Translated by Miri S.
Kick start Kyoto tourism after satisfying your appetite at Gion “Gonbee” (権兵衛)!
Written by Keishi Kawakami
Kyoto, the most famous tourism spot in Japan. Of course, it is famous for thousands of temples and shrines, historical townscapes and so on. However, don't miss numbers of delicious food here.
Kyoto, the most famous tourism spot in Japan.
Of course, it is famous for thousands of temples and shrines, historical townscapes and so on. However, don't miss numbers of delicious food here.
Having said that, it is hard for tourists to grasp what local people usually eat, isn't it? Probably, many tourists think like this: "I want to try some really delicious meals, which are not on guidebooks but known by local people!"
So this time, I, a Kyotoite, will introduce a restaurant that I recommend.
Moreover, this restaurant prepares menus in 6 languages. No wonder foreign tourists don't hesitate to visit here!
The name of the restaurant is Gonbee (権兵衛)。
It is a famous restaurant of Udon and Donburi (a bowl of rice with food on top), located in Gion the downtown area.
The history you can see from the appearance
Founded in 1927, Gonbee has about 90 years of history as a Soba restaurant.
Many people pay a visit to this place on a daily basis: local people, tourists and Geisha.
There is no standard dish in Gonbee --- This is because the chef wants people to eat whatever they want to eat.
However, as they come all the way to Kyoto, some people might want to try tasty food that local people recommend. Therefore, although this is my personal opinion, I will recommend some menus from Gonbee.
Kitsune Udon (Udon with deep-fried tofu)
Kitsune Udon. You can choose either "sweet" or "non-sweet" fried-tofu. If you choose the non-sweet one, you can ask the chef to cut it in pieces just like the picture shows.
When a fried-tofu is chopped, it is convenient because you can enjoy them with Udon and green onions in one bite. As some grinded ginger is put on Udon, you will get warm from inside.
Oyakodon (a bowl of rice with chicken and eggs)
This is Oyakodon: a dish in which chicken boiled in warishita stock is topped with egg. As egg and chicken are in a parent-child relationship, this dish is called "Oyako (parent and child)" don.
By the way, Gonbee's Oyakodon is said to be the best one in Japan.
Chicken of this Oyakodon is really springy and soft; the harmony of this chicken, Dashi (soup stock) and soft egg is exquisite. To make chicken soft and springy, it is necessary to adjust a heating power condition very carefully.
Moreover, because "Sansho" (Japanese pepper) is sparkled on this Oyakodon, your mouth would feel refreshed.
What's the secret of popularity?
A Donburi mark --- the trademark
Now, let me disclose to you the secret of Gonbee's popularity. The reason why Gonbee has been loved for so long is that it has a special "Dashi" (soup stock).
The biggest characteristic of Gonbee is that the same "Dashi" is used for every single dish in the restaurant. This secret and all-purpose "Dashi" can be used for everything including noodles and bowl dishes. This is the reason why Gonbee has been loved for a long time.
The interior of the restaurant
By going through the entrance, you can see the Japanese-style interior.
There are broad seating areas,
and raised tatami-floored seating areas as well.
First of all, fill your belly
To look around temples, shrines and museums in Kyoto, you need enough energy. If you are hungry, you can't enjoy sightseeing. Eating is an essential part of tourism. First of all, have some delicious dishes in Gonbee and then enjoy Kyoto tourism.
Address：254-3, Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-city, Kyoto
Menu Language：English, Chinese, Korean, French, German
Station: Hankyu "Kawaramachi", Keihan "Gion Shijyo"
Access：From no.5 Exit of Hankyu "Kawaramachi", turn left and walk straight. You can see the restaurant soon after turning left at Tatsumibashi Kiritooshi (巽橋切り通し). It takes approx. 7mins.
From no.7 Exit of Keihan "Gion Shijyo", turn left and walk straight. Turn left at Tatsumibashi Kiritooshi. Approx.3min to get there.