Osaka Central Fish Market

Often labelled the ‘alternative to Tsukiji’, Osaka’s fish market goes through the same early morning processes and tuna auctions as its Tokyo counterpart. Make sure to arrive early – by 04:30am – to catch the tuna auction in action. Surrounding the market are several restaurants serving fresh fish of the day on a bed of rice. Endo Sushi is one of the longest running of the bunch, having opened in 1907 and started a trend for serving slices of sashimi on warm balls of plump rice as a more casual form of nigiri.

  • +81 6-6469-7955
  • Go to Website
  • 1-1-86 Noda

Okonomiyaki Kiji

The walls of this basement restaurant are littered with tiny post-it notes thanking the chefs for an excellent meal. Entirely unpretentious and certainly not what comes to mind when picturing one of the best restaurants in a city of this size, Kiji is a warm and welcome reminder that good food doesn’t need shiny surrounds to be spectacular. Despite its reputation, the chefs are happy to talk, and the price range is almost unfathomable to most UK visitors – it’s just 800 yen (around £6) for a full okonomiyaki. The menu offers a range of flavours – squid, pork, beef and, for hungry mouths, a mix of all three. The restaurant now has Michelin Bib Gourmand rating status, an impressive feat for a humble restaurant serving simple street-food fare.

  • +81 6-6440-5970
  • 1-1-90 Oyodonaka
    Kita Ward

Hariju Dotonbori

Hariju is over 100 years old and sits right in the heart of Osaka’s lively Dotonbori district, serving sukiyaki and shabu shabu with prime cuts of meat in traditional Japanese surroundings. Staff members wearing kimono help out with this hands-on dining style, which can be daunting to tackle for first timers as different parts of the meal require differing cooking times. While shabu shabu is served in a soup rather like a hot pot, sukiyaki involves cooking meat in a shallow pot with a sweet soy sauce, which is then typically dipped in raw egg and eaten with rice. Of the two, sukiyaki has a more robust flavour. Prices are around 7,000 yen – approximately £54 – per person and menus are offered in English.

  • +81 6-6211-7777
  • Go to Website
  • 1-9-17 Dotombori

Takoya Dotonbori Kukuru

Street-side takoyaki stalls and tiny shops serving paper plates of this popular dish abound in Osaka – even in the suburbs. For a particularly popular spot, Takoya Dotonbori Kukuru is hard to miss, with life-like purple octopus tentacles crawling up the walls of the stand. A typical serving is around six batter balls, so it’s more of a filling snack than a full dining experience. Queues are almost always extensive, but die-down quickly as soon as the next fresh batch of takoyaki is ready to be served (make sure not to bite into a ball that is served fresh off the machine – the insides are piping hot). The stall is open Monday to Friday from 12:00-23:00.

  • +81-6-6212-7381
  • Go to Website
  • 1-10-5 Dotonbori

Kushikatsu Bon Kitashinchi

Another Osaka speciality, kushikatsu is deep-fried skewers of fish, meat or veggies. Bon – with its creative dishes and high-end ingredients – is a special take on the kushikatsu scene. Set menus feature skewers of king crab, asparagus and tender wagyu beef, all served a batter so light there are no post-dinner portions of guilt or gut ache afterwards. Dip the skewers in the sauces provided for an explosion of flavour, crunch and tender insides. The restaurant has a Michelin star, so the menus don’t come cheap, but it’s worth it for those looking for a memorable meal to end a holiday.

  • +81 6-6344-0400
  • Go to Website
  • 1-3-16 Dojima Kita-Ku B1
    Dojima Merry Center

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