*Found in Former Kyoto Cafes
On 東洞院通Higashinotoin Street a little south of 二条通Nijo Street is ココカラ Cocokara cafe + dish, an organic café that serves おばんざいo-banzai (light Kyoto-style home cooking with boiled vegetables and marinated food, also now served in restaurants), 玄米genmai (brown rice) and dishes concentrated around vegetables.
In early October, I decided to try Cocokara when Mason and I spent the day together; we went there for lunch. We actually got there a little too early and ended up taking a walk around the area before getting there at 11:30 am when lunch started. We got there just as they opened and since the door was open (center left picture), we assumed that it was okay to go in.
Of course we were the only customers…we took the seat next to the book area by the entrance which seemed the coziest. The table seating (top two pictures), including ours, and counter seating (center right picture) in the dining area seemed appropriate for customers in pairs or alone. One of the two female staff came over to take our order (we had already decided during the waiting time). While we waited, we tried to talk but every so often the open door let in the loud banging of the neighbor doing work across the way.
Our exasperation with the noise melted away when our food arrived…Mason and I both got the おばんざいランチo-banzai lunch’s おばんざいプレートo-banzai plate, ￥880 (top center picture). I chose アイスマテ茶iced mate cha (tea) for my drink with the meal (seen to the right of the picture close to my water) while Mason had the hot version (bottom center picture); we both admired the cup for the hot mate tea and I kind of regretted getting the iced version (but I was so hot from our walk over…). Mason, who goes gaga for vegetarian/vegan meals, and I were very satisfied with our pretty-filling meals, the content, the taste, etc.
At the register (bottom left picture), there were some organic sweets on sale; the いちごクッキーichigo (strawberry) cookies, ￥300, (bottom center picture) looked good to me, so that’s what I bought for the road. We both would like to go back again, together or on our own…hopefully, the neighbor won’t be doing some noisy work again.☺
Update: As of March 12, 2016, Cocokara cafe + dish (which changed its name to べっぴん食堂ココカラBeppin Shokudo Cocokara a couple of years after this posting) closed after nine years of serving delicious and healthy fair to the Kyoto community.