Cheers of joy broke out when this restaurant opened in July 2022, answering the prayers of those unable to book a seat at Kyoto’s award-winning Tominokoji Yamagishi or seeking a more casual à la carte style. After four dishes featuring the same prized ingredients and dashi as at the parent restaurant, diners are free to choose from a menu reminiscent of an izakaya but with the same refined touches and flavors of its namesake. So order your favorite drinks and settle in for a relaxing evening of delicious Japanese cuisine.
Nominokoji Yamagishi opened in an incredibly convenient location just minutes from the central Kyoto districts of Kawaramachi and Karasuma Oike. You could make your way here after enjoying famous Kyoto sights like Nijo Castle and Heian Jingu or by way of a stroll along the romantic Kamogawa river. An exterior of distinctively Kyoto features like a low, curved bamboo fence and latticed windows tell guests that careful attention has been paid to making every aspect of this Kyoto dining experience special. The interior comprises a generous rounded counter with views of the charcoal grill and preparation space, as well as a small table for two that gives diners the sense of a private room.
Because the restaurant opens at 4 p.m., diners can devour dinner and drinks here and make it back to Tokyo on the last bullet train. Kyoto locals love the freedom of ordering an array of exquisite dishes. With the degustation portion changing each season and the à la carte menu updated every month, whether you live near or far, this is a place you will want to visit time and again.
Cheers of joy
Kyoto has seen an increase in restaurants offering two contrasting styles: those with omakase degustation menus and others with a list of dishes diners are free to choose from individually. Nominokoji Yamagishi weaves these two styles together, first serving four dishes of elegant Japanese cuisine made from the same exquisite seasonal ingredients and dashi found in the kitchen of Michelin-starred Tominokoji Yamagishi, followed by an array of dishes guests are free to choose from an extensive menu of over fifty items, much like at an izakaya. But the resemblance ends there because the chef’s ingenious treatment of ingredients brings new excitement to dishes like potato salad with smoky pickles, dashi-flavored omelet, and karaage fried chicken.
After taking your seat at the counter, you will be served a four-course chef’s menu, which includes some choices. One possible appetizer is a small bowl of Nagano Koshihikari rice topped with Hokkaido salmon roe dressed in soy sauce. The skillfully prepared sashimi dish may be kamasu barracuda in the yakishimo style in which the skin side is briefly seared, then topped with a dashi gelée featuring refreshing sudachi citrus juice, and served with chrysanthemum in the form of flowers and edible greens, mibuna wild mustard greens, and tonburi – an ingredient often referred to as “land caviar” and known as belvedere fruit in English.
Before moving on to the vegetable course, you can choose from four meat dishes, including skin-on pork belly rubbed with five-spice powder cooked low and slow before being cut and fried into mouthwatering pieces. It is served with zasai mustard plant stems tossed in Chinese chili bean paste. Or you may like to try the seared Iwate-raised wagyu served with herbs and ponzu punctuated by grated daikon.
Now that you know the quality of these flavors, it will be next to impossible to choose from among the fifty dishes on the à la carte menu. Traditional Japanese offerings like daggertooth pike conger with matsutake mushrooms and braised blackthroat seaperch can be ordered alongside creative versions of potato salad, gyoza, and even Chinese-style seabass. In addition, there is an assorted sushi platter featuring the day’s freshest fish, like mackerel, tuna, and sea bream. All go wonderfully well with the beverage selection, as do tummy-filling dishes like mullet roe soba and rice topped with a farm-fresh egg. One especially popular finishing dish is the squid yakisoba. The chef places special orders for thin ramen noodles that he steams before tossing in oil with cabbage and squid legs and a signature sauce that includes a touch of curry powder.
Japan’s most premium ingredients feature in the opening seasonal dishes that pay homage to Tominokoji Yamagishi. They are supplied direct from that restaurant after selection by the highly discerning eyes of chef/owner Takahiro Yamagishi. All other ingredients are sourced from trusted fishmongers and greengrocers to support a diverse menu featuring Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian flavors. They are prepared for affinity with the omakase dishes and through careful calculations about menu flow.
Much like an izakaya, the drinks menu at Nominokoji Yamagishi is extensive, with beer, sake, and shochu all available, as well as primarily French wines by the glass from 1600 yen and bottles of Champagne from 20,000 yen.
Most of the Nominokoji Yamagishi tableware has been gathered by owner Takahiro Yamagishi since his younger days. Each piece is exquisite in a collection that contains blue and white items, red-painted ceramics, and celadon porcelain. Several gorgeous Kyoyaki ceramic pieces are displayed within the counter for guests to gaze at and enjoy. Despite the casual nature of cuisine designed to be enjoyed with a drink or two, the top-notch dishes are all presented on elegant, high-quality tableware.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥8,000