Enjoy soba noodles and a drink in the center of Kyoto at Nakanokoan
To get to Kyoto Nakanokoan you have to walk Teradamachi-dori Street south for 5 minutes from Hankyu Kawaramachi station. At first look the place looks like an expensive a la carte restaurant that one would never think a soba noodle place. The predominant color of the trendy-looking restaurant is black making it a perfect place for a date as well as casual dinners. There are plenty of seats and enough space for strollers so the restaurant can also be recommended for families. The greatest appeal of the restaurant has to be that you can enjoy soba noodles, a la carte menu, and sake in the same place. It is not often that you find as interesting a restaurant as this. Their soba noodles are hand made every day in the noodle making room that is next to the bar counter. The springy udon noodles made with care are a joy to bite into. You can also have delicious duck grilled over coals, or Tamba’s famous chicken and vegetables grown in Kyoto prepared as tempura. You can’t taste all the delicacies of Nakanokoan in one visit; you have to come again and again to taste everything on the menu. It is also fun to choose a sake to go with the dishes from their extensive list of Japanese rice wine. Some people just have a drink at the bar counter and afterward head home without having eaten anything. This restaurant can be a soba noodle place, an ala carte restaurant, or an izakaya depending on the situation and need.
Chicken tempura soba / ￥1,400 (+tax)
The name of this dish is chicken tempura soba, but not only do you get soba with a nice kick from dashi, and chicken tempura, you also get other vegetable tempura like: maitake mushroom, sweet potato, and other vegetables. The juicy chicken and steaming-hot sweet potato are worth a mention just by themselves. The tempura can just be had with some salt, or in my recommended way, by dipping the tempura in the soba noodle soup. The soba with five pieces of tempura costs 1400 which I think is reasonable for freshly made handmade noodles.
Thick sliced Duck Loin / ￥1,350 (+tax)
Thickly sliced duck loin seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled over coals. The simple seasoning makes the fragrance of the coal stand out more. The meaty and fatty duck is exceptionally delicious. The best way to enjoy the duck is to simply just squeeze some lemon on it. Dry sake would make a perfect companion for this dish. Sake and duck grilled over coals is an extravagant combination you will have a hard time finding anywhere else.
3 Kinds of Sake Tasting / ￥1,500 -
Nakanokoan puts great emphasis on their sake, so they have many types of sake on their menu. Since the menu has so many entries it might be hard to decide, but you can also have a sake tasting set that has three cups of different sakes. You can choose from two tasting sets, one that has three sakes from all over Japan, and one that has three sakes from Kyoto’s Fushimi area. You also get a cute small copy of the sake bottle’s label with each cup. These sets have sake for every taste; it might be fun to share the sets with your friend and taste many kinds of sake!
Vegetarian dipping soup Soba / ￥1,350 (+tax)
This dish is “bukkake” style soba where the noodles are dipped into a mix of hot broth and grated hot daikon radish. The grated hot radish accents this dish nicely. There is quite a lot, but the refreshing taste makes it easy to eat the dish quickly. This soba is perfect as a “shime”, the final dish eaten after a night of drinking. This dish is a vegan dish so no animal products are used, and even the dashi is kelp-based. A perfect vegan soba for vegans!
How to Order
They have a menu in English so ordering is easy.
On the first page of the menu they explain what soba (buckwheat noodles), namafu, and yuba are. While you are waiting for your dishes, why not read a bit about the noodle culture of Japan!
- Order Tips -
They have two kinds of sake tasting sets, one of locally brewed sake from all over Japan, and one of sake brewed in the Fushimi area of Kyoto. They are both great, but as you are in Kyoto, I recommend you try the sake from Fushimi. Fushimi has been famous for their sake from way back. I would like you to taste sake that was made in Kyoto’s most famous sake district. When ordering the sake tasting set, you should say the following: “Kyouto no jizake no kikizake setto wo kudasai.” (I would like the Kyoto sake tasting set.)
3.3 food4.0 service3.0 atmosphere3.0
3.7 food3.5 service3.5 atmosphere4.0
Kyoto Nakanokoan / 京都 中之光庵
|Category||Soba & Udon Noodles|
|Address||569 Nakanocho, Bukkoji-agaru, Teramachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku Kyoto-city|
|Directions||4-minute walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Stn.|
|Open Hours||11am - 10:30 pm(L.O.)|
|Notes||The restaurant doesn’t close after lunch, so it is the perfect place to enjoy some afternoon sake.|
|Good for||Solo, Romantic, With Friends, Families with Children|
They have an English menu and sometimes have English speaking staff present. The restaurant staff are really kind so you should feel at easy when entering the restaurant. Be aware that on some days they may not have English speaking staff present.
|Lanuages spoken||Basic English|
|Number of seats||100 seats|
|Private dining rooms||Yes|
|Non smoking / smoking||Non-smoking|