Have a taste of Kyoto elegance in Beverly Hills
Have a taste of Kyoto elegance...

Have a taste of Kyoto elegance...

By Keiko Fukuda

Despite the compact space with only 8 seats for the counter and 6 table seats, this restaurant in Beverly Hills called “Tempura Endo” is attracting a lot of attention. A famous Hollywood actress has chosen the place for her birthday party, and Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers’ player, is becoming a regular customer there.

Their website proudly depicts their “Kyoto style” concept. Their parent restaurant located in Yasaka in the Gion district of Kyoto opened as a tempura specialty restaurant about 30 years earlier. The building for the restaurant was renovated from a historic tea house. The place is known as a high-end restaurant that serves excellent tempura dishes using ingredients that are seasonal and locally grown vegetables and locally caught fish. Triggered by the steady increase of customers who are foreign tourists in the past few years, the project to welcome foreign customers outside of Kyoto as well by having Endo overseas has launched. As the first overseas branch, the Endo Beverly Hills location opened in January of this year.

Mr. Takuya Yamamoto, the General Manager, says, “Japanese cuisine is very popular right now in the U.S., and is getting more subdivided into specialty stores such as sushi, ramen, and so on. However, there are still very few tempura specialty restaurants. In order to find the proper location for the first store, I initially looked in Orange County where I live near Newport Beach, then West LA, but I couldn’t find any. I ended up finding this location, and made a commitment in April of 2015 because everybody knows Beverly Hills. I wanted the customers to feel as if they were in Japan while they dine, so it took 8 months before opening to create authenticity by importing Kitayama cedar for the interior, and so on.

”Such authenticity and particularity is created by the corner space where matcha is served in the traditional way, or name plates of Geiko, the Gion entertainers on the walls, etc. To add to the fastidious ambiance, the servers are wearing kimonos. So, how about the tempura itself? Is it just like Japan also? Well, it is a little bit different. He explains, “American customers prefer different things than Japanese customers. For instance, one of the most popular items here is the scallop tempura sandwiched with truffle, which is non-traditional, and even served with caviar instead of salt to satisfy their taste buds.” Another example is the beef tempura which doesn’t exist on the Kyoto menu. Since there is beef sushi in the U.S., beef tempura is very well received here as well.

The most important ingredient next to seafood and meat are Kyoto vegetables. Unlike Japanese seafood such as Kuruma-ebi shrimps and Kisu fish which can be imported by air, the vegetables can’t. So, the chef directly contacts with the local farmers to obtain Kyoto vegetables locally. It is not easy, though. Their tempura is served not with tempura sauce, but 5 different types of salt; rice, yuzu, sansho pepper, matcha, and truffle. The chef can recommend the best match to each dish.

During the interview, the phone kept ringing with reservation requests. However, there is an issue that has to be resolved. He says, “We would like the customers to take time eating, and it usually takes each group of customers two and a half hours to complete, which does not provide efficient rotation.”

They serve only the course menu of 4 different kinds between 150 and 280 dollars until 9PM. After 9 until midnight closing time, you can also order from the a-la-carte menu. The average number of customers per day is only around 10.
Mr. Yamamoto says that the goal will remain to maintain the status as Endo’s first overseas signature store. Even if there will be more Endos in the future all over the U.S. with more seating capacity, or even start serving lunch, the Beverly Hills store will remain unchanged of the premium value with the same small scale to keep providing fastidious hospitality to the customers.



同店のウェブサイトには、誇らしげに「Kyoto Style」と謳われている。京都祇園の八坂にある本店は、今から30年ほど前に、歴史のある茶屋を改装して天ぷら専門店として開業。旬の京野菜や魚介を揚げた、素材の良さで定評のある高級店だ。







これらの天ぷらをいただく時には、天つゆでなく、 圓堂 では 米塩、ゆず塩、山椒塩、抹茶塩、トリュフ塩と5種類の塩を添えている。どの塩をつけたらいいかは、素材ごとにシェフが勧めてくれる。




Tempura Endo
9777 S Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 274-2201

Everyday open