Dark-wood furnishings create a provocative and intimate environment for sampling the bountiful brews at Kyoto's top Korean teahouse. Unlike Japanese and Chinese teas, which pull flavor from leaves or powder, the house favorites here are brewed full of berries, spices, and herbs. The intense aromas are complemented by a menu of vegetable stews, stuffed fritters, and innovative versions of Korean staples like organic bibimbap (a rice bowl topped with various ingredients).
Reserve ahead to sample the Gozen menu, with nine bronze pots filled with royal cuisine good enough to leave you wishing you were an ancient Seoul nobleman. Seating is in a cozy private room at the back, on cushions at floor-level tables, or at a robust wooden counter with a better chance to chat with the convivial proprietors.
Karasuma Sanjo Nishi-iru, 73 Mikura-cho, Kyōto, 604-8166, Japan