Yokato: A Real Local Japanese Bar/Pub in Hanazono (Part 2)


Hey, guys! It's Christina again, a friend of the staff at The Limelight Kyoto.


In my last blog, I talked about how I discovered Yokato thanks to Ulala at The Limelight Kyoto and how I was overcoming my intimidation of these really local pubs in Japan as a foreigner and non-native of Kyoto.


When Ulala and I walked in, she was welcomed by the owner and chef (who is appropriately called “master” in Japanese) and his lovely wife behind the counter with him, who also warmly greeted me. They handed us a menu in Japanese, which was kind of lost on me since, even though I live in Japan and understand some Japanese, I'm not familiar with most Japanese dishes.


The first thing I noticed while sitting at the bar counter was the fresh fish inside the case. Apparently, the master used to work at a sushi restaurant for eight years, so having told me that, Ulala immediately ordered us a plate of assorted sashimi. I was an extremely picky eater growing up and was also never exposed to Japanese food, so the first time I had sushi was when I was 18 years old. The first time I had sashimi was when I was 27. The thing about sashimi at Yokato is that even if you don't know what kind of fish it is and aren't sure if you'll like it, the flavor is so mild that you most likely will like it because I loved it!



The sashimi here is generously cut compared to other places and very tender!


The next thing we tried was the Japanese-style omelette, which is made using dashi, a traditional Japanese soup stock made from kelp and bonito.


To top it off (pun intended), there was grated daikon radish, a common topping in Japanese cuisine, and pickled ginger – my favorite!


Lastly, while sitting at the bar talking with Ulala, I couldn't help but watch the master cook up some delicious-looking yakisoba (sautéed Japanese-style noodles). We told him that it smelled good and wanted to order a batch for ourselves. Order up!


Here we have a plate of pork, onions, and noodles sautéed to perfection in a light amount of oil and salt, without any heavy sauces like you would find anywhere else. The flavors of the ingredients really shine. I'd love to have it again right now!


While we were eating and drinking, Ulala would chat with the master and his wife every now and then; I could tell that she must come here often and know them pretty well. After we finished, the master was telling us stories of how he used to work when he was younger along with stories about his daughters.



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