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Great noodles at Omen Restaurant in Kyoto

Omen is one of my favourite restaurants in Kyoto, and that’s really a strong recommendation as there are a LOT of amazing restaurants in Kyoto.  I love Japanese food and we’ve found some many great options across Kyoto but it’s the variety and seasonal tasting menus at Omen make it special and at a very reasonable price. The fact that we have been back several times when there are 100’s of restaurants to choose from and we love to try somewhere new is a great recommendation in itself.  The name Omen is made up of the honorific ‘O’ and ‘men’ meaning noodle.  So pretty much it means respect to the noodle which really does sum up what they do so well.

The restaurant specialises in thick udon noodle dishes, which are always cooked perfectly with just the right bite to the noodle and the flavours balanced just right.  You can have it with a hot or cold broth and there’s a good selection of side dishes too, the tempura vegetables and tofu were very good and I regret that I didn’t try the eel which I was told was also good.  Here’s an example of the seasonal spring menu I ordered, it was a big meal but delicious and I would definitely order the seasonal specialties again, the menu was just under Y3000.  If you aren’t quite so hungry then a simple hot or cold udon is always very good too.

 1.     Butterbur bud miso with seasonal vegetables

Omen Restaurant | 2AussieTravellers.com

2.     Kelp flavoured sea bream sashimi with Japanese plum sauce

Omen Restaurant | 2AussieTravellers.com

3.     Deep fried Jerusalem artichoke with baby shimps

Omen Restaurant | 2AussieTravellers.com

4.     Simmered bamboo shoot with wakame (seaweed)

Omen Restaurant | 2AussieTravellers.com

5.     Omens udon noodles with sides of sesame, ginger, seaweed to flavour the broth

Omen Restaurant | 2AussieTravellers.com

Getting there

There are two Omen restaurants I know of, one in northern Higashiyama near the Silver Pavilion Temple and the other is on the Shijo-Dori shopping street.  We generally go to Shijo-Dori because it’s central and more convenient to where we stay so it’s easier to go there for an evening meal.  There’s some seating downstairs and more upstairs but overall it’s still quite small, it has an English menu available but has a mostly Japanese clientele which I take to be a good sign.   As with most popular restaurants in Japan we have had to wait for a table to be free but it’s not been very long and again this is usually a good sign, I’d rather wait for a popular restaurant than go somewhere nearby with no queue.

If you stay on the main shopping street and walk away from the bridge past Pontocho to the department store end of the Shijo it’s on your right.  As with many restaurants, it’s not the easiest to describe or find from directions, it also doesn’t have a big sign saying Omen to make it easier.  Thinking back I really should take GPS coordinates for my favourite restaurants in Japan so I can find them again.  I might do that next time or at least take a photo in daylight from in front.  In the meantime, the best I can do is a map to the original Omen restaurant, the one by the Silver Pavilion, which is just as good and some say even better.

{google_map}omen kyoto{/google_map}

Do you have favourite restaurants that aren’t in the country where you live?  I guess it’s not convenient but does make you look forward to that next visit even more.

8 Comments

  • Hi, I was hoping to get your thoughts re: our itinerary for Jan 2020. Family of 4, 2 adult-like teenagers, firts trip to Japan. Arrive in Tokyo, 8 days touring, 7 days skiing at Nazawa and 5 days in Tokyo before we head home. We love food, art, culture and are looking for unique experiences as well as the ‘must dos’. For the touring leg, we are thinking of spending 3-4 days in Kyoto (incl a day trip to Osaka), with a couple of days somewhere else (?Kanazawa) then heading to Nozawa via Takayama and Nagano. Are there any coastal towns we should consider visiting? We’d like to visit one. Is Naoshima worth a visit in winter? Any other places that we should look into? Thanks for any tips!

    • Hi Marta, my apologies for the delay in replying this one got missed. What a fabulous trip to do as a family. Coming back through the top route from Kanazawa and down through Nagano makes a lot of sense and adds some variety to what you’ll see from the train. For the coastal towns, it will depend a bit on what you are after from them, especially in winter. Naoshima is more about the art than coastal scenery, it’s quite an effort to get to so I would only prioritise it if that was what I wanted to see, it’s not the easiest to get around to the various installations and English information on the artists and pieces is limited. I would probably focus on Kanazawa, Takayama and Shirakawa-go. Depending on what you want to see, a day trip from Tokyo to Kamakura and Enoshima on the coast might work, Enoshima is an island connected by a causeway to the mainland and is a shrine island, there is a variety to see there and if you go over the top and down the (quite a lot) of stairs on the seaward side you can get to the rocks and some caves that go under the island. If you are using a JR Pass for your time touring then my ‘coastal’ pick would be to go through to Hiroshima and out to Miyajima Island, winter often has clear sky and good visibility making the view out over the inland sea from up Mt Misen spectacular.

  • I have lots of favourite restaurants in Vietnam! Just thinking about them makes my mouth water… And our stand out meal from three weeks in the US earlier this year was at Morimoto next to the Chelsea Markets in New York City. Food is definitely a BIG part of our travel experiences!

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