Ristorante 245 Gion in Kyoto is one of the best recommendations given by the owner of the boutique hotel that we usually stay at in Kyoto. The restaurant serves Japanese-Italian food using plenty of fresh seasonal Japanese ingredients. They serve an omakase menu at both lunch and dinner.
245 Gion (which is how we call the restaurant) is a small cosy place that can seat about six to eight persons around a bar counter, and it also has one private room that can seat approximately 4 to 5 persons (I think). The restaurant is very conveniently located at Shinmonzen Dori, which is a couple of streets behind the main stretch of downtown Gion.
We made our third visit to Ristorante 245 Gion in Feb this year. Since we first visited some years ago, we have always made it a point to stop by the restaurant for dinner whenever we visit Kyoto. I wrote about our first visit here. We have always enjoyed our dinner at the restaurant. The Japanese-Italian menu is interesting, flavours are light and clean. Most of all, we like the warm cosy atmosphere in the restaurant.
The chef is a young chap in his 30s, and mans the kitchen single-handedly. He has one assistant who helps to plate and serve the food, clear the plates and pour the wine. Both the chef and his assistant speak passable English, nothing too complicated but enough to explain the ingredients in each course. The bar counter provides a good view of watching the chef and his assistant work behind the scenes.
We have never gone there for lunch so I am not sure how many courses are served at lunch. Our omakase dinner is usually a standard 10-course meal including an amuse bouche and dessert. It is a big meal so we usually ‘starve ourselves’ on the day that we are dining at 245 Gion. By ‘starving’, I meant that we abstain from having afternoon tea!
As the chef cooks using seasonal Japanese ingredients, the courses featured in the Japanese-Italian menu changes depending on what is available. In all my three visits, we have been served new items as well as repeated items.
The fish en papilote is a course I have eaten in all my three visits. It is one of my favourite courses at Ristorante 245 Gion.
The smoked quail egg and egg is also a repeat course which the husband is happy about because this is his favourite course at the restaurant.
Both the cold and warm capellinis were new to me. They were not served one after another in case anyone is wondering why a chef would serve two pasta courses one after another. My photos are just not posted in the same order as the courses. I wanted to put these two new courses in the same collage.
Both the husband and myself loved both courses. The cold capellini was very refreshing. I can’t quite remember what was in the sauce but it was very yummy. The caviar was wasted on me ‘cos I am not a fan of the delicacy.
I liked the warm capellini better than the cold version. It was served with buttery leeks and topped with a super delicious shirako tempura. The shirako tempura was cooked perfectly – crispy on the outside, moist and creamy inside. One of the best shirako tempura I have eaten.
Absolutely loved all these courses, especially the massive salad with a miso paste! The colourful salad is very delicious but it fills me up completely by the time I am done with it. The clam and Japanese cabbage gratin is so good that I want to eat another portion.
The chef usually finishes dinner with a last course of rice with Thai curry and fish. It is Japanese tradition to finish off a meal with a bowl of rice or porridge. Here, the chef does it with a twist using Thai flavours. The Thai curry looks mild but it is incredibly spicy by Japanese standards. Not exactly Japanese-Italian but very yummy.
Just us and dessert. Dessert was homemade ice cream (coconut flavour I remember) composed with sliced oranges and kumquat. I have a tendency to forget what was served for dessert as I would be in a semi-food coma by the time dessert comes around.
I don’t usually post photos of us but I needed a second picture to make this collage so here is one of us at the start of dinner.
Will we go back to Ristorante 245 Gion a 4th time? Definitely.
Ristorante 245 Gion (Japanese-Italian menu)
Address: 245-1 Nakanocho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0082, Japan (Click here for Google map)
Reservations: This is a must. You can make a reservation on Gurunavi but instructions are in Japanese.