I had my first Kyoto meal in Hale. In fact, I had my first meal in Japan there and fell in love with Japanese cuisine. I had their lunch set meal and was wowed by the variety of tofu textures and tastes. The restaurant offered a number of small plates with interesting varieties of pickeled vegetables, mysterious pâtés, and little pieces of tofu and fu ( wheat gluten). My set came with a container of steamed vegetables and dipping sauce, as well as a delicious miso soup and equally delicious green tea. The dining area is intimate and overlooks a beautifully tranquil Japanese garden. The staff understood my vegan needs. I found the two people working that afternoon to be friendly and helpful. Follow the instructions provided by the Happy Cow web page for the restaurant, and you should have no problem finding it, although you have to look carefully for the door with the name in red lettering. I had lunch there twice during my trip, and it was always a pleasure. Be aware, however, that the price rises significantly for dinner, and as several reviewers have complained, there is a table charge as well as a mandatory drink charge. Lunch is relatively cheap, but the dinner adds up with the extra charges. I'd save my money for a really exquisite, special shojin ryori temple meal instead.Pros: Tasty, authentic Japanese lunch sets., Inexpensive lunch., Beautiful garden.
Cons: Expensive dinner., Mandatory dinner drink., Table fee for dinner.