Hidden away in the heart of the bustling market on Nishiki Dori is a tiny little alleyway that leads to Hale. This is a fully organic and vegan restaurant, specialising in seasonal dishes, yuba tofu and Kyoto’s famously distinctive vegetables. For lunch you can have a ￥1000 set or the “Special Lunch” for ￥1800. I settled for the ￥１０００ lunch which you can see amid the pictures below and which was more than ample enough for me.
Even if you are not vegetarian, Hale is worth a visit for its traditional cuisine or just to spend a pleasant hour or so in a peaceful old machiya house quietly contemplating the central garden. A wide range of beverages are also available, coffees, teas, soy drinks, juices, beers and shochu and even something made of dandelions – but I didn’t go for that. To find it walk along Nishiki Dori between the Fuyacho and Tominokoji streets and look out for that little alleyway on the north side of the market. Here is a most helpful map. It might be worth booking ahead on weekends as Hale is both small and popular.
Opening hours: Monday & Wednesday ~ 11:30 – 18:00 / Wednesday – Sunday ~ 11:30 – 14:30 and 16:00 – 21:00. (Closed on Tuesdays).