Oryouri Mitsuyasu review; One of the Best Restaurants in Kyoto

One of my main reasons for visiting Japan is its food. I’m definitely a foodie, probably because my dad was a chef, and I practically grew up in my parents’ kitchen. In Kyoto, you can explore a wide variety of cuisines, including traditional Japanese, Italian, Chinese, French, and more. But why would you want to try anything other than Japanese cuisine, especially the traditional dishes? Definitely give them a try at least once. Every time I search for a new Japanese restaurant, I always have a special place I visit without fail during every trip to Kyoto.

This is the place I go every single time I visit Kyoto: Oryori Mitsuyasu. I will review my experience and share how good the food is!

Aesthetic Sensibilities in Chef’s Presentation

The first time I visited there was in autumn 2012. I found this place on an internet food review site. The restaurant was ranked in the top 5 at that time and after reading the reviews, I found the setting to be very interesting.

This restaurant has only two tables available for both lunch and dinner. Each table can seat up to 4 or 6 people, meaning they can accommodate a maximum of 12 people. However, most of the time, probably only around 4 to 8 people dine for both lunch and dinner. There is no second table booking time frame at all. You can imagine how much privacy and cozy atmosphere you can enjoy in such a limited seating arrangement.

For the second visit, I went with my husband. He absolutely loved it – he was so impressed by the chef’s presentations and the delicate way ingredients were used to create dishes. He even said he would go back to Kyoto just for that restaurant.

My husband prefers to drink sake with Japanese cuisine, while I don’t drink any sake (I had a bad experience as a teenager when I was quite mischievous!). When he ordered sake, the chef’s wife (who also serves as a waitress) asked him to choose an antique sake cup (ochoko). My husband was thrilled and excited by this gesture! After finishing his first sake, he ordered a different one, and once again she offered him a new sake cup to choose from. This attention to detail really impressed him.

Both times I visited were in autumn, and the dishes were presented with a very autumnal theme. The last time I was there with my best friend, it was late summer or very early autumn. In Japanese traditional cuisine, especially Kyoto cuisine, it is essential to express seasonal presentations. Therefore, we enjoyed lovely early autumn dishes during that visit.

This review is about the last visit with my best friend in Japan, and the third time for me.

When you visit this restaurant, I must say you should take a taxi. It can be quite tricky to find as the location is in the middle of a residential area. Mitsuyashu is just one of the old-fashioned Kyoto-style houses called “Machiya”. When you visit, the chef’s wife acts as a waitress and will show you to your designated room. There are only 2 rooms, with the kitchen situated between these dining areas.

The layout is well designed to ensure that each group is not disturbed by the other.

At Mitsuyashu, they only use antique dishes and bowls, some of which are more than 100 years old. These antique pieces have been carefully selected to complement the food. After tasting the delicious food, you can enjoy the beautiful antique dishes – this is the traditional way to experience Kyoto cuisine.

Firstly, we had walnut tofu with “tonburi” on top in a thick soup. The lacquered bowl was so beautiful, and the walnut tofu had a nutty walnut taste and smooth texture that just disappeared inside your mouth.

The next course consisted of red snapper sashimi infused with Konbu flavor, served with vinegret jelly and skin. You are instructed to wrap the sashimi and shallots within the skin. The vinegret jelly wasn’t overpowering, allowing the natural taste of the red snapper to shine through, with just the right amount of vinegar to complement each ingredient’s balance.

The third course consisted of lightly fried autumn vegetables, including pumpkin, Japanese mushroom “hiratake,” beans, yam, and fig. They had just the right amount of salty taste, which was very impressive and well-balanced. Once again, the saltiness emphasized the natural flavours of these vegetables. What stood out most was how you could taste a bit of summer and a bit of autumn there. And the addition of fig to the dish brought a brilliant freshness to the overall taste.

Next, the fourth dish was a soft-shelled turtle (suppon) hot pot. The texture had some hard jelly full of collagen. Initially, I thought I might not like it if there was a slight smell, but it turned out to be delicious with no fishy odour. It was quite refreshing. In Japanese cuisine, soft-shelled turtles are said to increase energy and are good for getting rid of summer fatigue, so it was perfect for this time of the year when the lingering heat of the summer heats up.

The fifth course was a white eel grilled from Lake Biwa (close to Kyoto). It was just light with a little bit of salt. The thickness was just right, and it was delicious with sudachi lemon.

The next dish was a classic Kyoto-style bowl of boiled soba balls (“Soba-gaki”) with white miso. I realised that I hadn’t eaten buckwheat noodles for about 20 years, but it brought back nostalgic memories. The white miso was creamy and rich, and it paired very well with the “soba-gaki.

And then, yes!! Rice!! I actually had been waiting for this!!

When I first came to this restaurant, the rice dish was red snapper served on a bed of rice. My friend didn’t eat much for some reason, so I ended up finishing it all. It was unbelievably yummy! Then the second time, as I mentioned, I took my husband, who always tries to finish his dish as part of his table manners. Consequently, he didn’t leave any extra for me at all. Dammit!!

So this time again, delicious rice! So, once again, the rice was delicious! This time, we had a dish featuring Japanese wild potato (mukago), ginkgo, eel, and chestnut, representing the autumn colours with these vegetables. I was already quite full at that point, but oh my goodness, this rice dish was so yummy that we finished it all. I found that the ‘mukago’ tasted like beans, which complemented all the other ingredients perfectly. Then it was served with a small portion of Japanese pickles.

Finally, we had a dessert, which was Kyoto-style sweet potato. It wasn’t overly sweet, just the way I like it, and its softness was incredibly delicate. It was the perfect way to end the dinner, especially when paired with tea.

Mitsuyasu’s food was sophisticated, showcasing well-represented seasonal features. It wasn’t about extravagant presentations; I loved his simplicity, which emphasized all the ingredients. I believe this kind of simple representation is crucial to truly appreciate the chef’s talent, which is why I adore his food so much.

I also appreciated that both the chef and his wife (who served as the waitress) were delightful. They were never arrogant; instead, they were friendly and engaging in conversation with us. Both of them even remembered my husband and me, which made our conversations all the more enjoyable.

In any case, I highly recommend this restaurant if you visit Kyoto. I am confident you will have an exceptional Kyoto cuisine experience.

My god, I’d love to go now!

Address: 908-12 Koyamacho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, 602-8157, Japan

Phone: +81 75-366-3138


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