Did you know there’s a special word in Osaka dialect that refers to its delicious food culture? “Kuidaore” roughly translates to “eat yourself broke” and with all the delicious food options in Dotonbori, it’s easy to do so. Dotonbori is the heart of Osaka, the neon lights and riverfront are what’s immediately pictured when one mentions Osaka. Dotonbori is filled with street food, izakayas and rowdy, fun folks looking to have a good time. The top three Osaka specialties are takoyaki (fried dough balls filled with octopus), kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers) and okonomiyaki, a special savory pancake filled with the ingredients of your choice. We recommend four favorite okonomiyaki restaurants where you can eat and drink until you drop.
Kyochobana gives a twist on the traditional okonomiyaki. Their award-winning Tomato Okonomiyaki is made with tomato sauce and topped with fresh tomatoes, a slightly Italian version to the Osaka favorite. We recommend getting a course menu, which not only comes with okonomiyaki, it also includes an all-you-can-drink (nomihoudai) menu, five appetizers and a plate of their signature black fried noodles with avocado. There are also traditional okonomiyaki choices, such as pork or mochi cheese, and yakisoba.
Courses start from ¥3,500. Open from 11am to 11pm (last order 10pm).
Dotonbori Ichiaki’s okonomiyaki might look more like a delectable cake than a savory pancake but don’t be deceived by appearance. The adorable pancakes are very Insta-worthy, they come in heart-shapes and mayonnaise decorations like dates or frilly hearts – perfect for romantic couples or best friends. Ichiaki is also located right on the Dotonbori river, the perfect riverside accompaniment to a romantic dinner or hangout with gal pals. The Pair Set (¥3,212) includes two alcoholic beverages, salad, yakisoba and a heart-shaped okonomiyaki is a great introduction to the wonderful food world of Osaka.
Open from 11am to 11pm (last order 10pm).
The okonomiyaki at Bonkuraya is playful, you can choose from a pancake with a prawn sticking its head out or a dish that looks remarkably similar to a certain body part. There’s a variety of choices on the menu but if you have to try them all, get the Petit Grilled course (¥1,580) where you can try nine mini okonomiyaki. If you’re itching for an all-you-can-drink nomihoudai option, best get the eight course Easy Teppanyaki course (¥3,500), a great introduction to the teppanyaki options Bonkuraya offers.
Open Monday through Saturday 11am-3am (last order at 2am), Sunday 11am-midnight (last order 11pm) and the first Sunday of the month 11am-11pm (last order 10pm).
Mizuno is one of the best restaurants in Osaka and considering the staggering amount, that’s quite an accomplishment. Opened in 1945 and awarded Michelin’s Bib Gourmand in 2016, there is a perpetual line out the door but it’s worth waiting for. Try their signature Yamaimo-yaki (¥1,650), which uses yams instead of flour, or give it a twist with their second most famous option, Mitsu no yaki (¥1,430), a traditional okonomiyaki with pork and seafood, This might not be the best place to sit back and enjoy a drink – you were once one of the people waiting outside – but the delectable okonomiyaki doesn’t need to be paired with anything, it’s perfect by itself. There are also vegetarian and gluten-free okonomiyaki options, a rarity in the city.
Open 11am to 10pm.