What makes it special? The unexpected pairings. Combining Japanese precision and Italian techniques, chef-patron Ken Sakamoto surprises diners with a 10-course tasting menu that may include dishes such as king shiitake mushrooms with tomatoes and pecan nuts, homemade burrata with prosciutto, and deep-fried ayu.
Turning back time: The restaurant, which opened in 2014, has strong ties to the city of Kyoto and its heritage. Located in a century-old Japanese house near the Heian Shrine, the dining room is accessed through a red-brick tunnel built by Sakamoto and his team. With seasonal and local produce starring across the menu, Cenci embraces Japanese culinary culture and precision, with a touch of Italian flare.
What’s on the menu? Drawing inspiration from the seasons and the available produce, chef Sakamoto rotates the menu regularly, ensuring that no guest has the same experience twice. Diners are kept on their toes and may be presented with anything from Spanish mackerel with turnip and yuzu, oysters with spinach or a silky crab fettuccine.
About the chef: Born in the Kyoto Prefecture, Sakamoto travelled extensively around Europe before beginning his career in gastronomy. Awed by the depth of Italian cuisine, he trained under Yasuhiro Sasajima at Il Ghiottone in Kyoto, rising to the position of head chef. Since striking out with Cenci in 2014, Sakamoto leads his team with the philosophy of helping products achieve their full potential.