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Apr 16, 2007 04:41 PM

Takoyaki outside of festivals

Mmm, I just got back from Japan and would love to find some of that wonderful takoyaki that I had in Osaka! I understand there are some at festivals like the Sakura Festival, but are there any restaurants that serve good takoyaki the rest of the year? Ideally a little spicy, but I'm just looking for any good takoyaki. SF or East Bay please. TIA!

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    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thank you again, but I was looking for something recent and not from festivals.

    2. I know that Tanpopo has takoyaki... It's not great, but I think it's because it might be fried instead of how they make it as a street stand style in Japan, but I haven't been to any other place in SF that has takoyaki. As a great takoyaki fan, I would definitely be interested in hearing where else there might be takoyaki available.

      7 Replies
      1. re: liujenny

        I'm a big takoyaki fan, and mourned when they closed the little takoyaki stall they had at Benihana in J-town. It's possible Tanpopo might use the pre-made, frozen takoyaki (it is a little labor-intensive to make it fresh). Hotei, on 9th at Irving, is supposed to have it on their menu.

        If this article from last summer can be believed, maybe we'll have our own branch of Gindaco (after L.A., of course, just like Famima!).

        1. re: Debbie M

          Thanks for the link. I actually tried the takoyaki from Gindaco in Taipei in January (at the tallest building in the world, 101, in their food court basement which is a foodie haven of all sorts) who also have set up shop in Sogo department stores there, though I wasn't blown away by the offering (they did use real octopus bits though) as the outer ball was a bit too starchy, and overly gooey inside, and a bit heavy on the saucing (Japanese mayo on top, the seasoned seaweed sprinkle), though the katsuobushi (bonito flakes) was a nice touch on top to make it come alive. I'm hoping it was a batch or consistency problem, as most of the 101 employees decided to eat Korean spicy hotpot, Taiwanese small eats or noodles/rice plates instead.

          I hope if Gindaco opens up branches in the Bay Area, that they can maintain the quality. Sadly Beard Papa at least in Redwood City, tastes nothing like the one in Hong Kong 7 years ago.

          This is out of bounds, but Mitsuwa Supermarket in San Jose on select weekends, whenever they hold those food fairs, and I can't remember exactly which one ("one", being one of the various prefectures in Japan they showcare throughout the year), but one time they did have a takoyaki booth, and vendors making takoyaki from scratch.

          1. re: K K

            Also out of bounds but closer, Oidon in San Mateo has Takoyaki, according to a Yelp! review.

            71 E. 4th Avenue
            San Mateo, CA 94401
            (650) 342-6748

            1. re: K K

              Sometimes at Gindaco the insides of the balls can be too gooey. I think it might be because they need to have high turnover, and don't take the time to make sure they sit on the griddle mold long enough to cook thoroughly.

              Last November, on my trip to Okinawa I changed planes in Osaka, but my flight to Okinawa, the last of the day, was canceled, and I ended up having to spend the night there. Since my new flight left in the late afternoon, I was thrilled at the prospect that I'd get to go into Osaka and try takoyaki at the source. Turns out the airport there is kind of like Narita is to Tokyo, about 2 hours away, so it wasn't feasible time-wise. I had to settle for going to a local mall and eating at Gindaco, which in Kansai, seemed like a compromise!

              They will probably have takoyaki this weekend at the Cherry Blossom Festival, but, as of a few years ago (the last time I went), they had to substitute ground beef for octopus because the Health Dept. had concerns about refrigeration issues. I don't know if they've been able to switch back to octopus since then.

              1. re: Debbie M

                Still ground beef, according to the posted signs.

                1. re: Gary Soup

                  Whoa, what does it taste like with ground beef? Is it good?

                  1. re: coolbean98

                    Didn't try them, but since one of the joys of takoyaki is the contrast of the toothsome tako and the softness -- but hopefully not gooeyness -- of the fritter, I doubt ground beef would makes a good substitute.

        2. This isn't in SF or E. Bay, but in the past I've gotten freshly made takoyaki from the Nijiya market in Mt. View. They usually have them in their refrigerated deli section, but I don't know when they actually make them...only once or twice were they still warm from the grill.

          2 Replies
          1. re: kerokero

            I've also purchased refrigerated takoyaki at Nijiya in San Mateo (they don't have it all the time). There's a good-sized chunk of real octopus in the center, but the balls themselves get a bit gooey from sitting in the fridge. At home I microwave them (horrror of horrors) for 20 seconds then pile on bonito flakes and scallions -- not quite the same as freshly-made but better than the frozen stuff!

            1. re: PekoePeony

              instead of microwaving, I put them in the toaster oven and seems to come out better.

          2. Just learned that my friend's friend's business, Tea Celsius in Burlingame, a Taiwanese run boba/tapioca tea shop, has takoyaki which they claim are made to order.


            If the pic is what that really is, claimed to have octopus inside, with kewpie mayo and some katsuobushi plus nori powder sprinkled on top, it can't be all that bad!