Hale

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 40 reviews )
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0752312516
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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 (40)

First Review by ahimsa333

Delicious and atmospheric - Edit

If you're after some authentic Japanese cuisine without the fish stock, come on down. The yuba is particularly lip-smacking.

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Mon coup de coeur à Kyoto - Edit

Hale est un petit restaurant avec deux grandes tables qui peuvent accueillir jusqu'à 12 personnes.
L'ambiance est sombre, les meubles en bois, il y a des bouteilles de Sake sur le comptoir et l'accueil est excellent. C'est tout à fait l'idée que je me faisais d'un restaurant typique Japonais. Les plats étaient délicieux (le plat de riz était servi avec de délicieux champignons). Je vous recommande vivement ce restaurant!

Pros: Très bon, Prix correct, Bon emplacement

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Un peu difficile à trouver mais vaut le coup! - Edit

Après quelques difficultés à trouver l'endroit (pas facile avec le marché bondé) nous avons découvert une ambiance somptueuse. Un seul choix possible mais avec beaucoup de petits plats. Très bon rapport qualité prix (1500 yens). Le jus du jour était merveilleux. Seul bémol : le plat dit "principal" composé de riz et de champignons était très salé. Si vous n'avez pas de problèmes avec le sel (mon cas) aucun soucis mais ma mère (qui ne sale pas) n'a pas pu le terminer.

Pros: Atmosphere, Diversity

Cons: Salt

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stunning - Edit

The ambience is what I imagine to be traditional Japan. Dark wood panelling and tables. A cosy and intimate environment. The food was plentiful, varied and delicious.

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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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An Oasis - Edit

Perfect! A sanctuary of calm in a chaotic market. Quite tricky to find but well worth it. Great food, great ambiance, great service, very authentic.

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simple, tasty food - Edit

This is a nice respite in the middle of Nishiki market. The food was simple, but it was nice to sit down in a quiet place after strolling the awesome, but crowded market

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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

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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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錦市場裡好吃的素餐居酒屋 - Edit

位於錦市場還不錯吃的素食定食,座位不多。 不能拍照是小限制,其他都很好。重點是全素的,而且很好吃!

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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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Very tasty food - Edit

After our experience in the Cafe Matsounoko, we tried to find the restaurant Hale the next day

Location:
Importing the location from the website into Google Maps on my Smartphone did not work. So I searched for "Hale Restaurant Kyoto". We then landed at a completely wrong restaurant. There seems to another Hale-Restaurant serving almost only meat, so beware! Per accident we found it.
When you are on the Shijo Dori road, there is a small side road going in between "United Colors of Benetton" and a bookstore. After about 80m there is another even smaller side road (looking like a small market road) on the right side. Enter that small market-road and you will find Hale after 50m on the left side.

Staff:
We met a little bit of a grumpy middle-aged lady with very basic English skills and a friendly young man (her son?) with decent English skills.

Menu:
Broad selection of vegan menues. There is one menu based on fish soup which is clearly indicated. There is only one menu-card in English (hand-written), so if there are more foreign customers, you have to wait until you get your menu-card to even start looking for what you want to order.
The food itself is absolutely delicious and if you take the menu you will probably don't have any space for desert. We went for the menu and were not disappointed.
The downside was the mandatory drink you had to order beside the water you get and there was also a 250 Yen per person charge for service (already stated in some comments here, so we were prepared).

Payment:
You are not able to pay with credit cards, only cash. We saw some customers leave and come again with cash :-)

Price:
We paid about 2'400 Yen per menu including the mandatory drink

Pros: Big portions, Delicous food, [Neutral] Overall ok-friendly staff

Cons: Mandatory drink you have to order, Very, very hard to find, Only one menu-card in English

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we found it ok.... - Edit

.....but unfortunately it was shut with no explanation given on the door. So, as well as the official closed days some sporadic closed days too, tonight veing wednesday. The good news is that cafe matsuontoko is only minutes away and ready, willing and more than able to come to the rescue!

Cons: irregular openinv times

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Difficult to find, but worth a try - Edit

As other reviewers say, it's hard to find the place. It has an access from the narrow street of Nishiki market. If you come from Kawaramachi street, it's on your right side. Keep looking at the sign board hanging above. I really enjoyed their yuba tofu rice bowl along with several side dishes.
The place is an old nagaya style house with a tiny court yard renovated into a cozy restaurant. I'm sure you can enjoy the old Kyoto architecture, too :)

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We couldn't find the mythical door... - Edit

After reading so many good reviews about 'Hale', we went searching for it, but failed to find the mythical door 9or any coridor) that people have described. The area is a very busy marketplace full of tiny shops, and it is hard to walk quickly through the crowds. I would not recommend trying to find this place if you are very hungry or pressed for time.

Cons: We couldn't find it anywhere!

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Difficult to find, but worth the hunt - Edit

I spent a good chunk of time trying to locate Hale, in between tons of fish mongers and other little stalls; I only found it when I looked at the picture "clark" posted. When I did find it, I was the only gaijin in the place (not surprising, since it only has three tables). The lunch was pretty delicious. I got the 1900 yen set, which consisted of a donburi of simmered mushrooms and tofu over brown rice, lots of pickled vegetables, and a steamer filled with veggies served with a few different dipping options (salt, white sesame sauce, and ponzu). After lunch, I had a soymilk tea.
The place was lovely and quiet, with a traditional bathroom and tiny little garden. I loved finding such a healthy veg-filled lunch. Highly recommended.

Pros: Delicious food, Lunch felt very healthy, Lovely, peaceful environment

Cons: Super difficult to find

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