Last Updated: December 13, 2019
Osaka, a widely popular destination for many, is famous for its modern architecture, intriguing nightlife and street-side food like okonomiyaki, takoyaki and more. So here’s a list of Osaka eats while you’re in the area. You can also easily save and view this list of places on TripAdvisor here.
I’ll be splitting this according to three different tourist-y areas in Osaka, and hope that it will help you fill your tummies much more efficiently. They are Namba—which includes Shinsaibashi Suji and Dotonburi—Shinsekai, and last but not least, the 16th-century shogunate Osaka Castle.
Namba is considered the centre of Minami (South) area of Osaka and is probably the most famous amongst tourists for their great eats, all conveniently located around the corner. It is easily accessible with three subway lines connecting here, and hundreds of colourful neon lights and moving signboards in the Dotonburi and Shinsaibashi area.
Not far from Daimaru lies Roman Tei, a humble stall that specialises in beef. If you happen to be around on the 29th of each month, head down for a meal and participate in their competition where you can try to cut a slab of meat, and if it’s within a certain range, you get to have it realllllllly cheap.
Complete with wood and concrete, Roman Tei boasts a warm interior and limited seatings. Remember to make reservations or head down earlier to grab a spot.
The Beef Tongue is very chewy, and these thinly sliced pieces are further enhanced when paired with their Himalayan pink sea salt. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s the tongue portion, go on and have a try. You’ll thank me later.
Get a platter of Moriawase, specifically beef sashimi. It is extremely rich and intense, but there’s no other way I’d have it.
Opt for their super black doneness when you’re enjoying the Beef (feeds 3 – 4 pax), which basically means that the beef will be charcoal-grilled until it’s crisp and super black on the outside, while the inside remains tender and red.
And dare I say, it’s probably one of the best beef I’ve ever tasted, and at such a ridiculously cheap price.
Extremely delectable, it is charred and aromatic on the outside, which combines well with the robust beef, leaving a lingering aftertaste.
Trust the good people in the stall, they will teach you which parts to cut thin, which has to be thicker in slices, so as to maximise the taste of each cut. Learn if the fatty slices should go with salt or wasabi.
It’s juicy and seared so well—I’m having withdrawal symptoms right now.
Don’t forget the Beef Skewers! With chunks of seared beef alternating between luscious fats, this is the perfect combination of charred fragrance and fatty goodness. Just plain amazing.
Psst, they’ve opened up an outlet in Singapore too, at &JOY Dining Hall in Jurong Point. Now you can enjoy luscious beef without even travelling to Japan!
Expected Damage: JP¥3000 per pax
Located just around the corner from Bic Camera in Shinsaibashi Suji is a quaint and modest kushikatsu restaurant that offers up crispy, mouthwatering skewers.
Upon entering Shinsekai Kushikatsu Ittoku, you’ll be greeted warmly by a whole crew of Japanese staff. While they only speak in Japanese, they do stock an English menu, so you don’t have to worry about getting the wrong orders.
If you can’t decide on what to have, opt for Moriawase (JP¥1400) where you get to taste 10 assorted skewers, before deciding on your favourite and ordering more.
Dip the kushikatsu into the sauce, which adds a slight sweetness to the overall flavour. Remember to never double dip, since it is a huge sharing pot.
Try the Doteyaki (JP¥320), which is their special stewed beef—you have to! It is soft, tender and so rich in flavour, I couldn’t stop having them. Extremely hearty, you’ll want to finish up the sauce because it’s that amazing. It makes for a comforting dish, especially in the cold. And you know what? A cup of sake with this dish never goes wrong.
A 24-hour ramen stall?!
Along the ever-popular Dotonburi area lies Hanamaruken Namba Houzenji. Yes I know, there’s Ichiran and many many more stores tempting you, but this unassuming ramen store has broth so rich you’ll want to slurp up every last drop.
As with all Japanese stalls, they take pride in what they serve—they’d rather have one good dish on the menu than have 10 substandard ones. There are only three choices of ramen available: the Original, Shio (salt) and Charsiu (sliced BBQ pork).
The soup base is extremely hot, so please take caution when slurping. They even have a sign in-store that warns everyone with a neko tongue (“cat tongue”, implying that your tongue is sensitive).
They serve in-house fried ginger slices, which are super amazing to me. I was so close to finishing the whole pot, but had to refrain from doing so.
If you’re not into the heavy and salty flavour like in Shio Ramen (JP¥650), then go for the original one instead. The broth is definitely comforting, which warmed my soul instantly.
Concentrated but not cloying, the noodles are also chewy. Plus, you get a free egg, yay.
Osaka is known for their takoyaki, okonomiyaki and all streetside food, so you’re in for a treat when you’re sashaying down Dotonburi. Hop over to any store and I’m pretty sure you’re sorted, but why not try Tako Hachi Souhonten instead?
The restaurant is split into two sections, with the first floor being a casual takeaway place for you to quickly munch on the takoyaki you’ve just bought. The other floors have tables with their own cooking necessities for the okonomiyaki and so on.
Tonpei,is a type of omelette with tons of vegetable inside, glazed with sauce.
Yakisoba is great for noodle lovers. This plate was nice and slightly sweet from the sauce, and definitely hearty.
The takoyaki was super warm and while it was crisp on the outside, the batter is still runny, soft and velvety on the inside. Definitely much better than Singapore’s takoyaki that is outrageously dry.
Now the standards are set and I’m almost sure I’m never having takoyaki in Singapore ever again.
The Akashiyaki is something special—think takoyaki but less flour and more egg in the batter, which makes it softer. It breaks apart easily, so dunk it quickly into the dashi broth for added flavour and sweetness.
Very, very luscious and definitely something I adore.
And here we have the okonomiyaki, which is basically a Japanese pancake enveloped with egg.
Oh, and get yourself a bottle of ramune (soda pop with marble), or a glass of Yamazaki if you’re more of a whisky drinker.
If you’re running low on cash and still want quality food, camp at Daimaru and head to their food basement level starting from 8pm onwards. That’s when they are clearing their food and are usually offering crazy discounts on all their dishes.
And yes, the quality is assured. Get lost in their beautiful selection of desserts where appearance is of utmost importance, or enjoy the freshness of their sushi. Either way, it’s a good way to spend your money. We had the Katsu (JP¥540 for 4 pieces) and it was amazing.
Marketing itself as healthy ramen, the Dumplings (JP¥480) from Satsumakko Ramen is steamed and not like pan-fried gyozas. Refreshing without discounting on flavour at all, these dumplings definitely provide a hearty warmth.
As the skin of the dumpling is extremely delicate, be careful when you are picking it up. You wouldn’t want to waste the juicy bits and broth. Combine it with the zesty vinegar for a bit more oomph.
They only serve two types of ramen, the Original (JP¥950) or the other with more char siew for JP¥1300. The ramen noodles are super bouncy and saturated with egg flavour, enhancing the broth and making it sweeter.
The broth is light yet comforting—unlike the usual thick and hearty ones—which warms your soul like it should.
Ah, how can we ever miss out on the famous Pablo that draws queues no matter the waiting time? I’d recommend going for the Pablo Original Rare Cheese Tart (JP¥687), which is glazed instead of having a layer of citrus fruit.
I find the fruity one too contrasting in taste, with the zesty layer overpowering the cheese mousse so I wasn’t able to enjoy it fully. Although it tasted like a creme brulee, I personally prefer the glazed top.
They also have seasonal flavours, so look out for them. Be sure to get them early because they’re usually sell out fast.
Also, do yourself a flavour and get your hands on their pudding, which is nice, creamy, cold, slightly sweet and totally amazing.
Made fresh at the shop, the Cheesecake Whole (JP¥675) really wobbles. Extremely soft and spongy, you can cut into it easily. Super fragrant, in contrast to the creamy Pablo, there’s even a layer of raisins at the bottom which added sweetness.
Dare I say I’m also madly in love with their pudding? It is extremely milky, luscious and definitely not gelatinous at all. The burnt caramel adds a hint of bitterness that balances the sweetness of the dessert. How does one not grow fat in Osaka?!
We are all going crazy over Gudetama because how could you not identify with a lazy egg? Japan is the land of kawaii and it’s no surprise that they have a Gudetama-themed cafe right in Namba Parks, Osaka.
While the dishes look extremely cute, the food isn’t mind blowing. Here’s a glimpse of it.
The Hawaiian Burger Patty (JP¥1100) wasn’t anything too magnificent.
Basically, just think of a normal burger patty, nothing too fancy, paired with pineapples and rice, slathered with demi-glace sauce. But the cute print on the egg deserves some attention.
The Mocha & Coffee Latte (JP¥600) was actually pretty decent, and piled with cute foam with Gudetama designs.
Fresh fruits, yoghurt and granola make up this adorable Fruit Bowl (JP¥1100). You can replicate this at home, minus the Gudetama print.
Dessert lovers will enjoy the Parfait (JP¥1100)—all the ice cream goodness and cuteness is sure to be an overload.
A joint collaboration with Costa Mesa on the fourth floor of Namba Parks, this cute cafe serves brunch food with Gudetama all over it. It is extra cute and all these kawaii-ness is worth the cheap thrill, really.
Rakeru is almost everywhere, I know. But their charming decor and absolutely drool-worthy omurice warrants it a mention on this list.
Think Alice In Wonderland and with rustic charm and that’s exactly what to expect at Rakeru (we visited the Namba branch).
When I had my first bite of the omurice, I was certain I fell in love. The egg is runny and luscious on the inside, combining well with the sauce, which didn’t drown out the other taste.
The curry rice within further enhances the layers of flavours, giving an extra savoury dish with a hint of sweetness.
Let’s not forget about the mushrooms and cheese, a combination that is built to last. Also, their bread is exceptionally fluffy and pillowy, with a buttery centre that makes it so irresistible. Psst, you can even buy a pack of their buns if you absolutely love it.
Gomaya is God’s gift to mankind, really. Quintessentially Japanese, Gomaya literally translates to “sesame house”, so you now know what they hold in store.
Situated on the 8th floor of Takashimaya, this is a gem that you definitely have to try.
We tried the Set Lunch of Black Sesame Soba and Chirashi Don (JP¥1780).
A shout out to the black sesame cold soba that was extremely fragrant, chewy and delicious. Every dish is infused with sesame, making it more fragrant.
They have a bottle of white and black sesame mixed with salt, and you can ground your own to slather more sesame on your dish.
At some point, I was literally pouring the black sesame onto all my dishes. Yes, of course we bought a takeaway bottle, which I also added to my black sesame ice cream.
Gomaya: 8F, 5-1-5 Nanba, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-8510, Osaka Prefecture | Tel: +81 6-6631-1101
While I’d love to try all the street food in Osaka, it is humanly impossible unless I spend a good year there. Here are two stalls that I tried and you should too. You can find both stalls along the Dotonburi outdoor stretch.
Two pieces cost JP¥900 and I could vividly taste the nicely charred flavour in the flesh of the crab. It is sweet, aromatic and definitely fresh. Quite a damn steal I’d say.
Seared on the spot, the Scallops (JP¥500) are plump. It is sprinkled with a dash of lemon juice and butter which makes it all the more decadently enjoyable and refreshing to have with the seared aroma while retaining the briny seafood goodness.
Here’s moving onto another area, Shinsekai.
This area used to be a new and modern chic district before the war, and now, it retains its old charm, though not as new nor chic anymore. It is modelled after New York City and Paris, as shown by their Tennoji tower that bears resemblance to the Eiffel Tower.
There are tons of cute cafes and kushikatsu places, and you can also find a whole stretch of izakayas that are small and cos.
You can also play pachinko, old school pinball, mahjong and old school street fighter arcade machines. Ah the nostalgia.
The Red Bean Hotcakes (JP¥800) are made fresh so you might have to wait for quite a bit, but it is definitely worth your time. Super fluffy, the homemade batter is slightly sweet on its own, not like the usual bland ones. It pairs well with the red bean, for a well-balanced dessert.
Decked in a super retro and quaint interior, I wished there were more places like these in Singapore. It is helmed by ojisans (uncles) and the menu is handwritten in Japanese. While they barely speak English at all, there are display models of the food they serve that you can point to.
The 16th-century Osaka Palace is rich in heritage and surrounded by moats and gardens, but the best part is that there are tons of stalls and pushcarts around.
Head for the shaved ice if you’re there during summer, or indulge in takoyaki and soft serves. Either way, you’ll be satisfied.
On your way up to the palace you’ll be tempted to get shaved ice at the first cart, but trudge on for a bit more and you’ll find more choices at lower prices (JP¥500) as compared to the original JP¥1200.
While the former is cheaper, I haven’t tried it and I can only vouch for the latter’s quality.
And get yourself a serving of really Long Fries Topped With Mentaiko (JP¥800). It is fragrant, crisp and definitely savoury.
Finally, now’s my chance to try the Muji cafe in Japan. You bet I was super excited! Ordering two cold deli dishes and one hot deli dish for JP¥850, I did not have any idea what I was getting into. But I thought, if it’s a popular deli, it must be something delicious.
It turned out to be chicken gizzards but I really didn’t mind it at all—think: creamy and soft mash.
This Curry Rice (JP¥800) was what set the Muji cafe in Japan apart from the one in Singapore. The one back home is extremely limited, serving only the basics with a not-so-extensive drinks list.
In Osaka, the deli serves Coffee Float (JP¥500) and Soda Cream (JP¥550).
Now you know what to look out for, the next time you’re in Osaka. Any other gems you’d like to share with us?