Unagi Hirokawa (うなぎ 広川) , Kyoto

Located in a touristy area, Hirokawa specialises in the Japanese Unagi (eel). They’ve been in business since 1967 and at first I didn’t notice it’s a one-starred restaurant too.

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On arrival, an hour-long queue greeted me. I left my name and went off for a short visit to a nearby temple. Upon my return, it turns out I’ll still have to spend another 40 minutes in the line. Many gave up (perhaps they were too hungry?) in the middle of the queue, and the extra long waiting times meant I had to cancel some items in my packed itinerary in order to try their eel.

The restaurant at its current site was opened in 2009, built in the Japanese wooden architectural ‘Sukiya’ (数寄屋)style. Similar to many kaiseki establishments in Kyoto, there’s a tiny garden just outside where you could enjoy the view while eating.

The main feature is their charcoal grilled Edomae unagi, grilled in Kanto style. They offer steamed ones too if you prefer. Only Japanese eels are used in this restaurant. By the time I’m seated, some items on the menu were already sold out, such as the grilled eel liver.

The eel has a flaky texture, soft and fluffy, topped with a slightly sweet and savory sauce, which goes very well with rice. The accompanying clear soup with liver went well with the unagi rice. If I were ever to visit this place again, I’d definitely order a small bowl of grilled unagi again.

Having said that, the long queue is energy sapping – I couldn’t enjoy the meal as much after that wait. Is it really worth your time? You be the judge.

Unagi Hirokawa (うなぎ広川)
Address: 44-1 Kitatsukurimichicho, Sagatenryuji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
Tel: +81 75-871-5226
Website: http://www.unagi-hirokawa.jp

Visited on: 13 June, 2014
Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm; 5:00-8:00pm
Chef: Misaki Makino

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