Kyoto Fine Izakaya Dining in the Heart of Town
Washoku Haru serves high-end Izakaya fare such as hamo pike conger, squid & oden
Whilst fine dining and high-end Kyoto izakaya fare are not uncommon in this city, quite often this comes with an applicable price tag to match. Not so at Washoku Hare (it's pronounced 'ha' as in hat, with 're' as in red), a characterful, tiny kappo-style Japanese restaurant in Shimogyo Ward, a short stroll two blocks South-East of the Shijo-Karasuma intersection. Even if you are on a healthy and enjoyable budget (and we hope everyone is), it never hurts to feel value for money, no? And eat good food.
Haru's owner was formally trained in the traditional manner at the famous upscale ryotei Japanese restaurant Wakuden which specializes in Kyo-ryori classical Kyoto cuisine. At Haru he takes his expertise picked up there, and applies it to the more humble tempura and fried dishes, and oden hotpotch and seasonal fare generally found in your local izakaya. The results are, not surprisingly, excellent.
On a recent visit we opted for, as pictured above, (from top right, clockwise) hamo no otoshi pike-conger, oden hotchpotch in the Kyoto-style, known as Kyo-oden, with octopus, and tempura of hotaru-ika squid. Everything was excellent, and the batter of the tempura was particularly light and crispy. Do we detect some ancient Kyoto secrets?
Thus, we recommend Haru, but do be aware that the chef, like so many of those trained in traditional kitchens, is rather shy. It's certainly no raucous izakaya, but equally clearly the customers enjoy the cuisine and the atmosphere. English isn't spoken.