Visiting the city of Osaka was a great adventure! I was fascinated by the bright posters, architecture, culture, and history.
On the other hand, I loved the food, and Osaka is known worldwide as the food capital of Japan. I had a list of dishes that I wanted to try. However, when I arrived, I ate things I had no idea existed, and to my surprise, they were delicious!
For that reason, I made a list of foods that you can’t miss when visiting Osaka and the best restaurants to get them.
So, let’s see the guide!
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It’s the most famous street food from Osaka. It consists of wheat dumpling-like batter, stuffed with octopus and other ingredients and spices such as onion and ginger.
They are prepared on a griddle that looks like a big waffler maker but with round pockets, giving them that perfect sphere shape. My favorite part is the consistency it has because it is crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Be careful; they are served freshly made straight out of the griddles and they are HOT. Do not eat them in a single bite (I’m a walking cautionary tale). Just bite and let the air cool them a bit, then enjoy!
Also, you can customize them by adding the topping of your choice. Among the options, you can get takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, bonito flakes, or pieces of Katsuobushi.
In its original recipe, created by Endo Tomekichi, nothing was added on top, although as it was created in 1953, it has been modified over time.
Recommended restaurant: You can try these octopus dumplings in Takoyaki Wanaka Sennichimae, a food stall that specializes in these iconic fritters.
If you like fried food, kushikatsu will earn a place among your favorite foods in Osaka!
These are fried skewers of meat, pork, sausage, fish, or even fruit, which are dipped in egg and panko. Then they are fried and accompanied by a special sauce. It contains ketchup, Worcestershire, soy, sugar, and water. It is a bit salty, so I recommend moderate use of it.
And if you are a Vegetarian, don’t worry! They also make them from vegetables, so you don’t have to be looking for specific places to buy them.
Recommended restaurant: the Kushikatsu Daruma was the best place where I ate these skewers (it’s a franchise so you can find other locations in Osaka), if you have the chance, visit it!
This is a type of savory pancake made with a mixture of egg, flour, cabbage, and spring onions that is cooked on a grill with small pieces of meat, chicken, seafood, or pork. After it’s cooked, a special sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes are added.
It’s worth mentioning that this dish is traditionally from Osaka and was born during WWII, so do not be surprised by the number of places that have it as a specialty! You can find okonomiyaki in almost every stall in Dotomburi.
Restaurant recommendation: Okonomiyaki Chitose is a hidden gem. Truly one of the best okonomiyaki I have ever eaten in my life. Don’t let the humble exterior deter you from trying this restaurant. It usually opens at noon, but I recommend you arrive 30 minutes early because there is usually a line outside. The inside of the restaurant has a maximum capacity of only eight customers.
It’s an alcoholic drink made of Japanese Whisky, ice, and sparkling water; very simple but at the same time famous for the Japanese. Also, great for humid hot summer nights.
Although it’s not known who invented this simple cocktail, it is known that it originated in the United States. Still, the bars of Japan adopted this drink, adding their personal touch.
You can get a cold glass of highball in almost every Izakaya in Osaka, so if you’ve been walking around the city all day, it’s the perfect time to give it a try!
It’s a cattle breed native to Japan, recognized by the layers of fat inside the muscle fibers that create a “marble” effect. This gives it a unique flavor and texture. It’s exceptionally soft and the high fat content melts the meat in your mouth.
An important point is the difference between Wagyu and “Kobe” beef, something I found interesting to explain:
In Japan, there are four types of Wagyu Breeds: Japanese black, brown, speckled, and short-horned. In a nutshell, the famous Kobe beef is an exclusive product of Hyogo prefecture, which claims to have the black Japanese beef lineage that has been extended for more than five centuries.
Another thing that makes it different from Wagyu is that Kobe beef, when it meets all the requirements for its production, is sealed with a chrysanthemum flower, which testifies that it is a 100% Authentic Product.
Restaurant recommendation: Gekkokamen Steakhouse restaurant in Osaka will probably exceed your expectations because it left me speechless! It’s on the pricey side but completely worth it. Also, you have to make a reservation, I made mine using the Google reservation feature.
Mitarashi Dango みたらし団子
A typical Japanese snack! They are rice flour dumplings glazed with a sweet soy sauce. It is cooked with a bamboo stick that is threaded into the dumplings to give a special touch to the taste of this charming street snack!
This is the traditional version of the dango, and its origin is located in a place called Kamo Mitarashi, a tea house located in Kyoto.
Its name is due to the proximity that this place had to the Shimogano Shrine and the Matarashi River since they found a resemblance to the white spheres with the bubbles of the river that crosses the temple.
It ended up being distributed all over Japan, becoming a classic snack for all its people. In Osaka, for example, I tried Mitarashi at Amato MAEDA, a dessert store that has been in business since 1968, and I found it amazing because everything is 100% handmade and fresh!
You can find this type of dango across multiple traditional Japanese stalls in the Kanto region (Osaka and Kyoto)
Also, known as conveyor belt sushi. It is a concept where you sit around a bar that has a conveyor belt in front of the customers. The chefs place small portions of Sushi there, so you can grab the one you like the most! Isn’t it amazing?
You can also order special dishes, but the idea of these places is that you arrive, take something from the conveyor belt, finish eating, and pay. Fast, simple, and efficient.
I’m sure you’re wondering: Where did this fantastic method come from? Well, the first Kaiten Sushi was created in 1958, by Yoshiaki Shiraishi, thanks to a visit to a brewery.
Yes, Mr. Shiraishi was tired of being inconvenienced by the service provided by the waiters in his small restaurant, and realized that he could transport his dishes directly to the customer just as the beer bottles moved through the brewery!
And the place is still open!
Recommended restaurant: You can find the first restaurant to create the conveyor belt sushi concept in Osaka, It’s called Genrokuzushi Dotombori!
Besides delicious sushi and good prices, it is an important part of Osaka’s food scene. My favorite dishes at this place were the grilled salmon and shrimp sushi.
Finally, the list had to include the exotic delicacy of Japanese food, Fugu. Also known as pufferfish, it’s the favorite element of Japanese dishes, due to its flavor and characteristics, in which its toxicity stands out.
Believe it or not, the consumption of Fugu was forbidden for a while because eating it was deathly due to the lack of knowledge to prepare since some of the organs of the pufferfish are highly poisonous.
But don’t worry! Japan decreed a law where it is established that to sell this fish, you must have a license that is obtained through three years of studies, a theoretical and a practical exam. Only experts in puffer fish can offer its consumption!
That said, it can be presented in different ways. In Osaka, I tried it in a restaurant called Torafugujo, and to be honest, I liked it! if you dare to try Fugu, this place is worth it!
Owner and Food blogger on The Cookware Geek. She loves cooking, baking, traveling, playing with the cats, and knitting. She believes that eating delicious meals doesn’t require a culinary degree or a Michelin-star chef in your kitchen.