Morpho Café is a gorgeous butterfly-themed restaurant close to Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace. The welcoming and relaxed atmosphere will make you feel at home straight away, as will the restaurant’s friendly owner, who is happy to chat with customers in both English and Japanese. Morpho offers a varied and very reasonably priced menu, including curry noodles, taco rice, burgers, pizza and pasta dishes. The ‘fish’ burger and chips is a fantastic choice, as it manages to satisfy your junk food cravings without being greasy or too salty. Portion sizes are generous here, but make sure you save room for dessert because they’re divine! The parfait is beautifully presented and packed full of fruit, cake, and ice cream, while the banana and caramel pizza is heaven on a plate.
• Open: Lunch 12–2.30pm; Dinner 5–8.30pm
• Price Range: ¥800–¥1,100
• Closed: Tuesdays
• Access: Imadegawa Stn, Exit 4; Marutamachi Stn, Exit 2, 17-min walk from either station
• Address: 309 Saikachicho, Kamigyo ward, Kyoto
This chilled out café is conveniently located in the heart of the city, within walking distance of Kyoto Station. For lunch, it offers a choice of three or four lunch sets, which all come with salad, soup, and side dishes, and there’s an à la carte menu for dinner. The presentation of the dinner courses can be a little underwhelming, but the taste more than makes up for it. The tofu carbonara, in particular, is rich and creamy, while the Indonesian-style tempeh and vegetable fried rice are deliciously seasoned. For dessert, you have the choice between the daily cake and a variety of moist and flavorful muffins, including cocoa and ginger, and sweet potato and raisin. Be aware that the restaurant has limited quantities of certain dishes, so it’s best to go early. Get a seat by the window for a great view of the Kamo River!
• Open: 8am–9pm (L.O. 8pm)
• Price Range: ¥1,000–¥1,600
• Closed: Mondays
• Access: Shichijo Stn, Exit 3, 1-min walk
• Address: 1F Kamogawa Building, 448 Inaricho, Shimogyo ward, Kyoto
If you’re a fan of sesame, you won’t want to miss Gomacro! Everything on the menu – including the drinks and desserts – is made using some form of sesame, giving their dishes a distinctive and delicious flavor. The focus here is on healthy and seasonal food. As well as being vegan, the restaurant uses no white sugar or chemical additives. They offer a choice of four different lunch sets – ramen, a macrobiotic vegetable plate, curry, and a burger – each of which can be ordered with a drink and mini dessert included. The ramen is made with soy milk, sesame, and miso, creating an unbelievably rich and creamy sauce. For dessert, you can choose between rich chocolate cake, a flavorful sesame and nut tart, and a unique sesame brûlée. Can’t decide? Go for the assorted dessert plate and you won’t have to!
• Open: Lunch 11.30am–3pm (L.O. 2pm); Café time 3–7pm (L.O. 6pm)
• Price Range: ¥1,000–¥1,850
• Closed: Mondays
• Access: Karasumaoike Stn, Exit 4, 5-min walk
• Address: 67-3 Shinmeicho, Nakagyo ward, Kyoto