The Best Places for Takoyaki in Osaka
Takoyaki | © Leng Cheng/Flickr
In Japan, Osaka
place to eat and Osakans
are well known for their eat-till-you’re-broke attitude. One of the most beloved snacks is the humble takoyaki
, a small dough ball filled with octopus and fried tempura, and topped with a tangy brown sauce, mayonnaise, and plenty of bonito flakes. Each Osakan will tell you about their favorite shop, but try out one of these five places for the best takoyaki in Osaka
Tako Tako King
Get your groove on at Tako Tako King in Osaka’s lively Shinsaibashi District. It’s hard to miss this crazy takoyaki stand with ‘70s rock blaring from the open kitchen and the loud calls of ‘irrashaimase’, or welcome, from the friendly staff. Dark and smoky, every inch of the walls is plastered with photos and artwork. While you can never go wrong with the standard takoyaki, the tomato sauce and cheese version is not to be missed. Don’t forget to order a cold draft beer and an order of okonomiyaki for a complete Osaka meal.
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
While Takonotetsu skyrocketed in popularity after Anthony Bourdain featured it on his show No Reservations, this local joint was already well known in Osaka for it’s delicious DIY takoyaki. Their signature style is the fully loaded takonetsu with octopus, beef, and shrimp for a mere 720 yen. For those desiring something a little crazier, their tropical version comes with corn, pineapple, and cheese at only 700 yen. The sauces all come in little bottles on the table, so add as much as you like. The servers will bring all the ingredients necessary but it’s up to you to cook the takoyaki on the grills at each table. Don’t worry if your takoyaki skills aren’t quite master level yet. The servers walk around to help people struggling with the proper twirl technique.
Featured on the Japanese NHK television network, Takoyaki-kun says it’s the most delicious takoyaki in Osaka. While that’s a bold claim, the long lines outside seem to back it up. They serve one thing and one thing only, takoyaki. Most people take it to-go, but there are a few stools alongside a tiny counter for those interested in a quick meal. The sauces lining the counter are the traditional mayonnaise and tangy brown takoyaki sauce, so load up like the Osakans do. Still hungry? Go back for more. An order of seven will only set you back about ¥280(US$2.50).
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
One of Osaka’s newest takoyaki restaurants is one of it’s most fashionable. Takoriki is located in the foodie heaven of Tanimachi 6 chome. While you can order the takoyaki to go, don’t miss the chance to sit at the sleek counter and watch them make the takoyaki in front of you. This restaurant prides itself on sourcing the best of the best ingredients for their food, like locally caught octopus from Mie prefecture. They have a couple of unique options like the gooey takoyaki gratin for 750 yen (US$7) and the tartar sauce version for 480 yen(US$4).
Restaurant, Japanese, Seafood, $$$
For those wanting that classic Osaka experience, head straight over to the Dotonbori Bridge and order some Kukuru takoyaki. While there are a plethora of restaurants to choose from, Kukuru is one of the best. Their signature takoyaki is large octopus balls with pieces of octopus so big they literally push out the tops of the dough balls. They also serve akashiyaki, a specialty item from Akashi city. Akashiyaki is essentially takoyaki served in a hot broth instead of the traditional sauce. You can chow down in the restaurant, but it might be far more interesting to get an order to go. You can take your food and head outside to watch the promenade of colorful characters cruising the streets of Osaka.