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Daitoku-ji Ikkyu, Kyoto

20 Daitokujimae, Murasakino
Japan 603-8215
Tel: 81 75 493 0019's insider take:

You're no monk, so why should you put up with shojin ryori? The Zen Buddhist cuisine contains no meat, no fish, no eggs, no dairy, and no assertive spices or herbs such as garlic. For the persuasive answer, park yourself on a zabuton cushion in one of the garden-view tatami rooms at Ikkyu, a restaurant just outside the southeast gate of the sprawling Daitokuji Zen temple complex. For more than 500 years, Ikkyu Tsuda's family has been feeding Daitokuji's priests and monks, and it's nothing short of a miracle what they can do with tofu, root vegetables, and rice. The lovely setting doesn't hurt a bit, and neither does the service, which includes a head-buzzing jolt of powdered green tea, whisked, brewed, and presented in a beautiful bowl—a miniature tea ceremony that's all part of the price. Reservations necessary.

Open daily noon to 6 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.