Kansai Food Page
Yaoya no Nikai/
Karasuma: Kyo-ryori
₯075-221-0089
€Data
Kyoto is well known
for its beautiful
vegetables, and
Kanematsu is known
as the gourmet
greengrocer in Kyo-
to's central Nishiki
Market, supplying
many of the finest
restaurants in the
nearby Gion dis-
trict. In 2000 Kane-
matsu decided to
open a little res-
taurant of their
own, occupying a few
small rooms above
the shop. Called
simply "Yaoya no
Nikai" (the "Second
Floor of the Vegeta-
ble Shop"), they
serve a lovely
vegetable-centered
lunch every day from
11am until they run
out of food.

Although the main
ingredients are all
plant-based, the
cooking here is more
a celebration of
vegetable life than
an avoidance of
meat, and in fact
traditional fish-
based seasonings
like katsuobushi are
used in many of the
recipes. There's
only one item on the
menu - the Y2100 set
meal - which changes
day to day and month
to month depending
on what's best at
the market.

Yaoya's lunch tray
includes rice, soup,
pickles and four
more dishes, fol-
lowed by your choice
of dessert. On a
recent visit the
meal was built
around a very tasty
asparagus rice - a
bit more pilaf-like
than the usual Japa-
nese rice, lightly
seasoned with but-
ter, mirin, and soy
sauce and filled
with chunks of firm-
ly textured aspara-
gus. The fried dish
included tofu tempu-
ra wrapped in shiso
and dotted with tiny
bits of crunchy
chopped vegetables,
plus a tempura-fried
shiitake mushroom.
No dipping sauce for
the tempura, just a
dab of salt. The
boiled dish show-
cased some very
fresh sansai (moun-
tain vegetables),
artistically ar-
ranged in a pretty
ceramic bowl.

Other dishes fea-
tured crisp cucumber
slices with daikon
oroshi, slightly
salty boiled spin-
ach, and great miso
soup with thinly
sliced daikon. The
three types of pick-
les were excellent,
as one would only
expect from a Kyoto
vegetable seller.
The impressive fi-
nale included a
round scoop of toma-
to sherbet paired
with an equal-sized
cold peeled tomato
just brimming with
old-fashioned tomato
flavor. A reminder
that there are still
vegetables worth
traveling across
town for.

The decor is simple
- a few hanging
scrolls, a folding
screen - with ten
small tables spread
across three small
rooms. Advance res-
ervations are highly
recommended, and
vegetarians can
order a non-fish-
seasoned version of
the meal if they
call ahead a day or
two. Yaoya no Nikai
also sells bento
lunches to take out,
and these too should
be reserved in ad-
vance to avoid dis-
appointment.
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Nishikikoji
Yanagibanba-nishi-
iru. [from Karasuma-
Shijo crossing walk
4 streets east to
Yanagi-no-banba-
dori, turn left and
go one block north
to the market ar-
cade, turn left
again and Yaoya no
Nikai is on the
left]
 Open 11am until
they run out daily.
 Kansai Food top