Kyoto is the birthplace of kaiseki, the haute cuisine of Japan, in which gorgeously presented seasonal dishes come together in a highly formalized tasting menu. The multi-course affair involves fish, tofu and vegetables, and usually no meat.
Tousuiro, 517-3 Kamiosakamachi, Sanjo Agaru Kiyamachi St., Nakagyo-ku; 011-75-251-1600; www.tousuiro.com. A casual, relaxed tofu restaurant overlooking the Kamo River. Tofu kaiseki lunch, about $21 per person.
Kikunoi, 459 Shimo Kawaramachi, Yasaki Torii Mae, Higashiyama-ku; 011-81-75-561-0015. Kaiseki master Yoshihiro Murata's graceful restaurant has been in his family for three generations. The 11 beautiful tatami rooms are luxuriously spacious. Kaiseki dinner, about $200 per person.
Tsuruya, 30 Okazaki Higashi-Tennocho, Sakyo-ku; 011-81-75-761-0171. Serene and gorgeous, this formal kaiseki restaurant has tatami rooms looking out onto an amazing garden. Kaiseki lunch, about $200 per person.