’s second largest city and the capital of western Japan, has a unique culinary culture. Once known as the ‘Kitchen of the Nation’, the city is still flourishing with a huge variety of restaurants, from Michelin starred luxury dining to budget Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki restaurants. Here are ten of the best.
Restaurant, Japanese, Asian, European
Established in 2003 by Tetsuya Fujiwara, who had previously trained in Italy and Spain, Spanish restaurant Fujiya 1935 was upgraded from two stars to three stars in Michelin Guide of 2012. Using seasonal vegetables, as well as meat and seafood sourced nationwide, a variety of beautifully presented dishes make up Fujiya 1935’s menu. Its gorgeous dishes include spaghettini of crab, beans and mimoretto, which uses crab from Senshu in Osaka, and Tanba kuromame, which uses special beans produced in Tanba, Kyoto. The menu is accompanied by a range of tasty wines selected to perfectly match every dish.
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Opening in 1945, just after the end of World War II, Mizuno
is the oldest Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) restaurant in Osaka. Ingredients delivered from Kuromon Market make up the wide variety of their Okonomiyaki toppings. Among its dishes, you cannot miss their Yamaimo-yaki (Yam Okonomiyaki), which has been its most popular dish for a very long time. The dough of Okonomiyaki is normally made up of flour and eggs, but Mizuno’s Yamaimo-yaki uses yam instead of flour, making the texture of the dough very soft. The natural sweetness of yam goes well with thick pork and vegetables on the pancakes, creating the unique flavor of Mizuno’s Okonomiyaki.
Restaurant, Japanese, Contemporary, Asian, Fusion
Having opened his restaurant in May 2008, chef Hajime Yoneda garnered three stars from the Michelin Guide after only a year and five months, which was a record in Michelin history. Having a unique background as a cook, Yoneda, who studied electronics at university, uses the restaurant as a laboratory for French
gastronomy. For each season, Hajime
changes its highly conceptual set menu. Incorporating a Japanese essence into its menu, Hajime provides a twist on French cuisine, and it will surely stimulate and satisfy all five senses.
Restaurant, Japanese, Asian, Seafood, $$$
’s big globefish-shaped sign is one of the landmarks of Osaka. If you are looking for tecchiri (a hotpot dish with globefish) at a reasonable price, this is the place to be. Zuboraya uses fresh globefish directly delivered from the fish market in western Japan, and its original ponzu made of hand squeezed sudachi (Japanese citrus) brings out the natural flavor of the fish. By the end of the meal, the soup of the hotpot becomes richer so that you can enjoy tasty rice porridge to finish off the meal.
Restaurant, Japanese, Sushi, $$$
Michelin starred restaurant Saeki is widely considered the number one sushi restaurant in Osaka. The restaurant boasts a luxurious and sophisticated atmosphere, with only 10 seats at the counter table where customers can watch their sushi being made in front of them, and where head chef Saeki will explain the menu, the background of the ingredients, and their selection of plates available. Saeki’s true value can be determined from its perfect balance between rice and toppings. The rice shows superb softness and creates a nice harmony with fresh seasonal seafood.
Mori building 1F, 1-5-7, Sonezaki shinchi, Kita-ku, Osaka-City, Osaka, 530-0002, Japan
Food Truck, Japanese, Asian, Fast Food, $$$
is one of the most popular takoyaki restaurants in Osaka, where the dish originated. What makes Yamachan’s takoyaki distinctive is the taste of the dough, which blends original chicken soup stock cooked with various fruits and vegetables, and Japanese style soup of kelp and bonito. Cooked on its special takoyaki pan at a very high temperature, the outside of the takoyaki ball is crisp but the inside remains nice and creamy. Although it is tasty without any sauce, you can also try it with their special soy sauce and ponzu.
Restaurant, Japanese, Asian
Michelin starred soba restaurant Takama offers a luxury experience with quality soba in a modern and chic interior. Takama’s Inaka soba is Jyuwari soba (100% soba) which is made only from buckwheat flour, not using any binding agent such as egg or grated yam. Its thin noodles have a rich flavor of buckwheat and it even tastes good without sauce or salt. Its tempura is also exceptional and Tenzarusoba, a cold soba meal with assorted tempura, is highly recommended.
7-12-14, Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka-City, 531-0041, Osaka, Japan
Restaurant, Japanese, Fast Food
Kushikatsu, a type of Japanese style deep-fried meat and vegetables on skewers, is one of the dishes that Osaka is famous for. It is said to have originated from small restaurants in Shinsekai, where a number of kushikatsu restaurants still exist. In Yaekatsu, a range of ingredients from pork, beef and seafood to egg and vegetables are fried in front of you, ready to be put on the skewer. Doteyaki – well-boiled beef gristle with miso – is also worth trying here.
3-3-13, Ebisu higashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-City, Osaka, 558-0002, Japan