Owatari-style hospitality based on tea ceremony experience and making use of a sommelier qualification.
Gion Owatari is a hidden gem located about a 10-minute walk from the Keihan Main Line Gion-Shijo Station, in an alley a little distance from the lively red-light district. It is a Japanese restaurant with two stars from the Michelin Guide, known for its Kyoto cuisine with delicate flavor.
Owner Mahito Owatari trained at many restaurants in Osaka including “Kaiseki Honda” and “Kisetsu Ryori Tsumura”, and became independent in 2009. Owatari felt that “the water in Osaka and Kyoto is different, resulting in dashi (soup) stock with different flavors”, so he created his own flavor through research by using techniques such as using dried tuna flakes with water in Kyoto for an elegant flavor. The menu is only Chef's choice course.
Chef Owatari's style is to keep things simple when incorporating something new, and to be thoroughly pursuant with classic dishes. At times he cooks as he considers the best way to bring out the natural flavor of some ingredients, as he does for “simmered turnips”, which he cooks simply with water rather than dashi (soup) stock. Aside from char-grilling fish and cooking rice in an earthenware pot, one of the restaurant's specialties is to end a course with light tea and warabimochi, taking a hint from the traditional tea ceremony. Chef Owatari is a qualified sommelier as well, and has a collection of selected wine and Japanese sake that goes well with the cuisine.
The restaurant, a refurbished old Japanese-style house, has an interior reminiscent of a tea house with mud walls and a wickerwork ceiling. They have 8 seats at an impressive counter made of a single wood board. Many customers come for anniversaries and dates, and the comfortable seats make it suitable for business dinners as well. Owatari's hospitality born out of his desire for customers to “relax and enjoy themselves without any pretense” is sure to guarantee an unforgettable experience.
10-minute walk from Keihan Main Line Gion-Shijo Station Exit 6
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