From the moment I found this cafe I wondered why I’d waited so long to visit… truth is it seemed so well established on the Kyoto cafe circuit that I figured I’d look elsewhere. In most countries this wouldn’t be my first reaction to a much lauded spot but occasionally the “institution” like cafes and casual restaurants of Kyoto are a little disappointing… yet they manage to hold out for years inevitably ending up in every cafe guide in town (regardless of whether they serve up quality nosh, coffee or atmosphere) and the charade continues. Let me stress that this doesn’t happen often, but it does happen and can be a bit frustrating when you have gone out of your way and stood in a queue for an hour to eat below par….er… omuraisu for example – not giving away any names of course…
Had I realised the Cafe Bibliotec Hello ( and its fab little adjacent bakery) was within walking distance of my apartment I would likely have given it a look see anyway and discovered very quickly that this gem offers all of the above mentioned qualities …. and then some!
A curiously tropical fronted Kyoto shophouse – Biblioteca is difficult to miss. You will find it on Nijo dori – a few blocks west of Teramachi in a lovely area boasting several cafes, restaurants and hairdressers (I swear there are more hairdressing shops in Japan than anywhere else on the planet – what’s with that? and why do they always look like really cool cafes??). An aside – If you are in the neighbourhood check out the street just north that runs parallel to it (ebisugawa)- full of lots of furniture places old and new – antique homewares etc. Plus more cafes and restaurants! And hairdressers…
Cafe Biblioteca Hello is a cavernous space ( note – easier to get a seat in that some) with a wonderfully relaxing vibe, great, simple food – gourmet sandwiches, salads, curry etc and really awesome cakes of the homemade variety. The coffee is very good too and they have lots of fruity drinks and teas for the non caffeinated among us. The pics here are from a summer visit but believe me the food is just as great in winter and, although housed in a glasshouse like space it offers an appropriate cosiness.
Crisp salad with crisp bread croutons, chicken, egg – refreshing and delicious.
Excellent white chocolate iced mocha
And I fell in love with this hand chiseled flooring. Apparently the owner is a clever bunny and renovated the place himself. Hats off to you sir! Wonderful job.
This would have to be one of the most relaxing cafes in Kyoto town – and they were clearly aiming for that outcome – you can even settle in for the afternoon with one of the books or magazines provided by their extensive library that runs along the western wall. Enthusiastically patronized for all the right reasons. The customers range from young funksters to business types so nice and eclectic…just how I like it.
The only downside would be that the relaxed pace may have attracted staff looking for the same. I have found them to be efficient enough but possibly a little bit too aloof at times. Twice I have been there right on the dot of opening at 11:30 and they were still mopping the floors and not at all keen for anyone to come in – even after it officially opened…plus when they serve you its generally done so with very low energy. But hey – its not a bad trade off…
Opening hours 11:30am until 11pm.
Sometimes used as a gallery (or event) space so keep an eye our for upcoming exhibitions.0