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Where to Eat in Nara

The city of Nara, with all its historic landmarks and charming deer, is a magnet for tourists all year round, so it is not short on dining options. From Sanjo Dori up to Nara Park, and past Naramachi, there are plenty of restaurants and types of cuisine to choose from.

Where to Eat in Nara

Index

  • Mellow Café

  • Nakanishi Yosaburo Kakigori

  • Kameya

  • Kotaro Taiyaki

  • Shika no Fune

  • Nakatanidou rice cakes

  • Edogawa Grilled Eel

  • Tsukihi-Tei

  • Mizuya Teahouse

  • Kitamachi Donuts

  • Kakinohazushi

  • Mellow Café

    Mellow Cafe is a large, relaxed eatery offering large portions of curry, pasta, and pizza. The highlight of the menu is the pizza, which is cooked in a stone oven with a wide range of toppings. Indian-style curry is also a popular and filling lunch item. The cafe is open from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm. During the day, the cafe acts as a casual lunch spot, while the evening brings different courses and a bar. Lunch and dinner are affordable, with most dishes under 1,500 yen. Mellow Cafe is just a couple of blocks from Sanjo-Dori.

    Mellow Café

    Mellow Café

  • Nakanishi Yosaburo Kakigori

    Nakanishi Yosaburo kakigori

    Nakanishi Yosaburo kakigori

    The kakigori, or soft shaved ice, of Nakanishi Yosaburo is served only from June to October. Cool down with some kakigori topped with handmade botanical and Japanese-flavored syrups, ranging from shiso leaf to plum and kinako. The confectionery has been open for over 100 years and specializes in kakigori every summer. There are a variety of options, from the traditional azuki beans and matcha to a fruity berry mixture. Outside of summer, the shop sells wagashi, sweets that pair with green tea. The shop is open from 9 am to 6 pm on weekdays and 9:30 am to 6:30 pm on weekends.

  • Kameya

    Kameya

    Kameya

    For lunch or dinner, fill up with some okonomiyaki, one of Kansai’s many culinary specialties. The okonomiyaki is cooked Osaka style with the customer’s choice of additions mixed in. The pancake is cooked on the grill facing the patrons. Kameya also offers an English menu that makes custom ordering much easier. Kameya is located on Sanjo-Dori and open from 11:30 am to 10 pm. The restaurant is normally closed on Tuesdays.

  • Kotaro Taiyaki

    Kotaro Taiyaki

    Kotaro Taiyaki

    Taiyaki is a popular sweet dessert in the shape of tai, or Japanese seabream. The inside is filled with azuki, or red bean paste, and served hot and fresh. For a quick pick-me-up, pick up some taiyaki from the local vendor. The small, ramshackle cafe serves fresh taiyaki and coffee and is run by the eccentric owner himself. He originally lived in a van at the foot of Mt. Fuji and now shares his stories with the patrons of the cafe.

    Kotaro Taiyaki

    Kotaro Taiyaki

  • Shika no Fune

    Shika no Fune

    Shika no Fune

    Shika no Fune serves light yet filling daytime meals with vegetables grown nearby. The light-filled space is the perfect place to start a relaxing morning. The meals are Japanese-inspired with a macrobiotic twist, all featuring local produce. Each item is handmade, and the rice is grown nearby and cooked inside a fire oven. There are four choices for lunch, including seasonal options, that offer both vegetarian and meat meals. The cafe is open from 8 am to 6 pm daily but stops serving meals once the rice runs out.

  • Nakatanidou rice cakes

    Nakatanidou rice cakes

    Nakatanidou rice cakes

    Nakatanidou not only sells delicious mochi, or sticky-rice cakes, but also shows shoppers the mochi pounding and shaping process. Nakatanidou’s most popular mochi is the viridescent yomogi mochi, made from mugwort and filled with red bean paste. It is dusted with kinako, or roasted soybean powder, before being served fresh to customers. The mochis sell for only 130 yen apiece, making them the perfect energy-boosting snack in the middle of the day. Nakatanidou’s mochi pounders are some of the fastest in Japan, winning competitions in 2005 and 2006. Customers can watch the process of the mochi and purchase a fresh snack. Located along Sanjo-Dori, Nakatanidou is open from 10 am to 7 pm daily.

  • Edogawa Grilled Eel

    Edogawa Grilled Eel

    Edogawa Grilled Eel

    Located near the Mochiido-no Center shopping street, Edogawa specializes in grilled-eel set dishes. The lunch and dinner sets are filling, with plenty of side dishes. While grilled eel is the specialty, Edogawa also serves sashimi and meat alongside miso soup, pickles, and egg custard. Some sets offer a combination of fish, eel, and meat. The Yamato Wagyu Beef sukiyaki set comes with eel and sukiyaki, the Japanese version of surf and turf. The sets pair well with limited, local sake for only 580 yen a glass. Edogawa offers tatami seating in a traditional atmosphere, reflecting the aesthetic and history of Nara. It’s open from 11 am to 9:30 pm daily.

  • Tsukihi-Tei

    Tsukihi-Tei

    Tsukihi-Tei

    Located near Kintetsu Nara station, Tsukihi-Tei specializes in teishoku sets for lunch and dinner. There are a variety of basic sets with the star entree changing in each one. Tsukihi-Tei offers traditional Nara food, such as kakinohazushi, served with sides such as miso soup and pickles. Many of the ingredients are locally grown or raised in Nara, and the menu changes depending on the season and what is being grown on the nearby farms. The teishoku and lunch-box sets are filling and large. Tsukihi-Tei also offers select local sake, with a featured drink changing every month. Try out Tsukihi-Tei for traditional Nara cuisine and to support the local agricultural businesses.

  • Mizuya Teahouse

    Mizuya Teahouse

    Mizuya Teahouse

    Located in Nara Park, Mizuya Teahouse is a traditional teahouse near the Mizutani River. Mizuya has been serving light lunches and desserts for over 60 years. The cafe serves 12 dishes of udon and soba along with its signature dessert, warabimochi and kakigori in the summer. The nature-filled atmosphere of the teahouse is tranquil and relaxed. Every season gives the teahouse a new appearance. Mizuya is open from 10 am to 4 pm and closed on Wednesdays.

  • Kitamachi Donuts

    Kitamachi Donuts

    Kitamachi Donuts

    Kitamachi is a tofu shop selling soybeans in various forms. It uses only soybeans grown in Nara and sells tofu for everyone and for every meal. The shop is most famous for its okara, or leftover tofu, donuts. The leftover tofu gets blended into the donut mix, creating a unique and healthy flavor. Rather than the heaviness of buttermilk concoctions, okara donuts leave a light and pleasant feeling behind.

  • Kakinohazushi

    Kakinohazushi

    Kakinohazushi

    Kakinohazushi is wrapped in the bitter leaves of persimmon fruit, leaving no waste. Kakinohazushi was created in the Edo era to preserve the sushi rice and fish for long journeys. Now, the sushi is a popular dish for domestic travelers. Kakinohazushi has a different appearance than that of its nigiri cousins. Cured fish, normally salmon or mackerel, is placed on top of vinegared rice and shaped into a brick, then wrapped in the persimmon leaf. The block is left in a wooden box to continue the curing process before it’s ready to eat. Despite its name, the persimmon leaf is not actually eaten with the sushi. It is only for the packaging. However, the subtle taste of the leaf is reflected upon the fish and rice. Kakinohazushi is found in restaurants throughout Nara and is a popular ekiben, or train lunch.

    Kakinohazushi

    Kakinohazushi

    mellowcafe
    rating 149 Reviews
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Konishichou 1-8
    Phone
    0742279099
    Nakanishi Yosaburo,
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Wakidochou 23
    Phone
    0742243048
    かめや
    Address
    奈良県奈良市樽井町9
    Phone
    0742-22-2434
    こたろう
    Address
    奈良県奈良市小太郎町6
    Phone
    Shika no fune
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Inouechou 11
    Phone
    0742943500
    Nakatanido
    rating 275 Reviews
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Hashimotochou 29
    Phone
    0742230141
    月日亭 近鉄奈良駅前店
    Address
    奈良県奈良市東向中町6 奈良県経済倶楽部ビル2F
    Phone
    0742-23-5470
    Mizutanichaya
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Kasuganochou 30
    Phone
    0742220627
    Kitamachi Tofu
    Address
    Nara Pref. Narashi Higashikanenagachou 75
    Phone
    0742272711
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