Osaka’s most popular famous tourist destination Dotonbori 道頓堀 is a bustling entertainment district known for its flashy billboards, neon signage, and gastronomic array of restaurants, street side food stalls, and bars.

“Dotonbori” refers both to the Dotonbori Canal and to Dotonbori Street running parallel to the canal’s southern bank. When you travel through Kansai region, Dotonbori is a must-visit location.

Ready to go “kuidaore”?

You’ll often hear this expression which means “eat ‘til you drop” as Osaka is simply a foodie’s paradise. Find out what this extreme love of food is all about at Dotonbori, the best place in Osaka to experience kuidaore.

Here are 10 must eats at Dotonbori Osaka Japan:

Kani Doraku かに道楽
542-0071 1-6-18, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Tel: +81 6-6211-8975
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (Mon – Sun)

Kani Doraku is a popular crab restaurant with several locations across Japan, easily identified by its iconic giant animated crab billboards.

The main restaurant Dotombori Honten is the birthplace of Kani Doraku. This 332-seater 70-table establishment has 11 private rooms, the largest of which can fit up to 20 persons. Advance booking is highly recommended to cut down on waiting time.

Must-try signature dish is Kani Suki (5,500 Yen) This crab hot pot features a homemade Suki broth based on salt water, full-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and lingering white soy sauce flavour.

If you love crab legs, go for the Kani Shabu (6,710 Yen) that feature easy-to-eat crab legs minus the shell ready for dipping in sauce.

Daily Lunch Specials (2,970 to 5,500 Yen) include Boiled Crab, Snow Crab Legs (raw), Steamed Egg Custard with Crab, Snow Crab (grilled), Roasted Crab Butter on the Shell, Snow Crab (Tempura; deep fried), Crab Sushi, Japanese Soup, and Fruit.

For the ultimate crab experience, order their multi-course Crab Kaiseki.

Kushikatsu Daruma Dotonbori 元祖串かつ だるま
542-0071 Osaka‎ Chuo-Ku, Osaka Dotonbori 1-6-3 Japan
Tel: +81 6 6213 8101
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)

If you are looking for the best kushikatsu in Dotonbori, look no further than Daruma.

Considered an Osaka specialty, kushikatsu 串カツ (also known as also known as kushiage 串揚げ) are deep-fried breaded food such as meat and vegetables on skewers.

To spot the restaurant, look out for the mascot of an angry-looking man holding kushikatsu skewers in the shape of an “X”. That refers to strict rule “no double-dipping” of the skewer into the sauce.

This non-smoking restaurant can accommodate up to 96 persons, ie 24 seats at the counter, 50 seats at the tables, and 20 seats at the floor. Prepare to spend around 1,500 – 2,500 Yen for a meal.

For convenience (as a tourist), there are three combinations you can choose from – the Combo Shinsekai (¥1,400 for 9 pieces), Combo Dotonbori (¥1,800 for 15 pieces), and Shinosaka (¥2,200 for 14 pieces).

Remember: When you take a bite of your kushikatsu, NEVER dip it into the sauce again. That is because it is provided in a steel container meant for communal sharing.

Ichiran Porkless Ramen – Osaka
Gurukasu City Building 2F, 2-4-2 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka-fu (Namba Station Exit 14)
Opening Hours: 9am – 1am (Sun – Thurs, PH), 9am – 3am, (Fri, Sat, Eve of PH)

Do you know that there are two outlets of Ichiran in Japan which are “pork-free”? That means no use of pork or alcohol in their ramen.

They are located at Osaka Shinsaibashisuji, and Tokyo Nishi-Shinjuku.

However, Ichiran has emphasized on its website that while there is no pork used, the meat (chicken and beef) used is not Halal-certified, and this is not considered “Halal ramen”.

The famous Dotombori street and the iconic Glico Sign is just a turn away, making this convenient for tourists to visit.

There are only two main choices in terms of ramen – the Ichiran Ramen (1,180 Yen, SGD14.70), or Ichiran Select 5 (1,680 Yen, SGD20.90), in which you can customise with 5 top-up ingredients.

My personal recommendation would be to go for the extra firm noodles, rich soup, and medium spiciness. However, this is really personal and depends on your preference and mood for the day.

Kinryu Ramen
1-7-26 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Tel: +81 6-6211-3999
Opening Hours: Opens 24 hours Daily

Open 24/7, Kinryu Ramen is the perfect solution to early morning or late night ramen cravings when in Dotonbori.

It is located at the crossing of Dotonbori River and Midosuji, decorated with junk-art and sports a unique, tatami-style interior. Outside, a floating green dragon serves as its iconic landmark

Menu simply offers two items: ramen and chashu-ramen. The homemade noodles have a springy consistency.

The thick, flavourful pork bone broth is mixed with a secret sauce – they say only the president knows its recipe.

If you want something more filling, get chashu-ramen complete with thinly sliced pork chashu.

They offer free flow garlic, Chinese chives, and spicy Korean pickled cabbage (kimchi) to spice up your ramen according to your taste.

542-0071 Dotonbori 1-6-4 Dotombori, Chuo-ku
Tel: +81 6 6212 9195
Opening Hours: 11am – 12am, Last Order 11:15pm (Mon – Sun)

This spacious 70-seater Creo-Ru has an open kitchen and a non-smoking second level, where you can get a seats overlooking Dotonburi Canal. Once seated, ordering is quick, easy and efficient via a multi-language tablet.

Two of the Japan’s most wanted street food, takoyaki and okonomiyaki, are the stars here. A convenient one-stop shop for Osaka specialties, it also serves other items like yakisoba, kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers), and alcoholic beverages.

Their innovative takoyaki, made from a blend of 7 types of powders, are larger-than-average, tender, loaded with octopus, and served with a generous topping of negi (green onion) and poached egg. Plus, it is halal. As for the okonomiyaki, they are fluffy ad tasty with the fried batter having a crunchy outer shell and a soft center, filled with organic cabbage and free-range eggs.

Best to enjoy their offerings on-site instead of take-out. Food is served on hot BBQ plates to keep them warm.

Pair your okonomiyaki and takoyaki with a cold bottle of local beer.

Isomaru Suisan Namba 磯丸水産
542-0071 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Dotonbori, 1 Chome−9−13 1・2F
Tel: +81 6 6474 0770
Opening Hours: 24 Hours

Isomaru Suisan 磯丸水産 is a popular Japanese style izakaya known for its reasonably-priced seafood with downtown beach vibes.

There is a distinctive look for Isomaru Suisan. Its old-fashioned decoration with giant flags often flown from fishing boats of Japan, and smoky smell may make you feel as if you are in a fishing port.

Some of the must-orders include the Famous Kani (crab) Miso (¥499, SGD6.20), Foil-Roasted Squid and Mushroom (¥499), Fresh Whole Scallop in Shell (¥699 for 2, SGD8.40), Kiwami Amberjack (¥699).

I was little surprised the waitress brought a tiny grill to the table, then placed the seafood ordered – scallops, squid, clams on the grill.

The Famous Kani (crab) Miso was indeed the highlight. While the inside appearance was medium-grey in colour like melted cement or something, the creamy paste was absolutely delicious full of that brinny seafood taste and crab sweetness.

Takoyaki Juhachiban たこ焼十八番
3-17-17 Nishinakajima, Yodogawa-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Tel: +81 6 6211 3118
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)

There are many famous and popular Takoyaki shops at found at Dotonbori, from Kukuru くくる, Wanaka たこ焼道楽 わなか, Otako 大たこ, Hanadako はなだこ, to Kogaryu 甲賀流.

What makes Takoyaki Juhachiban たこ焼十八番 worth trying is how they combine materials and technology to create a soulful takoyaki.

Order 8 pieces for ¥650 (SGD8.20), or get 12 pieces for ¥1000 (SGD12.70) via the vending machine. Prices have gotten higher since the ‘good old days’ though.

Enjoy them with an okonomiyaki sauce, or mayonnaise with aonori (green dried seaweed) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). It is possible to order all 3 types at ¥1000 for 12 pieces as well.

If you are used to Takoyaki with a crispy outer layer, Juhachiban’s version is slightly chewy and softer, but what makes it pleasurable are the tenkatsu or crunchy tempura batter bits which make every bite a delightful mouthfeel.

Also, sakura shrimp powder and red pickled ginger are added with burst of umami flavours in each takoyaki – a heavenly Japanese masterpiece.

Takoya Dotonbori Kukuru
1F Hakua Bldg., 1-10-5 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Tel: +81 6-6212-7381
Opening Hours: 12pm – 11pm (Mon – Fri), 11am – 11pm (Sat), 11am – 10pm (Sun, PH)

Takoya Dotonbori Kukuru, whose main store is located in Dotonbori, is home to the octopus soup stock.

Only in this store will you find oden with original soup and Tako Shabu, a highly recommended specialty of Dotonbori where you can really savour the flavour of octopus.

The key ingredient, dried octopus dashi, makes this Tako Shabu tasty and packed with taurine. This is available for orders from 2 people.

It’s best to make a reservation via phone as Tako Shabu takes some time to prepare.

Takoyaki and Akashiyaki are also well-loved here, prepared with a fluffy dough and a specially made dashi.

For takoyaki, only large octopus is used. It has become so popular they have launched products to allow diners to taste Kukuru at home. In addition, it also offers special dishes, rice and desserts.

Naruto Taiyaki Honpo – Osaka Tenjinbashi
5 Chome-7-1 Tenjinbashi, Kita Ward, 530-0041, Osaka, Japan
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (Mon – Sun)

This was a surprise find as I was exploring the lesser-visited lanes around Dotonbori, Osaka.

A moderately long queue, that ‘steam’ coming out from the baked Taiyaki, the look of satisfaction as customers take a bite off… can’t be that wrong.

Taiyaki 鯛焼き which literally means “baked sea bream” is a Japanese fish-shaped pancake that is commonly filled with red bean paste.

You may find other versions with custard, chocolate, cheese, and sweet potato.

The shop offers two signature flavours – Red Bean (200 Yen, SGD2.45) and Sweet Potato (220 Yen, SGD2.70) though there can be seasonal fillings such as Custard.

That moment of bliss when I had the red bean fillings, it was smooth and full, packed till almost the tail of the fish pancake.

World’s Second Best Freshly Baked Melonpan Ice-cream Amerika-mura
2-11-9 Nishishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Re-011 1F, Osaka 542-0086, Osaka Prefecture
Tel: +81 6 6213 4707
Opening Hours: 11am – 7:30pm (Mon – Fri), 10:30am – 7:30pm (Sat – Sun)

A Melonpan メロンパン is a type of sweet bun with the outer layer covered like a crisp cookie dough. Nope, there is no melon within, but is so named because the appearance resembles a rock melon.

One of the most popular places to get this ice cream dessert in Osaka is from the World’s Second Best Freshly Baked Melonpan Ice-cream 世界で2番めにおいしい.

There are mobile vans around at Dotonbori area, or you can head over to the store at America-mura.

You can get the original Melonpan for 230 yen (SGD2.90), though I think it can be more worthwhile to try it with ice cream, such as the Vanilla (400 Yen, SGD5) Matcha (450 Yen, SGD5.60) or Chocolate (450 Yen, SGD5.60).

While I ordered a matcha flavour piece, there was some vanilla ice cream inside, an crispy shortbread that you can use as a ‘spoon’.

Take a bite and you get all kinds of sensation playing within your mouth. Now, have this during colder winter months and it would be a feeling you would not forget.

Other Related Entries
Ichiran Porkless Ramen (Chuo-ku, Osaka)
Machi Machi Osaka (Kita, Osaka)
Naruto Taiyaki Honpo 鳴門鯛焼本舗 (Kita Ward, Osaka)
World’s Second Best Freshly Baked Melonpan Ice-Cream (Osaka)
Takoyaki Juhachiban たこ焼十八番 (Dotonbori, Osaka)
Kushikatsu Daruma (Dotonbori, Osaka)
Isomaru Suisan 磯丸水産 (Dotonbori, Osaka)

* Follow @DanielFoodDiary on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube for more food news, food videos and travel highlights. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.


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