Kyoto’s Pontocho restaurant district is a little gem for dining in Kyoto. The alley is located on the West bank of the iconic Kamogawa river, facing the famous geisha district of Gion. Restaurants are found on both sides of the alley: on the river side, restaurants are quite expensive (nothing much below 5000¥ per person) and offer splendid terrasses facing the river. The restaurants on the other side of the alley do not have a river access, they are therefore better priced while still offering delicious and authentic Japanese cuisine.
We went for the latter. On the West side of Pontocho’s alley we found a nice restaurant named Kyoto Mamehachi. The establishment is specialized in Obanzai dishes. Obanzai are traditional home-style dishes of Kyoto which rely on local and seasonal ingredients and are made primarily of vegetables and seafood. Another specialty of Kyoto Mamehachi is tofu with is served in many different forms. Perhaps the most refined tofu delicacy is the yuba, the silky smooth skin left during the fabrication process of tofu. The chef of Kyoto Mamehachi is a master in the preparation of those tofu dishes and was really friendly to us, explaining the menu choices, sometimes even in English.