Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese meal. It refers to the skills and techniques used to prepare such meals and places a strong emphasis on highest quality seasonal ingredients and artistic presentation. (Wiki)
On my recent trip to Kyoto in May 2017, we splurged on a 15,000 yen 12 course meal at Gion Nanba.
Hidden in a dark, narrow alleyway, you will be transported to a quiet, private dining space once you enter the restaurant. You will be asked to remove your shoes at the door, which makes for a more comfortable experience. Choice of seating: Bar, Table, Tatami – I would recommend sitting at the bar so you can watch the chef prepare the dishes.
English is limited but I found it cute that they had a dictionary to help translate the ingredients and explain the dishes.
Course 1: Scallop with tomato and a thousand-island-type dressing
Course 3: Sashimi: Bonito, Squid, Tuna & Sea Bream (I forget)*
Course 4: Raw Oyster
Course 5: Sushi wrapped in leaf
Course 6: Cooked white fish
Course 7: Sea Urchin (uni) – so creamy and sweet.*
Course 8: Another thick soup*
Course 9: Rice with soup & pickled veg
Course 10: Dessert
Course 11: Sushi
Course 12: Freshly whisked matcha tea
Chef in action
Unfortunately, I don’t remember all the dishes and ingredients. All I can say is that you can really see and taste the refined skill, detailed effort and seasonal freshness in each dish. Overall a steep price but worth to try once for the whole experience – taste, ambiance, craft. There are also lower price points starting at 5,000 yen for lunch and 8,000 for dinner.
Price:15,000 yen per person (dinner)
Comments: A true display of food as art; seasonal and fresh ingredients