Think you know French food? Think again. Opened by French chef Stephen Pantel, Ryoriya Stephen Pantel breaks down culinary conventions, combining French cooking with Kyoto’s abundant natural ingredients, which change dramatically with the seasons. For example, tilefish is served with shitake mushroom ika no shio kara, a kind of preserved squid. This place is housed on the verge of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, in a gorgeous, historical machiya, the kind of wooden town house common in Kyoto. It presents innovative dishes that are the perfect union of Western and Eastern food.
For the most lavish experience of French cuisine in Kyoto, Motoï is a superb place to go. This restaurant is the holder of one Michelin star, awarded for their clever incorporation of Japanese ingredients with French cuisine. This fine dining establishment is housed in a century-old machiya, formerly a private residence, with an interior that is now renovated to become an atmospheric and elegant space. While the French culinary style is clearly dominant, their food is influenced by styles of cooking from all over the world, and by seasonal ingredients available in Kyoto and in Japan.
186 Tawarayacho, Tominokoji Nijo Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, +81-75-231-0709
If you’re looking for simple, hearty French food, look no further than Citron Ble. This charming bistro specializes in steak, and they use Japan’s domestic cattle for the beef. Their beef is of good quality, and is cooked so that it is charred and crispy on the outside but juicy and tender on the inside. Their steaks come with deliciously fried fries or potato wedges. They have a decent drinks menu which features Japanese wines and craft beer, as well as international labels. While Citron Ble does not serve anything fancy, it is a great option if you need a break from the somewhat bland flavors of Kyoto’s Japanese cuisine.
514 Fuyacho-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8053,+81-75-708-6664