This expensive cuisine appeals to highly aesthetic diner. Meals are modelled on the four seasons, and the consumer is treated to many small dishes, each involving much time and skill, that evoke a particular time of year. Kaiseki meals are generally served as “set” menus, although some restaurants serve mini-kaiseki for lunch.
Kaiseki was traditionally a light meal served with tea, though it has evolved into a more elaborate dining process. Traditional kaiseki is strictly vegetarian, though meat and fish may now be included. The experience of kaiseki dining does not stop with the food — everything from garnish to serving pieces are chosen to enhance the the senses. Kaiseki restaurants generally require reservations.