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“Good food, great host, smokey atmosphere...”

Ishiyaki Isshan Pontocho
Ranked #936 of 12,274 Restaurants in Kyoto
Price range: US$46 - US$52
Cuisines: Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Lunch, After-hours, Dinner, Reservations
Neighbourhood: Pontocho
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Good food, great host, smokey atmosphere...”
Reviewed 15 April 2012

I chose to book at this restaurant after seeing all of the great ratings on TA. As others said, the owner was very kind and welcoming - his English is excellent bc he spent some years working in the States. His server was also extremely kind and attentive. We all ordered the recommended set dinner - multiple types of fish, chicken and steak were cooked in front of us, and we had many different dipping sauces for each one. The food was fresh and tasty - especially the beef... But it wasn't "out of this world" tasty, and the price was fairly steep (like a lot of places in Kyoto). My biggest complaint was the very smokey atmosphere. Each table had its own grill and the ventilation was terrible. All of our clothes and jackets stunk terribly, even the next day. Good thing it was our last night on vacation!
The place is worth visiting for the experience and kind service... If TA allowed for 1/2 stars, I would have given an overall 3.5.

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Helpful?
1 Thank EdPro11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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177 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    113
    34
    15
    8
    7
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
“Relaxed atmosphere! Great food!”
Reviewed 12 April 2012

Found this place off trip advisor and was able to get a reservation that night. The atmosphere is very laid back and if you can get a seat around the bar you will be ensured great service by the owner Ken. We ordered the Chef Choice Dinner Set for about $3500 Yen/ person and was not disappointed! This place is a great place for visitors especially early in their travels as the inviting atmosphere, english menus and great authentic Japanese food will help set the expectations for future Kyoto dining experiences!!

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Helpful?
Thank MattnSLO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Not bad, but overpriced and overrated”
Reviewed 5 April 2012



We went here after seeing it was number one in Kyoto in tripadvisor. It was very difficult to find, and google maps has the address wrong. In the end we asked our hotel concierge where to find it. 

The place is fairly small, with hot plates at each table setting for the meat to be cooked for you. We had the 4 types of chicken, pork and beef meal with a salad, miso and icecream at the end. The chef speaks English, and is clearly keen to be friendly with westerners. 

The food was good, but not brilliant, and I felt there was almost too much effort put in to be accommodating to westerners, so I didn't really get a feeling of being in an authentic yakitori restaurant. The other problem was that the price seemed too high- we had eaten at nicer restaurants and paid less previously. All in all, it was ok, but it doesn't really seem fair for this restaurant to be ranked best in Kyoto, which may be more a measure of the fact English-speakers seem to go here more often (and hence the tripadvisor reviews)

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Helpful?
2 Thank Blahoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brussels, Belgium
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Amazing!”
Reviewed 2 April 2012

Been to Japan a few times and this place is a must. Really cosy, friendly atmosphere. Try and get a table at the bar if you can (mainly couples though). The chef/owner speaks perfect English (he lived in US for 16 years). We got the menu for about 3,500 Yen which was amazing (a bit too much food though). Chef explained each course and said which sauces you should try with it. Amazing food, not too pricey. Cannot rate this place enough. He even gave us a free Kobe beefburger because the rice was a couple of minutes late. He recommended a great bar just round the corner and made our us feel really welcome. Want to go again!

  • Visited April 2012
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Helpful?
1 Thank gareth83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shanghai, China
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Delicious food and fantastic service!”
Reviewed 27 March 2012

After two weeks of delicious eating in Japan, Issian Pontocho still managed to out do the rest. The food was exceptionally good and the service was excellent. The owner and chef creates a friendly and fun environment. He is interested in knowing about where you come from as he himself has spent time in the US and Japan as a chef and has recently gained ownership of Issian Pontocho. I highly recommend the restaurant if you are looking for great food at reasonable prices and a great atmosphere.

  • Visited January 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank AEMCD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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