It was going to be our last meal in Kyoto, and we wanted a good one. Having already ticked off all Japanese delicacies off our list, we decided to wander Kyoto station and see if there was anything that jumped out at us.
In the end, we chose The Kitchen, an Italian joint headed by chef Salvatore Cuomo. It sits on top of Kyoto station at level 10 of the Isetan department store and offers great views over the city.
One of the main reasons we chose this place was because of its 1,800 yen buffet lunch (11am-3pm; 80 yen for children aged 3-10). It’s awesome — you get to choose a main course each (pizza, pasta, fish or meat), all-you-can-eat dishes from the buffet bar, and a tea or coffee. Some of the courses require an additional charge, and desserts (which we did order) are separate. There is also a “special buffet lunch” at 2,800 yen for famished people who would like two main courses instead of the one.
First, the buffet bar. The variety is pretty good — not huge, but everything is high quality. On this day, there was really excellent onion soup, DYI salad, bread, vegetables (pickled or otherwise) and an assortment of cold meats, fish, french fries, mashed potatoes, etc. The bar area is pretty small so during peak hours there might be a bit of a line, but everything I got was appetizing, especially the soup and the meats.
The first main course we got was The Kitchen’s signature pizza, which, according to my shitty Japanese, won some type of award at a pizza competition. It’s simple — cherry tomato, mozzarella, and basil — but spectacular. One of the best pizzas I’ve had in Japan, or anywhere, for that matter. I mean, just look at this baby.
The second main course was chicken with tomato relish and pan-fried risotto and rosemary potatoes. Yum as well. The chicken was tender and I loved the tangy tomato and the crispiness of the risotto. A match made in heaven.
For dessert, we ordered a special Japanese green tea tiramisu and a sour lemon tart. The tiramisu probably was not quite as good as I expected but I enjoyed the lemon tart. The dessert was probably one of the weaker elements of the restaurant.
As for the coffee, I think this is the picture of a bear or a dog. What do you think?
Anyway, The Kitchen is a place I would definitely recommend if you are looking for exquisite Italian cuisine in Kyoto, especially its lunch special as dinner could be rather expensive. The ambience is classy, the buffet is delicate and the pizza is sensational. Try it.
The Kitchen Salvatore Cuomo (Kyoto)
Website (Japanese): http://www.ystable.co.jp/restaurant/thekitchen_kyoto/index.html
Address: Kyoto Station Isetan Department Store, level 10
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:00 – 16:00 (LO 15:00); Dinner 17:00 – 23:00 (LO 22:00)