High-End Omi Wagyu from Shiga Prefecture
Have you ever tasted Omi beef? It is generally considered to be among the top three wagyu varieties in Japan (alongside Matsuzaka and Kobe beef), and is, in fact, one of the oldest beef varieties in the country. Omi beef comes from Shiga prefecture (the prefecture neighboring Kyoto to the east) and is prized for its high-quality meat with beautiful marbling. One of the very best places to enjoy Omi beef in Kyoto is at Matsukiya, a restaurant owned by an Omi beef wholesaling company from Shiga Prefecture.
Diners at Matsukiya can either choose to dine in a private room, enjoying sukiyaki or shabu shabu, or to dine at the steak counter, where a chef prepares steaks on a large teppan right in front of the customers. Both dining experiences have their perks, so it really depends on what kind of meal you're feeling like.
Sukiyaki and shabu-shabu
Both the sukiyaki and the shabu-shabu are served in one of three courses which vary in price based on the quality of the beef included and the number of side dishes. If you've never had wagyu, you'll definitely be blown away by even the least expensive course (¥7,500 per person) but those who really want the best of the best should go all out and get the Matsuki Course for ¥15,000.
In case you're not familiar with the dishes, sukiyaki is a type of hot pot dish where thin slices of beef are simmered with vegetables in a sweet, soy sauce-based sauce.
Shabu-shabu is also a hot pot dish where thin slices of meat are quickly cooked one at a time in a pot of light, mild soup. The meat is then dipped in sauce and eaten. Both are absolutely delicious ways of enjoying high-end wagyu like the Omi beef served at Matsukiya, so you can't go wrong with whichever you choose.
Steaks at Matsukiya can either be ordered in a steak course or as part of a traditional Japanese kappo course. The Steak courses are priced by quality (very high, or extremely high) and weight of the steak. The cheapest is an ¥8,000 120 gram steak, and the most expensive is a ¥20,000 200 gram steak. the steak courses come with soup, salad, grilled veggies, a drink, and dessert.
The kappo courses are absolutely gorgeous and feature not only a steak, but a variety of small dishes, many of which feature wagyu prepared in a different way. The kappo course changes to reflect the current season, and is always beautiful to look at. The least expensive 'Moon' course is offered for ¥9,000, and the most expensive 'Matsu' course costs ¥20,000 (note that the Matsu course must be reserved at least 2 days in advance so that there is time to prepare the necessary dishes).
A variety of scrumptious lunch sets are offered during lunchtime at a much more affordable price (but with the same high-quality beef). Lunch sets run from just ¥2,300 for a yakiniku bento box up to ¥9,800 for the premium 150-gram steak set shown above. Those looking to try delicious Omi beef at a more reasonable price might want to consider lunchtime.
Matsukiya is located 5 minutes away from Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu line. It's recommended to make a reservation in advance as the restaurant is quite popular.