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“Fantastic zen temple experience”
Review of Kanga-an

Kanga-an
Ranked #1,570 of 12,150 Restaurants in Kyoto
Cuisines: Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: City Center
Trenton, New Jersey
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Fantastic zen temple experience”
Reviewed April 9, 2013

If you are in Kyoto you have to try zen temple cuisine. There are multiple choices. I have tried the Tenryuji version (about 3500Y/person for lunch), which was more like a bento ---most of the courses were brought at the same time.

The Kanga-an version (about 6000Y/person for lunch) is much more deluxe. The restaurant is in a medium size garden and attached to a temple. Our group of 6 (including two kids) was given our own private room facing the garden, with table and chair seating. The lunch consisted of about 15 courses which were spaced out over almost 2 hours. The tempura course was especially memorable (included some flowers fried in tempura batter; see pic).

The staff person taking care of us spoke a fair bit of English and the menu was translated into English as well. I made a reservation the day before (for a Tuesday).

This place is highly recommended. One of our best meals in Kyoto.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank NJtraveler0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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31 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    16
    8
    4
    2
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
South London
Level Contributor
135 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Something very different”
Reviewed May 31, 2012

15 Courses of very unique dishes. All vegan menu, and very creative.
English menu explains concept and courses - although the courses were brought out in a different order. Service was just ok, we were joined by Maiko and Geiko for the evning who entertained us in a seperate room, with a wonderful view of the gardens.
Truly beautiful surroundings, but still left a little hungry !

  • Visited May 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Jessep666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“VERY DISAPPOINTED”
Reviewed January 23, 2012

walking up to the restaurant I was sure we were going to have the dinner of our life but was severely disappointed. the restaurant is situated in old beautiful buddhist temple and really is a sight to remember.

We chose the 10,000 YEN a head (£90) set menu which is just under the highest set menu. The dinner was 15 courses and supposed to be enjoyed slowly to make an evening of it instead of just a short dinner but they brought all the dishes out so quickly sometimes even 3 at a time that a dinner that was supposed to be a couple of hours was over in 45 mins. I would've told them to slow down even earlier but I didn't even get a chance to realise where we were at till it was too late. When I complained and said it was too rushed and hurried they apologised but didn't even comp our drinks. It was our last dinner in japan after a 2 week trip so I really meticulously planned to end it on a high but was sadly left disappointed. I grew up in japan and had high hopes for the food but would only rate the food as okay and actually left hungry!

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank naomihs7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
116 reviews
82 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Unique dining experience, not to be missed!”
Reviewed September 9, 2011

Booked this dinner one month in advance, was looking forward to it and it exceeded expectations. As soon as we arrived, and saw the beautiful shrine illuminated we knew it was going to a good night. When we arrived in our Private Dining Room overlooking the gardens we knew it was going to be even better. We guessed there must be other people there, but we never saw them which made the night feel more special.

Enjoyed the Take-Zen menu at Kanga'an. Dishes were petite but we were more than satisfied. I had never experienced anything like this, the dishes were very simple, fresh and tasted very pure. The menu was vegan, but the food was designed to look like meat. I eat at some Michelin restaurants in Tokyo, and was very impressed with this food.

Our waiter was great (he was dressed as a monk/priest but he told us later he is waiter). His timing was impeccable, and his service never intrusive. His English was not fluent, but he explained the dishes perfectly. They also had a lot of information printed in English explaining the concept, history and menu.

We wanted to try the Bar, so our waiter served dessert there. It is a beautiful bar overlooking the gardens. Bar is well stocked and even features Guinness on tap! We stuck to the Plum liqueur on the rocks, and it was delicious.

We explored the gardens after dinner. We were eaten alive by mosquitos like we were warned, but the garden was worth it.

OVERALL: If you have one night in Kyoto, it is worth a visit. The gardens are so serene and heavenly and the food is unique. If you can't make dinner, at least visit for a drink.

Warning: Reconfirm your reservation, if you don't speak Japanese, ask your hotel to do it. We booked online and when we called on the day to reconfirm our reservation we were told no booking was there and they were full. Staff spoke no English so hotel staff called and organise a table. Had an email confirming the dinner, but they said the Manager was on holiday. Thankfully it was resolved.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank jinny g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level Contributor
101 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“9 out of 10...”
Reviewed February 25, 2011

Finding this temple-restaurant is not difficult thanks to the many reviewers who have posted directions.

My wife and I enjoyed the ambience as much as the superbly presented food. We were shown to a private room when we arrived and did not see any other people throughout our meal except for our good-humoured server. We knew there were other people lunching there as an occasional peal of laughter or murmur of voices would float across to us, but such is the discreet and harmonious layout of the premises that one feels cocooned in blissful and contemplative solitude.

The only reason I rate Kanga-an 9 out of 10 is that the tempura was soggy and not crisp when it was served. Everything else was perfect which made this lapse even more jarring.

  • Visited January 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank biketrekker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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