the entrance to Gotoku-an Obanzai
On our first night in Kyoto, we went to Pontocho Dori, near Shijo Station, for dinner. Down the small、cobbled street are many small izakaya and restaurants. We chose Gotoku-an Obanzai. Obanzai is traditional Kyoto-style cooking. The restaurant is small, about 6 tables or so, with a great view of the river and the Minamiza Theater across the river. They have an English menu available, but some of the seasonal specials aren’t on it, so try taking your chances reading the Japanese menu, or ask the helpful staff what’s good tonight.
spring vegetable tempura | handmade sesame tofu fried in yuba | salad with crispy yuba on top
There is an 800 yen seating charge that also covers the cost of a small dish to start with. Ours was a cube of braised pork belly, sweet simmered kuromame, a square of fresh tofu, a small salad of mushrooms and yama-imo, and a poached or preserved piece of some kind of pink fruit, I’m actually not sure what it was. After that, we started with a dish of fried sesame tofu wrapped in yuba. This was followed by a plate of spring vegetable tempura. After that was the standout dish of the night: kamameshi, rice cooked in a pot over a fire. The rice was perfectly seasoned and cooked, with a delightful crusty brown layer on the bottom. We tried the crab and vegetable and the fuki kamameshi, both were delicious. Finally, still feeling a little hungry, we finished with a salad topped with crispy fried yuba instead of croutons.
cooking the kamameshi | crab kamameshi