KYO-TO by Chef Ryohei Kawamoto: The Best Japanese Kaiseki in Manila?!

Kyo-to Chef

KYO-TO is the best Kaiseki restaurant in Manila. The restaurant, whose name is a tribute to the cultural capital of Japan, is the brainchild of Japanese Chef Ryohei Kawamoto.

Kaiseki is the highest expression of Japanese gastronomy, inspired by the traditional tea ceremony. Its elegant multi-course set format showcases the finest local ingredients of the season and highlights the culinary artistry of Japanese cuisine.

Chef Ryohei worked at Kitcho kitchen in Osaka and the famed Tsukiji Market in Tokyo before becoming a private chef of the Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines. He has since decided to open his own Kaiseki restaurant in Legaspi Village. 

Here’s what to expect at and what we think about Kyo-to Kaiseki…


G/F 119 C. Palanca Jr. Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City
Telephone: +632 805 7743
Mobile: +63 917 596 9697
Facebook: @kyo.toph
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
(Closed on Mondays)


This small doorway transports you from the busy streets of Makati to a serene Japanese restaurant setting designed by noted Japanese interior designer, Shoji Mizonkami.



The entrance leads to a small alley that takes you through the 30-seater restaurant divided into 3 areas: the Kappo, Private Dining, and Main Dining.



The Kappo has the most coveted seats (10-12), where you can witness Chef Ryohei’s artistry behind the preparation and experience his Ichigo Ichie philosophy. 

Here’s the Kyo-to Kaiseki Set Menu available during our visit. (Note: The menu changes based on season and what’s freshly available in the market.)



There are two private dining rooms separated by a divider with walls adorned with the owner’s Japanese painting collection. 



The Main Dining area can accommodate a total of 24 guests…



…but can be subdivided into three small rooms and enclosed with a sliding door.

(Note: Yes, you can hear the conversations next door clearly so best to keep your voice and laughter down)



We love the simplicity of the ambiance and the kabuki portraits by wood brick print artist Tsuruya Kokei.


Kaiseki 5-Course Meal  

Kyo-to 2

Appetizer: Hokkaido Crab with cucumber, vinegar jelly, steamed abalone side in seaweed, topped with special dressing and crab miso


Kyo-to 1

Make sure to taste each ingredient by itself first, and then mixed with the clean taste of the crab meat.

The revelation in this dish, however, was the Kani Miso sauce. It has a finely crafted creaminess with umami from the crab that you just want to savor and last longer.


Kyo-to 13

The abalone had a good firm texture with flavors of the sea from the Japanese Wakame seaweeds.


Soup: Somen Noodles with Grilled Saba on top

The clean flavorful broth made from dried tuna dashi tells you how special and delicate this soup course is.


Kyo-to 4

It comes with thin white Japanese noodles and a big satisfying chunk of grilled mackerel. 


Sashimi: Toro, Hamachi, Scallop, Ika, and Uni

We enjoyed the vibrant and elegant generations-old tableware by Kitaoji Rosanjin that served as the canvas for this beautiful spread.


Kyo-to 4

Each sashimi was a masterpiece served with fresh wasabi. We loved the toro, scallop, and hamachi, and saved the best uni for last!



The servers were attentive and were able to explain the kaiseki dishes well.


Kyo-to 6
Grilled Fish: Hamachi Kama and Japanese White Rice

Hamachi Kama is the collar of the premium Japanese yellow tail fish, Hamachi. It’s the fattiest, juiciest part and limited to just two collars per fish. 


Kyo-to 8

I loved the crisp skin lighty seasoned with lemon. And the meat was so tender, you could use your chopsticks to eat it.


Kyo-to 9
Dessert: Ice with Mochi, red bean and kinako with green tea powder on top

Most Japanese restaurants in Manila have ho-hum desserts, but not at Kyo-to.

We were surprised by how good this homemade ice cream with mochi balls on a bed of roasted soybean flour (kinako), red bean mash, and green tea powder was. 


Final Thoughts

Kyo-to 5

This was easily one of our best Japanese restaurant experiences in Manila! Each course was served with Chef Ryohei’s signature artistry and desire for perfection.

Kyo-to is great for celebrating anniversaries and significant life or career milestones, or even for a date with your special someone. 

Make sure to reserve in advance to get a seat in the Kappo for that full Kaiseki experience. The private dining and main dining areas are good for big groups, but you can still have an intimate meal here if you want. Budget about P5,200 for the 5-Course Kaiseki. 

(Note: There’s no a la carte menu and there’s just one set menu per night, which means you get to enjoy the same dishes.)

Final tip: There’s no restaurant sign along C. Palanca, but you can’t miss the big insurance sign above it. Parking is available along C. Palanca St. and free at night. However, it’s super traffic on peak dinner times so make sure to go as early as you can.


G/F 119 C. Palanca Jr. Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City
Telephone: +632 805 7743
Mobile: +63 917 596 9697
Facebook: @kyo.toph
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
(closed on Mondays)


Live an Awesome Life,



Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Kyo-to. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. 

P.S. Ichigo Ichie means “one opportunity, one encounter”, which serves as a reminder that each moment is precious and will never happen again in this lifetime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *