Temples, Japanese restaurants, and boutiques have long been the draws of Higashiyama-ku, so it comes as somewhat of a pleasant surprise to find an Italian restaurant—especially one of this caliber and in this setting—amongst their midst. It occupies a 1929 villa that once served as residence, studio, and garden of Seiho Takeuchi, whose family owned a restaurant in nearby Arashiyama and who was a well-known master of the sparse nihonga style of painting. With a somewhat rustic yet refined atmosphere and with dining rooms overlooking the dense garden, the restaurant serves reasonably priced weekday lunches that change according to what's fresh and in season. I opted for the ¥2,800 lunch, which came with an appetizer, sweet-potato soup, carbonara pasta with bacon and spinach, a choice of six main dishes (I had the grilled chicken cacciatore), dessert, and coffee; it was plenty enough for me. In addition to set meals for dinner, an English-language a-la-carte menu offers choices like spaghettini with sea urchins and clams, stewed pork and savoy cabbage in a red-wine sauce, and char-grilled lamb with salsa verde. Be sure to take a look around the garden after your meal, and because this is understandably a popular venue for weddings and private parties, be sure to call for reservations to make sure they're open.
366 Yasaka Kami-machi, Yasakadori Shimokawara Higashi-iru, Higashiyama-ku
Our Rating Neighborhood Cattycorner from Ryozen Kannon Temple Hours Mon–Fri 11am–2:30pm, daily 5:30–9:30pm (last order) Transportation Bus: 202, 206, or 207 to Higashiyama Yasui (3 min.) Phone 075/541-3331 Prices Main dishes ¥1,800–¥3,200, set dinners ¥3,800–¥10,000, set lunches ¥1,200–¥5,000 Cuisine Type Italian Web site The Sodoh
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.