Osaka is famous in Japan as a foodie’s paradise, but in this teeming commercial center and former merchant town, high quality and bargain prices go hand in hand.
Osaka’s best-known dish is okonomiyaki. A kind of Japanese pancake containing diced meat and cabbage and flavored with Worcestershire sauce, okonomiyaki is usually cooked by the customers themselves at tableside hotplates. A good place to try it is at Okonomiyaki Kiji, one of many restaurants in the Umeda Sky Building basement, decorated to resemble a Japanese village of the 1920s and ‘30s.
Osaka also boasts its own style of sushi, oshi-zushi, made by compressing rice and fish in a wooden mold and served at long-standing restaurants like Yoshino Sushi. Other popular local dishes include takoyaki, dumplings filled with octopus and eaten as a snack, and kitsune udon, thick Japanese noodles served with sweetened deep-fried tofu. And of course, there are also countless yakitori-ya serving skewers of grilled chicken, ramen shops, and restaurants popular with office workers.
Good hunting grounds for cheap eats include the vast underground shopping arcades in Umeda and central Osaka and the vast food emporiums of department stores. Most atmospheric, however, is Dotombori, a pedestrian lane lined with restaurants and drinking establishments.
Umeda Sky Building basement