Funatsuru, Kyoto style French restaurant

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Funatsuru is a Kyoto style French restaurant set along the Kamo River with views of the Higashiyama mountains with close to 150 years of history. The building itself was built almost 100 years ago. You can read about the history of this restaurant here.

I made a reservation for a window seat. At the time of making the reservation, the staff could not guarantee a window seat for me but will try their best. We were fortunate on the day of our arrival that we were given a window seat. The view was beautiful – The river, mountain, and sky. The staff who greeted us was graceful and pleasant. She could speak decent English.

There are two different lunch courses. One is for ¥ 3,000 which includes a hors d’oeuvre, soup, main dish, dessert, bread, coffee or black tea. The other is for ¥ 4,500 which includes a hors d’oeuvre, soup, a fish dish, a meat dish, dessert, bread, coffee or black tea. We decided on the ¥ 4,500 lunch course.

I did not take a picture of the menu so I don’t know the names of the dishes or what exact ingredients were used in the dish.

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The course started with a turkey mushroom pate followed by a soup. The soup was very interesting. It tasted like a saltish and mild cafe latte with cocoa nibs. The waitress did describe that it was some kind of coffee soup.
Next, we had the flounder wrapped in pie pastry. I love this dish! The flavors in this dish were mindblowing. The fish was cooked to perfection. The buttery flaky crust accentuated the natural flavor of the fish. The tomato-based sauce further boosts the already delicious flavor of the pie. Even till now I can remember the flavor. A very memorable dish!
We had the duck with apple and root vegetable sauce next and lastly a white chocolate cream cheesecake.
I really enjoyed the food. Each one was delectable and beautifully presented. I would recommend this restaurant for the food. However, it was really loud in the restaurant, probably the loudest restaurant I have been to in Japan. Most of the customers were rich middle-aged women and they were talking pretty loud. I did not enjoy that. Lucky for us, we got there around 1 PM and the noise began to subside half an hour later as some were finished with lunch and left. The last order for lunch at the restaurant is 2PM.

 

Funatsuru

Website: https://www.funatsuru.com/en/restaurant/

Opening hours: 12 PM to 22:00 PM (closed on Tuesdays)

Telephone: +81 75-351-8541

Address: 180 Minoyacho, Kiyamachidouri Matsubara-Agaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

 

 

The living room with sky bar, Nagoya

The living room with sky bar is located on the 18th floor of the Mitsui Garden Hotel Nagoya Premier. The hotel is just a 5-minute walk from the Nagoya station. As I stayed at the hotel, I had the pleasure of dining at the restaurant. The restaurant has a chic decor with earth tone color base colors. For hotel guests, the breakfast buffet price is ¥ 2,220 and for non-hotel guests, it is ¥ 2,400.

 

 

There was a good healthy selection of both local and western food incorporating flavors and ingredients unique to Aichi. The ingredients were very fresh. You get the usual hotel breakfast buffet spread. For the western cuisine, there was bacon, sausages, french toast, scrambled eggs, pastries, toasts, and salad. For the Japanese cuisine, there was congee, rice noodles, steamed vegetables, tamagoyaki (egg rolls), grilled chicken breast, and salmon.  I had an enjoyable hearty breakfast with an amazing view of the city.

The restaurant also offers lunch and dinner courses.

 

 

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The Living Room with Sky Bar

Website: http://www.livingroom-skybar.com/http://202.32.204.49/nagoya-premier/eng/breakfast/

Breakfast hours:  6:30 AM to 10:00 AM

Telephone: +81 52-446-5422

Yasube, Okonomiyaki, Pontocho

Yasube is a family run restaurant in Pontocho serving Okonomiyaki. There are many variations of Okonomiyaki on the menu with the option of different ingredients that you can choose to add to your Okonomiyaki. The prices are very reasonable, one of the cheaper places to eat in Pontocho I would say. The son speaks good English and there are English menus available.

We had the yaki-udon with pork and kimchi (¥ 950), and pork and seafood combo with egg okonomiyaki (¥ 950). It was served on the hot plate that was on the table. I liked that we were given the freedom to put the sauce and toppings on the okonomiyaki ourselves. I have had okonomiyaki before and sometimes the amount of sauce was too much for me. Of all the okonomiyaki I have had both in Kyoto and Osaka, this would be the best one. I think the minced pork made a big difference. Previous okonomiyakis I had, added pork slices instead of minced pork. The minced pork made the okonomiyaki less dry and gave it a savory sweetness.

Yasube

Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday 12:00 PM to 19:30 PM, Thursday to Saturday 16:30 PM to 23:30 PM, Sunday 15:00 PM to 22:30 PM

Telephone number: +81 75-221-2613

Address: 142 Umenokichō (Pontochōdōri), Nakagyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 604-8012, Japan

 

Gion Karyo, Kyoto

Set in an old Kyoto house, Gion Karyo is a kaiseki restaurant located in the heart of Gion.  It is a great kaiseki place for people who are not as familiar with Japanese cuisine or are not as adventurous (like myself). The food served at Gion Karyo is nothing too alien or unique to the taste buds. If you have any food restrictions or allergies, you can let them know in advance and they will prepare your food accordingly.  The staff speaks sufficient English and there are English menus available.

The interior decorations were simple, not much ambiance.

 

I made reservations in advance. When you are presented to your seat, there will be a menu ready on the table. The price for the lunch course is ¥ 5000.

 

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The dishes were beautifully presented. However, for me, it was lacking in taste. Most of the dishes tasted similar and was a little bland. There was no wow factor me.

The highlight for me was the dessert and coffee. For dessert, I had some kind of matcha arrowroot dessert accompanied with ice cream and caramel cake. My brother had the Crème brûlée. The matcha arrowroot dessert tasted like matcha jelly with evaporated milk and soybean flour – very fragrant.

Overall, the food was basic and average especially for the price. But it is definitely a foreigner-friendly restaurant.

 

Gion Karyo

Website: http://www.karyo-kyoto.jp/gion/

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 11:30 Am to 8 PM

Telephone: +81 75-532-0025

Address: 605-0074 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Gionmachi Minamigawa, 東山区祇園町南側570-235

 

Gontaro, Kyoto

Gontaro is a famous udon noodle restaurant in Kyoto. There are three branches in Kyoto. I went to the main branch which is located downtown on Fuyacho Dori, between Nishiki market and Shijo Dori.

The restaurant had a Kyoto machiya style exterior with a stone path leading to an automatic sliding shoji door. The interior is decorated in Sukiya-zukuri architectural style, a style common in many of the Japanese tea houses; creating a tranquil ambiance. There was only one waitress dressed in Kimono. She did not speak much English but she could understand some of the things I said. She was nice and had a smile on her face the whole time.

The restaurant offers a variety of Soba and Udon noodles with some side dishes. The prices are reasonable. There is also English menu available.

As I was really craving for fish, I ordered the Nishin udon (¥ 1200), a Kyoto specialty. It is basically a piece of dried herring placed on top of the udon. At the time, I did not know it was dried herring. On the menu, it stated sweet stewed herring. The soup was very good but I did not like the herring. It was dry and chewy. I guess I was not used to eating dried fish.

If you are in the area, this is a good place for Soba and Udon noodles.

 

Gontaro

Website: http://gontaro.co.jp/english/kyoto/index.html

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday except Wednesday 11:00 AM to 21:00 PM

Telephone: +81 75-221-5810

Address: 604-8053 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 麸屋町通四条上ル