Also known as Japan’s kitchen, Osaka is a foodie’s paradise. The Minami and Namba area, which includes the major shopping district Shinsaibashi, and the quirky Dotonbori, is filled with cheap and delicious eats. From street food to izakayas, you will be surprised and delighted by all Japan’s kitchen has to offer.
Kuromonya Ramen is possibly one of the best ramen places in the city. Their noodles, which are made to order, are cooked to the perfect texture, and served with flavourful ingredients such as pork slices, rich soft-boiled eggs, and generous amounts of spring onion. What makes their ramen truly remarkable is their broth, which is richly flavoured and home-made at the shop, unlike the artificially flavoured soup bases used in chain stores. Their signature Kuromon ramen is a popular choice, as their broth is made with a secret recipe. This tiny local shop only has ten seats along a counter, and it is situated at the entrance of the Kuromon Market, which is filled with seafood and snacks.
This family-run restaurant at Dotonbori serves okonomiyaki, a kind of Japanese pancake or pizza originated from Osaka. Seated at a counter table, you can watch your food grilled right in front of you, or you can grill it yourself if you choose a private table on the second floor. Mizuno uses their own secret recipe for their okonomiyakis. The unique taste and texture has made them a firm favourite with locals. The yam flour okonomiyaki is a house specialty and long-time bestseller.
Founded in 1922, Hokkyokusei is reputed to be the founder of omu-rice in the Kansai region. Omu-rice, a common place yousyoku, or Japanese-styled Western dish, is a rice-filled omelet covered by sauce and served with a variety of ingredients. Hokkyokusei keeps its omu-rice based on the classic recipe, it was this original form of omu-rice that captured the public’s taste buds and popularized it all over Kansai, Japan, and the rest of the world. Address: 2-7-27 Nishishinsaibashi Chuo-ku Osaka, +81-6-6211-7829
Located near Shinsaibashi, this small joint is a traditional and atmospheric sushi bar. Visitors are seated along a long bar counter, behind which sushi chefs make dishes from fresh seafood. Most of the sushi, especially those involving raw fish, are made to order, so you can taste the fresh and pure flavour of the ingredients. Ichiba Zushi is decorated traditionally, with wooden décor and menu items written over the bar, giving you an authentic Japanese sushi experience.
This izakaya, or Japanese tavern, offers a quiet respite from the bustle of Namba. Located on the third floor of a building just down the street from Namba station, Yuzu no Komachi is an atmospheric izakaya, with seating on tatami mats. Traditional Japanese fare such as sashimi and tempura are available. Wash down the beautifully laid-out and delicious dishes with sake, shochu or Japanese draft beer, in this unique and ambient Japanese setting. Address: 3-4-16 Nanba Chuo-ku Osaka, +81-50-5869-9547
Located in the historical alleyway Hozenji Yokocho, which is preserved in the style of Japan in the Edo period, this small okonomiyaki restaurant is a firm favourite those who want the authentic okonomiyaki experience. At Hozenji San Pei you can grill your okonomiyaki yourself on a teppanyaki grill at your table, which are set up as booths to give you a certain degree of privacy. The name ‘okonomiyaki’ literally translates to ‘grill as you like it’, and Hozenji San Pei delivers exactly that, you can choose custom ingredients for your okonomiyaki, making it a truly unique Japanese pancake experience.
A speciality restaurant , Gintei offers Japanese cuisine that revolves around pork. You may be surprised at the variety of the dishes on the menu, from pork shabu shabu, to fried tonkatsu, to teppanyaki-grilled pork, the possibilities are endless. The classy décor in this underground restaurant enhances the exquisitely laid-out dishes, allowing you to enjoy your meal in a comfortable environment. Drinks such as beer and sake are also available, completing the meal.
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Experience shabu shabu, Japan’s hotpot, in this restaurant reminiscent of Imperial Japan. You will be shown to a low table with tatami mat seating by staff dressed in kimonos, with traditional décor such as paper screens, and wood and bamboo furnishings. Hariju serves high-quality beef and other ingredients, which you can cook by yourself in the pot of boiling broth on the table. This is a fun experience is an authentic Japanese dining experience.
Opened in the 1960s, this ramen shop is a long-time favourite. Unlike many ramen joints, Ichiran Ramen does not offer variations of the noodle. Instead, they focus only on making their signature Tonkotsu ramen. Tonkotsu is a pork broth, and Ichiran Ramen has their own recipe that is the secret to their success. You can, however, customize the ingredients you want in your ramen. With their home-made noodles and flavourful broth, Ichiran Ramen indeed deserves their long-time fame and success. Address: 3-13 Doyamacho, Kita Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan,+81 6-6312-5177
Bar, Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
One of Japan’s most famous street foods, takoyaki, or octopus balls, is another delicious food that originated in Osaka. Tako-hachi is one of the many takoyachi places in the Minami and Namba areas, but it stands out due to the good quality of the takoyaki and the comfortable seating. This popular store has three floors, with a bar counter on the first floor where you can watch takoyaki being made, and teppanyaki seats on the upper floors, where you can grill and eat okonomiyaki. For a more thorough street food experience, you can eat your takoyaki on the go as you stroll through Dotonbori and experience the vibrant and eccentric Osaka.