Osaka is fondly known as the ‘kitchen of Japan’, and the regional capital of the Kansai region has an abundance of dining options. You can find everything from traditional kaiseki fine dining, to the more home-style cooking of okonomiyaki and sukiyaki. Osaka itself is the birthplace of a number of famous Japanese dishes now available throughout the country.

    Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese pancake made with wheat flour, cabbage, and eggs that is topped with any number of selected items from shrimp and squid to capsicum and even cheese. Yakisoba, fried noodles, also originated in Osaka, as did the iconic takoyaki (octopus balls). Chunks of octopus are enclosed in wheat flour dumplings and cooked in a special griddle pan – you can find stalls selling them on street corners throughout Osaka.

    1

    Kushikatsu Daruma Namba

    Kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers)

    Kushikatsu Daruma, founded in 1920, is one of the oldest deep-fried skewer (kushikatsu) restaurants in Osaka. It has a very loyal clientele thanks not only to its history, but also its food quality. There are several outlets in Osaka, Hyogo, Tokyo and even overseas. Customers often rave about its secret sauce and breadcrumb coating. 

    Kushikatsu is available in meat, vegetables and seafood. A popular choice here is ganso kushikatsu (skewered beef), but ordering a set menu is a good way of sampling its signature dishes. 

    Location: 1-chome-5-24 Nanba, Chuo Ward, Osaka 542-0076, Japan

    Open: Daily from 11.30 am to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6213-2033

    Map

    photo by 迷惘的人生 (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    Teppan-jinja Soemoncho

    Teppanyaki restaurant in central Osaka

    Teppan-jinja Soemoncho is known for its creative cuisine served on skewers. Its menu contains 47 distinct dishes, each of which is meant to be enjoyed in a few bites. Some of the standout choices include salted okra, shiitake mushroom, Japanese black beef sirloin, roasted duck, and mochi seaweed

    We highly recommend the chef's choice course meal if you have a hard time deciding what to order. The staff are very friendly and speak good English. Teppan-jinja Soemoncho is in downtown Osaka, just northeast of Ebisu Bridge.

    Location: 2 Chome-3-14 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo Ward, Osaka 542-0085, Japan

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to 4 am

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6213-7011

    Map
    3

    Naniwa Kappo Kigawa

    A Michelin-starred restaurant near Hozenji Temple

    Naniwa Kappo Kigawa is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers a traditional Japanese menu in a sophisticated environment. You can find it on a small street in Dotonburi, just a short walk north of Hozenji Temple in Osaka.  

    Naniwa Kappo Kigawa is known for using premium ingredients in its dishes. A standout is its Tokushima-harvested black abalone. If you want to watch the chefs in action, opt for a seat at the counter. The restaurant has a classic Japanese dining room that's great for a romantic or private meal.

    Location: 1 Chome-7-7 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka 542-0071, Japan

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from noon to 2 pm and from 5 pm to 9.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6211-3030

    Map
    4

    Chibo Okonomiyaki

    A great place to enjoy one of Japan’s most popular dishes

    Chibo Okonomiyaki is a Japanese restaurant in Osaka’s bustling Dotonburi district. It specialises in okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake dish made with wheat flour batter and shredded cabbage, topped with savoury sauces and Japanese mayonnaise.

    Locals say the food is well worth the wait. There’s usually a queue during peak times of the day, but it moves quite quickly. Chibo Okonomiyaki also caters to international guests, including Muslim diners, thanks to its halal-certified meat and seasonings.

    Location: 1-5-5 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0071, Japan

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6212-2211

    Map
    5

    Hon Sekiguchi

    For over 130 years Hon Sekiguchi has served delicious Kansai-style sukiyaki and shabu shabu hotpots to hordes of hungry customers. Made with top quality black cattle beef, the appetizing meals are served in traditional Japanese dining rooms with tatami floor seating or western seating if preferred. This legendary hot pot beef joint is located close to Nippombashi station on the Sennichimae line.

    Location: 2-2-7 Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan

    Open: Daily from 4 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)6 6641 2303

    Map

    photo by melanie_ko (CC BY 2.0) modified

    6

    Kani Doraku

    Kani Doraku is a famed crab restaurant that has multiple branches across Osaka and the wider Kansai region. This landmark restaurant is famous for the fantastic crab dishes served in a whole range of styles, and for its iconic 6-metre mechanical crab above the front door, drawing attention outside the restaurant. Despite its commercial appearance, Kani Doraku crab restaurants serves the delicious crustacean in a variety of ways from grilled crab to sushi to salad, and crab hot pot. The original Kani Doraku branch is located on Dotonbori shopping street in central Osaka.

    Location: 1-6-18 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0071, Japan

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)6 6211 8975

    Map
    7

    Mimiu

    Popular since the 1920s, Mimiu dedicates itself to handmade noodles – soba and udon – as well as other dishes in combination with tempura, seasonal fish and vegetable dishes. The signature udon sukiyaki at  Mimiu Honten is a mix of chicken, shrimps, shells and seasonal vegetables is simmered at the table for ultimate freshness and warmth. This restaurant chain now has 14 stores across Japan, but the headquarters is still in Osaka.

    Location: 4-6-18 Hiranochomachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 541-0047, Japan

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 9.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6231-5770

    Map

    photo by pelican (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    8

    Sushi Isshin

    Sushi Issin is a dedicated sushi restaurant that serves up fresh mouthfuls of wonderful fish. Seasonal ingredients dominate the Isshin menu with a great assortment of sashimi, crab, tempura and seafood dishes. The omakase, Chef’s recommended menu, is a good way to sample some of the best items. Generous portion sizes and a premium list of sake demonstrate the Osaka fondness for food of good quality and quantity.

    Location: 15-12 Doyamacho, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0027, Japan

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 3 pm to 10 pm (closed Mondays)

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6311-1616

    Map
    9

    Okonomiyaki Mizuno

    For the real taste of authentic Kansai okonomiyaki head to Mizuno, a family-run restaurant with excellent quality fare. The expert chefs will cook your okonomiyaki for you on a huge iron plate. Choose from many toppings including the freshest shrimp, fish, squid or some with western flair such as cheese or avocado. Okonomiyaki Mizuno has won Michelin stars, which is high praise indeed for this type of casual cuisine. Do note that this small restaurant has limited seats and long queues should be expected. It's located on Dotonbori, close to Namba station. 

    Location: 1-4-15, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)6 6212 6360

    Map

    photo by City Foodsters (CC BY 2.0) modified

    10

    Bishoku Maimon Umeda

    The extensive menu at Maimon presents a tempting array of fresh seafood and grilled chicken, plus a notable list of limited-edition sakes. Enjoy a selection of over 20 kinds of oysters, charcoal-grilled abalone or succulent steamed spiny lobster. The cooking action takes centre-stage on a large illuminated counter around which the seating is configured. More private seating is available upstairs. Bishoku Maimon Umeda is walking distance from Umeda station. 

    Location: 5F Herbis Plaza Ent, 2-2-22, Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka, 530-0001, Japan

    Open: Daily 11 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)6 6456 2388

    Map
    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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