These cats have been operating for 550 years, originally as a confectionary store before deciding they wanted to get their hands on some of that $oba money.
Given that they’ve been serving emperors and getting 5 star yelp reviews since the 1500’s you can expect a bit of a wait. We arrived just before lunch on a random weekday and waited about 25 minutes.
The restaurant has two levels and it’s a warren of different little rooms and nooks with tables but seeing as despite being white AF I feel basically asian I opted for sitting on the floor in the tatami mat room.
We came here for the soba but ordered this little side of seaweed; it’s served in a wooden box with burning embers underneath giving it a warm and crispy texture.
The main event was the tempura soba, a bowl of kake soba served with chopped scallion and various tempura goodness including prawn, eggplant and okra. The broth and the buckwheat noodles were outstanding and cemented my newfound soba appreciation.
The yasai soba tempura is basically a vegetarian version so it swaps out the prawns for a few other vegetables; I think it was daikon and mushrooms.
Honke Owariya is a must visit in Kyoto, they have a couple of other slightly more convenient branches around the city but I couldn’t miss the original. Plus it’s just around the corner from the Kyoto manga museum where you can have an artist draw you in manga style like I did!
Kyoto, 604-0841, Japan