Recommended by a number of blogs and international media such as the New York Times, Yakitori Hitomi (炭焼創彩鳥家 人見) has been named as the best restaurant in Kyoto for Yakitori (焼き鳥) or Japanese skewered chicken. We made a reservation through the phone about a week prior to our departure. Fortunately, we managed to communicate with the staff over the phone with simple English and managed to secure a table for 20:30 on our second day of the trip. Many said that bookings should be made weeks well in advance for this highly popular and intimate restaurant on Nijo Dori at a quiet residential neighborhood in Higashiyama. It was a 15 minute walk to Yakitori Hitomi from our hotel. We borrowed an umbrella from the hotel as it was still raining.
Nijo Dori was quiet and there were hardly anyone on the street. We arrived at Yakitori Hitomi right on time, and were received with a warm welcome by the staff. The master chef/owner recognized us right away as he was the one whom we spoke to on the phone. He talked with us for a bit and told us that he had been to Hong Kong more than two decades ago. We sat by the counter facing the semi-open kitchen. We were given English menu, and a diagram of a chicken indicating different parts available, from neck to heart to bottom. We ordered sake, plum wine, and a variety of chicken skewers, local duck fillets, chicken soup, vegetable sticks, etc. The master chef/owner was the only person who worked at the binchotan (備長炭) or traditional Japanese white charcoal grill. We sat patiently to wait for each delicious skewer to be served one by one. The two-hour meal was definitely the best Japanese yakitori we ever had, and on top of that, the wonderful staff service and cozy atmosphere all made it a remarkable experience for our Kyoto stay.
The secluded front door and street facade of Yakitori Hitomi.
We sat at the timber counter facing the semi-open kitchen.
The restaurant interior was cozy and simple.
Japanese menu of Yakitori Hitomi.
Diagram showed the various parts of chicken available.
Sake and salt.
Chicken knee cartilage.
Tsukune or Japanese chicken meatball.
Sasami or chicken breast tender.
Seseri, or chicken neck.
Local chicken wings.
Japanese pickles, and momo or thigh meat.
A type of Japanese yam.
Vegetable sticks with master chef/owner in the background.
Complimentary dish and plum wine.
Kyoto duck fillets.
Our posts on 2016 Kyoto and Nara:
OUR FIRST KYOTO STORY, Japan
DAY 1: ARRIVAL AT HIGASHIYAMA (東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: RYOANJI TEMPLE (龍安寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: NINNAJI TEMPLE (仁和寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: KINKAKUJI TEMPLE (金閣寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: KITANO TENMANGU SHRINE (北野天満宮), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: NIGHT AT KIYOMIZU-DERA (清水寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: MORNING STROLL IN SOUTHERN HIGASHIYAMA (東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: KIYOMIZU DERA (清水寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: KIYOMIZU DERA to KENNINJI, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: ○△□ and Chouontei Garden and Ceiling of Twin Dragons, KENNINJI TEMPLE (建仁寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: SFERA BUILDING (スフェラ・ビル), SHIRKAWA GION (祇園白川), KAMO RIVER (鴨川) & DOWNTOWN, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: YAKITORI HITOMI (炭焼創彩鳥家 人見), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: MORNING IN NORTHERN HIGASHIYAMA (北東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: NANZENJI (南禅寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: PHILOSOPHER’S PATH (哲学の道), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: HONENIN (法然院), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: GINKAKUJI (銀閣寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: CRAB AND SAKE, Kyoto, Japan
DAY 4: HORYUJI (法隆寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: TODAIJI TEMPLE (東大寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: KASUGA TAISHA (春日大社), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: KOFUKUJI (興福寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: NAKAGAWA MASASHICHI SHOTEN (中川政七商店 遊中川), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: RAMEN & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 5: FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE (伏見稲荷大社) Part 1, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 5: FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE (伏見稲荷大社) Part 2, Kyoto, Japan
DAY 5: FAREWELL KYOTO, Kyoto, Japan
Our 17-day journey didn’t start off as smoothly as we wanted to. Our Toronto-New York-Lima flight was unfortunately hindered by awful delays. The flight to New York was an hour late, but then the worst didn’t come until we arrived at New York JFK. Time ticked way beyond the scheduled time but our LAN Peru plane was nowhere in sight. That night, no special weather alert was reported but the plane never came. LAN Peru ended up sending all passengers to an airport hotel to rest. In the next morning, we finally got on a plane for Lima, 11 hours beyond the scheduled time.
It was past dinner time when we arrived at Lima Airport. Our taxi sped through the streets of Lima for Miraflores District, where our friend from Chicago was waiting for us at Kokopelli Hostel. After we met up with our friend, we decided to grab some supper in the neighborhood. It was a quiet neighbourhood with dim street lights; but there was one street interaction where people clustered around a food cart with a bright lamp. It was one of the most renowned street food carts in Peru, Dona Grimanesa Vargas’s anticuchos skewers. We joined the locals with great expectation. The beef heart skewers didn’t disappoint us. They were tender and juicy, but it took us over two hours queuing on the street with empty stomach before we could even place our orders. The famous owner, Tia Grimanesa, represented the icon of Lima’s street food for almost four decades; and we recently found out that visitors can now enjoy her anticuchos at her new restaurant.
In the morning, we checked out Kokopell Hostel and headed to Lima Airport again for our morning flight to Arequipa. At the airport, we met up with our other travel buddy who just arrived from Toronto to join us for the trip. The four of us boarded a LAN Peru plane for the 1.5 hour flight. At 10:30 we landed at Arequipa. Our journey up to the Peruvian highlands officially began. Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru, lies at about 2,300m above sea level. In the area around Plaza de Armas, there are a number of splendid colonial buildings, churches and plazas from the Spanish era. Just around the corner from Monasterio de Santa Catalina, the biggest attraction in town, we checked in at our bed and breakfast Torres de Ugarte, a delightful hotel with colourful walls and a relaxing atmosphere.
We wouldn’t know what seemed like a short delay at Toronto Pearson Airport would end up to be an 11-hour belated arrival at Lima.
Our 11-hour flight delay was followed by an 2-hour wait on the street at Miraflores, Lima for Dona Grimanesa Vargas’s anticuchos skewers.
The renowned beef heart skewers were very delicious. Though if we knew it would turn out to be a 2-hour wait, we would probably go somewhere else to fill our bellies.
Dona Grimanesa Vargas (right) has been selling anticuchos on the street for about four decades. Today, she has moved her business into a restaurant.
The atmosphere was causal and friendly at the Kokopelli Hostel in Miraflores, one of the most popular and safest neighborhoods in Lima according to guidebooks.
Miraflores is a relatively affluent district in Lima, Peru’s biggest city with a population of over 8.4 million.
From the plane, the surrounding landscape of Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city, seemed dry and arid.
The Rodríguez Ballón International Airport of Arequipa is surrounded by mountains and arid landscape.
The main arrival building of Arequipa’s Rodríguez Ballón International Airport.
On our way from the airport to our bed and breakfast Torres de Ugarte in the heart of the historical city centre in Arequipa.
A small lovely courtyard in Torres de Ugarte surrounded by guest rooms.
* * *
Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010
1. Peru Trip 2010
2. Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3. Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4. Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5. Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6. Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru