Midosuji is one of the major boulevards in Osaka. Running from Umeda to Namba, linking the city’s two main business and commercial districts, it spans many neighborhoods and has its own subway line. Travelers exploring this thoroughfare are bound to work up an appetite, so make sure you stop at one of these great restaurants along the way.
Mizuno Okonomiyaki お好み焼「美津の」
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Opening in 1945, just after World War II, Mizuno is the oldest okonomiyaki restaurant in Osaka. Ingredients delivered from historic Kuromon Market make up many of the toppings. Don’t miss their Yamaimo-yaki (yam okonomiyaki), which has been their most popular dish for decades. Mizuno uses yam instead of flour to create this delicacy, making the texture of the dough very soft. The natural sweetness of yam goes well with the thick pork and vegetables in the pancakes, creating the unique flavor of Mizuno’s famous dish.
A tiny store located in Umeda, Yoshibei specializes in tonkatsu, or deep-fried pork cutlets, and katsudon.The latter is a steaming bowl of rice topped with tonkatsu and smooth scrambled egg. You can add an onsen tamago – a runny, slow-cooked egg whose name literally means ‘spa-boiled’ – to your rice for extra sauce and flavor. The exterior of the pork is fried to a perfect crispiness, while the meat is fresh and juicy. Most of the seats are along a counter, giving the store an intimate and extremely local atmosphere.
Hokkyokusei specializes in a Japanese comfort food, omurice – a large omelette stuffed with rice and tomato sauce drizzled over the top. Legend has it that Hokkyokusei, which opened in 1922, is the first omurice restaurant in the region; today, the traditional décor of wooden furniture and shoji paper screens adds ambiance to this tale. Choose from an assortment of fillings, from ham to mushrooms to crab fried rice. They even offer omurice classes for those interested in making their own.
If you want to experience the best sushi on Midosuji, Tada is the place to go. A highly exclusive restaurant that is elusive even to locals, this nine-seat restaurant uses only the best ingredients. This ensures the fish is fresh and flavorful. Seated along the counter, patrons can watch the chef make their sushi right in front of them and even ask for recommendations. Reservations are necessary, so be sure to call ahead.
If looking to try authentic sushi at a much more affordable price, Ganko is one of the best choices. Located centrally at Osaka Station City, directly connected to Osaka Station, this is a kaiten, or ‘sushi train,’ restaurant. Simply grab the dish you want off the conveyor belt that runs through the store. Customers are charged per plate, making the dining experience both economical and fun. Featuring fresh ingredients, delicious sushi, and adventurous culinary exploits with unfamiliar-looking dishes, Ganko is sure to be an enjoyable experience.
Takoyaki, or octopus balls, is one of the most popular street foods in Japan. Like okonomiyaki, it originated in Osaka. What better way to try both of them together than at a restaurant in Dotonbori, the local street food mecca? Watch chefs make the famous snack on the ground floor of Takohachi then head to the teppanyaki (grill) seats on the upper floors, where you can cook and eat okonomiyaki.
Longing for something a little closer to home? Critters Burger in Shinsaibashi offers authentic American burgers sure to satisfy your cravings. There are some unusual offerings for those who aren’t tired of new culinary experiences yet. Try the ever-popular wasabi avocado burger or the pineapple cheeseburger, served with delicious, thick potato wedges. Their English menu, authentic food, and warm service makes them a firm favorite with the local expat community.
This izakaya, or Japanese pub, specializes in udon – thick, slightly sweet wheat flour noodles usually soaked in broth. At Aozora Blue, you can choose between the classic udon in soup or served dry with sauce. Order a side of tempura – battered and deep-fried seafood and vegetables – to go along with your udon. As an izakaya, Aozora Blue has a great selection of liquors, including sake and shochu, as well as beer and wine.
Though it literally means ‘Japanese cattle,’ wagyu generally refers to premium Japanese beef. It’s known for its distinctive marbling, rich flavor, and tender texture. Matsushita offers wagyu from the finest sources in Japan, which you can grill yourself at your table. Seated in a traditional setting, on cushions around a low table, you can enjoy the pure taste of beef.
From Kinryu to Ichiran, there is no shortage of ramen in Osaka. Kuromonya may be one of the lesser-known shops in the city, but its local flavor and rich broth puts it on par with the likes of more famous ones. Situated right outside of Kuromon Market, this shop is a foodie’s paradise, especially because of the tasty house-made broth and noodles. The special Kuromon Ramen, one of the most popular choices, is made with a secret recipe.