A 5-minute walk from Higashiyama Station in Kyoto takes you to Shorenin Monzeki-mae Tsukioka, a Japanese restaurant located near Shorenin Monzeki Temple, which dates back hundreds of years to the Heian period. With an elegant appearance that fits in well with the surrounding streetscape of Kyoto, the detached restaurant is helmed by Chef Masanori Tsukioka.
Chef Tsukioka, born in Hokkaido, started his career in the culinary industry at the age of 15 at a local restaurant in Susukino, Sapporo. While he was honing his culinary skills in Nagoya, Kyoto, and Tokyo, he met Chef Hisao Nakahigashi of Soujiki Nakahigashi in Kyoto. Impressed by Chef Nakahigashi’s thoughts on Japanese cuisine, he became an apprentice at Soujiki Nakahigashi. Then, he was appointed as the chef of Jimi Kogetsu in Kusatsu, Shiga, in 2010 and made the restaurant extremely popular and well-sought after. Subsequently, he went to the US to take Japanese cuisine beyond the borders of Japan. Eventually, he returned to Japan and opened Shorenin Monzeki-mae Tsukioka, a restaurant named after him, in Higashiyama, Kyoto in 2021.
In order to highlight seasonal flavors, Chef Tsukioka goes to Miyama and Ohara every morning to collect edible wild plants and visits farms to pick vegetables. As indicated by the Japanese word “chiso” (which currently means “banquet” but originally meant “rushing about to obtain ingredients and prepare delicious dishes for guests”), he runs about to obtain ingredients for his guests, and these painstakingly collected ingredients are cooked over the traditional charcoal stove behind the counter. One of the most popular dishes is the rice, which features organic Koshihikari rice sourced from Niigata, polished every day only in the quantities needed for immediate use, and cooked in a Japanese casserole to bring out the best flavor of the ingredient.
The prix fixe meal starts with an assortment of appetizers known as “hassun,” followed by an entrée of Charcoal Grilled Tokachi Veal Steak. The veal is grown in the chef’s hometown of Tokachi, Hokkaido, and prepared by Sakaeya, a popular butcher’s shop in Kusatsu, Shiga. “The veal from young 14-month-old Holstein bull calves is aged for 30 to 40 days, and the tasty, flavorful cuts of sirloin or ribeye make the menu,” Chef Tsukioka says with great pride. Impressed by aged beef in New York, he looked for comparable beef in Japan and found Tokachi veal after a long search. At his restaurant, Tokachi Veal is grilled over a charcoal stove, seasoned only with sea salt from Portugal, and served with seasonal vegetables.
The wine list selected by the proprietress, a qualified sommelier, offers more than 90 labels of wines mainly from France, while the sake list features 10 labels of high-quality Japanese sake from around Japan, including Matsu No Tsukasa and Shichihonyari from brewers with whom the chef became acquainted while working in Shiga, as well as renowned labels from Kyoto and Mie.
With a gallery of antiques and teacups behind the eight-seat counter, the restaurant looks like a museum. It also boasts a wide collection of tableware, ranging from antiques from the 15th to 17th century to ceramics created by contemporary artists.
The restaurant is not only suitable for daily dining but also perfect for anniversaries and other celebrations. Please visit Shorenin Monzeki-mae Tsukioka to enjoy exquisite dishes in a sophisticated setting.
* The availability of this webpage does not guarantee that the restaurant presented provides services in English, unless otherwise stated. Please be aware that English services may also depend on staff availability at the restaurant.
A 5-minutes walk from Higashiyama Station on the Kyoto City Subway