Kobe | 紀茂登 Kimoto

I am sure everytime someone mentiones Kobe, it reminds you of Kobe beef. But don’t you know that there are tones of food to eat in Kobe apart from beef. Kimoto, the best Japanese restaurant according to Tabelog, as well as the most famous Ca Sento, are the only two reasons i travel from Tokyo to Kobe for.


Visited: Oct.23.2015 (Dinner)

Address: Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe, Chuo Ward, Nakayamatedori, 3 Chome−2−1, 山手ザコウベタワー114

Hours:11:30-14:30, 17:30-22:00

Damage: 2,0000~4,0000 JPY

Honors: Michelin 2 Stars (2012-2015), #1 Japanese Restaurant in Kobe on Tabelog

Website | Tabelog


Kimoto housed on the corner of a quiet street in central Kobe. The restaurant featured 7 seats at the counter and a private room for four people, the interior decor is very zen and warm.  Exposed to fresh fish from a young age by his fisherman father, the owner-chef Yasuya Kimoto is confident in his ability to know good quality. Kimoto-san was trained at Sakurada in Kyoto, and he opened his own restaurant in 2010.

Michizakari 三千盛 from Gifu

The menu is quite flexible at Kimoto, there’s even no fixed price for the menu. Usually it cost around 35,000 for dinner omakase.


Maybe you want to ask why chef Kimoto was in black in my picture, as chefs suppose to wear white. Well, the restaurant is actually only opens for lunch and closed for dinner that day, i don’t know what happened but i got a dinner reservation. Kimoto opens at 6pm for dinner, my reservation was at 6:30pm and i found i am the only guest there. Of course, the only guest for the entire meal. How lucky i am.


Ise lobster, sudachi jelly, kiku flower | 先付け: 伊勢海老 酢橘ジユレ 菊

The first dish was very refreshing de delicate, made of half of the large Ise lobster. I was kidding with Kimoto-san whether he ate the another half back in the kitchen, he laughed and said it was used during lunch time. Back to the food, the lobster was sourced from Awaji (淡路島). It was very juicy and has a hint of sweetness, which balanced well with the sourness of the sudachi jelly (made of bonito’s stock and kombu).

Steamed dish: Abalone, risotto | 蒸しもの: 鮑  リゾット

My attention was then fully attracted by the indredible frangrance of the steamed abalone (Chiba 千葉) , which had been cooked for 8 hours to perfection. It was so tender and a bit chewy, just so delicious. The risotto on the back was cooked with the its liver and soup, those al dante grains wonderfully soaaked all the umami flavors of the abalone.



Soup: Crab, Matsutake | 椀もの: 毛蟹  松茸

Followed by a bowl of hearty soup to warm up.  The crab dumpling made of  crab from Toya (洞爺湖), Hokkaido was very moist and aromatic. The sweet aftertaste gave me a misconcepption that i was eating tamago (Japanese sweet omelette). On the top, the sliced Matsutake from Okayama (岡山県)was slightly burnt to add more aroma, and the yuzu flakes in between brought a touch of refreshness. Angd of course, the soup was simply oiishi.


Sashimi: Kawahagi | 刺身: カワハギ

Kawahagi, or thread-sail filefish in English, was served in a very pretty plate from Europe. The fish itself was fresh and clean, quite fair flavor while the ponzu sauce with Kawahagi’s liver was so good and makes the Kawahagi itself very delicious. I won’t tell you that i even drunk up all the ponzu sauce left after i finished the sashimi.



Kimito-san showed me the Kinmedai to be char-grilled back in the counter.

Grilled dish: Kinmedai, Ginko | 焼き物: 金目鯛

Origins from Chiba (千葉), the Kinmedai was grilled to rare. It seems a very simple dish but the fish was actually grilled with sake, soy, bonito soup, anchovy’s misso and shrimp miso, imagine how flavorful it is?  The flesh was very juicy, umami, and full of healthy fats.

Boiled dish: Foie Gras, Gobo, Shiitake, Negi | 煮物: フォアグラ 牛蒡 椎茸 葱

Next dish was foie gras soup with mushroom and fresh peanuts, although there was actually no foie gras in the soup, the rich soup that was full of collagen was indeed fragrant and delicious. The fresh peanuts were quite smooth. The dish was very aromatic because of the truffle oil and Matsutake oil on the top.



Deep-fried: Fugu, Negi, lime, Sansho Salt | 揚げ物: ふぐ 葱

Followed by the aged-dish, the Fugu (Awaji 淡路島)  was pleasantly deep-fried, pretty crispy skin and a firm, chewy inside. The fine chopped scallions lifted the overal flavor of the dish, and the lime nicely brought some refreshness. A pinch of Sansho salt was served in case you prefer more savory tastes.

Uni, Yuba, Edamame sauce, Katsuo jelly, kiku | 雲丹 湯葉 枝豆 鰹のジユレ 菊

I seriously need this 24×7! I beleive this was my first time having uni in this large portion at a upscale kaiseki restaurant in Japan. The uni (Nagasak 长崎i) was creamy and left a lovely sweet aftertaste. The naturally sweet yuba (tofu skin) was quite harmony with the texture of the uni, and the edamame sauce gives a flavor from the land. Katsuo (bonito) jelly enhanced the umami flavor and the same time bings more refreshness.



Amadai, Matsutake, turnip, Yuzu | 甘鯛 松茸 カブ ゆず

The last dish before rice course is grilled Amadai on a bed of boiled turnip, topped with pealed yuzu and fresh Matsutake. The flesh was full of fragrance and very succulent. The soup base was quite clear when the dish came to the table, after i finish the fish, i notice that there was a layer of fish oil on the top.



Freshly harvest rice with Matsutake | 松茸のご飯




Rice congee | 雑炊

When i was having the rice, Kimoto-san asked me whether i want to try some rice congee with the stock from seafood served today, why not? The stock was made of Amadai, Katsuo, Awabi, Fugu, cooked with Matsutake and topped with some young scallions. Very clean and umami flavors.

Fesh juice made of 7 kinds of fruits | 7 種類フルーツのオレンジジュース

I was kind of over eating by far, but i was told there are still few more steps till the end. Next i was served some fruit juice made with 7 different kinds of fruits: orange, pineapple, apple, pear, Muscat (Japanese grape), Yonashi (Japanese pear) and persimmon. One of the best juices ever – very fruity and refreshing, perfectly cleanse my palates.

Milk Blanc Mange| デザート: ブランマンジェ バニラの塩かけ

The last but not the least part, dessert. The blanc mange was silky and has a lovely milk flavor, the interesting part was the pairing of vanilla salt, the outcome was unexpectedly harmony. Kimito-san also recommended me to have a glass of sweet wine to pair with the blanc mange, lovely one.



Crepes with Azuki breans and cheese, salt flavor Konpeitō| 小豆とチーズの揚げ菓子 塩の金平糖

The second dessert was another awesome combination of sweetness and saltiness. The texture of crispy deep-fried crepe pairs well with the smooth cheese and Azuki red bean paste. It was also my first time having Konpeito candy, again, very sync with the sweet crepe.


Finally came to the end of the meal, a bowl of freshly-whisked matcha from Kimito-san.

Matcha | お薄

It was a very enjoyable, and filling dinner at Kimoto. The ingredients were not doubt at their best, and with Kimoto-san’s unique creations and understanding of cooking, the outcome was certainly great. Kimoto-san himself is very friendly and really patient and helpful. Kimoto lost its 2-Michelin-star in 2016, because chef Kimoto doesn’t want to corporate with Michelin anymore. I think Michelin doesn’t really matters as long as the food was delicious.

4 comments Add yours
  1. A great review. Would you make a detour to Kobe just to re-visit Kimoto? Do you like it better than Tokyo’s Matsukawa?
    Your website is amazing – a fantastic resource in particular for Japan’s high end restaurants. Keep eating and never full … 😉

    1. Hi Andi, thank you very much for your comment. I visited Kobe just for Ca Sento (mainly) and Kimoto (secondly). Chef is a very very nice guy and the food was pretty good. I think you did a lot of research otherwise you wouldn’t know that the food is very similar to Matsukawa. Yes Kimoto San follows the philosophy of Matsukawa. To me, the entire experience is more enjoyable than Matsukawa, and more worth of value. 🙂 wish my rely is helpful!

      1. Thank you for the info and reply Melody. Perhaps I should consider some trip to Kobe the next time I’m in the Kyoto/Osaka area – not sure if I will take a day trip to Kobe from Tokyo though ..

        Do you need any introduction to dine at Kimoto? Is Ca Sento also a must? Japan has numerous top restaurants that sometimes make it hard to decide where to dine – but it’s a good “problem” to have

        What are your favorite restaurants in Japan? Say 5 or 7 of them- I know they will be subjective, so no worries. My guess Ishikawa is somewhere in the top 3?

        1. Hi Andi,i think 1 one day trip to Kyoto/Kobe from Tokyo is too short. The Shinkansen takes about 2.5-3 hours to there. You can contact Kimoto by yourself and they can speak English. Ca Sento is the best Western restaurant in Kaisai area, i loved it.
          I love Ishikawa because the entire dining experience is very important to me. I don’t really like places with delicious food only, or nice ambiance only. For Ishikawa, the people is nice, food is well-prepared, worth-of-value, ambiance is great (i don’t know about private rooms). It just gives me a homey feeling.
          It is hard to deicide 5 of 7, because there are tones of great restaurants in Tokyo, and it really depends on what are you open for. I would deifnitely recommend 3*Ishikawa and 1* Jimbocho Den for Kaiseki.

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