Translated by Lester Somera
Kappo Cuisine And Ryotei Dining - Japanese Encyclopedia
Written by MATCHA
This series introduces some difficult and unique words in Japanese for the benefit of international visitors. This time we'll look at Kappo and Ryotei cuisine.
Kappo and Ryotei are two kinds of high-class Japanese fine dining. These types of restaurants offer a slightly different kind of cuisine than regular washoku, and feature traditional ingredients and recipes to create a special dining experience for you to enjoy.
How are Kappo and Ryotei Different?
Kappo restaurants mostly feature counter or table seating where you can watch the chef (the “itamae”) while he or she is cooking. Depending on the restaurant, you may be able to chat with the chef, too. Kappo cuisine is all about savoring the pure beauty and flavor of food in a lively atmosphere, as well as the superb quality of the seasonal ingredients and the skill of the chef.
On the other hand, Ryotei dining experiences mostly happen in private tatami rooms, like in the picture above. In addition, usually there will be someone in traditional Japanese clothing, known as the nakai, who is in charge of looking after customers, While the food served is the same high-class Japanese food as in Kappo, Ryotei restaurants are not just about food, but about savoring the entire package: the garden, the flowers that decorate the room, the service of the nakai and more. You can also call for a maiko at a Ryotei restaurant.
When Does One Go to Kappo or Ryotei Restaurants?
Kappo and Ryotei are places to go for special occasions. For example, people will go to a Kappo restaurant for a proper adult date to enjoy delicious food, or when entertaining important customers or friends from far away. Ryotei restaurants are for holding major meetings, rolling out the red carpet for VIPs, or hosting engagement ceremonies.
If you have Japanese friends and they bring you to a Kappo restaurant, you are definitely an honored guest to them. While there may be some ingredients you’re unable to eat, we would certainly recommend that you challenge yourself to taste the pinnacle of hospitality with your own five senses.