October 2022: Please note Tonman has now permanently closed. Please see our Downtown Kyoto page for other places to eat in the district.
Tonman in downtown Kyoto has been serving delicious, no-nonsense tonkatsu sets to hungry diners since 1948. How many tonkatsu restaurants have that claim to fame?
Tonman – image © Chris Rowthorn
Located near Kyotoshiyakushomae Station in downtown Kyoto, Tonman is a local institution that’s been serving tonkatsu to hungry diners since 1948. Like many restaurants in Kyoto, the entrance doesn’t announce its presence. You’ll have to look out for the discreet white noren curtains and signboard, and walk down a long, narrow alleyway to find the restaurant itself.
Tonman sources their pork from Kaogshima and Miyazaki prefectures, well known for producing some of the nation’s finest pigs. There are different cuts available here, but in general they tend towards lean and tender rather than overtly fatty.
There’s more than a hint of old-fashioned home cooking to Tonman’s tonkatsu sets, especially looking at the salads accompanying each cutlet – a little pile of mayonnaise, tomato, a slice of lemon, and a sprig of curly parsley. The dipping sauce is also homemade, consisting of – apparently – a ketchup base blended with bonito, kelp, spices, and herbs. We’d expect no less of an institution that’s been serving this dish for over 60 years now.
We particularly love their juicy fillet (hire-katsu), which is a little more expensive than the tonkatsu set, but worth the extra price if you like your lean pork fillets. Those on a budget might want to stick to the wallet-friendly but equally delicious katsudon, which clocks in at just JPY1000. The combination of crispy pork cutlet, sloppy, fluffy omelette, and white rice is pure comfort!
For more Kyoto tonkatsu choices, see our Best Tonkatsu In Kyoto page.
Name in English:
Name in Japanese:
118-1 Fukunaga-cho, Tominokoji-dori-Anekoji-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku
Monday-Saturday: 11:30am-2pm, 5pm-9pm
Non-smoking area: Completely Non-Smoking
7min walk from Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station, Tozai subway line
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