The place to savor graceful Japanese dishes, made with care and sincerity
Japanese Cuisine Sakai is located in a quiet residential area south of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, a 10-minute walk from Marutamachi Station on the subway. As it’s found deep within the first floor of a mixed-use building, you may find yourself wondering, “Is this the right place?” You can rest easy, though. As soon as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the kind host, along with the savory aroma of charcoal grilling. This is a relaxed restaurant, where you can feel a sense of calm and friendliness that will smoothly sweep away any tension. If there’s one word that represents Sakai’s food, it’s “care.” It’s made with all the care imaginable. Their dishes are not flashy or astonishingly novel, but you can truly sense the care and sincerity poured into every aspect. The importance the proprietor places on guests here comes through steadily, dish-by-dish, providing deep satisfaction to the body and soul. The more you eat, the happier you get. When we start talking about Sakai’s charms, it’s impossible to stop. There’s the char-grilled Tamba beef (a specialty from the owner’s birthplace), the restaurant’s own famous, soft dashimaki tamago (rolled omelets), and the rice that comes out with it… And to think that you can have this alluring Japanese cuisine starting at ¥6,500; “reasonable” doesn’t begin to describe it. Sakai, a restaurant offering delicious Japanese cuisine, where the good-humored, friendly host comes out to greet you. This local fixture is one you’ve got to visit if you’re in Kyoto. *Please be sure to make reservations through a concierge. Also, this restaurant is reservations-only, so please make a reservation ahead of time.
Full-course meals
Full-course meals / Lunch: ¥3,500 / ¥5,000 | Dinner: ¥6,500 / ¥ 8,000
Full-course meals brimming with a sense of the season, made with the freshest ingredients for that point in time. That you can experience these quantities and sense of satisfaction starting at ¥3,500 for lunch and ¥6,500 for dinner makes this an extremely good value. Pictured here is vinegared barracuda with kombu and grilled shiitake mushrooms. The scattered shiso flower spikes are really cute. In addition to the seasonal food, one of Sakai’s charms is the care and sincerity with which they prepare meals for each group of guests. The earthenware pots of rice and rolled omelets made for each group are exquisite. We hope you’ll have the chance to experience, from one dish to the next, the proprietor’s passion and care for guests.
The owner’s recommended sake
The owner’s recommended sake / Mini-glasses 40ml:¥400~¥1,000 | 60ml:¥600~¥1,200 | 80ml:¥900~¥1,500
When you say, “Please give me your recommended sake,” the host will choose the best sake for setting off the flavors of each dish. Pictured is a special pure junmai sake, Yama Shitataru / 山滴る (product of Tottori Prefecture). It came out just before we had char-grilled Tamba beef. The host chose this one because “it’s a sake with a substantial flavor that can stand next to the meat.” As always, it’s great to order your favorite sake, but since we’re here, let’s try one of the host’s recommendations!
Freshly cooked rolled omelets and rice from an earthenware pot, with a splash of tea at the end
3Let's Try!
Freshly cooked rolled omelets and rice from an earthenware pot, with a splash of tea at the end
Another great thing about Sakai is this freshly cooked white rice, along with the fluffy rolled omelets. Cooked with care for each group of guests, this white rice is so delicious, you’ll be asking for seconds no matter how full you are. Please enjoy the inherent flavor of that first bowl of white rice, along with the “rice’s companion” that further enhances the flavor. Each of the “rice companions” here are delicious, but the rolled omelets stand out as being particularly exquisite. Their expansive fluffiness and the flavor of the broth go well with rice. Just one taste and you’ll surely be captivated by Sakai’s white rice and rolled omelets. Please be sure to try them together. For the second bowl of rice, you can have it with a splash of tea on top. If you’ve got room left in your stomach, please ask for seconds and enjoy some rice with tea!
How to Order
The menu changes slightly from day to day. Also, the restaurant uses seasonal ingredients, so the menu changes significantly from season to season. By all means, experience a meal at Sakai available only to those who are visiting at that very time!
- Order Tips -
When you would like to order sake at the owner’s recommendation, please say this: “Osusume no Osake wo Onegaishimasu.” (Please give me your recommended sake.)
3.3 food3.0 service4.0 atmosphere3.0
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
3.3 food3.0 service4.0 atmosphere3.0
This is one of my absolute favorite restaurants! The flavors are simple and elegant, and this is combined with a sense of earnestness that makes you feel a certain calm and friendliness here. They offer dishes that are not only delicious in a simple way, but also ones with deep flavors. The host treats every guest with true care. It’s the kind of lovely Japanese restaurant that makes you want to bring along someone special.
4.0 food4.5 service4.3 atmosphere3.3
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
3.8 food4.0 service4.0 atmosphere3.5
4.2 food5.0 service4.5 atmosphere3.0
Japanese Cuisine Sakai / 日本料理さかい
Category Kaiseki / Kyo Ryori (Kyoto Cuisine)
Phone +81 75-231-6901
Address 553, Bishamoncho, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 604-0981
Directions 7-minute walk from Keihan Line Jingu-Marutamachi Stn. 10-minute walk from Subway Marutamachi Stn.
Open Hours 12pm - 1pm | 6pm - 8pm
Reservations Please be sure to make a reservation. Reservations must be made through a professional such as a hotel concierge.
Closed Wednesday
Notes Please be sure to arrive on time for your reservation.
Price range
Credit cards Not Accepted
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
There are no English menus, and the owner does not speak English perfectly, but he will serve you kindly using gestures.
Menu Japanese only
Lanuages spoken Japanese only
Number of seats Up to 11.
Private dining rooms Nothing
Non smoking / smoking Non smoking

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