When I visited Dotonbori in Osaka in 2014, the buzzing liveliness of the world famous food street overwhelmed me. Two years later, the iconic food and shopping street is as busy as ever. Of course, the food is always good. So let’s check out 4 delicious things to eat in Dotonbori in this article.
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We had time for a meal in Osaka before moving on and back to Tokyo, so all we needed to do was get some stomach space ready for the onslaught of everything we could stuff into our bodies for lunch. #ChallengeAccepted
I’m sure Honke Ootako, the oldest takoyaki shop in Dotonbori, has seen better days. It was quiet when we were there. There were no large crowds or long queues, but then again, that was the case for most of the takoyaki stalls when we were there during lunch hour on a Tuesday.
You know what had a massive queue? Starbucks. I guess the allure of the almighty coffee chain doesn’t escape even Osaka.
Anyhow, we weren’t gonna complain that there wasn’t a queue. A young friendly chap was eagerly inviting us over, encouraging us to try it and we knew this was the place we were looking for. We pulled out ¥380 and got ourselves six balls of takoyaki.
What is Takoyaki?
For the uninitiated, takoyaki (たこ焼き) are delicious ball-shaped Japanese snacks. Made of a wheat-flour-based batter, takoyaki typically contain either small cubes or large chunks of octopus,. Bonito flakes usually top takoyaki and they are brushed with a savory sauce (similar to Worcester sauce) and dollops of mayonnaise. These originated from Osaka – making it a must-eat when you visit this merchant city.
We had some pretty disappointing takoyaki a day before, so this really hit the spot. The takoyaki were soft and doughy on the inside, and wonderfully crisp on the outside. The octopus is in large generous chunks. What a treat!
You can opt to take it away or enjoy it in the eat-in area behind the stall. There’s also kushiyaki available if takoyaki just isn’t enough and you’re hoping for more skewered grilled meats! Bookmark this as one of the things to eat in Dotonbori, pronto!
Honke Ootako Address
- 道頓堀 本家 大たこ, 大阪市中央区道頓堀1-4-16 (Google Maps)
- Dontonbori Honke Ootako, 1-4-16 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Next on the list of things to eat in Dotonbori is something more substantial. What better to fill our tummies than with one of Osaka’s most famous street foods, okonomiyaki (お好み焼き)? These are savory Japanese pancakes that come chock full of a variety of ingredients.
After eating at the oldest takoyaki shop, we visited Mizuno, a family-run restaurant. It is the first okonomiyaki restaurant in Dotonbori and has been in operation for over 70 years. Its famous for being in the Michelin Guide Kyoto Osaka 2016.
We waited in line for about 10 -15 minutes before the staff started ushering us in to wait inside for another 5 – 10 minutes. Seating was at a bar table in front of the teppan (鉄板).
It was pretty cool to be able to have our meal always hot on the teppan and it was great to see our food being cooked for us. The staff were polite, but I wouldn’t say friendly.
The reviews by tourists we read made it sound like the restaurant compromised quality for efficiency with “pre-made” okonomiyaki that was just heated on the grill. Whatever it was, it seemed when we went, everything was as it should be. Ingredients were poured onto the teppan after being mixed together, we watched the chefs prepare everything on the spot.
Must-try Dishes at Mizuno
The must-try dish at Mizuno is the Yamaimo-yaki made completely from mountain yam instead of flour batter. We could also choose two ingredients (we chose prawns and pork). This cost a whopping ¥1,620, but since it was a signature and I’m quite the fan of yam, we ordered this without having to think about it much. It wasn’t disappointing at all. It was sweet, and tasty and also had that unique “slippery” texture thanks to the yam.
We also ordered the modan-yaki which was ¥1,135. Hard to go wrong with okonomiyaki and it was a pretty good experience overall while on the pricey side. Definitely one of the best things to eat in Dotonbori while you’re here.
Note: Check out recent review of Mizuno by Sushi and Sandwich.
Mizuno Okonomiyaki Address
- 美津の,〒542-0071 大阪府大阪市中央区道頓堀1-4-15 (Google Maps)
- Mizuno, 1-4-15, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 542-0071
3. Grilled Scallops
This is just a random bite we had while strolling down Dotonbori. We noticed this guy grilling these large shells of fresh scallops. They looked so juicy and large that I couldn’t resist buying one to munch on. It was so good, it ended up making it onto this list of things to eat in Dotonbori.
The scallops are buttered, and left to grill in its own natural jus, and soya sauce. They go for ¥500 yen a piece.
Totally worth it. They were so sweet and remarkably fresh. The best part is it wasn’t even chewy! Anyway, no address for this one. You’ll probably find it as you walk down Dotonbori.
4. Cheese Tarts
Who needs to queue for Cheese tarts in Singapore when I can have them in Japan? We popped by Pablo, famous for their freshly baked cheese tarts, and ordered us one! The cheese tarts come with some vanilla ice cream and an apricot sauce.
The puff pastry is flakey and crumbly and the cheese dough filling is just such fluffy, soft, creamy goodness. I enjoyed the tart more when it was drizzled with the apricot jam-like sauce.
They also have this bizarre ad that was playing on a screen in the cafe that’s about How to Make the BEST Tart. It’s really a little strange, but well… Japan!
Pablo Cheese Tarts Address
- 焼きたてチーズタルト専門店PABLO心斎橋本店,〒542-0085 心斎橋ゼロワンビル1F, 2-8-1 (Google Maps)
- Cheese Tart Pablo Shinsaibashi, 2-8-1, Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Chuo Ward 542-0085
Anyway, that’s the 4 things to eat at Dotonbori. That was as much as we could manage. Were we disappointed? A little. I was like, “I’m gonna force myself to eat Ichiran Ramen after all this!” I failed of course.
Even The F Man was tapping out by our fourth stop. I guess the rest of the yummy food will have to wait until we return again.