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As the birthplace of Japan’s famed kaiseki ryori style dining, Kyoto chefs take seasonal cooking to an exquisite level. And with a constant influx of travelers to Kyoto, the city’s restaurant scene is diverse offering international cuisine that appeals to those with the most demanding palates. Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you visit these restaurants in Kyoto:
1. Ippudo. This restaurant serves up Hakata-style ramen with a rich, pork-based broth and thin noodles. It’s a hugely popular spot during lunchtime and after hours, as it closes at 2 a.m. nightly. Bowls cost around $10 or less.
2. Kane-yo. Try one of Japan’s most popular delicacies — unagi, or freshwater eel — at Kane-yo, a popular restaurant that’s been in business for more than 100 years. You can grab takeout bento — the unagi donburi is affordable at around $10 — or eat upstairs on tatami mats.
3. Kiyamachi Sakuragawa. Try kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine) at Kiyamachi Sakuragawa, an internationally acclaimed restaurant. The traditional multi-course meals here are beautifully presented; you’ll understand why it’s considered an art-form.
4. Katsu Kura. Take a break from walking along the Sanjo covered arcade and indulge in tonkatsu (deep-fried breaded pork cutlets) at Katsu Kura. The meals here are fairly cheap and the pork is melt-in-your-mouth good.
5. Kerala. If you need a break from Japanese food, find Kerala. Considered one of the city’s best Indian restaurants, Kerala offers a pricey a la carte menu — lunch sets are cheaper — of tasty traditional and modern fare.