Notice: Will be closing January 15th, 2014 to find a new location! I will update when they update!
- Quality: ★★★★ – Very Good
- Location: Near Hyakumanben Bus Stop, Kyoto
- Type: Vegetarian (95% vegan, just specify if you don’t eat honey)
- Hours: CURRENTLY CLOSED
- Price: $ – Inexpensive (typical entrée about ¥1000)
- Website: http://www.proverbs1517.com/
Café Proverbs currently ranks as one of my favorite restaurants, ever. I was in Kyoto for 8 days. I ended up going to Café Proverbs 5 times during that time. It’s not even that centrally located – I went well out of my way to keep going back there. All of the food is vegetarian and most of it is vegan, except for some trace lactose (in the soy cheese) and honey (in some of the sauces/dressings). Just specify if you’re vegan and they’ll make it right for you.
The selection is wonderful: There’s a plethora of appetizers, soups, pastas, rice bowls, and sandwiches to choose from. Most of the vegan restaurants I’ve been to have one particular thing they specialize in, like veggie burgers or vegan pizza. You might be able to get other dishes, but they aren’t as good as the restaurants “specialty,” and often aren’t really that good at all. Not this place. I tried dishes from all over Proverbs’ menu, and everything was equally delicious. And for the price (I usually spent around ¥1600 for a main and a dessert), it was well, well worth a trip out of the way.
Since everything was amazing, no one thing was much better than the other. I think you can safely order pretty much anything on the menu. However, my favorite appetizers were the Tofu Dengaku (¥450), a traditional Japanese tofu dish that often includes fish sauce, and the Satay (¥650), a sort of faux-chicken-skewer with a delicious sauce. As for mains, their specialty is soy milk ramen, a thick noodle soup dish with a soy milk base. It’s pretty unusual (I’ve certainly never seen it before), and very tasty, so I definitely recommend trying it. There’s several flavors, but I recommend the Soymilk Veggie Ramen:
I also enjoyed the Miso Soymilk Ramen, which was somewhat spicier and had a miso base. However, it didn’t have as many vegetables as I would have preferred:
Here some other entrees that either I or my friends ate:
They also had a variety of coffees, teas, and sweet drinks, including a Maple Latte (which, tragically, I didn’t have a chance to try before I left) and Lavender Hot Cocoa, which was absolutely to die for.
For dessert, they had several types of a cake and a Mocha Sundae, which I ended up eating about 3 times because it was so delicious. The Sundae included your choice of ice cream (either chocolate, rum raisin, or green tea), chocolate sauce, coffee jelly (which is quite bitter, it’s an acquired taste), and a pile of sweet corn flakes at the bottom.
Although there location is set to change, when I went (November 2013), it had a very relaxed, casual atmosphere. The decor was modern but not fancy/upscale, and the staff were friendly and accommodating. That said, I don’t recommend this place for large groups – I went with a group of roughly 13 people, and it took 2-3 hours for us to finish our meal because the chef simply couldn’t handle so many orders at once. On my own or with a few friends, we were served quite promptly, so I don’t think it’s a general issue.
* Language Barrier: While the staff aren’t fluent, they seem to speak a little bit of English, and an English menu is available.
Okay, woo! That’s all for Cafe Proverbs!