Throughout Japan people love to eat.
But even in the food loving country of Japan, Osaka is still known as one of the ultimate food destinations – a city with passionate food lovers and an abundance of things to eat.
And that’s precisely the reason why I was so excited to visit Osaka, Japan – for the food.
In this Osaka food guide blog, I’m going to share with you 11 Japanese foods to try in Osaka, and then share restaurants where you can try them.
NOTE: Before we get started on this food guide, just remember that Osaka is a big city in Japan, and just about all the best Japanese foods from around the country are available. But I’ve narrowed in on 11 of the dishes in Osaka that I think are some of the most important and local favorites.
Also, a big thank you to Dwight Turner who is responsible for encouraging Ying and I to come to Osaka on an impulse decision. Go check out his blog here.
Ok, let’s get started…
1. Sushi & Sashimi
I know, this could seem a bit obvious, but to me, I had to include sushi and sashimi in this Osaka food guide because I believe it is the most important food in all of Japan.
While many of the Japanese foods mentioned on this list below are available at Japanese restaurants throughout the world (as are sushi and sashimi), the freshness and quality of sushi and sashimi in Japan is unparalleled.
Even though you could eat sushi somewhere else in the world, to me it’s the ONE food worth flying to Japan just to eat.
You might also be interested in my Tokyo food guide.
The simplicity, the freshness, and the presentation, are all factors that contribute to eating sushi in Japan and make it such a glorious food experience.
Osaka is home to one of the largest fish markets in Japan, with a lively tuna auction that goes down early in the morning to get the sushi and sashimi started for the day.
Sushi and sashimi are available throughout Osaka, from supermarkets and budget stalls to the highest end sushi restaurants, and everything in-between.
I was pretty happy with how affordable sushi was – for less than $10 you can eat a world-class sushi meal in Osaka, a plate of sushi that could easily cost $20 – $30 outside of Japan.
In addition to normal nigiri sushi that includes a ball of rice and a slice of fish on the top, Osaka is also famous for its old style box sushi, known as hako-zushi, and available at markets through Osaka, the basements of departments stores, and a famous restaurant called Yoshino Zushi.
Here are a few of the places I ate sushi when I was in Osaka:
After exploring the Kuromon Ichiba Market one afternoon, we wanted to sit down for a more substantial meal. A quick search on Foursquare lead us to Tokisushi (ときすし), a small and friendly sushi bar, where they serve some seriously good sushi.
I ordered the 12 piece set, which included 12 different pieces of nigiri sushi, all picked by the chef, which probably changes by the day depending on what fish and seafood is available.
Everything on my plate of sushi was excellent, but the negitoro, minced fatty tuna sitting over a bite of rice wrapped in fresh seaweed, was my ultimate piece.
And along with serving awesome sushi, their service was excellent, and all the staff were friendly and helpful.
Address: 4-２１ Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0075, Japan
Open hours: 11 am – 2 pm for lunch at 5 pm – 10 pm for dinner on Tuesday – Sunday (closed on Monday)
Prices: I ate the 12 piece special sushi set for just 1,050 JPY ($8.70) – great value I think
How to get there: Tokisushi (ときすし) is located very close to the Namba area of Osaka
Harukoma Sushi (春駒 支店)
Of all the restaurants in this Osaka food guide, this place is one of my favorites.
Located somewhere in the middle of Japan’s longest shopping street (Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai – try to pronounce this one), Harukoma Sushi (春駒 支店) is popular sushi restaurant in Osaka, and I absolutely loved it.
We arrived at about 5 pm, and had to wait in line for around 15 minutes to get in, but the line moved quickly for how many people were waiting. From outside, the restaurant looked quite small and calm, but inside it was large, with about 10 sushi chefs, and it was loud and energetic – it felt like I was at the fish market – a fantastic sushi dining environment.
They had an English menu, and the ordering was done in a-la carte fashion. I wrote down all the different types of sushi and rolls I wanted, handed it to our kind waitress, and within minutes our platter of sushi arrived.
Don’t go to Harukoma Sushi (春駒 支店) looking for delicate, extremely beautiful sushi (the kind that won’t make you full). Instead, go there for generous slices of thick cut fresh fish. It’s the type of sushi restaurant you eat at when you want to get full with great quality.
I could hardly believe how big they cut the tuna belly and the quality and quantity of their uni (sea urchin). One of the best restaurants in Osaka for me.
And again, just like at so many of the restaurants included in this Osaka food guide, the staff at Harukoma Sushi (春駒 支店) were helpful and really kind.
There are two branches of this sushi restaurant within the same market, both with a continual line of customers waiting to get in. I ate at the larger branch, on the main market walking street.
Address: 5-5-2 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan
Open hours: Around 11 am – 9:30 am daily
Price: 3 of us ate a lot of sushi until we were full for 4,000 JPY ($33.15) – excellent value
How to get there: It’s not too far from either Temma JR station or Ogimachi Subway Station, along Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai walking street.
Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurants
Around popular shopping districts like Namba and Umeda you’ll find plenty of budget sushi restaurants in Osaka that serve sushi that rotates around the restaurant on a conveyor belt.
Conveyor belt sushi restaurants often have a clear system of different colored plates that cost different amounts, and often their cheapest plates will be in the 100 – 130 JPY per plate range.
While it can’t compare to the quality at a real sushi restaurant, I quite enjoy conveyor belt sushi for the food and the atmosphere.
I think Japanese mainly eat conveyor belt sushi when they want a budget meal in Osaka that they can eat quickly.
Endo Sushi (ゑんどう寿司)
Do any searches for the best sushi in Osaka, and you’ll quickly come up with Endo Sushi, a famous restaurant located at the Osaka fish market.
I made the mistake of going on a holiday, and they were closed. So unfortunately, no Endo Sushi for me on my latest trip to Osaka.
Address: 1-1-86 Noda Fukushima-ku Osaka City
Open hours: 5 am – 2 pm (closed on Sunday and Holidays)
Prices: 1,050 JPY ($8.74) for a 5 piece set
How to get there: It’s about a 10 minute walk from Tamagawa Subway Station
2. Yakiniku & Horumon (Japanese BBQ)
It’s not only fish and seafood that Japan excels at serving, but grilled Japanese beef and meat is another meal you don’t want to miss when you’re in Osaka.
For just about any meat lover, Japanese beef is the holy grail of meat – it’s the type of beef that you’ll have dreams about.
Yakiniku is the Japanese style of grilling beef, typically where you grill the meat yourself on a tabletop charcoal grill in the middle of your table.
Before we get into the meat, I just want to touch on the fact that even though you’re eating indoors, you’ll likely get real charcoal to cook your meat over, not a gas powered grill – and this makes so much difference in flavor.
When you go to a yakiniku restaurant and see the different selection of Japanese beef available on the menu, you’ll start drooling just from the raw meat photos.
Do you like my photos? Check out the camera gear I use here.
Kobe beef, one of the world’s most famous meats, is a type of Japanese wagyu from Kobe, which is located just a 30 minute train ride from Osaka – so Osaka has plenty of Kobe beef available.
For yakiniku, the meat is sliced into bite sized pieces, grilled over charcoal, and often served with just a few light seasoning like high quality salt, sesame oil, shoyu, and sometimes a dab of sweet wasabi. But the meat is so flavorful and juicy, it honestly needs little, if any help.
While you’ll often seen the advertising for the most beautiful marbled slices of wagyu, another popular yakiniku meal is known as horumon bbq, the random bits of meat like stomach and esophagus.
If you’re ready to take on some parts of the cow that you didn’t even know were possible to eat, a horumon experience is something you can’t miss in Osaka.
La Shomon (焼肉バル Kobe, Japan)
Through a friend of a friend, Dwight connected with Lauralee. Along with being extremely kind and agreeing to take us on a food tour of Kobe, her and her husband own a couple of yakiniku restaurants, and invited us to sample some beef.
When our train arrived to Kobe, we met up with Lauralee and her husband, who drove us out to La Shomon (焼肉バル), one of their beef restaurants located in the Tarumi area of Kobe.
The raw beef came on a plate, beautifully decorated, and when I saw the veins of fatty marbling in the meat we were about to grill, I almost couldn’t handle my anticipation.
This was the best beef meal of my life. The meat was unbelievably juicy and had a depth of flavor that I’ll never forget.
In addition to the best beef I’ve ever had, La Shomon (焼肉バル) also specializes in dry aged Japanese wagyu. The meat was grilled in a block, then sliced into bite sized pieces. Again, it was outrageous, with a hint of a cheese flavor to complement the intensely good beef.
La Shomon isn’t in Osaka, but it’s worth making the trip to Kobe (Tarumi) for.
Address: 垂水区神田町4-10 2F, Kobe-shi, Hyogo, Japan 655-0027
Open hours: 11 am – 10:30 pm daily, and 11 am – 10 pm on Sundays
Prices: You’re likely to spend about 3,000 – 6,000 JPY per person ($24.96 – $49.92) – a wonderful deal when it compares to the quality of the beef you’re about to eat
Website: Check out their Facebook page
How to get there: La Shomon is about a 20 minute train ride from central Kobe, in an area called Tarumi. You can get off the train at Tarumi station, and the restaurant is very close, at the base of the walking street.
If you’re interested in watching the video, here our full Kobe beef adventure:
(Or watch it on YouTube here)
In Osaka (and throughout Japan), people take their ramen very seriously.
It’s a dish, that at the right restaurant, many are willing to stand in a long line to patiently wait their turn to have a bowl of piping hot noodles in broth.
Ramen is one of those dishes in Japan that has a cult following – everyone has their favorite spot, and when you want to eat a bowl of ramen, nothing can deter your craving.
The noodles used in ramen are typically wheat noodles, similar to Chinese lamian. They are cooked to varying degrees of chewiness, sometimes served more al-dente, while other times they are served softer.
But the real flavor and pleasure of eating a bowl of ramen (at least for me) is in the broth, and there are a number of different popular styles, which can be identified by the richness and flavor of the broth.
This is a great explanation of the different types of ramen you’ll find in Japan, but a few of my favorites are shio, a salt based broth, shoyu, a soy sauce based broth, and finally, the heavy creamy tonkotsu ramen, made with pork bones that are boiled until the marrow is unleashed.
Finally, the toppings, and most notably, the thick slices of pork chashu, and the spoonful of raw minced garlic, elevates a bowl of ramen to perfection.
For myself, it depends on what mood I’m in that determines what styles of ramen I feel like eating. But a good bowl of rich buttery tonkotsu is tough to beat.
Ramen Yashichi (らーめん弥七)
I can say with some certainty, that my bowl of chicken based shoyu ramen at Ramen Yashichi (らーめん弥七) in Osaka, was the best bowl of ramen I’d ever had… in fact, I didn’t even know ramen could be this good before Dwight took me here for the first time.
As with many ramen restaurants in Japan, you have to pay at a vending machine, and then get a ticket that corresponds to your bowl of ramen of choice. You then proceed to hand it to the chef as you sit down.
Ramen Yashichi (らーめん弥七) is a small restaurant, but they maintain a quality and flavor of ramen that blew me away.
The broth is technically shoyu, but it’s heavy and buttery, and perfectly salty and creamy, with both slices of chashu and a scoop of fragrant wok fried pork, to make the flavor even better.
All in all, it was a beautiful bowl of ramen, definitely worth waiting in line to eat.
Address: 3-4-8 Toyosaki, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Open hours: 11 am – 4 pm on weekdays only (closed on Saturday and Sunday)
Prices: I ordered the special bowl for 990 JPY ($8.24)
How to get there: Ramen Yashichi (らーめん弥七) is very close to Nakatsu Subway station. Once you exit the station, walk east, and the ramen restaurant is just before you reach the main highway.
Hakata Ippudo Ramen (一風堂 池田店)
Hakata Ippudo Ramen is one of the most famous Japanese ramen brand chains, with branches all over Japan, and even in other countries – like Thailand.
I wasn’t really expecting to eat here, but after visiting the Instant Ramen Museum, we decided to have a real bowl of ramen, and we stepped into a ramen restaurant that looked good, and because I can’t speak or read Japanese, we had no clue it was Hakata Ippudo Ramen until we got in and started reading the menu.
I ordered the Momofuku Classic, a plain but soothing bowl of noodles. But their most famous ramen is the tonkotsu.
You’ll find a few other branches of Hakata Ippudo Ramen in Osaka, including one at Namba.
Address: 2-10 Masumicho, Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture 563-0041, Japan
Open hours: Lunch and dinner
How to get there: The branch I ate at is located just off the Ikeda train station, near the Instant Ramen Museum
Udon is a thick and chewy Japanese noodle made with wheat flour, and served in a variety of different ways.
To me, as opposed to ramen – beyond the thickness difference – udon is sort of the more elegant noodle option.
It seems that it’s often a bit plainer in flavor (the broth or sauce is typically not as heavy or salty as ramen), and it’s more of a delicate flavored noodle and even the style of eating it seems more delicate.
That doesn’t mean it’s not one of the must eat foods in Osaka, because it’s extremely popular, and really good – it’s probably my wife’s favorite Japanese noodle option.
Udon noodles are served in many different styles, including with curry, in hot soup, in cold soup, and even dry with a dipping sauce (highly recommended by the way).
Even though all types of Japanese udon dishes are available at restaurants in Osaka, one of the local favorite styles, originating in Osaka, is kitsune udon. The udon noodles come in a light dashi stock flavored broth, and the main topping is a piece of sweet stewed tofu.
You’ll find some top notch udon restaurants throughout Osaka.
Sanshyu Udon (情熱うどん 讃州)
Located just down the street from where we stayed for the first week when we were in Osaka, we went to Sanshyu Udon (情熱うどん 讃州) for lunch one day.
The udon noodles are all made in house, and I chose to order the curry udon, which came with a pile of shredded green onions and a poached egg (maybe?) on top.
Ying ordered the cold udon noodles, in a light shoyu broth, that was ice cold, with an egg, thin pieces of pork, and ginger included. Ying’s bowl of udon was my favorite.
Address: Japan, 531-0072 Osaka Prefecture, 3-4-1 Osaka
Open hours: 11 am – 3 pm and 5:30 pm – 9 pm (closed on Sunday)
Price: About 800 – 1,200 JPY ($6.66 – $10) per bowl of udon
How to get there: Sanshyu Udon (情熱うどん 讃州) is located just two houses down from Ramen Yashichi (らーめん弥七), so you could eat at these two awesome restaurants back to back. Take the subway to Nakatsu station, and walk east for about 5 minutes and the restaurant is right on the edge of the highway (but don’t cross the street).
Chitose Nikusui (千とせ)
I was seriously hoping to eat at a restaurant called Chitose Nikusui (千とせ) when I was in Osaka, but unfortunately, due to back to back holidays on my last few days in Osaka, I missed it. But it looks so good if you have a chance to try it. Let me know if you try it!
5. Japanese Curry
When I was attending university in the United States years ago, one of my go-to meals when I really needed some motherly comfort food, was Japanese curry.
No, I wouldn’t go to a restaurant, but I’d go to the nearest Asian supermarket, buy a packaged box of Japanese curry base, then cook it up with a bunch of beef and carrots and make a giant pot of fresh steamed rice to go with it.
Of all the food included in this Osaka food guide, Japanese curry might be the most comforting of them all.
For myself, just like for many Japanese, Japanese curry is one of the ultimate comfort foods.
Japanese curry is quite a fusion food, a curry flavor that originally comes from India, but routed through the curry culture of Britain.
The curry has a familiar curry powder blend flavor, but the sauce is dark and thick, more like a brown gravy than a typical saucy curry.
There are a number of ways Japanese curry is served, with udon noodles is common, but probably the most popular is right over a bed of Japanese steamed short grain rice.
While Japanese curry can’t compare to the depth of spice in Indian or Thai curries, there’s something about Japanese curry that just makes one warm and fuzzy inside – perhaps it’s the mild blend of curry powder, the thick rich gravy sauce, the option of a fried pork katsu cutlet, and the fresh steamed Japanese rice.
Japanese curry is one of those meals, kind of like ramen, that’s famous for being a 24 hours a day food, and in both Osaka and Tokyo it seems to be a favorite among late-night gamers.
Oretachi No Curry Ya (俺たちのカレー家)
Tripadvisor is not always the best guide for finding things to do or restaurants to eat at when you travel. But sometimes there are some great suggestions, and Oretachi No Curry Ya (俺たちのカレー家) was an excellent recommendation for Japanese curry in Osaka.
The restaurant, located just a stones throw from Osaka’s Namba train station, is small and friendly, and you’ll see the mouthwatering photos of their curry on the glass outside the restaurant.
I ordered their main speciality, a plate of Japanese curry with a pork katsu on top, a cup full of green onions, and finally a soft half cooked egg placed over everything.
It was one of the better versions of Japanese curry that I’ve had that I can remember – the curry was thick and creamy, the katsu was fried fresh so it was still crispy, and the green onions, in abundance, provided a fresh crispness to the entire plate.
Address: 14-13 Namba Sennichimae, Kawanishi Dai3 Bldg. 1F, Osaka 542-0075, Osaka, Japan
Open hours: 11 am – 9 pm on Monday – Friday, and 11 am – 10 pm on Saturday and Sunday
Prices: My full option curry plate cost 900 JPY ($7.49)
How to get there: Oretachi No Curry Ya (俺たちのカレー家) is located just on the east side of Nankai Namba station
Camp Curry (野菜を食べるカレー)
Located somewhere within the confusion of Osaka’s massive Umeda station, within the Eki Marche Osaka food center is Camp Curry (野菜を食べるカレー), a camping and backpacking themed Japanese curry restaurant.
It’s a small restaurant, and all the seating is bar counter style, so no matter where you sit, you’ll have a clear view of the chefs cooking your curry fresh.
They serve their plates of curry within cast iron skillets, and you’ll even have a shove to eat with.
The curry was a little on the mild side for me, but it was a good quick meal right in Umeda Station, and I enjoyed the theme.
Address: 3-1-1 Umeda, within the Eki Marche Osaka food center
Open hours: 10 am – 10 pm daily
Price: 800 – 1,000 JPY per dish ($6.66 – $8.32)
How to get there: Once you’re at Umeda Station, navigate your way to Eki Marche, and you’ll find Camp Curry towards the back
It’s been said many times that some of the best international restaurants in the world are found in Japan – for instance you’ll find some of the best Italian food outside of Italy in Japan.
Ghar Curry家 is a trendy restaurant in Osaka that serves outstanding curry that’s very Indian in flavor and profile, but still served with Japanese rice. I had their lamb meatball curry and their minced lamb curry, both of which were delicious.
Address: 西区京町堀1-9-10-103, Osaka, Japan 550-0003
Open hours: 11:30 am – 2 pm for lunch daily, 6 pm – 10 pm for dinner on weekdays only (closed for dinner on weekends)
Prices: My curry cost 850 JPY ($7.07)
How to get there: Take the subway to Hommachi station, take Exit 28, and it’s just a short walk from there.
6. Shokudo (Diner Restaurants) – Katsu, Tempura, Donburi
One of the best types of restaurant to eat at in Japan if you’re looking for budget eats is a diner style restaurant, which you’ll frequently come across throughout Osaka.
Rather than featuring tonkatsu, tempura, broiled salted mackerel (one of my personal favorites), oyakodon, or some of the other favorite Japanese diner dishes on this Osaka food guide, I just decided to include them all under the Shokudo diner meal category
(Note: These dishes, like katsu and tempura can be very high end and high quality as well (which is amazing), but for this guide I’ve included the budget versions).
Diner restaurants are where people of all walks of life stop in for a quick, easy, relatively cheap most of the time, filling, and pretty good tasting meal.
They are sometimes family run, other times they are chain style cafeteria restaurants.
At some Shokudo you’ll pay and order from a vending machine, and at others you can walk through a line, and pick and choose whichever dishes look good to you.
Along with the occasional oyakodon (chicken and egg rice bowl), one of my favorite meals to eat at a cafeteria diner restaurant in Japan is the broiled mackerel set, which typically comes on a tray, served with a few small side salads and pickles, and a bowl of rice.
The food is good, and it’s one of the top ways to eat on a budget when in Osaka.
Shokudo restaurants are common throughout Osaka, and you’ll pass many as you walk around the city. But here are a few of the ones I ate at, just in case you need some specific restaurant suggestions:
Shokudo Diner (心斎橋食堂) – Shinsaibashi
This Shokudo Diner (心斎橋食堂) located in the Shinsaibashi area of Osaka is cafeteria style, and you just walk through the entrance and pick and choose whichever dishes you want.
I had a fish, an omelet (not pictured), some pickled seaweed, and some eggplant, and everything was pretty good, and I enjoyed the laid back diner style.
For my entire meal I spent a total of 1,280 JPY ($10.65), a bit expensive because I took so much food – but you can choose however much you want, and eat on a budget as well.
Address: 東心斎橋1-17-15, 大阪市中央区, Ōsaka, Japan
Umeda and Osaka Stations
Around Umeda and Osaka stations, where there are lots of people, you’ll find numerous Japanese diner restaurants, all of which serve pretty tasty food.
Price: Meal above cost 650 JPY ($5.41)
Open hours: I think it was 24 hours per day
Takoyaki is almost a synonym of Osaka.
These little golf ball sized batter balls stuffed with a piece of octopus are perhaps the most famous thing to eat in the city, and they are a big hit and food craze around the world as well.
When you get to Osaka and start wandering around and eating, you’ll be quick to find that at just about every major market there are a few takoyaki vendors… and they are typically some of the busiest restaurants in the entire market.
One of the best things about takoyaki is watching them being made.
It begins with a hot griddle that includes golf ball shaped holes in it. A bunch of pancake like batter is first poured flat into the hot mold, before a pre-cooked piece of octopus is tossed in the middle.
As the batter becomes partially cooked, and when the chef determines the correct time, the chef takes a duo of chopsticks and works quickly to form the batter into balls, keeping the octopus in the center.
The takoyaki sizzles in the mould until it’s golden brown, and it’s then ready to be dished out.
When you order takoyaki in Osaka, they will typically dish them into a boat shaped tray, and then you can order a selection of different toppings – some of the typical toppings include Japanese mayonnaise, takoyaki sauce (which kind of tastes like sour teriyaki sauce), seaweed flakes, cheese, and the mandatory sprinkle of bonito fish flake shavings.
For myself, takoyaki is one of those foods that has to be hot and fresh for me to enjoy, so it’s crispy on all the edges, and soft and gooey in the middle. If it sits for too long and loses its crispy edges, it’s not nearly as good.
Ok, let’s move on to a few places you can try takoyaki when you’re in Osaka:
Takoyaki Wanaka at Kuromon Ichiba Market
On my first day in Osaka, we visited Kuromon Ichiba Market (great market by the way), and we decided to stop for takoyaki.
The restaurant turned out to be Takoyaki Wanaka (たこやき道楽 わなか 千日前本店), one of the more famous brands of takoyaki in Osaka with multiple branches around the city.
Our first helping of takoyaki turned out to be one of the best versions I had during our trip – probably partly because we were served when the takoyaki was so fresh and hot.
Address: 1-21-2 Nihonbashi Chuo-ku Osaka-shi Osaka
Open hours: 9 am – 7 pm daily
Prices: 400 – 500 JPY ($3.33 – $4.16)
How to get there: You’ll see them making takoyaki somewhere in the middle of the walking street at Kuromon Ichiba Market
Takoyaki Wanaka (たこやき道楽 わなか 千日前本店) – Original Branch
Funny enough, a few days after eating the takoyaki at Kuromon Ichiba, we were walking around Namba, and Ying wanted to eat some more takoyaki.
I had no clue until researching for this food guide, that it was the same place (different branch) as the place we had tried a few days ago. Takoyaki Wanaka (たこやき道楽 わなか 千日前本店) is very well known, and very popular.
Address: 11-19 Sennichimae Nanba Chuo-ku Osaka-shi, Osaka
Open hours: 10 am – 11 pm from Monday – Friday, and 8:30 am – 11 pm on weekends
Prices: 400 – 500 JPY ($3.33 – $4.16)
How to get there: It’s right on the east side walking street off of Namba Station
Koga Ryu Takoyaki (甲賀流 本店) – Amerika Mura
Located in the Amerika Mura (Ame-mura) area of Osaka, Koga Ryu Takoyaki (甲賀流 本店) has been a long-time standing takoyaki shop, and a favorite for many.
It’s right in the heart of the district where many people come to hang out and be seen. For myself, the takoyaki was good, but the edges weren’t quite as crispy as I was hoping for.
Address: 2-18-4 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Open hours: 11 am – 8 pm on weekdays, 11 am – 10 pm on weekends
Prices: 300 – 400 JPY ($2.50 – $3.33)
How to get there: You can either get there from Yotsubashi Station or Shinsaibashi Station
Just like takoyaki, and even similar in ingredient makeup, is Osaka’s okonomiyaki, yet another food that originates from Osaka, and people passionately love to eat.
I’ll admit and say that I’m not the hugest lover of okonomiyaki. It tastes good sometimes, but to me it’s just kind of like a big pancake, and there’s not that much to it.
However, many others, including my wife Ying, really love okonomiyaki, and because of its popularity throughout Osaka, it really is something you need to experience when you visit.
Part of the joy of eating okonomiyaki is seeing it being made right before you, and eating it socially with a group of friends.
The batter mixture recipe includes flour, eggs, sometimes dashi stock (dry fish stock), and often a heap of finely shaved cabbage.
Once the batter is all mixed up, it’s then fried on a hot griddle at the restaurant, sometimes on a hot griddle right before you, and it’s topped and decorated with the ingredients to complete the version of okonomiyaki you ordered.
Okonomiyaki is then cut into pizza like slices, and you can either choose to eat it by cutting off a bite, or using your individual spatula to lift up your entire slice to your mouth.
Okonomiyaki Kiji (きじ)
Undoubtedly, the highlight of eating at Okonomiyaki Kiji (きじ), was the chef, who must be one of the friendliest chefs in Osaka. And after reading some more reviews, the kindness wasn’t just for us.
Along with Dwight and Ying, we tried a number of different okonomiyaki’s and my personal favorite was the version we ordered that was served with mochi rice cakes on top. They were so sticky, they were like melted cheese on top.
Overall, a very nice okonomiyaki restaurant, and a great chef.
Address: 1-1-90 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku | B1F Umeda Sky Bldg., Osaka 531-0076, Osaka
Open hours: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm from Friday – Wednesday (closed on Thursday)
How to get there: Okonomiyaki Kiji (きじ) is located on the basement floor of the beautiful Umeda Sky Building. It’s about a 10 minute walk from Osaka Station.
Ajinoya Okonomiyaki (味乃家)
I have to be honest and say I didn’t actually eat at Ajinoya Okonomiyaki (味乃家), but when I was getting some video editing done, Ying went off with her sister and had okonomiyaki here.
In her words, “it was the best okonomiyaki I’ve ever had… it was very fluffy, they added a lot of meat and sauce.”
She also really liked that at Ajinoya Okonomiyaki (味乃家), you could self-add as much sauce and bonito fish flakes as you wanted.
I’m not sure if this is the best okonomiyaki in Osaka, but I’ll trust my wife on this one, who said it was really good.
Address: Japan, 〒542-0076 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka
Open hours: 11:30 am – 10:45 pm daily
How to get there: Ajinoya Okonomiyaki (味乃家) is located in the Namba area of Osaka. From the train station, head north, and the restaurant is along Hozenji Koisan Dori.
Japanese food is known for being extremely pretty and the presentation of the food really stood out to me when I was traveling in Japan.
But not all foods can be pretty…
And oden is a Japanese food that I wouldn’t classify as looking too pretty from its appearance.
Known as a winter food throughout Japan, oden includes an assortment of ingredients simmered in a broth prepared with a hint of both dashi and soy sauce, giving it a light and soothing flavor.
While there can be all sorts of ingredients boiled inside the oden pot, daikon and yaki chikuwa, are two of the most populars items and should be consumed in every oden eating session.
Here’s a great guide to oden eating.
What is really interesting to me, is that oden is a Japanese food that has a huge range of qualities and is available everywhere from street food stalls to highly regarded Michelin starred restaurants in Japan.
And you can even get oden at 7 Eleven and Lawson.
Oden at Kuromon Market
One of the best places I had oden in Osaka was back again at Kuromon Ichiba Market.
If you take a walk down the main walking street of the market, you’re bound to see a nice lady dishing out piping hot vegetables, tofu, and skewers, from a scary looking vat of brown bubbling broth.
Don’t be afraid to get in there and choose a few items from the jacuzzi.
When I was in Osaka, I also really wanted to try Hanakujira, a highly regarded oden restaurant in Osaka, but I ran out of time before I could try it. If you have a chance to go, it looks like it surely won’t disappoint.
10. Kushikatsu (串カツ)
Born in Osaka, kushikatsu is yet another home-grown Japanese food that’s wildly popular in Osaka.
Are you starting to see a pattern of famous snack foods invented in Osaka?
Kushi in Japanese means skewers, and katsu means breaded and deep fried things. The result of this popular street food is a bunch of vegetables and even meats, all skewered, coated in a light batter, and deep fried until golden brown.
You can kind of think of kushikatsu like assorted chicken nuggets on a stick – with a bunch of choices for what’s inside.
But that’s not all:
Kushikatsu wouldn’t be kushikatsu without the sauce – at least it’s really the sauce that made it good for me.
The sauce has a ponzo sauce flavor, kind of like Worcestershire sauce, but more citrusy. A crunchy fried stick dipped in the sauce is surprisingly tasty.
While you’ll find kushikatsu throughout Osaka, the Shinsekai area is home to a high concentration of restaurants serving it, and it’s the area everyone seems to go when they’re in the mood for kushikatsu.
If you like drinking beer, a few skewers of salty and crispy kushikatsu makes a pretty good beer snack.
Kushikatsu Daruma (串カツだるま)
One of the most famous places in all of Osaka that serves kushikatsu is Kushikatsu Daruma (串カツだるま). It’s a chain restaurant, and there are even branches outside of Japan now as well.
The original location is in Shinsekai, and we ate at a branch (not the original one), but one about a 5 minute walk away.
Since I had no idea what to order, I got the Doubutsuenmae Set for 2,000 JPY ($16.68), which included a range of different skewers which we all shared.
I really liked the skewer of beef and the cheese. They sort of tasted like onions rings, but with all sorts of different insides. Again, the sour, sweet, and salty sauce is what really made it good for me.
Kushikatsu Daruma is legendary when it comes to kushikatsu in Osaka.
Address: 3-4-4 Ebisu-higashi, Naniwa-ku, Osaka 556-0002 , Osaka
Open hours: 11 am – 9 pm daily
Prices: We paid 2,000 JPY ($16.68) for our samplers set
How to get there: There are branches of this place all over Osaka, but I ate at the location right in Shinsekai, about a 10 minute walk from Ebisucho Subway Station.
11. Izakaya / Yakitori
Along with sushi and sashimi, one of my favorite things to eat in Osaka are the small plates of delicious food served at Izakaya’s, Japanese pubs.
Food is typically served on small plates where the focus is one flavor and quality over quantity, and dishes at Izakaya restaurants can range from slices of tuna belly to grilled skewers of chicken or pork.
Yakitori, Japanese grilled skewers of chicken, is one of my favorite Izakaya foods.
You won’t just get a skewer of bland chicken. The chicken will likely be some of the juiciest and most flavorful chicken you’ve ever had, always cooked over charcoal.
When you eat yakitori at a bar in Osaka, you’ll also have a choice of all sorts of different parts of the chicken including breast, thigh, gizzard, liver, skin, chicken neck meat, and probably even some parts of the chicken you didn’t know were edible (that was the case for me).
If you’re not too picky, the best way to order yakitori is to just order the amount of skewers you want in your set, and let the chef mix and match the parts of the chicken for you.
The two things that stand out most to me about eating yakitori are that the chicken is always grilled over real charcoal (giving it an always natural and delicious smoky flavor), and that the chicken is never overcooked.
Every izakaya in Osaka has their own main dishe – some serve yakitori, others tuna, or other snacks and small plates of food.
The best thing to do when you go to an izakaya is to order their speciality.
Izakaya’s in Osaka can be small and intimate, with only bar counter seating, or they can be big and rowdy and loud.
Whatever size of izakaya you visit, you can be sure there will be good food to snack on, drinks, and plenty of good socializing and fun.
Tayutayu Nambasennichimaeten (たゆたゆ 難波千日前店) – Pork Yakiton
Tayutayu Nambasennichimaeten (たゆたゆ 難波千日前店) is an izakaya that specializes in grilled pork known as yakiton, and they really emphasize the random parts of the pig (known in Japanese as horumon).
The grilled pork skewers were extremely flavorful with a perfect smoky and fatty taste, and the staff were really friendly.
Address: 2-6-10, Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Open hours: 5 pm – 1 am daily
Prices: We paid 5,070 JPY ($42.19) for 4 of us
How to get there: The location of Tayutayu Nambasennichimaeten (たゆたゆ 難波千日前店) that we went to was right across the street from Dotonburi. You can get there easily from Nipponbashi station.
Chayamamchi Maguroya (梅田芝田一丁目まぐろや) – Tuna Izakaya
Dwight had checked this place out on his previous visits to Osaka, saying it was the ultimate tuna spot… and he wasn’t joking.
Chayamamchi Maguroya (梅田芝田一丁目まぐろや) is a loud, busy, and still friendly, izakaya in Osaka that specializes in tuna in all different forms, sizes, and degrees of rawness.
You can get oden cooked skewers of tuna eyeball socket and fried tempura, but the real highlight is indulging in a plate of melt-in-your-mouth tuna belly that’s so buttery, it will dissolve on your tongue (without you even chewing).
Address: 北区芝田1-5-6 (梅田旭ビル1F), Osaka, Ōsaka, 530-0012, Japan
Open hours: Not fully sure about the hours, but I think from about 5 pm – midnight or so daily
Prices: There were 3 of us, and we had about 8 dishes, plus drinks for around 5,000 JPY ($41.61)
How to get there: Chayamamchi Maguroya (梅田芝田一丁目まぐろや) is located on the west edge of Umeda Station, near the railroad tracks. Use the map to find the exact street.
This is yet another place I went with Dwight. This time, he had to return an umbrella because the owner had let him borrow it a few nights before.
They invited us in, and we ended up having one of the greatest local Japanese izakaya Osaka experiences – food, fun, sake, and a really friendly crew.
Address: Nakazakicho Walking Street (see map)
Open hours: Night time until late
Prices: Dwight and I had a few drinks and about 15 skewers of yakitori for around 5,000 JPY ($41.61)
How to get there: Take the subway to Nakazakicho Exit 1
Watch the entire video of this unexpected, late night yakitori and sake here:
(Or here’s the link on YouTube)
Shimotaya (裏なんば酒場 しもたや) – Izakaya at Doguyasuji (Namba)
On my last night in Osaka, my wife and I were walking around the Namba train station area and went into the walking street of Doguyasuji.
Doguyasuji is known for its kitchen supplies, and also for its izakaya bars and restaurants at night. There are many to choose from.
We stopped in a place down a side alley called Shimotaya (裏なんば酒場 しもたや thank you to everyone for your help in the comments identifying this place), and it was the perfect way to end a 14 day eating trip to Osaka.
I didn’t want to end this Osaka food guide without a quick mention of an Osaka speciality meal called kappo, the Osaka version of an elegant kaseiki meal, but instead served bar counter style, where you eat with the chef watching you – and you can see everything the chef does.
Kappo is typically a very high end meal, where the chef emphasizes freshness, presentation, and creativity. It’s more than just a meal, it’s an experience.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to try a kappo meal when I was in Osaka, but I’m hoping to have the chance on future visits.
The language of Japanese has a lot of cool words.
But probably my favorite is Kuidaore, a term that translates to eating oneself into bankruptcy.
In my opinion, the term doesn’t have to do with the fact that Japanese food is a bit on the pricey side, but it’s rather a metric of the abundance of food and how food is such an important part of social life and culture in Osaka (also check out my Tokyo food guide here).
While I hope you don’t spend your entire bank account on food when you’re in Osaka (although that wouldn’t be a bad idea), I do hope you come very close to accomplishing this Osaka tradition, and I hope this Osaka food guide gives you some great ideas about all the delicious food available, and restaurants to try them at.
Enjoy the food, and if you have any questions about visiting Osaka, or any other food tips or restaurant suggestions, I would love to hear from you.
Are you ready to eat in Osaka? Leave a comment below now!
If you like my photos and videos, check out the camera I use.