Located a hop and skip south of Yasaka Shrine, Oagari in the Gion district might seem touristy, but it’s no run-of-the-mill okonomiyaki restaurant. Top-notch cooking at incredibly reasonable prices, accompanied by a solid selection of sake – what’s not to like?
Oagari – image © Chris Rowthorn
At first glance, Oagari might seem like just another tourist restaurant. Its prime location just steps from Yasaka Shrine ensures a steady flow of customers – mostly English-speaking tourists – and you can expect a queue beginning at their opening hours during peak travel seasons.
Don’t let that deter you, however. Oagari’s food is excellent. Helmed by Chef Inuzuka, the kitchen turns out robustly flavoured, sometimes unusual, and beautifully plated dishes that wouldn’t look out of place in a more upscale restaurant.
You might find the idea of plum wine-marinated tomatoes odd, but they’ll convert you after a single mouthful. Cubes of raw, juicy water eggplant are paired with a smoky dashi-based dipping sauce. A secret dressing pushes a smoked duck salad into the realm of joyful outburst, while the generously stuffed, richly-sauced okonomiyaki will have you wondering why more places don’t cook like this.
Sake choices at casual okonomiyaki places often leave much to be desired, but the selection at Oagari will have most drinkers leave a little tipsier and very satisfied. Ask for his best “karakuchi” or dry sake. Alternatively, try the nihonshu and lime cocktail – it’s light and slips down all too easily.
Oagari is that rare breed of restaurant in Kyoto that’s almost entirely frequented by tourists, but refuses to compromise on the quality of its food. Fantastic service from the super friendly staff is just the icing on the cake. With some advance warning, they even cater to vegetarians, gluten-free folks, and those with dietary preferences. While the staff do speak excellent English, it’s still not their first language – a little patience goes a long way, and it doesn’t hurt to confirm your orders clearly either!
For more Kyoto okonomiyaki choices, see our Best Okonomiyaki in Kyoto page.
Name in English:
Name in Japanese:
2F Hiro bldg., 537-2 Gionmachi-minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku
Non-smoking area: Completely Non-Smoking
3min walk from Gion Bus Stop, Kyoto City Bus 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station
Official site (English)
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