Ashioto – A Veggie Bar not Just for Vegetarians
Vegetable Bar Ashioto is a casual Japanese restaurant that opened its doors in the suburbs off Shijo-dori in June 2019.
Brought to life by the friendly staff and colorful countertop vegetables, Ashioto provides beautiful original dishes of locally grown Kyoto veggies in a laid back casual atmosphere.
In the olden days, because Kyoto is so far from the ocean, it became a hub for vegetable growers. And since the region is marked by four distinct seasons that include a hot and humid summer and bone-chilling winter, what came to be known as Kyoyasai grew to have unique flavors and aromas.
With time, each season came to be known for specific Kyoto vegetables. Spring was bamboo shoots and Japanese ginger, summer, fat kamo-nasu eggplant and manganji peppers, autumn, Kujo leeks and Horikawa burdock, and finally, winter, shrimp shaped ebi imo taro and mizuna.
With so many different Kyoyasai, if you’ve been to Kyoto, you’ve likely had at least one of them.
Stepping inside the renovated Japanese townhouse that houses Ashioto, you’ll be greeted by a sprawl of fresh veggies and owner Maeda. Every morning, Maeda gets up and heads out to farmers and local grocers to pick up the day's seasonal vegetables. While Maeda’s dishes are so incredibly unique because of these deep relationships with the farmers, relying on what’s available each day also means that the menu has and will change regularly.
Also, it’s not only the veggies that change either. Maeda also likes to branch out from his Japanese roots and use whatever veggies on hand to dabble in other cuisines as well, including Chinese and Spanish. However, you’ll also find simple, unfettered dishes of straight-up cooked vegetables as well.
Additionally, as Maeda tries his best to keep everything local, even Ashioto’s teas are from Kyoto, specifically the southern Kyoto city of Uji.
While Ashioto offers mainly vegetable-based dishes, each one provides enough to satisfy even the biggest stomachs.
Ashioto serves up truly delicious dishes made from truly delicious seasonal ingredients, so trust Maeda’s recommendations and your stomach and give as many things a try as you can!