The Best Restaurants in Osaka's Fukushima District

An izakaya typically serves both drinks and small plates of food
An izakaya typically serves both drinks and small plates of food | © ton koene / Alamy Stock Photo

More than just an extension of downtown Umeda, Fukushima has taken on a life of its own. It’s a charismatic district with rich art, nightlife and culinary scenes. Here we explore the best restaurants in Osaka’s most up-and-coming neighbourhood.

Fukushima District is an up-and-coming neighbourhood located right next to Umeda

1. Ishii for Michelin-star chicken yakitori

Restaurant, Japanese

Run by chef Yoshitomo Ishii, this high-quality yakitori restaurant takes the classic Japanese dish to the next level. Yakitori, charcoal-grilled skewered chicken, is typically a cheap dish served at Japanese pubs; Ishii has a Michelin star. The high-grade chicken is cooked over kishu-binchotan, the best quality charcoal, and served with marinades and spices. Exquisite side dishes and sake complement the skewers. Reservations are required.

2. Matsuri serves Japanese food for those with dietary restrictions

Restaurant, Japanese

Matsuri is a small restaurant specialising in the top Japanese foods with a slight twist – they’re all made specifically for people with dietary restrictions. Serving up dishes like vegetarian sushi and vegan okonomiyaki, people who normally aren’t able to indulge in Japan’s famed but meat obsessed cuisine can eat tasty substitutes here. There’s even halal Kobe beef!

3. Fukushima craft beer kitchen POGO for fun-loving brew aficionados

Craft Ale Bar, Bar, Restaurant, Japanese

Tucked away on a side street is this friendly izakaya specializing in craft beer. Featuring a rotating selection of both Japanese and overseas beers, POGO’s fun and quirky vibe make it a great place to both eat and drink. The ambience is warm and inviting, with counter and table seats on the ground floor and tatami rooms with low tables upstairs. There is also a very affordable selection of food like pizza and pasta – small plates start at 280 yen (£2).

4. Hanakujira for the best oden in the city

Restaurant, Japanese

Hanakujira specialises in a Japanese dish called oden. A type of stew with a light colored broth, oden is eaten year-round but is especially satisfying during the cold winter months. Hanakujira often has a long queue out front, but the wait is worth it. Inside, watch the chefs up close as they simmer foods like daikon or tofu before placing it before you with a dollop of hot mustard. Oysters, eggs, mushrooms and a variety of other foods are available soaked in the hot broth; pace yourself by ordering a few at a time, or go all in and order everything at once.

5. Sobakiri Karani for soba that has no equal

Restaurant, Japanese

The unassuming exterior doesn’t exactly convey a Michelin-star noodle shop, but that’s what makes this eatery so unexpectedly delightful. Sobakiri Karani is all about soba, and here these delicious buckwheat noodles are made by hand. Paired with meats like mackerel or sautéed duck and topped with flavourful sauces or spicy sansho pepper, the variety and quality of soba dishes is difficult to match. Smoking and talking on the phone is banned. There isn’t even music. All that awaits you inside is masterful soba with a presentation bordering on art.

6. Bogart’s Café for a classic brunch paired with river views

Restaurant, Japanese

This popular Fukushima café is the spot for a relaxing afternoon brunch. With a terrace overlooking the river, Bogart’s is the perfect spot to indulge in an hour or two of people-watching – or perhaps, to while away the hangover from last night’s 2am bar crawl. Serving fluffy pancakes, eggs benedict and lattes with cute art, Bogart’s has everything brunch-goers crave. It also hosts events like Hawaiian dance performances and yoga lessons.

7. Sushidokoro Amano for Michelin-star sushi

Restaurant, Japanese

Hidden down a narrow alley is this popular Michelin-star sushi spot, Sushidokoro Amano. Beloved both for the expertly crafted sushi dishes and the cheerful chef with years of experience, Amano alone makes Fukushima worth a visit. Order the omakase (dishes chosen by the chef) course menu for maximum enjoyment. Popular selections include grilled abalone, miso-flavoured mackerel and sea urchin, all served over lightly vinegared rice. Make sure to reserve ahead of time.

8. Pine Brooklyn for a rooftop pizza party

Restaurant, Japanese

Pine Brooklyn isn’t quite a restaurant – it’s a hip, airy rental space. Reserve their rooftop terrace by the hour any night of the week to enjoy some of the best pizza the city has to offer. Cooked in a wood-fired oven to crispy perfection, it should be easy to round up a few friends for a pizza party. This is a great place to celebrate a special event or to immerse yourself in Osaka’s hipster scene; Pine Brooklyn is supportive of local artists and independent businesses who often host post-up events at the venue. It’s a fun, alternative space to check out.

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