Savor refined 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 the Subway Marutamachi Station.
As it’s found deep within the first floor of a mixed-use building, you may find yourself wondering, “Is this the right place?” Rest easy, though.
As soon as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the kind host, along with the savory aroma of a charcoal grill.
This restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere, 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.” The food’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 owner places on guests here steadily shines through, dish-by-dish, providing deep satisfaction to the mind and body. The more you eat, the happier you’ll get.
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 when you’re in Kyoto.
*This restaurant is reservations-only, so please make sure to make a reservation through Sharing Kyoto.
/ ￥4,400 | ￥6,600 | ￥8,800 (tax included)
Japanese Cuisine Sakai offers three types of lunchtime courses ranging from ￥4,400 to ￥8,800. The owner purchases seasonal ingredients and "kyoyasai" (Kyoto vegetables) every day, and you can enjoy simple, rustic dishes with the true flavors of the ingredients.
The highlight of the course is the fish and Tamba beef slowly grilled over Hyuga bincho charcoal. It is soft and fluffy, and every bite is full of flavor. The final course is a set of kiln-cooked Koshihikari rice from Tanba Sasayama, a rolled Japanese omelet with a secret dashi broth, pickled vegetables and "dashi chazuke" (rice in soup stock). This is one of the hidden popular menus loved by regular customers.
※ The photo is an example of a course meal.（Spanish mackerel marinated in miso served with udo kinpira and sweet pickled radish.）
/ ￥8,800 | ￥11,000 (tax included)
There are two types of evening courses at Japanese Cuisine Sakai: 8,800 yen and 11,000 yen courses, the latter being Japanese Cuisine Sakai's finest course. A variety of sumptuous dishes made with richer ingredients and rare parts are perfect for an anniversary dinner. In addition to dishes using Kyoto vegetables, fish slowly grilled over Hyuga bincho charcoal and Tamba beef, four types of sashimi will be served. You can enjoy seasonal fish, especially white fish that people in the Kansai area love. Please pay attention to the tableware and presentation through which you can feel the owner's playfulness while serving the dishes.
※ The photo is an example of a course meal.（Flounder, cutlass fish, Japanese halfbeak "sayori" and sea urchin served with soy sauce and grated radish in a ponzu sauce.）
The owner’s recommended sake
/ Mini-glasses 90ml：￥660 | 180ml：￥1,100
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 the char-grilled Tamba beef. The host chose this one because “it’s a sake with strong flavors that can stand against the meat.” It’s always great to order your favorite sake, but since we’re here, why not try one of the host’s recommendations!