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CLOSED: Matsuontoko Cafe

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 88 reviews )
Hours

Closed

Contact 075-251-1876
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538-6 Shijyo Agaru Shinkyougoku Nakanocho Nakagyoku, Kyoto, Japan, 604-8042

Vegan restaurant at 538-6 四条上る新京極通中之町中京区 serving burgers, pizza, pasta, salads, a few Japanese dishes, plus cocktails and drinks. Open Mon-Sun 12:00pm-3:00pm, Mon-Sun 6:00pm-10:00pm.

Category: Vegan, American, Pizza, Japanese, Organic, Fast food, Beer/Wine, Take-out

Reviews (88)

First Review by rabbits_nom

very good -- 美味しい - Edit

I got the teriyaki burger set and a ginger ale. The burger was small by US standards but not at all by Japan's. Everything was very good and filled me up even though I hadn't eaten all day. Service was very good. People who say they are ignored may not be used to Japanese restaurants. When you don't have buzzers you're supposed to say "sumimasen" when you need something. I didn't even have to do that though, as they came to take my order when they saw I was ready. When it's busier, definitely just yell for someone--that's what you're supposed to do.

For me portion sizes were fine and the service was fine.

Pros: tasty, nice atmosphere , good location


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nice food - Edit

I went here once for dinner. Very good tasting food and reasonable prices. I had the vegan burger followed by the chocolate brownie which comes served with cream and ice cream (plant based but don't know exactly what kind). The food is very nice quality. Portions are small if you are used to Australian or US portions (but probably a more healthy size). The staff are friendly but not attentive. Other diners had to wave and call to get their attention, but personally I just got up and went to the bar to ask for the desert menu etc. Definitely give it a try but only if you can cope with slow service.


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Decent vegan joint - Edit

Went here twice as it was one of the only places open in the area (other vegan restaurants were closing at weird times or had functions on). Had one of the burgers the first day and a pizza the next. Both were tastier than I expected. Pizza was definitely better than the burger though. Got some side orders with both and they were good too. Was quite busy in the evening and there is limited seating, so make sure you get there just after it reopens at 5pm.


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Yummy food and cozy vibes - Edit

Loved the food here! Had the 4-cheese pizza and was honestly so worried that it wasn't vegan because the cheeses were spot on! Loved the overall vibe of the place, was very moody and cozy. Also loved the fact that they had a movie playing on a large screen above the bar - Harry Potter to be exact! Will definitely be visiting this cafe/restaurant on my next visit to Gion :)

Pros: Delicious food, Cozy atmosphere

Cons: A bit dark


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Disappointing - Edit

I ordered the vegan burger plate which comes with fries and salad. The best part was the bun and salad dressing. The fries are frozen not fresh cut and you can taste it. The burger came with just one slice of lettuce and tomato. The burger seemed homemade but tasted strange and I can tell what it's made from. Service was fine and location good but I ate at so many better vegan places in Kyoto


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great food, shame about the service - Edit

Went for dinner and had a lovely meal but once we finished and were hoping to order dessert we were completely ignored. We sat there for over 20 minutes being looked at by the staff but avoided. In the end we just stood up, paid and left. The quickest service we got was when they took our money.

It's such a shame as the food was so good. We had plans to come back to try as much of the menu as we could but now we're not sure we'll bother.

Pros: amazing food

Cons: service


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Been there 3x on our trip! - Edit

We love the food so much! Especially their burgers are so tasty. The food quality is amazing. Even a simple plate of curry rice deserves 2 thumbs up. We were staying in gion area and this is very near us. We will def come back on our next kyoto trip.

Pros: Reasonable prices , Excellent food quality

Cons: Nothing


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Not the best option in the area - Edit

Frozen fries, slow service, ok food but there's better in the area. Most of the food I would rate as ok, but I ordered the daily cake for dessert and it was incredibly incredibly dry - I love dessert but just couldn't finish it. My husband loved the dessert pancakes, though. I would highly recommend going to Mumokuteki instead (very close to here.)

Updated from previous review on 2016-10-09


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Great cafe - Edit

I have been going to this cafe for the past 3 years (since I started living in Japan). I have always loved how much flavor they put into their food, especially their vegan burgers. Out of all the vegan restaurants I have been to in Kyoto, this place has the most flavor.

I have tried most of their vegan burgers and they are all very tasty. Their burgers are made from various ingredients, not just soy depending on the burger. For example, the avocado burger is made from konjac, Asian yam. I am not particularly a fan of konjac, since I am not used to the taste but the avocados make up for the odd flavor. I like their teriyaki fried burger the best. It is made from soy protein (soy meat) and, like all their burgers, comes with french fries and salad. The french fries are the best I have had in Japan out of all the vegan cafes I have been to. They are probably the closest to American french fries. On their mini salad they use a Japanese sesame base dressing, which is very delicious.
The portion sizes were about medium size (for Americans, they are on the smaller end of medium). Personally for me, the size is big enough, but I can see how it might be too light of a meal for some.

Inside the cafe, the atmosphere is a little dark, almost seems like a pub. Compared to three years ago, the cafe has become more foreign friendly and the staff can speak a little bit of English (compared back to three years ago, the staff could not speak ANY English at all). Also, they have recently changed their menu and added more English.

There has been a recent change in staff, which is why service has been extremely slow, especially with the growing popularity of the cafe. Most of the staff working there now, aside from the owner, is new. With how busy they are and how little English they can speak, they probably come across as cold and abrupt.
Also, because of the popularity, you may have to wait a while before getting a table during lunch time on weekends. The cafe is pretty small.

Overall, this is one of my favorite vegan cafes in Kyoto. Despite the slow service and seemingly unfriendly staff, they make excellent food. I do not recommend this place to people who are on a tight schedule or looking for a quick bite but, if you have the time, I do recommend that everyone give this cafe a try.

Updated from previous review on 2016-09-27

Pros: Excellent burgers, completely vegan

Cons: Slow service, staff can come off as standoffish , little to no English skills


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Great food, great location - Edit

All the burgers are good (but could do with being slightly bigger), the fries are equal to the best I've ever had, the seitan cutlet was tasty but too small for the price. There was anime playing on a projector, a good atmosphere, friendly service, nice decor, tasty organic beer. They were out of vegan cheese, and onion rings, but that's ok because that happens with a high food turnover. But, I was I could have tried the pizza, it looks lush! If I lived in Kyoto, I'd probably come here way too often!

Pros: Food, Burgers

Cons: Slightly small portions with menu items


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amazing veggie burgers - Edit

I'll just start off by saying this was probably this best veggie burger I've ever had. It was super flavorful although it was a bit on the small side. I really liked the atmosphere in the restaurant but it did seem like the staff were kinda indifferent to the customers and service could be slow at times. Regardless I still definitely recommend checking out this place.


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Worst vegan meal in Japan - Edit

I hate rating vegan restaurants really low, but this dining experience sucked. The restaurant was stifling hot, the server didn't bring us water (muttered a sorry when I got up to get it after 15 minutes), which could have been forgiven if the food was decent. The food was straight up bad. My partner got the meat sauce pizza (¥980) which was unpleasant tasting, and I got the ¥1500 matsuontoko dinner set which was literally a tiny pile of lettuce, brown rice, 2 cold slices of sweet potato and an oil-flavoured stir fry that was mostly raw white onion. Also a tiny cup of green soup. That's it! Crazy. I went with that option because I figured if it was the restaurants namesake it had to be good.

We got chocolate donuts for dessert, they were super dry and crumbly and the ice cream was very grainy.

Definitely would not recommend and won't be returning.


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Meh - Edit

Really mediocre. Got the soy meat dinner set and the portion was honestly a joke for the price. 4 small balls of soy meat 3 little cubes of tempura sweet potato a tiny salad half a bowl of rice. And not that tasty either you can get the same order but better tasting and more filling a five min walk away at mumokutekei


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good food worth the money - Edit

The restaurant was half full and we had wait for our lunch about 10-15 minutes so that pretty fast ! Dinner set worth every penny full dinner for two with beer and coke for 2900 yen

Pros: good taste, excellent value

Cons: hot


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Not bad - Edit

I went to Cafe Matsuontoko once, I had a burger with fries and it was pretty good! Now, its a gem for a vegan, I give massive respect to any vegan place in this country, but I would say that if you could only visit one place in that area, I'd make it Mumokuteki. As for the service people are complaining about, I didn't really get that. I just gave a little "Sumimasen" in the waitresses direction. I had a question in english and she couldn't answer it so I had to get the main guy to answer it, he looked a little annoyed but I think it had more to do with the fact that he had to hire a waitress than didn't speak any English, haha!

Pros: Location, Vegan, of course!, Some english

Cons: Ambience


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Not your best option - Edit

I have visited this cafe twice now to have dinner (once alone and once with two family members), and both times I was not impressed. Let me list the good and the bad points below.

The good points of this place are that they seem to be aware of the distinction between vegetarian and vegan, so that vegans may venture to have dinner here as well. They serve vegetarian pub food, which is a nice touch, and they have an English menu for travelers who do not speak Japanese. The food tastes quite good too.

However, to my own mind the negatives far outweigh the positives. When I was at this restaurant there were three or four people in the restaurant, one waiting tables, one or two behind the bar (where no one was seated) and one in the kitchen. They all studiously avoided every gaze directed their way unless they accidentally caught my eye, then came over with great reluctance to take orders. The second time I visited a menu item was sold out, but we were not informed of this fact until we tried to order it, and were then treated to an irritated look and the waitress flounced away again before we could say anything.

Apart from this, the portions are not always adequate. I ordered the oven-grilled vegetables, which I believe were on the main dish list of the dinner menu, but what I received was the most miserable and tiny plate of vegetables ever seen - I wish I had taken a photograph of it as proof, but I was too bewildered at the time. It was not even enough for a side-dish, let alone a main dish, and I was still very hungry when I left, despite the fact that we also ordered some side-dishes with our meal (which were served before the actual meal instead of together with it). I have tried the avocado burger before as well, and my family members ventured the pasta of the day and the burger steak meal. These portions were all hardly adequate for dinner - perhaps they would be better for lunch.

All in all, I would only recommend this restaurant if you are vegan and in dire need for something safe to eat or a place that speaks English.The service is flat-out bad, the portions are tiny and you are unlikely to leave feeling satisfied.

Pros: Flavour is good, English menu

Cons: Bad service, Tiny portions


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Just OK, super slow service. - Edit

We had lunch at Cafe Matsuontoko on a Sunday in July because of the reviews and the location. The restaurant was about half full and the service was really, really slow. Our meal was just ok, but to be fair, we did not have the veggie burger which seems to be the house specialty! I would not go out of my way to eat here.


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great lunch menu - Edit

For 900-950 you get a main plus a drink (soft drink, hot or iced coffee, tea, etc.) which is a great deal. I had lunch twice, loved the burger but preferred the curry even more.

Pros: lunch menu , great coffee, central location

Cons: nothing.


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