Osaka’s a foodie’s dream city with an endless amount of restaurants to satisfy your food and drink cravings. However English language recommendations for Osaka can be pretty shallow compared to what the city really has to offer. Today I want to take your experience of the city a little deeper with three speciality izakaya joints. An izakaya restaurant is the drinking and light eating, late night hangout restaurants in Japan. The ratio of drinking to eating depends on the bar, but many of them take their food offerings super seriously by devoting themselves to the best of a style or cooking (ramen, oden, yakiniku, etc…) or type of food. The restaurants below specialize in quality Japanese meats from the tuna, pig, and chicken.
Tuna Sashimi Served a Million Ways and Conger Eel Tempura
Maguroya is usually my first stop in Osaka, since I jump of the plane with sashimi cravings. Now that they have an English menu, it’s less of an adventure, but more convenient when you’re really unsure which tuna delight to order. Start with a tuna salad tossed in yuzu pepper dressing or grilled tuna to start. If you’re brave you can work your way up to cheek or eye of the tuna too. Most of the Maguroya branches are located in the Umeda and Osaka Station’s Kita district. This means it’s very likely you’ll pass through at some point in your visit to Osaka. If you’re nearby and hungry, take some time to search this random alley for your fill of tuna!
Restaurant: 梅田芝田一丁目まぐろや Chayamamchi Maguroya
Nearest Station: Umeda Station, near DD-House Building (New Hankyu Hotel Annex)
Directions: Find the small, narrow alley across the street from New Hankyu Hotel (at Umeda Station) leading towards the hotels annex building, also called DD House.
Website: Maguroya Nakatsu (Japanese language, but has a map)
Notes: They have recently added a limited English menu. Staff English limited. Has other locations at Nakatsu Station and Chayamachi (all in walking distance of each other). Smoking permitted.
Yakiton Pork Skewers, Pork Belly, & Asian Chitterlings
You have to appreciate a place that loves it’s pork and not only is Tayu Tayu pork obsessed, their recipes take eating the oddest parts of the pig to a higher, delightful level. Take their pork bone stewed ‘matsu’ (aka chitterlings or intestines) which is smokey, rich, and would be right at home in the American south. The ‘high quality guts’ on their yakiton (the pork skewers) are also delicious and when the pork belly bowl comes out, be prepared to fight with whoever’s around over the perfectly stewed and deliciously fat lined meat. Don’t forget to pair it all with draft Japanese beer!
Restaurant: Tayu Tayu (Namba Branch) 焼とんya たゆたゆ なんば千日前店
Nearest Station: Nipponbashi or Namba Stations
Hours: 5pm – 1am, Daily
Website: Tayu Tayu (Japanese language)
Directions: I recommend using google maps in advance or as you’re looking this place. The restaurant is close to both stations and since the Namba area is so crowded it’s too difficult to explain simply.
Notes: Limited english menu, staff speaks limited English. Smoking permitted. Several other locations including another in Namba (next door to Italian Bar Spello) and near Tengachaya Station.
Banshu Restaurant’s Yakitori & Raw Chicken Sashimi
Banshu is a tiny yakitori (chicken skewer) restaurant located in the covered bar and restaurant strip next to Nakazakicho Station. There are many things to try along the strip, but this restaurant stands out because the staff is friendly, they specialize in chicken (raw and grilled), and they’re open late. A trip here will afford you the opportunity to try raw chicken sashimi if you’re brave. Sounds like a big challenge, but for many Osakans it just happens to be what’s on the menu tonight!
Restaurant: ばんしゅう (Banshu)
Nearest Station: Nakazakicho Station, Exit 1
Directions: Take Nakazakicho Station exit 1 and enter directly into the area’s walking street of restaurants and bars. You’ll find Banshu about 100 meters inside on the right. See the photo above to help identify Banshu.
Notes: Open late. No english menu, staff speaks limited English.