Medium)
Ted went for the chicken tacos plate.

IMG_7546 (Medium)
And I plumped for a veggie version of the burrito special.

IMG_7544 (Medium)
I’m getting hungry just looking at these pictures again. It was really good and I really want to go back and try the evening dinner menu which has lots of fish and shrimp options.

IMG_7543 (Medium)
The interior decor is bright and cheerful.

IMG_7549 (Medium) IMG_7550 (Medium)
And this too is not a bad thing:

IMG_7547 (Medium)
But other than the great tasting food what I really liked about this place was the owner’s cheerful smile. It really makes a difference when people are friendly. I’ll definitely be back!

La Jolla – Californian Mexican Grill
Location: Just north of Nijo-jo on the west side of Omiya street about 5 minutes walk from the Tozai line subway station Nijojomae. Here is a map.
Tuesday – Friday 12:00 – 14:30 / 18:00 – 22:30
Saturday, Sundays & Holidays: 17:30 – 23:00
Closed on Mondays.
Tel: 075-821-4745
Check out their website  for more details in English and Japanese. The owner also speaks English.

Trattoria Dougetsu by the Ocean

Mewby’s birthday was a couple of weeks back and to celebrate I took her to Trattoria 道月 by the Ocean. Though the name is a bit unwieldy, the restaurant itself is very welcoming and friendly, and the food was superb.

IMG_4365This is the outside of the building which as you can see is a lovely old (but fully renovated!) machiya townhouse. You can’t beat a bit of machiya dining when in Kyoto. This restaurant specializes in fresh seafood served with Italian pasta, which you can eat at the counter whilst watching the cook at work, or separately at your own table. We had a little room to ourselves and here are the dishes we ordered: Continue reading

Kyoto Gion Udon Museum

Out walking by the Kamo river one day, we encountered a happy bowl-headed mascot (pictured below) hopping about on Shijo Bridge. We took the obligatory 360 degree picture together and received in return two drinks coupons for the Udon Museum. What more of an incentive do you need to explore the magical world of thick Japanese wheat flour noodles? Our curiosity piqued, we duly paid a visit.


Click to see the Udon Museum Mascot up close & in 360 degrees!

The first thing you need to understand about Kyoto’s Udon Museum is that its claim to be a museum is somewhat tenuous. They do have a display room along one wall of which you can see the differing sizes, shapes and colors of udon noodles from across the Japanese archipelago. In one corner there is a brief history of its origins too (but frankly you can learn more from Wikipedia). Continue reading

Gelato @ Ristorante Strada, Kyoto

IMG_5722 (Medium)

Rum raisin & teaHere’s a cool tip for the summer. Ristorante Strada has a gelato stand on Oike Street – and every flavour is intense. There are ten ever changing flavours to choose from at 200 yen a scoop. Mewby is a big fan of the rum raisin, but for me it’s a toss up between the refreshing lemon or the juicy blueberry. Not that it’s a problem if you order a double!Buono gelato
You can find Strada between Tominokoji and Yanaginobanba on the north side of Oike. I’ve never had a meal there, but if the ice creams are anything to go by, it’s certainly worth a try. Here is a map & opening hours.

Machiya Dining at Cameron


This restaurant, Cameron is, in a very good way, odd. The graceful decor,  the attentive service, and the exquisite delicacies they serve you, all give the impression of expense. Yet though we ate our fill of fine things and were waited on hand and foot, after bracing ourselves for a very steep bill, we were surprised to find we had spent less than at your average rough and ready izakaya. Really. I cannot stress this enough. This place is extraordinarily REASONABLE.

Here’s the food:


A nice piece of breaded marlin and some choice veggies. How I love those snow peas. Continue reading