Reserving fine dining restaurants in Japan was a challenge. The majority of these types of restaurants are intimate and seats are limited so reservations are extremely hard to come by especially for foreigners.
I must have called over 10 different Michelin starred restaurants in Kyoto without any luck. After I had almost given up hope, I finally snagged a reservation at Otagi, a new two Michelin starred restaurant in the suburbs of Kyoto. Compared to the other restaurants I had called, Otagi didn’t have much information listed online such as reviews or even photos. I was a little apprehensive but at this point, I was tired of researching so I decided to just go with it and I’m so happy I did as it turned out to be one of my favorite kaiseki meals during my trip.
Tender abalone was served with soft tofu that was colored with yomogi, a type of Japanese herb.
Bamboo season was in full force during this time as I had it at almost every meal. This delicate soup had ainame also known as fat greening, a seasonal Japanese fish.
Fresh slices of amadai, red tilefish, was served with yuzu, wasabi, and soy sauce.
I couldn’t understand from the chef what type of vegetables and seasonings these pickles were but they were out of this world. No joke, some of the most delicious flavorful bites I’ve had.
Simply grilled little fish were served with a vibrant ponzu sauce.
Perfectly cooked duck breast with unctuous fatty but crispy skin was paired with an umami jelly sauce and Japanese greens.
This cold clam and noodle dish had tons of aromatic flavor from ginger and herbs. There was also a layer of cold jelly surrounding the clam and noodles. This was one of the more unique dishes of the night.
Almost like a Chinese spring roll, this shrimp roll was beautifully fried served with dried fish roe.
No better way to end a kaiseki meal than with rice, pickles, and miso soup. Always a favorite.
After my first serving of rice, you can get another serving with a raw egg yolk on top. So creamy, decadent, and rich.
The most amazing intense orange yolk.
After eating the second bowl of rice, you can get another serving but with a cooked egg on top. I was too full but Tommaso wasn’t holding back.
Fresh orange was served with orange jelly. Simple yet a refreshing palate cleanser.
Warabimochi has a jelly-like texture and is dipped in kinako, roasted soybean flour, and drizzled with sweet sticky syrup.
Since I had no expectations coming into Otagi, I was more than pleasantly surprised with my kaiseki experience. Everything was delicious and slightly more contemporary compared to the kaiseki meal I had in Hiroshima. Since this “modern” approach is more to my liking, my rating is an 8.5/10.