Tag Archives: nonsmoking


Asian Chample Foods

Goya is an Okinawan/Asian style eatery recommended to me quite some time ago by Barbara Stein. I went there yesterday and fell in love with the place. The atmosphere of cheery colorful comfort, the super friendly staff, and the great tasting food combined to make me very happy indeed.  Barbara swears by the salads there, but it was the Nasi Chample that caught my eye.

Looks good, doesn’t it? This Nasi Chample consists of rice, miso soup and six side dishes that change daily. Because it’s a flexible dish, they can easily change it to suit your dietary requirements – so in my case, no meat. Let’s take a closer look at those side dishes.

From the top left going anti-clockwise we have: mozuku (stringed seaweed) tempura, peanuts salad, potato & egg, shima (Okinawan) tofu with cabbage in a chilli sauce, gurukun (Okinawan fish) with fruit & egg, and daikon radish & cauliflower curry. That little dish right at the top is tentsuyu – a dip for the tempura. Everything tasted wonderful – and it only set me back 850 yen.

Goya is in a charming converted machiya house on the south side of Imadegawa, midway between Kyoto University and Kitashirakawa Doori. Here is an excellent map. Here is a coupon you can print off, fill out and get ten percent off for. And here is another coupon you can get chopsticks for (wow!).

Tel: 075-752-1158
Open: Lunch – 12:00 – 15:00 (last orders 16:00)
Dinner – 18:00 – 24:00 (last orders 23:00)
Closed on Wednesdays.
English menu available. Vegetarian available upon request. Non-smoking on the 2nd floor.

Goya is part of the Nakagawasaketen group of Kyoto bar/eateries of which there are three more. You can find out more about them here.

Many thanks to Barbara Stein for this recommendation!

Related: 海と空 Okinawan restaurant

Kerala Indian Restaurant

Mewby and I ventured over to this fine establishment one evening when Sharma was closed and we were badly in need of a curry fix. Hands down this is the best Indian food I’ve eaten in Kyoto. The service is excellent too. The waiter (a charming, soft spoken chap) actually took the time to talk us through the various items on the menu and give his own recommendations. Here’s what we got.

Vegetable Samosas ~ I can't eat Indian without them!

Machli Tikka - delicious grilled pieces of spicy white fish!

Mewby's choice ~ Mutton Saagwala ~ Mutton cooked in spinach.

My choice ~ Vegetable Jalfry ~ mixed veggies cooked in onion & tomato sauce.

All served with delicious herb naan bread.

Kerala isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for and I think it was worth every yen I spent in there. If you feel like paying a little bit extra and spoiling yourself to the very best curry in town, this is the place for it. You can check the menu and prices for yourself here. How satisfied were we? Just take a look at that happy smiling face!

Kerala is situated on the second floor of the KUS building a short walk south of Oike on the west side of Kawaramachi. Click here for a map and coupons!

Open: “almost every day” (best to call ahead to be sure) 11:30~14:00, 17:00~21:00
Tel: 075-251-0141

Other Indian Restaurants in Kyoto:

Cafe Proverbs [15:17]

Better a dish of herbs where love is, than a fatted ox and hatred with it.
[Proverbs, Chapter 15: Verse 17]

It’s spring in Kyoto and time for something fresh. Though Kyoto’s best-known vegan restaurant and purveyor of fake meats Cafe Peace did not survive the winter, new management has stepped into the breach and established a strong new vegan presence on Hyakumanben: Cafe Proverbs [15:17]. I visited the new Cafe shortly after it opened and met the new owner Marre, a charming fellow of considerable and varied talents (in addition to being a cafe-owner both here and Tokyo, Marre is also a best-selling writer, counsellor, minister and gospel singer!). For nigh on 11 years now, Marre has been running Tokyo’s Kick Back Cafe, which although not a vegan restaurant as such, does have plenty of vegan items on the menu. So Akiko Iwasa, Peace’s former owner, not wanting all his good work to go to waste, asked Marre to open a new vegan restaurant on the old Peace premises. But, enough of the history, how is the eatery?

Well, in terms of decor and atmosphere, the emphasis is on new. All the old hippy, ethnic clutter of Peace days has gone out the window, to be be replaced by stylish simplicity. And in terms of philosophy, there is a subtle change of emphasis too. Whereas Peace advertised itself very strongly as a proponent of vegetarian values and idealism, the emphasis of Proverbs is quite clearly on the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle. All the food in Proverbs is guaranteed to be good, healthy, natural product of Japan. And in addition to being meat-free, Proverbs is non-smoking (hurray!) and alcohol-free too (bold move!). But basically, what it comes down to in the end, is the menu. What’s the grub like? Is it tasty? The answer: an unqualified yes. You can check the bi-lingual menu out here, and see for yourself the wide range of dishes on offer. So far, I’ve tried the Nashi Goreng, the Taco Rice and the Tofu Dengaku and they were all very nice indeed. Sadly I didn’t have room for dessert, but I’m looking forward to trying out the chocolate cake on my next visit! Here are some pictures (click through to flickr for a closer look):

The system at Proverbs is a little unusual in that you order at the register and not at your table and you pay as you order, rather than after your meal. However, the staff are very friendly, I got the impression that quite a number of them have some English ability, and as I mentioned already the menu is fully bi-lingual. Cafe Proverbs [15:17] is a little to the north of Hyakumanben, just past the flower shop, on the east side of Higashioji Dori and on the third floor (ironically) over a yaki-niku shop. If you want to try something tasty and healthy, different and new, I recommend it. Alternatively, you can always go downstairs to the second floor and gorge yourself on grilled cow and beer. Here is a map and the opening hours:

Monday – Saturday: 11:00~22:00 (Last order 21:30)
Sunday : 12:00 open
Closed on Mondays ( if the Monday happens to be a 15th, or a holiday, Proverbs will be closed on the following Tuesday).

TEL&FAX: 075-707-6856

The Flying Keg

UPDATE October 2010: I was very sad to learn recently that this fine establishment has now closed.

The Flying Keg is a superb beer emporium on the crossroads of Mikage Dori and Higashioji Dori. Literally, hundreds of delicious beers are on offer from over 25 different countries, all of which have been personally tasted by the owner (wow!). And because he knows his stock so well, he can make astute recommendations if you are not sure what you fancy. Each beer of course, comes with it’s own designated glass, which in the case of banana flavored, and delightfully named, “Mongozo” is a kind of gourd:

Here’s a picture of myself and a Tripel Karmeliet from Belgium. Lovely.
The Flying Keg is a quiet relaxing place to enjoy a few quiet ones. It is also, in a radical departure from the norm here in Japan, a non-smoking bar. The reasoning being that tobacco fumes might impair the tasting process. And “hear, hear!” to that I say. Now just look at the range of tastes to choose from. Ah, tis a beautiful thing:

For those drinkers not interested in beers, there is also an impressive range of wines and whiskies which will cost you a whole lot less than they would in downtown Kiyamachi. To find The Flying Keg, head north on Higashioji Dori past Hyakumanben, till you get to Mikage Dori, go west and it’s a few steps further on your left. The nearest station is the Moto-Tanaka stop on the Eiden line or you can take buses 206・31・65 to the Moto-Tanaka stop. Here are some maps: Maps
Tel: 075-701-0245
Opening Hours: 19:00~0:30 (Till 1:00 a.m. on weekends)
Closed on Sundays