Mumokuteki Cafe & Foods (Kyoto) – ★★★★

Quick Check:

  • Quality: ★★★★ – Delicious
  • Location:  Gokomachi-dori, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto City, Japan
  • Type: Omnivore, Vegan-friendly*; Japanese & Western
    • *Most dishes are vegan EXCEPT that some contain fish sauce!  Look for the fish icon next to fish sauce-containing dishes.
  • Hours: Mon-Sun, 11:30am – 10:00pm (Last Order 9pm)
  • Price: $$ – Moderate
  • Language Barrier: English menu available
  • Website: HappyCow Page, Restaurant Website
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Loco Moco Style Rice Bowl w/ Tofu Hamburger (¥950)

About & Location:

Mumokuteki is a omnivorous (but extremely vegan-friendly) restaurant located on Teramachi-dori in central Kyoto.  It’s a bit hard to find, as it’s located inside of a building behind a small shop (also called Mumokuteki), and up a flight of stairs.  Keep an eye out for a large menu posted just inside the entrance, near the shop.  It’s often very crowded, so go up the stairs and they may give you a number.  You then go back downstairs to a small waiting room to wait for your number to be called.  (I was really confused by this and kept walking around the waiting room trying to find the restaurant.  Pretty sure the other people waiting thought I was crazy!)  To avoid the wait, you can call and make reservations on weekdays (non-holidays).

Address, Access & Contact:

  • English: 〒604-8066 Human Forum Bld. 2F, 351 Iseyacho Rokkaku-kudaru, Gokomachi-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-city, Kyoto
  • Japanese: 〒604-8066
    京都府京都市中京区御幸町通六角下ル伊勢谷町351
    ヒューマンフォーラムビル2F(入り口は1階にございます)
  • Access:
    • 7 min walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station
    • 11 min walk from Heihan Sanjo-Keihan
    • 14 min walk from Underground Shiyakusho-Mae Station
  • Phone Number: 075-213-7733

Google Map:

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Walk up the stairs to get a number…

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… Then they’ll ask you to wait, either upstairs or in the downstairs waiting room.

Restaurant Review:

I didn’t come to Mumokuteki during my first trip to Kyoto because I was put off by the “omnivore” label – I generally prefer to eat at all-vegan restaurants, since it’s nice to not have to worry about anything you’re eating.  However, during my second visit I stayed at Khaosan Kyoto Theater, a hostel located very nearby on Gokomachi-dori.  When I recognized it as a restaurant I’d seen on Happy Cow, I decided to give it a shot.  I’m SO grateful I did!

Everything at Mumokuteki is vegan EXCEPT that some items contain fish.  In the past these items weren’t clearly labeled, which lead to some very unhappy vegetarians and some poor reviews on Happy Cow.  However, they’ve since made their menu much more clear, and now mark all fish-containing dishes on the menu (look for a little fish-shaped icon).  Since it’s not a strictly vegan restaurant, I’d also be cautious regarding honey.  I asked if any of the dishes contained honey and my waitress said no, but my Japanese is a bit rusty, so I’d recommend you also ask when you order.

I went for dinner during my first visit, and because I arrived at peak dinner time I had to take a number and wait for about 20 minutes.  However, once I got a seat I ordered the ヘルシー豆腐ハンバーグ丼ロコモコ風 (Healthy Tofu Hamburger Rice Bowl, Loco Moco Style) for ¥950.  Loco Moco is a modern Hawaiian dish that usually consists of hamburger, fried egg and gravy over rice.  I thought Mumokuteki did a really great veganization of it, using a rich white sauce in the place of fried eggs.  It also came with a  side of fried lotus root, which I thought was  a really unique touch!  Overall, every part of the dish was delicious.

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Healthy Tofu Hamburger Rice Bowl, Loco Moco Style

Even though I was really full after eating, I had to make room after seeing their selection of desserts!  I ended up ordering the ティラミスパフェ (Tiramisu Parfait) for ¥620, a soft-serve parfait garnished with chunks for Tiramisu cake and frozen berries.  After eating so well, I did have a little trouble finishing it, but it was really incredible!  If I’d planned better, I probably would have saved this for a teatime visit though, so I could really appreciate it on a less-bursting stomach!

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Tiramisu Parfait (¥620)

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A few days later, I came back for lunch with some friends I made at my hostel.  This time, I tried the 味噌カツプレート(Deep-Fried Cutlet Miso Style) ¥1,150, which consisted of deep fried tofu slathered in a miso-based sauce, with a side of rice, soup, pickles, lotus root chips, and more!  After doing some research, I found that Miso Katsu is a specialty from Nagoya Prefecture.  Usually I like to eat local dishes in their native home, but really, what other chance was I going to have to try this vegan-style?  So I gave it a shot!  I have to admit I didn’t like it quite as much as the Loco Moco Rice Bowl – the cutlets were so stiff and crunchy that it was a bit much for my tender palate.  The miso sauce was great though, and the variety and attention to detail in the side-dishes really made the meal!

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Pickles!

The restaurant itself is large, well-lit, and very tastefully decorated.  White cafe tables stand near the windows in front, while large wooden tables take up the rest of the restaurant.  Both times I went it was packed, although the lunch crowd seemed less overwhelming and there was a much shorter wait.  Service was relatively quick given how busy they were, and the waiters seemed happy to answer questions.

Overall, Mumokuteki was definitely worth visiting!  The quality was consistently good, the variety and originality of the dishes was intriguing, and the overall atmosphere relaxing in spite of the number of customers.  My only complaint is the long wait times, but I guess that’s the price you have to pay when you go to a hip restaurant.  I’d definitely recommend eating here if you’re nearby, but I would also recommend making a reservation if you’re planning on stopping by during the week (they only accept weekday, non-holiday reservations)!  And definitely get dessert!

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