Isshindo Soba (一神堂そば)
Isshindo is a very small, outdoor yatai (stall) style restaurant with the atmosphere of the ubiquitous yatai of Japan common near train stations at night catering to commuters on their way home for a quick meal. Isshindo adds just the right amount of style and sophistication to the dining experience.
Isshindo is actually enclosed by a wooden fence but has no roof over the seating area. On rainy days an awning is deployed which fully protects patrons from the rain. Depending on the season, there is a roaring air conditioner or gas heater ameliorating temperature extremes.
Isshindo seats only about 12 people and has a very friendly, neighborhood atmosphere. The staff, while frantically preparing orders are always very friendly.
Isshindo’s menu is minimal with several signature ramen dishes, well worth the venture a few blocks up north from the city center and just about a five minute walk down from Kyoto Gosho (the Imperial Palace).
Like many noodle shops, you can specify how your noodles are to be cooked; al dente, regular or soft.
Isshindo features two types of ramen soup base; tonkotsu (pork bone) and torigara (chicken bones).
Isshindo Soba (一神堂そば)
This dish is the famous of Isshindo. It features a garnish of scallions, zha cai (Chinese pickle, zasai in Japanese), and topped with short-necked clams. Shellfish and ramen is a shocking combination, unimaginable in Kyoto.
The soup base is a combination of pork and chicken stock.
Isshindo Soba is a must try, a ‘9’.
Chuka Soba (中華そば)
Chuka Soba, literally, ‘Chinese soba’.
The soup is a combinations of pork and chicken stock and shoyu (soy sauce), and a simple garnish of menma (fermented bamboo shoot), scallion, chashu (roasted pork) and paprika.
This dish is slightly richer than Isshindo Soba, a more typical ramen appealing to patrons that want a standard ramen, but with a Isshindo twist.
Isshindo’s Chuka Soba is a ‘7’.
Isshindo is one of my all-time favorite ramen shops. I only order the Isshindo Soba, often with mentaiko gohan, which is pretty good, though I am not much of a fan of mentaiko.
Isshindo Soba like all ramen is a richly flavored dish, but it is not over bearing. Combining several ingredients unusual to ramen such as clams and zha cai with Kyoto scallions, coarsely sliced to produce a ramen unlike any other.
I like that additional garnish on the ramen dishes, such as additional chashu, which is great when I am in the mood for a rich and meaty dinner. Great on a winter evening!
Isshindo Soba Exterior:
English: no English menu, no website