Last time, I introduced two vegan restaurants around Kawaramachi, and this time we’ll get to know three more. Enjoy what downtown Kyoto has to offer.
Ain Soph Journey – Kyoto
If the name sounds familiar to you, it might be for two reasons:
First, the restaurant is a branch of the Ain Soph brand, first opened in Tokyo with a few other branches there.
Second, the meaning of Ain Soph (אין סוף) in Hebrew means ‘endless,’ giving the restaurant a philosophical name: ‘Endless Journey.’
The restaurant is conveniently located in Teramachi, so when you happen to be there, just pop in and enjoy the good food. It is a two-story restaurant with a cave-like atmosphere. When you get there, you’ll know what I mean—‘cave’ in a good sense 😉
I went there both for lunch and dinner, and the menu differs greatly. During lunch the prices are cheaper, and so I highly recommended going at lunchtime. The dinner menu has more starters though. The desserts seem interesting (matcha pancake, crème brûlée) and they are quite big—so keep some room for them. They have a big drink menu with different kinds of alcohol, so this place might be fit for a romantic, candlelight dinner.
I went there for lunch with my partner, and had the green curry. My partner had the hayashi rice. The green curry was a success, and the veggie meat we ordered on the side was delicious. To be honest, though, neither of us really liked the hayashi rice, but it might just be that we’re not used to wine-cooked tomato sauce and its acidity. It’s all about personal taste, after all. The portions were satisfying for my partner and my hungry self, so hopefully it works for you too. The price was good too: 1,000 yen for each of our lunch dishes. But, then again, expect higher prices during dinner.
One more important thing is that they have gluten-free dishes and desserts! To those of you who don’t want or can’t eat gluten—this place offers quite a nice variety.
Try it out if you’re looking for a plant-based or gluten-free options’ restaurants around kawaramachi, especially if you’re into vegan desserts and wine 🙂
Cosy Cafe at Tamisa Yoga
***Update: the place is no longer serving lunch, but more of a smoothie-bar. If you’re planning on lunch – you might want to check out one of the other places.
This is actually a shop located in Teramachi shopping street. It’s a cute little place to sit and have lunch. On the first floor is an Indian style clothing shop, and on the second floor there’s an organic/vegan food shop and café with a Japanese sitting area (with space for your legs!) meant for café customers. If you cross the door on the right of the counter, you’ll be in the yoga studio (for a one-time class, it’s pretty expensive, but if you really want to experience yoga in Japanese, give it a go!)
The reason for starting this restaurant 10 years ago lies in the yoga studio. The staff told me that, just as yoga is good for the body, eating plant-based food is also good for us and the environment. The owner has another vegan restaurant in Kyoto: the 13 year-old Veg Out in Shichijō, which has a wider variety of dishes.
They serve 2 types of lunch sets. Be prepared to have a small lunch with a few small dishes. You can also enjoy dessert, coffee/tea, or a refreshing smoothie on a hot day.
I had the “daily special set” (which is called “brown rice set” in Japanese, so it’s probably the same everyday 😃). It came with a tofu meatball, brown rice, carrot and cumin soup, gobō with tofu meat, and carrot slices with tofu.
Most of it was nice, and the meatball was really good—its seared bottom even had a burnt layer with authentic flavor that I liked. I didn’t try the desserts, but they looked quite good.
If you’re in the city center or are shopping around Teramachi or Kawaramachi, it’s a great location to eat lunch and continue your day.
There are a few elements that make a restaurant a good restaurant. The first is, of course, the taste—everyone will agree on that. Later on in the grading scale: the ingredients, service, location, food portions (not too much, but nobody likes to leave a restaurant hungry), and price. But, I’d like to add another element that is super important to people with a schedule as crazy as mine: the opening times of the restaurant. In Japan it might be hard to find an open place to eat your lunch at around 15:00 or so. That’s why I like Mumokuteki so much: when everything else has closed down, they are still open.
Another pro of this place is the wide variety of dishes: ramen, curry, pasta, doria, and all kinds of sets. The drink menu is also quite varied and seems health-based (so no Diet Coke, guys). On our last visit, my partner and I had two sets: I had the gluten cutlet and he the miso-style cutlet. Both were awesome. For dessert, we had the tiramisu—a huge surprise, since we didn’t expect it to be so soft and creamy. Totally recommended.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: This restaurant is almost 100% vegan. BUT they have some dishes with fish stock (you’ll see a fish sign on the menu), which is a typical kind of flavoring in Japan. For some of the dishes you can ask to have them without the fish stock (in our sets they changed the pickles in fish stock with other pickles), so don’t let it turn you down. Please pay attention when you order!
The place is located just in the middle of Teramachi shopping street and has an urban and clean style, as you’d expect from a healthy-ish restaurant. The staff were really nice, and their vintage store (with vintage-styled products) downstairs is a nice place to spend some time.
The prices are really good. The sets cost 1,000 and 1,300 yen, and you can have free refills for rice if you order a set (totally fair in my opinion).
Since March 2019 the restaurant is no longer serving fish stock. The only none-vegan ingredient they use is honey. What a great news !
Okay, this is it for vegan restaurants around Kawaramachi (and cafe too)! Hope you’ll get to eat as much as you can around. See you next time!
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