Paradise of sweet delights, that’s what I thought when I arrived in Osaka. “Osaka food, here I come!” So if you are both a foodie and are planning to visit the land of the rising sun, then make sure you rea up on this Osaka Food Guide because here is where you will certainly find special treats. Some, of course, are found widely across the country but being the proud Osaka people they are, they have tweaked the recipes or even invented some. Therefore, you need to seek out the best restaurants in Osaka. So here’s where to eat in Osaka.
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So I had takoyaki before I came here but apparently that was not the “right kind” and so I had to try again. The street food store we went to was rather snobby about my request of getting a vegetarian version (I am not too keen on having a piece of squid arm in my food), but they plainly refused out of pride in their food. Oh, well. I took it out then when they looked away. And really, it tasted much different to the takoyaki I had before (which I also helped make). Both were delicious and I absolutely recommend trying some yourself. And don’t miss out on the amazing takoyaki sauce together with Japanese mayonese.
Where to Get the Best Takoyaki
For Takoyaki, put Kogaryu Takoyaki (甲賀流 本店) in your DIY Osaka Good Guide. Alternatives are Takoyaki Juhachiban Dotonbori (たこ焼き十八番 本店) and Takoyaki Hakkan (たこ焼十八番). Of course, there are plenty more Takoyaki restaurants. It is a staple in Osaka!
This one is a very general Japanese dish but the Osaka people are nonetheless very proud of it. Their special twist is the rich smell of katsuo dashi, which is a bonito stock in their kitsune udon. This type of udon was actually invented here and is served with light tasting soup and fried tofu. So get a bowl of those thick noodles and pour some sauce on top.
Where to Get the Best Udon
Udon is another Japanese staple and can be found in a lot of places. Why not visit local favourite Dotonbori Imai Honten (道頓堀今井本店)? Other popular choices for udon eateries are Kamatakeudon (釜たけうどん) and Udonya Kisuke (うどん屋きすけ).
Yet again, a very typical trademark of Japanese cuisine and generally more attributed to a ‘Tokyo’ kind of food, but the Osaka style is the conveyor belt. And it serves up a pretty good osaka sushi menu. Usually, it’s what tourists expect anyway but it has more of an industrial touch and is found in a more low key restaurant in Osaka. If you want high quality and classy Osaki sushi, go to restaurants where the staff especially prepare the sushi for you.
Where to Get the Best Kaiten-Zushi
Osaki sushi can be had anywhere in town but to get the best of the best, put Gourmet Kaitenzushi Kantaro Sushi (函館 函太郎 グランフロント大阪店) on your Osaka Foodie guide list, followed by Sushiro (スシロー) and Kaiten-Sushi Sakae (回転すし さかえ). Addresses and more sushi places can be found here.
One of the main dishes I was keen on trying in Japan, I was told to wait until I was in Osaka. See the foodie pride again? Jep, Osaka is a foodie town and deserves its own Osaka food tour. The best way to have them is if they are freshly prepared in front of your eyes with the two spatulas, called kote. Okonomiyaki comes in all kinds, from seafood, vegetarian, pork over to noodles on top of a pancake. The general batter is made from flour, eggs and cabbage, is then cooked on a iron plate and served with bitter-sweet sauce and/or mayonnaise. (Learn how to make okonomyiaki in my recipe.)
Where to Get the Best Okonomoyaki
If you ask Tripadvisor, Ajinoya outranks other Okonomiyaki places but Okonomiyaki Kiji and Okonomiyaki Chitose are at its heels. Maybe you have to check them out to see which one is your favourite? For extra fluffy pancakes, hit up Houzenji Sanpei.
If you love fish, sashimi especially, and do not mind spending a good dime on high class food, then you should find tessa. It is blowfish sashimi sliced insanely thin and presented beautifully on a plate. Best try it with ponzu and momiji-oroshi. Or you can enjoy it just like it is.
Where to Get the Best Tessa
When looking for a good tessa restaurant, it is good to know that tessa is also referred to as “fugu”. One of the best Osaka restaurants for this is Zuboraya Dotombori and you cannot possibly miss it. There is a giant blowfish floating above the door in the Dotonbori district. Nearby and next in line is Genpin fugu Houzenjinoseki.
Mostly translated as rolled eggs, this dish is a very common and quick one for people on the go. It can be filled with all kinds of thing, mostly with types of meat. You might find pork, beef or ‘hormones’ (which means ‘throwaway parts’ aka innerts). On top of the egg wrapping, you will find a pouring of ketchup.
Another one of the must things to eat in Osaka and a very handy ‘snack’ and Osaka street food are skewers. You can find them everywhere and they are served with a dipping. But be aware that politeness and table manners request you only dip once! It is expressedly stressed for tourists wherever you find them, too. So no excuses! Skewers can have beef, pork, beef tongue, shrimps, octopus, lotus, quail eggs and different kinds of vegetables inside with a crispy tempura coating.
In some places to eat in Osaka you can even find interesting reinterpretations, such as strawberries, Camembert cheese and ice cream. And yes, the ice cream version is cold in- and hot outside. (PS: Did you see my camembert recipe?)
Where to Get the Best Omurice
Omurice can be found across smaller izekayas in the many foodie streets across Osaka but a mouthwatering version is dished out at Hokkyokusei Shinsaibashi Honten, KOBE Kitchen MUGUNI and Meijiken.
Where to Stay in Osaka?
Osaka has plenty of hostels to offer for the backpacker in Japan. Hostel Q is a good one. For more mid-range stays, check into ibis Styles Osaka or Hotel Agora Regency Osaka Sakai. To make yourself right at home and maybe even prepare yourself some Osaka food, try the Universal Bay Condominium. Staying close to the city centre is a great way to explore the best food in Osaka and create your own Osaka restaurant guide.