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Review of Chihana

Chihana
Ranked #2,811 of 15,261 Restaurants in Kyoto
Price range: US$89 - US$330
Cuisines: Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighbourhood: Gion
Reviewed 24 February 2017 via mobile

Dinner was extraordinary. But as another TA reviewer reported, the flavors are subtle and traditional--nothing highly innovative or fusion oriented. The meal began with salmon with grapefruit and ended with an amazing glass of fresh orange/apple juice. In between were many dishes, including eel, crab soup with tiny mushrooms, sashimi served with what seemed to be shaved dried mushroom, a remarkable whipped tofu, grilled swordfish and a most memorable rice dish with small cubes of dried fruits and mushrooms and covered with dill.

1  Thank Peter V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7 - 11 of 70 reviews

Reviewed 5 January 2017

After visiting a few restaurants with 1 and 2 Michelin stars we looked forward to visiting our first with 3, which Chihana has held for a number of years but afterwards we were left scratching our heads and wondering why. We were also surprised with how quickly we could book a table, well seats actually at the counter, as it’s also so small.
It should be noted though that we actually enjoyed our meal and I don’t have any major criticisms of the food, service or cleanliness etc. but it was an expensive meal for a lot of fairly simple dishes (NB: there was no menu as such, stuff just came out as and when ready). And while I don’t think there’s any doubt that the food we received was local, seasonal and fresh, the dishes lacked the exuberance and flair that you get in other Michelin-starred places. It does make me wonder if the real criteria for achieving 3 stars is actually quite basic with contenders piling on the pomp when some sautéed carrots from the chef’s garden will do? Or do the Michelin inspectors simply go through a basic checkbox exercise. Multiple different dishes? Check. Head chef in the kitchen? Check. 1 member of waiting staff to every 5 customers? Check. If I was to compare it to restaurants in Scotland where there are zero 3 star restaurants I could comfortably list 50 or perhaps even 100 restaurants where I’ve had a better meal, although this might sound degrading so I’ll re-emphasize that this is a good restaurant and I’m actually glad that we visited but if you’re looking to be blown off your feet with your first 3 Michelin star experience then this is not the place to do it. We visited Gion Namba, which is just across the main road and has 1 star, a few days later and found the food there to be superior (as others have also noted here).

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Thank cro-magnon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2017

Honestly, this was probably one of the biggest culinary let downs I've ever had. We were so excited to try many michelin starred restaurants during our visit to Japan and Chihana really shocked us for how bad the experience was compared to even non michelin starred restaurants. We barely got through the dinner and didn't enjoy it at all, the dishes were unimaginative, unnecessarily fishy and not one dish stood out as something delicious. We even cut our dinner short because we just couldn't bare to sit through it anymore.
That said, the service was impeccable and the Chef and his wife extremely nice and welcoming. Unfortunately the food was almost uneatable.

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1  Thank Francesca A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2016

On the face, the restaurant is subtle -- the pathway leading to the restaurant door, to the detail of the cedar trimmed rooms with the washi green wallpaper that glimmers with the velour wasabi green seats. The service was spot on. Timed perfectly, not slow, but not rushed. The meal starts...course after course of the freshest, most delicately and intricately prepared dishes. The mushroom/shellfish soup had tiny mushrooms that were individually trimmed. The flavored intensely woody with a subtle hint of the sea. This was the theme -- intricately prepared, subtle flavors that grow. After finishing with a rice dish that was the most impeccable prepared rice dish I've ever had, with its cream colored glistening pearl grains perfectly cooked just past al dente, came the refreshing just enough sugar and acid orange and apple juice that was fresh squeezed. A perfect ending. Expect Japanese simplicity that is fully complex...and enjoy the moment.

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Thank tchenla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2016 via mobile

We were all very disappointed !! It can not be a 3 Michelin star, not even one star!
Bad selection of dishes, poor taste, no news to offer... sorry but I will not recommend.

2  Thank Travel611825
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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