Before leaving for this trip, I made sure to get the Michelin guide and got so carried away I ended up bookmarking MANY pages, way too much to reasonably cover. What can I say, I’m ambitious when it comes to good eating. So… I did some editing and whittled that long list down to just the essentials categorized by area so just in case we were in the neighborhood, we could access some of our choices. How glad am I that we had the opportunity to dine at Tenyou? Ecstatic! Hands down, the best tempura I’ve had in my life!
First course was baked tofu dotted with a drop of wasabi. The first bite was a pleasant surprise with a nice crisp, thin skin that gave way to a soft and silky inside. With a first course this great, we had high expectations for the ones to follow.Second course: Sashimi and shrimp with yamaimo (mountain potato- when grated it becomes slimy). Third course: Chawanmushi (egg custard). Surprisingly brothy and much less egg-y than I was expecting. Nice delicate flavor and velvety texture.Fourth courses (above and below): Tempura that included fish, shrimp, and assortment of vegetables, shiso leaf, shiitake and shishito pepper. Pure deliciousness fried to perfection in cottonseed oil served with tempura sauce and grated daikon. There was also a slice of lemon and salt as an alternate to the dipping sauce which I loved just as much.This was not part of the set menu, but we absolutely had to try them. Are you kidding me? Fava beans deep fried in a light batter are so simple yet so genius! Why have I never thought of this??? Every year our plants have an abundance of fava beans and I never had the good sense to tempura them… until now. Pro eater tip- these are so much better with just the salt, trust meFifth course: Fresh strawberries in gelee. Simple, elegant, and refreshing. I couldn’t think of a better ending to the best lunch of the trip.
If you’re in Kyoto, Tenyou is a must visit. Lunches are considerably more reasonable than dinner and if you’re lucky, you can get a seat without a reservation. Although, I wouldn’t chance that since this restaurant has only 10 counter seats.
Tenyou Restaurant: Sanjyo Sagaru Gokomachi, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto