UPDATE January 30th 2012: This is not something I like to do, but having experienced consistently poor service at Raju restaurants at different locations my former enthusiasm for their food has completely vanished. The infamous occasion at their Shichijo branch when I was served chicken in a vegetarian curry and told “Don’t mind” should have been enough. Being told I could not use the drink coupon that I had brought with me to pay for my beer, because they had given me a “service” chai (which I neither wanted nor drank) merely added insult to injury and on that occasion I swore never to visit that particular branch again. However, on Saturday at their Imadegawa branch, we walked in to find it as cold on the inside as it was outdoors and customers were sitting at tables with their coats on, actually shaking as they ate their food. We asked them to turn on the heating and they told us it would heat up in five minutes but after 30 minutes it was still freezing cold and they had completely forgotten to bring our drinks. When I asked about the drinks in Japanese, and then in English, it was clear that the man who served me couldn’t understand either language. So we walked out. Shabby service means you lose customers and get a bad reputation. I don’t believe it is entirely the fault of the staff however. The blame lies with the owner, who in his eagerness to open more and more branches is neglecting to invest in adequate staff training. He also seems to be cutting costs by turning off the heating. So, Mr. Rajas, your chain is on the blacklist. But fear not Indian curry fans! For really good curry, at reasonable prices, and excellent service, let me point you in the direction of three very fine Indian restaurants: Kerala, Mughal and Namaste Taj Mahal.
The following should now be disregarded.
Prior Post (May 13, 2008): Raju, just off Hyakumanben is an Indian restaurant I have been frequenting quite a lot recently. It serves good food at reasonable prices and has a pleasantly sophisticated atmosphere (so no TVs playing Bollywood videos). Here are some pictures.
If you are hungry enough and want to try a little bit of everything the sets are a good deal. A vegetarian set comes at ￥1,300 and includes a salad, samosa, papado, three curries, yoghurt, nan bread, rice and a mango lassi to wash it all down. Or you might like to try the Rajesh course for ￥2,000 and enjoy all of the above plus a Tandoori set (lots of meat) and soup. Beer aficionados will be interested to note that in addition to the usual beer on draft they also have a selection of bottled Indian beers plus Turkish Efes. In general the food here is spicy but not too hot. If you like your curry to burn you can ask for extra spices (but it will cost a little extra too).
Raju off of Hyakumanben is open from 11:00 am ~ 24:00.
To find it just go east from Higashioji Dori on Imadegawa and you will find it on your left. Here is a map. Tel: 075-712-6688
Here are some maps to Raju restaurants in other locations (this is not an exhaustive list):
Kawaramachi. Tel: 075-212-4533
Fushimi. Tel: 075-643-8882
Yamashina. Tel: 075-593-0366
Tambaguchi. Tel: 075-351-8688
I do take out nearly week from Raju, and although you can’t get the set lunch, they’ll let you order off the menu. One of the best parts is that even on take aways, the rice is free! The sizes are generous, curry, samosas, and rice for 1200yen, with portions so big I have enough for the next day’s lunch as well. Raju is truly king!
andrew friederich says
well as a veg… raju will make me an off the menu lunch set for 800 yen… soup. 2 curries, salad, samosa naan and chai! ajanta is more delicious but a touch more expensive (and only naan and one type of curry plus chai soup and salad… the naan is all you can eat… for 980 yen)
i refuse to go to kerala because they charge vegetarians an extra 300 yen for a much smaller menu… muhgal is excellent quality but has perhaps the worlds smallest samosa and very expensive…
sorry deep kyoto can’t agree with you on this one (p.s. i’ve never heard of a beer being accepted as a drink coupon option in any indian restaraunt in kyoto… p.p.s. if they dont understand english/japanese do what all new foreigners do and point to the menu)
Michael Lambe says
Thanks for commenting Andrew, but when I order vegetarian food I want to be sure it is actually vegetarian, and as I explained above they messed that one up big time. The coupon did actually have beer listed on it, hence my disappointment. And as for the language problem – I probably could have forgiven it on another occasion but this time it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s nice to eat cheaply but not at the expense of other basic comforts and waiting for a forgotten order in sub-zero temperatures is not my idea of a good time.
I like the food at Raju and find myself in there often for the lunch set between classes (Hyakumanben location is great for Kyodai students).
However, I have noted at this and other locations (especially the Shichijo one) that the staff just never seem to care. They’re miserable, dismissive and act as of you’re inconveniencing them by setting foot in their restaurant. Both myself (English) and my girlfriend (Japanese) have experienced the same frosty reception. Additionally I’ve been short-changed twice – once at each of the locations mentioned above.
Despite this I head back because the food is good and very reasonably priced, but my patience is waning and I often find myself making the trek to the excellent Pakuchi (Marutamachi) branch for Thai when I want cheap spice.
Michael Lambe says
Thanks for commenting, James. I am not familiar with Pakuchi and will have to give it a try!
There’s one around Sanjo Kawaramachi and one on the NE corner of Marutamachi Kawaramachi. I love good, authentic Thai food and that place is my regular haunt now.
Michael Lambe says
Thanks again, James. I’ll check it out!
yup, went to the one on the second floor near shinkyogoku, and the one near the bridge on sanjo – had either really bad service, and in the case of the sanjo one, had a seriously inedible curry.
Tom Brown says
I went to Raju in Demachiyanagi opposite Kyoto University today. Never again. The waiter snatched the cheap lunch menu away and thrust the evening menu into my hands.
I ordered a lamb curry. The sauce was nice but the ‘lamb’ was a bit of fat and bone with no meat on what so ever and a positively hostile atmosphere.
Rubbish place. Avoid at all costs.
Michael Lambe says
I’m sorry you had that experience Tom. If you read my original post from 2008 you can see they used to be pretty good… but standards have clearly plummeted since then. A real shame!
Anand Rakendra says
Visiting Kyoto regularly every few months and having my difficulties with the japanese ‘cuisine’ and japanese ‘Cooks’ offering italian, french or whatever style i made my comfort this way: when it has to be cheap but tasty i find Tofu (300 gr.) and a bag of soy-sprouts for together 89 Yen at the next Lawson-100; the additional magic-salt (as far as i know the only american contribution to fine-food) and olive-oil for each Y100 even last for a few nights…
BUT when i want to eat outside and my satisfaction asks for delicious food ‘it’ takes me to Kerala where i can spend what i have saved during the previous ‘Lawson-discipline’. After a nice chat with the ‘waiter’ who by the way is the owner i go home content patiently waiting until it takes me out next time… And Kerala is not at all expensive, just simply fair. But if you want to pay less, of course you will get it…
Michael Lambe says
Yes, Kerala is good. I reviewed it here: http://www.deepkyoto.com/?p=4302
Ken Parkes says
The food at Ajanta on Teramachi is the best Indian food you’ll get in Kyoto. Just hope you don’t get smokers sitting next to or near you.