We are big fans of izakaya style restaurants and luckily got a great recommendation. Kurakura is a favorite of locals in downtown Kyoto. We came just as they opened and was able to get a table. Good thing because minutes later the place was packed with office workers coming in for happy hour. They had an extensive sake selection and our waitress was very helpful in choosing two different ones for us.
Next up, some grilled items. Two types of peppers (hot and mild), squid legs, and sweet onions. Each came with their own sauce and were delicious.
We then ordered some steamed enoki mushrooms cooked in butter with an egg inside. Simple and amazing. We followed that with yakitori, fresh tofu, chicken wings, anago wrapped in yuba, and chicken gizzards/kidneys. All perfectly cooked and just the right portion size as to not fill you up.
We ended the meal with omakase sashimi and yaki onigiri with fish roe on the inside. The quality of the sashimi was superb. Probably the same quality as most of the high end sushi restaurants in the Bay Area but in a neighborhood joint.
My daughter loves watching Miyazaki movies and there's a dish in one of her movies that she absolutely loves. It's fried aji but unfortunately aji wasn't available. We showed our waitress the image below and she was able to have the chef whip up an alternative - fried kisu. It was also amazing - two filets and the center bone portion fried up to perfection! The mayo that came with it was a great pairing.
Can't say enough about this place. The vibe is so authentic, the staff are so friendly and helpful (spoke great English!), and of course the food and drink are off the charts. This is now on the permanent list of places to hit when we're back in Kyoto.