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Hale

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 36 reviews )
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Nishiki-dori, 198-1 (at Nishiki Market), Kyoto, Japan,

Kyoto vegan restaurant inside the market arcade. Offers set meals. Look for the half open glass door next to the sweet shop stall, approx. 4 stalls before you reach Fuyacho -dori, at 京都府京都市中京区東魚屋町198-1, 〒604-8055. NOTE: has irregular opening hours - call ahead. Open Tue-Wed 11:30am-3:00pm, Fri-Sun 11:30am-3:00pm, Fri-Sun 6:00pm-10:00pm.

Category: Vegan, Japanese, Beer/Wine

Reviews (36)

First Review by ahimsa333

Great find - Edit

Cool restaurant with great and authentic atmosphere. Food is fresh and delicious, and wait staff is helpful. Bathroom is clean but strange for foreigners (it's a squatty-potty), and seating is limited.

Pros: Food is all vegan

Cons: Just one set menu choice for lunch


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Not as reasonably priced as expected, but still nice - Edit

The location of Hale was nice and overall it was a nice experience. I did not find the price as "affordable" as many other reviewers, it's not outrageous, but I wouldn't give the impression it was "cheap" or a steal. There was one set meal, locale was very beautiful. I did notice when paying there was also a offer for a beer set for 1200 which personally I would have preferred, and wished the lady told me about it. The set came in courses, which considering the style of food, my partner and I found not the most ideal, the courses didn't seem to complete eachother, and go from heavy to light to heavy to light. I wish they just brought a few dishes at once, in a bit more like a bento style. Overall nice, but really we were shocked that this was listed as a 'cheap" option when it was one of the priciest places we went to on the trip.

Pros: nice locale, Sensible japanese food

Cons: Price, No advertisement for any other offers


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Nice ambience! - Edit

The restaurant is beautiful. Very japanese and very relaxing. We ordered a set meal. Interesting flavours and textures :) Definitly a japanese experience and worth the price.

Pros: local food, reasonable priced


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Very nice vegan bar restaurant - Edit

We had a good dinner at Hale although it was a bit difficult to find the place!
The food is japanese style with very nice dishes, plates have sufficient size.
It is a bit expensive, but it is worthwhile.

Pros: Excellent food, Friendly, Nice room (japanese-style)

Cons: A bit expensive


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Nice food - Edit

Visited for lunch. Had nearly missed it as the restaurant is on the cramped Nishiki market and the name was not directly visible, although it is written on the glass door, as the door is kept open.
You enter the door and through a short passage to the restaurant at the back. Relatively small place and can accommodate ~15 persons at a time. Limited options.
1000JPY for rice bowl with a type of vegetable broth, 1250 for the same with additional vegetables, tsukemono etc., i.e., washoku set and 1950 for extra large set (Has an additional vegetable set).

Food was delicious. Quiet place. But lighting and ambiance could have been better. Slightly expensive compared to some other places for lunch, but still, good quality.

Pros: Good food, Location

Cons: Not cheap. Moderate


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Very expensive! - Edit

My partner and I found no trouble finding the place but we're not expecting to pay so much! The food was very healthy and not quite our cup of tea. At one put we were given just steamed vegetables including a whole half of onion with the skin as well, we understand vegetables are expensive but found this a bit strange. We were expecting it to be quite cheap but for the dinner set meal itself was 2500 yen, plus a table charge (500 yen per person) plus you needed to buy a drink (650 yen) as well as tax which quickly added to a large bill! Would not go back.

Pros: very healthy food, nicely presented and cosy atmos

Cons: Very expensive, a lot of extras added to the price

1 Response

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speedy1893 19 Apr 2016 - you went to a traditional Japanese restaurant. 2500 yen for a dinner set is NOT expensive in Kyoto if you want to eat decent food. they used to charge 250 yen table charge but they’ve done away with that. drinks start around 500 yen and is not required but preferred bc so many cheapskates come and order one set for several people. considering you don’t tip in Japan, a drink is not such a big deal.


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Delicious Macrobiotic Vegan Lunches - Edit

Hale is located in a shopping alley in Kyoto behind a narrow glass door that says "Hale". Peaceful, Japanese style, small, with lots of wooden interior and traditional feel. It's only 100% vegan during lunchtime... The owners/chef is a local, sweet lady, and the food is delicious. It's Japanese style with Yuba Tofu and lots of small plates - with various okazu. Menu was in both Japanese and English. I recommend it, and I will go back again. Please only go there is you are a respectful and considerate person. This is NOT a kind of a cafe where loud obnoxious behavior would be a ok ... only mellow respectful behavior.
Updated from previous review on Monday August 31, 2015

Pros: Unique, Delicious, Organic


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INCREDIBLE restaurant! - Edit

I went to Hale when I was in Kyoto November 2013. I still tell people about this restaurant.

It's relatively hard to find -- in the fish market behind an unmarked glass door -- but the food is wonderful and very creative. I ordered the chefs menu and sat at the bar. From here I could watch the one and only person in the kitchen put together the dishes. And WOW what delicious food! All the ingredients were super fresh, and although it was a bunch of courses I wasn't too full by the end. If I'm ever in Kyoto again, I will definitely come back.


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Pretty, traditional-ish restaurant - Edit

This spot is well-located, a bit old-fashioned, and tasty. Traditional-ish Japanese food so good if you're looking for that. I went a couple of months ago, but I know they're still open - I called yesterday.

Pros: pretty, good location, beautiful presentation


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Lovely well-prepared food, sweet cosy atmosphere - Edit

Absolutely amazing food, loved the quiet environment, it's a small place perhaps seating 12 max so book in advance. Located in Nishiki market. We went for dinner and had set meal, and drinks, it was one of the more expensive meals we had but well worth it. As usual in Japan, stunning attention to detail and umami tastes!
With all respect to the other reviewer I can see why perhaps this is not a family restaurant, the environment is quite reserved and careful.
Would certainly go again.

Pros: Delicious food, Charming and happy chef, Beautiful presentation

Cons: Slightly moody waitress!, Price on the high side


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Sublime lunch; returned for dinner-open in 10/13 - Edit

Location: between Tominokoji-dori & Fuyacho-dori in Nishiki Market, on the north side of the street. There's a restaurant sign on the wall above eye-level that's easy to miss among the distractions of the busy market. Look for the glass door with the red-lettered sign Hale, next to a sweet shop vendor.

Had our first lunch in Kyoto at Hale in 2013, returned for dinner then, and came back in 2014. The lunch set meal was exquisitely prepared and well worth the price for a variety of dishes: soft tofu , picked veggies, steamed veggies, rice bowl, miso soup. The restaurant is tranquil, wood walls and floor, overlooking a small garden, tucked behind the market stalls in Nishiki arcade in a Kyoto townhouse Machiya .

Costs: as other reviewers have written ,at night there is a table charge and a required drink purchase, so it's pricier at dinner. Some of the very same dishes were included in the dinner set, and other items were deep fried--not my favorite preparation, so I recommend having lunch at Hale i(cash only). There's a choice of two different sets, and lunch is a reasonable price.


Pros: Subtle flavors, Beautiful setting, Vegan

Cons: Table charge for dinner, Required drink purchase for dinner


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No meat, no dairy... and no kids. - Edit

I'm probably being a bit mean with my scoring as I didn't even get to taste the food. I turned up with my family for lunch and was turned away at the door. Apparently, they don't serve kids under ten.

They said they had "a lot of fragile things" and "a lot of glass." I said a lot of things that weren't fragile at all.

The fish sellers opposite had some great tofu and veg sushi, and a much better manner.


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Nice restaurant in a good location - Edit

The restaurant has a nice atmosphere and a neat location in the Nishiki market area. It can be difficult to find, especially if the door marked with the name is open. If you look up at the lighted signs that line the street, it is one of the few with English lettering.
The dinner options were not inexpensive, with a table charge, a one drink minimum and the set menu running around 2400 yen. The drinks were not cheap, but they were very good. Our food was fairly good. We enjoyed mushroom rice bowls and some steamed vegetables. Our favorite dish was the fried seitan which was drizzled with a delicious sauce. It was closed when we first attempted to go there on a Monday evening and we noticed that it is also closed on Thursdays.

Pros: Nice atmosphere, Good drinks

Cons: Difficult to find, Closed often


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Excellent lunch - Edit

We had lunch here recently and it was quite good. After taking off our shoes (love that!), we were given an English menu and led to one of only 2 shared tables. It seems the prices may have changed since the last reviews. The 2 sets available were 1200 and 1900 yen each. We chose the 1200 set and it was plenty of food. We received a big bowl of rice and mushrooms, tea, and some sides of tofu, pickled and non-pickled veggies. The food was simple and healthy, yet really tasty.

Pros: healthy, delicious, vegan

Cons: limited seating, a bit pricey


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Great inexpensive lunch, dinner not so much. - Edit

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.


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