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Mumokuteki Cafe and Foods

  • Veg-friendly Veg-friendly
    ( 35 reviews )
Contact 075-2296996
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2F, Teramachi-dori (at near Shijo Teramachi), Kyoto, Japan,

Food is vegan except for fish stock, which is marked. Note that miso soup contains fish stock. Wide selection of food and dessert. Reformed in Nov. 2016; cafe is on the 2nd floor above a vintage lifestyle store of the same name. Special seating area for families with small children. In the Teramachi-dori pedestrian arcade, between Rokkaku-dori and Takoyakusshi-dori. Open Mon-Sun 11:30am-10:00pm. Last orders at 9pm.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Japanese, Western, Non-veg

Reviews (35)

First Review by wanderingvegans

Delicious and innovative vegan food - Edit

Had a beautiful experience at Mumokuteki cafe! The general vibe of the cafe was so cozy and relaxed, especially as we were having lunch there on a cold and rainy day! Several staff members knew English and the entire menu had english translations for all meals! Will definitely be returning to this lovely cafe on my next trip to Kyoto!

Pros: Nice vibe, Friendly staff, Amazing food

Cons: Slightly confusing to find as bottom level is shop


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Nice Atmosphere and Cakes - Edit

I've been here several times now, and although I would recommend it, I have a bunch of mixed feelings as well. The antique aesthetic of the shop and cafe is really nice, making it a really pleasant place to hang out and socialize. They also have a huge menu, but unfortunately a large portion of it is non-vegan simply because of the fish stock (and honey? I need to check that again). As others have noted this really feels like a shame for such an otherwise incredible menu. The other thing I'm less keen on this place is that, because of it's size, it lacks the friendly and personal feel that many other cafes have. The staff are nice, but always extremely busy. It's also mandatory that you order at least one item / person (my friend and I tried to share a plate once and felt they were rather rude about it). There is often a cue at busy times, and they will not seat anyone extra in the large portion of the space designated for families with small children (which is great except there usually aren't many families using it). I really want to love Mumokuteki, and I would go again, but it's definitely a shame that they're missing the opportunity to be such a great vegan restaurant.

Updated from previous review on 2016-06-28

Pros: Beautiful interior design, Decent food

Cons: Not fully vegan, Really busy, Inflexible service


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great - Edit

A bit of a wait (30 mins or so) but worth it. Pretty much everything is vegan. We had spaghetti, one of the fried cutlet sets, matcha milkshake and tiramisu cake. It's a lovely cafe that sits on top of a clothing store. Good atmosphere, vibe, pleasant staff and good food. The matcha milkshake was so good!


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Cute & Quaint with delicious food - Edit

Kyoto is such a cool place but has very limited vegan options so when we were told we would have to wait 40 minutes to be seated, we decided to wait it out.
After only 20 minutes we took a seat and ordered. There is only one set menu that the waiter said could be made fish free (miso has fish) so we ordered that as well as the Avocado Burger. We also added the salad bar to both meals (¥200 each) and ate our way through a few plates before our meals arrived.
Both meals were excellent in size and taste, the burger was the best we've had in Japan!
Overall a great cafe, we loved it! Such a shame they still use fish and honey but all the same, a solid 4 stars :)


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Good vegan choices - Edit

Mumokuteki cafe is tucked away upstairs above a shop, but once you get up there it is a nice, trendy cafe. It is very popular and our food took a long time to arrive - so much so that there is no photo of my tofu burger with avocado and fires because I ate it as soon as it arrived.
My husband and I found the portion sizes fine, in fact his noodle dish was huge. But that didn't stop me having an enormous fruit parfait for dessert.
There was an amazing dessert choice - muffins, parfaits, tiramisu, nocheese cake.
The fish stock and honey used in some of their dishes isn't ideal, but at least it makes me feel confident that they understand what vegan food is enough to tell us that it's there.
The food was delicious, good portion sizes and the service very friendly - just what I needed for our last night in Kyoto before setting off for the vegan desert of rural Japan.

Pros: Lots of delicious vegan choices, sweet and savoury, Very Friendly staff

Cons: Popular, so service was slow


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high priced and fish stock - Edit

We had to wait 30min downstairs to get a seat for 2. Ordered 2 Burgers since the rest didn't seem affordable for us. As others have said, they mark the dishes with fishstock but it just makes you wonder why they don't just replace it. The restaurant would be vegan if they left out the fishstock and the honey. Don't know what their motivations are though. Burger was nice.

Cons: expensive


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Mumokuteki Cafe, Kyoto - Edit

2 of us tried Matsuontoko this evening. Matsuontoko wouldn't turned us and other people away saying they had sold out of food. We thus tried Mumokuteki since it was past 8 30 on a Monday evening and we were a little concerned we may not find somewhere reasonably easily that is still open and serving.

We found Mumokuteki to be a positive experience on many levels. My spouse ordered a noodle set deal that was good value at around a 1000 yen. I've found Japanese portion sizes to be a bit on the small side so far so decided to take no prisoners this evening. I ordered 2 burgers with salad and chips. This was a pretty smart decision. The burgers tasted great but were a little on the small side as were the chips.

I must confess I am struggling to understand why fish stock is used in so many dishes. I appreciate that they at least label the dishes with the fish stock. I find it a little surprising that in the 21ct century they aren't able to use a non-animal derived alternative.

If they ditched the fish stock I'd defo rate this place higher. If they ditched the fish stock and ditched the honey I'd likely rate it 5.

Pros: Vegan friendly, Tasty food

Cons: Fish stock used


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yummy soy parfait - Edit

I didn't get a full meal here but I just stopped by to try their soy parfait and it didn't disappoint! I would've liked to have a proper meal here as the menu looked like it had a lot of good options. It's in a really convenient location too and it was pretty busy when I went there so be sure to get there a little early.


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Good! - Edit

The food was pretty darn good. I got the set protein dinner thing with the creamy dressing/sauce and it was yummy but not super filling. So I got a burger and fries after, which was a 6/10 in my opinion. Prices were high per usual in Japan. The weirdest thing to me is 80% of the menu contains fish stock, which to me is sort of strange as its such a small ingredient to replace yet the rest of everything is vegan. Regardless, they will replace whatever has fish in it with a veg one if you ask


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Good food, strange concept - Edit

Nearly vegan restaurant in central Kyoto.

About the food:
Good food. Been there several times and had a tasty tofu-burger don (see picture) for 950 yen (L-size). Doria was very good, made with soy milk and coconut flakes to add some crustiness. Ramen is okay but doesn’t have a strong flavour - mostly tasted like coconut milk really - and sadly uses spaghetti instead of ramen noodles. Tofu cheese cake tasted really good but looked brown instead of white.

If you want to save some money:
If you order coffee with your food ask for the 200 yen discount and not the A-set (same coffee 40 yen more expensive).
Wednesday is ladies day with 10% off (it says ladies only but I went with my boyfriend and we both got the discount).

About the ingredients:
They do not use meat, eggs, milk or white sugar, but they do use fish stock and honey. The non-veggie dishes are clearly marked. If there is a fish mark next to a set menu this means there is fish broth in the miso soup AND in the side dishes. The drinks with honey are called soy-kinako-honey and ginger-honey so that’s crystal clear as well.

About the concept:
I must say I don’t really see the point in leaving out nearly but not completely everything that is not vegan. Staff had no interest in or knowledge of HappyCow or veganism. We arrived one minute past LO once and we were not allowed in anymore, not even for dessert or a drink, and they could not recommend any other veg-friendly cafe or restaurant in the neighbourhood.

Others:
There is an English menu.
I like the interior. Very cosy, but with lots of space. The cutest place is meant for families and if you don't bring kids you're not allowed in, not even if the rest of the restaurant is full. It's often full at noon so go early or be prepared to wait for 30 minutes+.

Updated from previous review on 2014-07-17

Pros: Good food, Cosy but spacey, Centrally located near Kawaramachi

Cons: Fish broth and honey, Long wait, Unhelpful and sometimes unfriendly staff


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Visited 1x, 2x, and probably 3x - Edit

Cafe mumokuteki was an awesome find, especially for a vegan who was trying to get his "Japan legs" and finding it difficult. Some of the best vegan food I've had in Japan. I am going back to Kyoto today and I'm pretty sure I'll be eating there a 3rd time despite the other options in the city. I won't bore you, just go. Its close to Nishiki market and chances are that you're going to visit there if you go to Kyoto.

Its above the their clothes store

Would give 5 stars but absolutely respect the happy cow rating system.

Pros: Environment, English menu, Items containing fish clearly marked

Cons: Maybe pricey for some? , A little tricky to find


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Favourite restaurant in Kyoto so far - Edit

I've lived in Kyoto for almost five months, and Mumokuteki is the restaurant I always find myself going back to. It's a nice restaurant with a cozy atmosphere, conveniently close to teramachi-dori shopping arcade.

The staff are generally friendly and there is an English menu available, though at the time of writing this menu is slightly confusing. It lists both a Lunch and Brunch menu, but the Brunch menu is actually the dinner menu (as I found out when I tried to order on my first visit). The staff understands just a little English, but generally I think one can get by without Japanese. If you don't speak Japanese, pointing at the menu while smiling seems to work, according to someone I met there today.

Note that there are some items on the menu which contain fish, but these are clearly marked and thus easy to avoid.

The food itself is divine. I've been here at least ten times (possibly more often) and only once when it was very busy did I get something that was cold and too greasy (my two friends at the same table ordered the exact same food and theirs was warm and not greasy, so I think I just had some bad luck).

The vegetarian tonkotsu ramen/soy milk ramen is the best I've had so far - I would absolutely recommend this to everyone. The avocado burger is also worth checking out if you'd prefer something more Western-style, and the soy milk chai is also very agreeable.

A note: I visited this restaurant with my Buddhist vegetarian friend, who can't eat leek, garlic, onion and certain other herbs in addition to meat and fish, and she could choose several items from the menu as well. In case any strict Buddhist vegetarians are reading this, I thought it was worth mentioning as I know it can be hard. It would still be best to ask the waiter or waitress for advice, but as I write this review they have options open for you.

The only potential negative is the waiting time - on busy days it can take up to thirty minutes to be seated. This restaurant is well worth the wait, though, so if you have time, please give them a chance.

Pros: Good food, Vegetarian and vegan options available

Cons: Sometimes you have to wait to be seated, The English menu is slightly confusing


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My favorite restaurant in Kyoto - Edit

This restaurant has a good location, big menu choice and they serve food all day long. We went there 5 times, tried different meals and almost everything was delicious (I didn't like some vegetables included in the Japanese set). Avocado hamburger with spicy potato was great. Also for lunch they have a salad bar (tomatoes, greens, beans, algues, onion), so you can serve as much as you want - closed after 3pm.
For dinner there is a big queue usually, so be prepare to wait 20-30 minutes.

Pros: Central location, good value, great food

Cons: long waiting time to be seated


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Fantastic desserts! - Edit

I order the parfait which was incredible! Huge portion, and yet still healthy (they include the calorie count for all desserts and drinks!). I also had the limited edition soy milkshake which was sooo deliciously chocolately and rich, and yet only 170cal.
The only thing that could make this place better would be if they went fully vegan! The space is also really cute.

Pros: dessert variety, tasty, cheap

Cons: busy, so expect a wait to be seated, non vegan main meals :(


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Awesome Dinner in Kyoto! - Edit

After discovering Cafe Matsuontoko was booked out for the evening (disappointing for us, AWESOME for them), we made our way around the corner to Mumokuteki.

We were seated promptly in the couch area and given English menus, clearly denoting which items contained fish stock. I had the tofu burger set which was tasty and satisfying for under 1000 yen!

Hoping to head back to this little gem before leaving Kyoto, for the atmosphere, staff and food.

Pros: Many vegan options, Great atmosphere, Friendly staff


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A quiet spot in Kyoto downtown - Edit

A great place if further up the mall than suggested by the map. I had the avocado tofu burger which was a treat and appropriately messy to eat! Lots of locals enjoying the food here too.


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Great place and very popular - Edit

So we had to wait for maybe 20 minutes or so. Had time to stroll around in their shops downstairs before getting our table. The english menu might been the best I've seen in Japan for a more relaxed place like this.

We had the Nanban Plate and a noodle set with fish stock. It didn't taste a lot of fish which is always good. And it was really good. We had their new wine Beaujolais nouveau, it was nice and the place was relaxed and cosy.


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Delicious food but too crowded - Edit

We have waited for approx. half an hour for a seat.. opt for other places if you don't like to wait. Waiting area is prepared and you may shop around for clothes and some dry food products (they are selling as well) while waiting. You will be happy with their food and variety of choices though :D

Pros: Food is nice

Cons: Waiting time to be seated


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nice environment - Edit

We found the food portions very good, tasty, heathy and whole grains. Smoothy was chewy with chunks, not sure if that was intentional, but some might mind. Great vegan chicken cutlets and tartar sauce. English menu available. Nice garden view and cozy chairs. Ramen was spaghetti noodles, again not sure if that was intentional, but still yummy. Vegan soy ice cream parfe was the best part. I've had trouble getting a seat 3 separate times during dinner time, and found it odd that they kept an additional space closed off at that time, meanwhile turning customers away. Overall, I'll keep going back cuz it's so healthy and good portions.

Pros: price, quantity, location

Cons: often waiting time, some items have fish broth, be sure to ask


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Great food with lots of variety! - Edit

This is my favourite restaurant in Kyoto. I came for dinner twice and both times there was a queue. I had to wait up to 30 mins for a seat.

The restaurant is advertised as "Healthy food not containing ingredients of animal-origin". I did not find any meat on the menu. Unfortunately, they use fish stock -- particularly for soup based dishes. However, these are clearly marked on the English menu (but not on the Japanese one).

The noodle dishes look really nice, but unfortunately, most were made with fish stock. There is, however, one ramen dish on the menu that does not have fish stock -- it's made from soy milk so that it looks like the white pork bone soup found in most ramen restaurants. I had that -- the noodles weren't that great (I would prefer if it was softer), but the soup was fantastic! I finished the whole bowl of soup.

The second time I had one of the Japanese set, which was value for money at 1500 (+ tax). There was a steak like patty that was really good. The brown rice and mix grain rice were really good on their own too. The set also came with soy ice cream.

I also ordered a tofu cheese cake which was just OK.

There were many interesting dishes which I would like to try if I stayed in Kyoto longer.

The person sitting next to me had a tofu burger which looked really good.

I find this restaurant way better than Matsuonoko which is also nearby.

It's located in a very central location at Shijo-Karawamachi area.

Prices are good. Dinner are around 1000 - 1500 and you can make most main courses a set by an addition 100-200 yen. Lunch sets are even more value-for-money (basically the same dishes at a lower price). The portions are pretty big.

The waiters speak some English and they have an English menu.

You really shouldn't miss this restaurant if you are in Kyoto.

They have a website: www.mumokuteki.com

Pros: Great and tasty food, Many varieties, Central location

Cons: Fish stock used in many dishes, Long queue during dinner hours


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Delicious - Edit

We had two great dishes here in a chilled out atmosphere. The menu clearly listed what dishes had fish stock but was a bit of a shame that fish is used as some of the dishes looked like they could easily be made without fish stock. Ah well. The vegie curry and the tofu burger were both REALLY good. You can enter from the laneway behind the market too :)

Pros: yummy, cheap

Cons: smoking section , fish stock


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Great Dinner - Edit

My fiancé and I loved this place! The set dinners are a good value and contain almost more food than I could eat. I got the very tasty chili-fried tofu and he had the tofu nanban, a sweet and sour tofu that comes with homemade tartar sauce. The entrees were accompanied by lots of little sides like rice pudding, a pickled tomato salad, crispy lotus chips, rice, and soup. (Don't worry about the miso soup containing fish stock, as you can easily substitute it for a simple veggie soup.) There is an English menu and some of the staff can speak a little of it, which is very helpful. If you order a set dinner and drink, you get 200 yen off your meal!

Pros: Large portions, English menu, No hidden animal products

Cons: Gets full very quickly


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Nice place, tricky to spot from the arcade - Edit

We walked down the Teramachi arcade, HappyCow app in hand and missed it the first time. Walking back up (Shijo to Sanjo direction), however, we saw the large sign on the ground outside a street style clothing shop pointing that way. no wonder we didnt see it coming from the other direction. It is on the first floor and you can't see inside from the arcade. i remember noting it was near a 100Y shop. you can also access it from the other side (gokomachidori) which is not in the arcade. we got a table right away (weekday night) and it was reasonably busy. Menu was huge. of course everything i wanted from the dinner sets had fish in. I understood this meant it was only the dashi in the miso soup, however, erred on the side of caution and ordered the curry udon. it was great but a huge bowl, regretted ordering the large size! my accompanying carnivore had risotto, which he said was palatable but certain not a patch on italian risotto. the staff were friendly and spoke enough english to order comfortably. i ordered some weird green smoothie which wasnt available anymore so there was some miscommunication around that and i got something else. whatever, not unusual in japan. the atmosphere was very nice and relaxed. would definitely go again, next time in Kyoto.

Pros: Central location in arcade, Big menu, Other veg places nearby

Cons: Not visible from arcade


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1 hour wait for nothing to write home about - Edit

i'm not a militant vegan, the whole "also serves fish" thing doesn't bother me. waiting for one hour to be summoned into a seemingly not very crowded restaurant does. to our fault, we turned up on a saturday evening during peak dinner time, the waitresses (who were friendly enough) asked first if we had a reservation and when found out we didn't, handed us a number and were told to head downstairs in the waiting room, packed with other impatient and hungry looking locals. the system from there is what gets confusing, you're not summoned when your number is up. you have to make a wild guess if it's time to go up and be seated yet. some people got up and never came back, whilst others made their way up the stairs and moments later started stomping back down with dejected expressions.

after about 60-75 minutes (and 5 failed attempts at presenting our table docket). we were seated. the food came out relatively quickly. didn't order any drinks because i'll just down Strong Zeroes out front of the combini thank you. I ordered the soy milk ramen, my friend ordered the "other" ramen. both were somewhat bland, without many vegetables and using spaghetti for the ramen noodles. i suppose it might be tricky to find egg free ramen noodles? regardless, it seemed like the price we paid was for atmosphere and not much else. we also ordered a burger with fries. the burger was ok, but wouldn't fill anybody remotely hungry. the chips/fries seemed microwaved. we then left very quickly keeping in mind the other soon to be disappointed folks all cramed into the waiting room as we had been for the past hour.

would maybe recommend if it's the middle of the day and/or you have a reservation? but there are far better places that will leave you twice as full and satisfied for the same price.

Pros: easy to get to, friendly staff, nice atmosphere

Cons: average food, waiting room, over priced


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Interesting place with a clearly marked menu - Edit

The place is interesting. It has a menu clearly marked with fish on the items that aren't vegetarian. My group had mixed feelings about the food. The ramen that we got had good broth, but the noodles and other content weren't great. The udon soup was a little better.
There was also some difficulty here because of the language barrier. We arrived at 20:45 and were told repeatedly that the last order is taken at 21:00. Our food came out at different times and I ended up being the only one without food after quite a while. We were unable to flag down staff and when we finally went up to the front and got someone's attention, they just repeated that the last orders were taken at 21:00. When we were able to convey to them that we had ordered a dish which didn't arrive, they were very apologetic. They gave me a bowl so that I could share food with those that did get their meals and it ended up being plenty of food.

Pros: Clearly marked menu


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Ok food, nice atmosphere - Edit

Good location, hipster/foodie vibe, good menu with some english and photos of the food. Food with fish is labeled. The ginger tea with soy milk is delicious. I had the ramen which was really thick and corn-starchey (don't recommend it), we also tried the curry udon which was ok, and a trio of eggplant, squash/sweet potato and cabbage which was also ok. Portions were generous, prices were reasonable and the atmosphere is really nice for dinner.

Pros: Nice atmosphere, Location, Portions were big

Cons: Too much starchy food, Food was just ok


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love Mumokuteki but... - Edit

I really love eating at Mumokuteki, because their menu has a wide selection of dishes, sweets and fresh juices. Lately they changed their menu, so dishes which contain fish and dashi are marked now, so you can be very sure know that the food you want to eat is "safe". But sure it's sad they increased the number of fish containing food. After 3pm the number of dishes gets even more and you can choose between a lot of very nice vegan meals and opposite to other veggie places around you'll be satisfied by the quantity of almost all the meals. The previous reviews complained about the price, but I think it's a quite normal price for vegetarian food in Kyoto.

Pros: lunchtime sets (e.g. salat bar for +300¥), wide selection of dishes, very nice vegan desserts

Cons: Soy milk Ramen is made by Italian pasta, less options for lunch time, a lot of fish containing dishes


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my absolute favourite place in kyoto - 5 stars!!!! - Edit

Shortly after becoming vegetarian I started my semester abroad in Kyoto. So considering the last review I have to admit that when I was living in Kyoto I was not 100% strict vegetarian because it is very hard becausealmost all of the Japanese dishes contain fish stock (dashi). So regarding dashi i made compromises. Everyone has to decide for themselves. I know Japanese people are weird when it comes to vegetarianism and they might consider dashi as vegetarian...I wasn't aware that mumokuteki served dashi, but I also didn't ask the staff.
!!!!!!!!And I'm sure that everything else on the menu is vegan! They don't serve meat at mumokuteki and all the desserts are made with soy milk! So I recommend you to order the dishes without miso soup if you want to make sure.!!!!!

FOOD

I loved the food at mumokuteki. Especially the hamburger set was my favourite. The food is Japanese style with a lot of different small dishes on a tray. Some of the sets include a tea or coffee + a dessert. Considering that the price was alright but in general the prices are fairly expensive. In my opinion it is definitely worth it, though. At mumokuteki you can also get different kinds of freshly made juices. They are expensive, but delicious. My favourite dish at mumokuteki is the dessert that comes with a set or just any dessert (e.g. parfait) on the menu. The soy ice cream at mumokuteki was the best ice cream I've ever had!!! I just love it!!! :) Oh and once a week there is a discount for the ladies (I think on wednesdays)

LOCATION

A big plus of mumokuteki is its atmosphere. The design is natural, but modern. There is a lot of wood and different kinds of chairs or couches. I think it is very cozy. Mumokuteki is in the city center of Kyoto, close to Teramachi. It is very popular, so at night time on weekends you probably will have to wait for a table. Mumokuteki consists of the restaurant upstairs and a clothing store/second hand shop downstairs. I also loved the clothing store! it is very expensive since the material of the clothes is 100% organic and cotton, so I couldn't afford to buy something besides earrings and a purse, but it is still fun to look around the shop.

STAFF

The staff is young and very friendly. I don't know about their ability to speak English since I can speak Japanese. But everytime I was there I saw a few tourists, so I think they can speak English.

Overall, mumokuteki turned out to be my favourite place in Kyoto. Too bad i only discovered it at the end

Pros: Amazing food and desserts (vegan), atmosphere, style, location

Cons: price, but definitely worth it!!!


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THE MISO SOUP CONTAINS FISH - Edit

Appalling. Different waitresses have different ideas of how much of the menu is vegan. Today I asked what on the menu was vegan. "Everything." When my food came, I said "I'm sure I don't need to ask but is there fish stock in the miso soup?" THERE IS. The rice dish was bland, the pasta salty, you cannot take out anything. Everything is expensive. You can eat better and often cheaper at many other places nearby. This place is at best a last-ditch resort for when Matsuontoko is closed (which it was today). The tiramisu was okay, I guess.

Pros: you can get a point card, there are some soft chairs, no ax murderers so far

Cons: Staff doesn't know what's vegetarian, Expensive, Not so tasty


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Saving my butt - Edit

This restaurant is fantastic. Japan is a country where it's very difficult to get any vegetarian meals, and people will tell you something is vegetarian when it isn't. I have not found that to be the case here. Mumokuteki has a really diverse menu that appears to be 100% vegetarian except for the soup. But ask for the soup without dashi (fish stock), and you're good to go. Every time I go here I get something different and its always really delicious - good by my standards back home too. If you're a vegetarian in the area, then this place will definitely help you out.

Pros: Vegan versions of local food, Soymilk-vegetable smoothies, Chill decor

Cons: Fish stock in the soup, Servers speak no English


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Amazing parfait - Edit

Mumokuteki has the most amazing vegan parfait for around 800 yen. Also has vegan tofu cheesecake and vegan mains- just ask for the list of dishes that are vegan and they are happy to help. We ate the curry set and fried tofu balls with tofu tartare sauce and salad.

Mumokuteki has no meat, no eggs, no milk, no sugar and is very popular so we had to wait for a table at lunch time.


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