At cenci, you can enjoy Italian cuisine enhanced with local Kyoto-ingredients
Cenci is Italian and means simple, plain, and unembellished. This could also be used to describe the dishes served at cenci; in a way, the dishes here are made from simple ingredients, but the magic is in how these great ingredients are cooked in such a way that you can enjoy their taste to the fullest.
At cenci, the food is Italian, but it’s made with a Japanese twist. Most of the ingredients used at cenci actually come from Kyoto, so as an example, their bagna càuda sauce is not made with anchovies, but it’s made from salted ayu sweetfish, caught locally from the rivers around Kyoto. And instead of caviar, they top their sashimi carpaccio dish with ayu eggs colored with squid ink.
The dining experience here is full of surprises. The first surprise you’ll have right when you walk into the restaurant. It doesn’t feel like Kyoto inside the restaurant at all; it’s like you had been transported back into the old continent, but not real Europe, but a European style like you’d expect to find in a Japanese movie. Authentic, but still somewhat otherworldly.
Even the entrance to the restaurant is something that makes you wonder if you’re still in Japan: it’s a spiral brick tunnel, in Japanese called nejirimanpo. The tunnel is made from bricks that in turn were made from the soil that had to be excavated when the restaurant was being built. Can you believe that!