One of the foods that you simply must try at Osaka is the okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake originating in Osaka. Located in Dotonbori, Mizuno is where locals go for okonomiyaki. Their most popular dish is the yam flour okonomiyaki, as they are one of the only restaurants in Osaka to offer this variation. They also serve classic okonomiyakis, including the house special Mizuno-yaki. You can choose between the counter table, where your food will be grilled in front of you by their friendly staff, or a private table. Here you can have a go at grilling your own okonomiyaki in the true Osaka style.
1-4-15 Dohtonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0071, +81-6-6212-6360
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. There are only about 15 seats in this tiny joint. Most of them are along a counter, giving the store an intimate and extremely local atmosphere.
18-2 Doyamacho Kita-ku Osaka, +81-6-6755-4323
Omu-rice is one of the most popular yousyoku, or Western dish with a Japanese twist, both in Japan and the rest of the world. Legend has it that Hokkyokusei, which opened in 1922, is the founder of omu-rice in the Kansai region. A portion of rice is covered by a smooth omelet and served with your choice of sauce and side ingredients such as pork or beef patty. Hokkyokusei has branches all over Osaka, but the honten (original store) at Shinsaibashi has an ambiance all its own. It contains traditional decor of wooden furniture and shoji paper screens.
2-7-27 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0086, +81-6-6211-7829
If you want to experience the best sushi on offer in Midosuji, Tada is the place you want 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 on your sushi is fresh and flavorful. Seated along a counter table, you can watch the chef make your sushi right in front of you and even ask him for recommendations. You must make a reservation beforehand. So, be sure to call and check if you are interested in this elite sushi experience.
If you’re 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 the Osaka Station, this sushi store operates in a kaiten sushi, or sushi train, style. Simply grab the dish you want off the conveyor belt that runs through the store. You will be charged by plate, making the dining experience both economical and fun. With fresh ingredients, delicious sushi, and adventurous culinary exploits with unfamiliar-looking dishes, you are sure to enjoy eating at Ganko.
Osaka Station City, 3-1-1 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0001, +81 6-6458-0212
Takoyaki, or octopus balls, is one of the most popular street foods in Japan that has spread throughout the world. Just like okonomiyaki, it originated right here in Osaka. What better way to try both of them at once than at Tako-hachi? Known for making some of the best takoyaki in Osaka, you can watch chefs make the famous street snack on the ground floor of their Dotonbori store. Meanwhile, you can eat their fresh-off-the-grill takoyaki. This venue also offers teppanyaki seats on the upper floors, where you can grill and eat okonomiyaki.
1-5-10 Dotonbori Chuo-ku Osaka Osaka, +81-6-6211-4684 (Honten)
Longing for something a little closer to home? Critters Burger in Shinsaibashi offers authentic American burgers sure to satisfy your burger cravings. There arealso some unusual burgers for those who aren’t tired of new culinary experiences just yet. Try the ever-popular wasabi avocado burger, or the pineapple cheeseburger. Burgers are served with deliciously fried thick potato wedges. Their English menu, authentic burgers, and warm service makes them a firm favorite with the local expat community. It’s also a favorite of travelers who know what they’re looking for.
1-10-35 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0086, +81 6-4963-9840
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.
4-5-8 Hiranomachi Chuo-ku Osaka, +81-6-4708-8812
Though it literally means “Japanese cattle”, wagyu is generally referred to as premium Japanese beef. It is known for its distinctive marbling, as well as its rich flavor and tender texture. Matsushita offers wagyu from the finest sources in Japan, which you can grill yourself at the built-in grill at your table. Seated in a traditional setting, on cushions around a low table, you can enjoy the pure taste of beef. Also served are fresh seasonal vegetables grown locally.
REX Building 6F, 1-5-9 Sonezakishinchi Kita-ku Osaka, +81 06-6343-9191
From Kinryu ramen to Ichiran ramen, there are no shortage of ramen spots in Osaka. Kuromonya may be one of the lesser-known ramen shops in the city, but its local flavor and rich broth puts it on par with the likes of Ichiran ramen. Unlike other noodle conglomerates, Kuromonya is not a chain store but a tiny shop with all of 10 seats along a counter. It’s right outside of the Kuromon Market. Their rich broths are made on the shop premises. They add the perfect flavor to the springy, made-to-order noodles. The house special Kuromon Ramen, which is one of the most popular choices, has a broth made with a secret recipe.
1-21-28 Nipponbashi Chuo-ku Osaka, +81-6-6645-8655