Beloved by locals, Yamamoto Mambo is a family-run okonomiyaki joint that’s a good bet for a hearty meal. Their flavourful, iron-griddled dishes are fantastic washed down with drinks.
Yamamoto Mambo – image © Chris Rowthorn
Who could fail to feel the stirrings of cheer when you enter a place with a name like “Yamamoto Mambo?” Thankfully, this okonomiyaki restaurant more than lives up to the promise of its name. Having dinner here means a lively, fun evening of good food and drink.
Once you’re inside, you’ll be perched on counter seats bordering a large teppan (iron grill). Watch a large okonomiyaki or sizzling heap of fried noodles take shape before your eyes. Having all the cooking action unfold in front of you is the best way to enjoy dinner.
There’s plenty to choose from on the menu. Okonomiyaki is a no-brainer, but there are several different kinds – customise with your choice of noodle (soba or udon), sauce (sweet, sweet-salty, or salty), and the doneness of your egg (well-cooked, half-cooked, or raw). Have more or less pork and seafood.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just order the Mambo-yaki special, which is another way of saying “one with the works.” Their signature style of okonomiyaki resembles a cross between Kansai and Hiroshima-style pancakes, with more noodles than Kansai-style, but less cabbage than you’d find in a Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. Drinks are optional but highly recommended.
Besides the okonomiyaki, there are a few other side dishes to pick at. These are mostly iron griddled seafood, innards, and noodles. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, you might want to order their signature “horumon nigokori.”
There’s very little way to make “horumon nigokori” sound appealing in English, but it essentially translates as “gelatinised innards stew.” Think of it as a kind of umami-rich savoury jelly, the sort that forms when you leave a bowl of chicken gravy or rich broth overnight in the fridge. They serve this cold to room temperature, which is perfect if you appreciate texture like Japanese people do!
For more Kyoto okonomiyaki choices, see our Best Okonomiyaki in Kyoto page.
Name in English:
Name in Japanese:
56-22 Shimono-cho, Shimogyo-ku
Non-smoking area: No
6min walk from JR Kyoto station Karasuma central gate
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- Get travel insurance for Japan - World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)