[Kyoto] Okutan 奥丹 - Yudofu/Tofu Restaurant
When we were making plans for Kyoto, J requested that we have at least one tofu meal there since it is one of the specialties of the city. Originally I wanted to go to Shoraian in Arashiyama which is the top rated tofu restaurant on Tabelog but since it was full, we went to Okutan instead. Established in 1635, Okutan is a traditional tofu specialty restaurant that has served vegetarian monks for hundreds of years. They still make fresh tofu everyday at the restaurant with two branches in Kyoto - one at Nanzenji and one at Kiyomizu. Reservations are recommended as the restaurant is highly popular and we made one for the branch near Kiyomizu-dera as we planned to visit the temples around there afterward. We had to take off our shoes before we were led to our own private room inside the restaurant for our lunch.
Our private room had views of the garden which still had some nice colors on its maple trees even though the peak season for fall foliage had passed.
Two set menus are available - Yudofu Course (¥3000) and Okutan's Original Course (¥4000) - and the only difference is in the yudofu course with a choice of soft or hard tofu so naturally we just ordered one of each. Yudofu is a famous specialty dish that has been eaten for many centuries by monks in the Nanzenji area of Kyoto and consequently the main star of this meal.
The set menu came with around 6 courses which started with this Sesame Tofu with a gelatinous texture and a dab of wasabi on top.
The Grilled Tofu with Sweet Miso turned out to be my favorite as the sweet miso went perfectly with the slightly chewy grilled tofu.
The Yudofu arrived in a ceramic pot with the jar of dashi-shoyu (soup stock and soy sauce) in the middle. We were instructed to taste the tofu as is first before adding the sauce and condiments. Both the soft and hard version of the boiled tofu were delicious with subtle and delicate flavors and before we knew it, we had finished all ten pieces of tofu between the two of us.
The Vegetables Tempura was oily though with a thick and hard batter.
Lastly, we finished our meal with Rice, Pickles and Yam Soup.
3-340 Kiyomizu, 1-chome Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
京都府 京都市東山区 清水 3-340
86-30 Nanzenji, Fukuchicho Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
京都府 京都市左京区 南禅寺福地町 86-30
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