Former Kyoto Restaurants

✠ In memory of the good restaurants to which I had the privilege of going before they closed their doors✠

すて・き屋Sute-kiya (closed as of 2009, 2010?)

from top: the outside of the restaurant; the すて・きコンボSute-ki combo of ステーキsteak and 粗挽きハンバーグarabiki hanbahgu (coursely-ground hamburg steak)


Currently the highly popular Spanish bar restaurant, Santres, to which I’ve yet to go, it used to be a restaurant specializing in steaks and hamburg steaks. It was small with counter seating that surrounded the kitchen and a few tables along the wall that looked out on 烏丸通Karasuma Street. Mr. Man and I went in early December 2008 and it became a meat experience that I still recall fondly: the steak was prepared pretty well but juicy and the coursely-ground meat that made up the hamburg steak had the best texture (crunchy and chewy yet soft) I’ve ever experienced to this day. Unfortunately, I was never able to go back before Santres opened its doors in June 2010 (which means it closed its doors as early as early 2010) but I still think of the steaks every time I pass Santres.

Merry Island (as of ?)

clockwise from top left: the sign for the restaurant; the stylish interior at night; my place setting and drink (I forgot what it was); my gorgonzola penne


Besides going to Merry Island, an Italian restaurant that also served as a bar, with Ly for lunch in fall 2005 for the first time, the next time I went was with Mr. Man to have dinner with Megan and her friend, Brendan, visiting from the States…I remember being quite impressed with the penne that I ordered. The mood during lunch was bright and cheerful while the mood at night was more intimate but still as lively, definitely a place that one would want to go with a friend or few…it seemed to be quite popular among the non-Japanese population in Kyoto as well. I heard from Ly that her husband was asked to take over as the manager when the family first returned to Japan some years ago but he has now been the owner of a yakitori restaurant for several years now and I believe Merry Island closed before that to become GASTRO PUB Tadg’s.

自然派レストラン おばんざいShizen-ha Restaurant Obanzai (closed as of March 31, 2014)

the only picture I took that night of the food, because I was too engrossed in eating as much as I could☺


In early April 2007, Mr. Man suggested checking out this organic Japanese-style restaurant in the 烏丸御池Karasuma Oike area on 衣柵通Koromonotana Street. Japanese and non-Japanese visitors alike came for the large all-you-can-eat buffet of healthy vegetable-based o-banzai dishes to be had with brown rice (yum!), ¥840 for lunch on weekdays and ¥1050 for weekend lunch while dinner was ¥2100 (definitely worth it!); organic drinks and homemade desserts were also found here. I first heard of this place closing from Katalin earlier last year; I regret not going back after that first fabulous meal.

TRATTORIA 道月 BY THE OCEAN (closed as of ?)

clockwise from top left: the entrance; the first-floor dining (there are two private rooms past the sliding doors); the Japanese-style inner garden; two kinds of short pasta; two kinds of dessert, each of which is accompanied by a drink (the pictured flavored tea is from MLESNA); two kinds of main dish; two kinds of long pasta; bread; and two examples of the appetizer plate


The two times I dined at this machiya Italian restaurant were for lunch with my co-worker in late March 2012 and early August 2013…I think she had been before with her daughter’s classmates’ mothers and had taken a liking to the delicious lunch course which comes with bread, an appetizer plate, a choice of short pasta, a choice of long pasta, a main dish, dessert and drink for ¥1600; I took a liking to the place after my first visit and was glad to be invited a second time, that’s why it’s too bad that the place closed before I could go back a third time.

eskapi (closed as of May 26, 2015)

clockwise from top left: the exterior; the length of the wall inside; the small intimate dining area at the front; Cコースcourse, ¥2100, with カオマンガイ・ドードkhao man gai tod (chicken with rice), plus ジャスミンティーjasmine tea, ¥500; ショコラ・ド・ショコラchocolat de chocolat for the C course; a more decorated wall with eskapi’s emblem; the view of the dining area and kitchen from my seat the first time I went in mid-October 2013; (center top) the 鶏肉と野菜のクスクスtori-niku to yasai no kusukusu (chicken & vegetable couscous) of the C course, ¥2300; (center bottom) ムスンメンmsemmen


When I learned several months ahead of time that the little hidden treasure of a restaurant, eskapi (+ Luno), was closing its doors as of late May, I would have been more devastated if the owner, Eriko-san, hadn’t reassured me that she wasn’t regretful about her decision although she had enjoyed serving so many wonderful customers in a setting that she had felt was ideal. Eriko-san plans to open another establishment as soon as she can, in a new place (perhaps north Kyoto?) with a new concept, a new menu, even a new name, so we should just consider this just a temporary good-bye and look forward to what may come☺. I will always cherish the relaxing hitori moments, the intimate conversations with Eriko-san, the fantastic food and drinks to be had and the warm atmosphere that was made possible by the warmth of the owner at eskapi.

Griddle Restaurant NU-VO (closed as of ?)

clockwise, from top left: the exterior from 柳馬場通Yanaginobanba Street; the corner of the counter seating; a view of the dining area outside; free drinks (we ordered herb tea) on behalf of their opening; my co-worker’s 30品目を食べれるプレートランチsanjuu shina-me wo tabereru ranchi (the 30-items lunch) at ¥1000 of 秋鮭のピカタ 茄子のトマト煮添えaki-sake no pikata nasu no tomato-ni-zoe (fall salmon piccata accompanied with tomato-stewed eggplant) without bread or rice; my 30-items lunch of ハンバーグhamburg (steak) one which also came with お惣菜いろいろo-souzai iro-iro (various deli), 野菜のポタージュyasai no potaaju (vegetable potage), 季節のサラダkisetsu no sarada (seasonal salad) and パンpan (bread); the kitchen and griddle next to my seat; and the view of the counter seating and front


With a stylishly cute exterior and interior, it looked more like a café than the restaurant it started out as (later they started offering more café service); it probably caught many an eye at the intersection of 柳馬場通Yanaginobanba Street and 高辻通Takatsuji Street where it was located. The one meal I was able to have was very good and well-balanced; it’s too bad that they ended up closing.

jajouka (closed as of November 24, 2016)

clockwise from top left: the back of the restaurant when I went with my co-worker in late March 2013; 鶏肉とシトロンコンフィとオリーブのタジン tajine de poulet au citron confit et aux olives, or chicken with preserved lemon & olives, and  いわしのケフタタジン, tajine de kefta de sardines, or sardine-meatball tajine of our2名様コース menu pour 2 personnes, or course for two, ¥3,500 per person; ディアボログレナディンdiabolo grenadine, ¥800; クレープシュゼットcrêpe Suzette; タブレ(クスクスのサラダ)taboulé, or couscous salad; the entrance; the area at the front of the restaurant; 牛肉のブロシェット(串焼き) brochettes de bœuf, or beef skewers; and 自家製メルゲーズ(仔羊のソーセージ)hand-stuffed merguez, or mutton sausage


jajouka was a cozy little Moroccan/French restaurant. A genre of delicious cuisine hardly found in Kyoto, it was the kind of place that one would go to treat himself with a few friends. Although it finally closed its doors after over four years of service, the owner has moved on to opening his new French restaurant, ビストロ ベルヴィルLe Bistrot Belleville at the beginning of December 2016.

むんと食堂mund shokudo (closed as of December 21, 2016)

clockwise from top left: the area to the immediate left up entering; one of the 日替わり晩ご飯daily dinner, ¥1000, Mason’s 秋鮭のゆうあん焼きyuan-yaki autumn salmon, when we went in late September 2014;  the exterior of the restaurant; the other daily dinner when we went in late September 2014, my 鶏せせりの天ぷらchicken tempura; tea provided by the restaurant; the area toward the back (we sat at a two-seater table by the entrance); the kitchen and counter seating in the middle of the establishment; and the sign with the restaurant’s name right outside the entrance

Opened in early February 2011, むんと食堂mund shokudo was a small and cozy Okinawan-style restaurant along 高辻通Takatsuji Street close to 河原町通Kawaramachi Street that specialized in vegetable and seafood-based cuisine for those who were seeking to eat and served various types of alcohol for those wanting a drink or few. I had the pleasure of going only once before finding out that it closed less than a year after.😢

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3 thoughts on “Former Kyoto Restaurants

  1. Pingback: eskapi + Luno | Hitori Kyoto

  2. Pingback: Griddle Restaurant NU-VO | Hitori Kyoto

  3. Pingback: jajouka | Hitori Kyoto

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