Restaurant Cenci seamlessly melds Italian heritage cuisine with Japanese precision. Located near Kyoto’s Heian Shrine, the restaurant’s entrance has a clandestine air about it, with access being through a red-brick tunnel built by chef-owner Ken Sakamoto and his team using the earth displaced during the venue’s 2014 construction.
Ken Sakamoto, the owner and chef at this stylish Italian restaurant near Heian Shrine in Kyoto, takes great care with the craftsmanship behind his dishes, believing that bringing out the best in his ingredients is homage to the producers and land, which birthed them. The Kyoto born-and-raised Sakamoto takes top-notch native produce as the inspiration for his hyper-seasonal 10-course tasting menu. Dishes raise eyebrows both for their unexpected pairings and for just how good those pairings turn out to be: think Kyoto pork with porcini mushrooms and Tasmanian grain mustard; Matsutake mushroom spaghetti, Hokkaido oyster on a bed of rice risotto, and a terrific chestnut ice-cream dessert. The high-octane kitchen is raised above the elegant seating area, allowing guests to watch Sakamoto and his cutting-edge crew in action.
Style: Luxury Italian Restaurant
Address: 44-7 Shogoin entomi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8323
Lunch: 12:00-13:30 (Last order) 15:30 (close)
[dinner] 18:00-20:00 (Last order) 23:00 (close)
Closing Days: Mondays, and closed irregularly on Sundays
The stylish interior of the restaurant creates a hidden cave house effect by the handmade bricks. The knives the restaurant uses are the Ryusen wooden handle steak knives. The logo “cenci” is engraved on each knives. The warmth of the wooden handle matches the atmosphere of the restaurant perfectly. Seating is available at a table, counter, and private room. It is possible to make reservation up to 2 month in advance. It is a matured Kyoto-Italian restaurant to visit on a special day.
The dishes they prepare showcase the best of the oceans and forests of Japan, presented in unmistakably Italian styles, including clam chowder with cauliflower and mussels, charcoal-grilled duck with duck gravy and almond sauce, and a cabbage and oyster risotto.
Ken Sakamoto is an owner and a chef of the Italian restaurant “cenci”. He opened the restaurant in December 2014 right by the Heian Shrine, Kyoto. He was born and raised in Kyoto. He also received cooking training at Italian restaurants in Kyoto. He expresses “Kyoto Cuisine” with a twist of Italian flavor that is unconventional. His top priority is using ingredients produced in Kyoto, Japan. He also chooses cutleries and plates that are made in Japan as much as possible. This way, he can deliver messages from food industry creators along with his food. You can see his devotion in every corner of his restaurant. One such example is the “Nejirimanpo”, a twisted tunnel. The tunnel was built with the handmade bricks by the restaurant staff and Mr. Sakamoto. They made these bricks from the soil that was dug up in a process of constructing his restaurant.