My partner and I are travelling to Japan very soon. We've already sorted out what we're doing in Kyushu, Chubu and Kanto. However, we're at a bit of a loss to figure out what to do in Osaka.
We've already spent some time in Osaka, so we've done the takoyaki-okonomiyaki-kushikatsu thing. Probably the best thing I've had there was a suppon banquet at a restaurant in Honmachi called "Kaito," but I'm not sure if they're still around.
Basically, we don't have any real limits: we eat just about anything, we don't mind high-end or low-end places, and we can speak Japanese. We've already seen a few places on here that might be interesting; including kappo (Momen or Kahala?), sushi (Hibiki?) and ikizukuri (Hakata Batten or Takojaya?).
One thing we'd be interested in finding more about is some good horumon places, or local/intimate izakaya. But we'd like to know about anything that stands out.
Thanks for your help guys.
Masamichi is a nice little izakaya with a first-rate menu of craft beers, shochu and sake: http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/8173....
Uoman in Honmachi is also quite local, with good food and drink: http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/8229....
Shimada Shoten sake shop might be a fun afternoon adventure - they have a basement tasting cave (which you have to climb down a ladder to get to) where you can try several different types of sake: http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/8237....
Here's what I've got now:
* Tada: great sushi and looks like they have live seafood
* Kani douraku: the iconic crab restaurant
* Koshin: izakaya with the occasional exotic item
* Masamichi: craft beer and jizake pub
* (one of the many restaurants with chijimi & chanja - I don't know if any particularly stand out?)
* Geppa: a great-looking kappo restaurant
* Taikyu-ya: Korean food in the Tsuruhashi district
* (one of the many horumonyaki stalls - I don't know if any particularly stand out?)
There's not a lot to report, because Osaka was something of a breather between visiting Aichi, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, Kyoto, Tokyo and Kanagawa.
We wanted to relax, so we revisited a lot of familar places. We didn't do any Kappo this time, maybe next time...
- A sake bar called "Usagi" in the maze surrounding Shinsaibashi. They had an excellent sake selection and quite a few interesting otsumami items (hotaruika, shirako, tama-himo, shuto, taiwata-shiokara).
- A sushi restaurant called "Sushi Toyo" in my old neighbourhood of Sakuragawa. About as good as I remember it. Standout items included ankimo and hirame-no-himo (off-the-menu, free-of-charge).
- Kani Doraku honten was good, but not as good as previous visits.
You can see the food here: http://gaishokujin.com/kani-douraku
- Koshin was a really grungy local's joint (like the bars in Omoideyokocho in Shinjuku). The kimchi takoyaki was *very* spicy; the horse mane and boiled tripe were not particularly appetising.
- Taikyu-ya did not particularly stand out against the other Korean restaurants in Tsuruhashi.
- Also went to a sushi place that was an old regular of mine. I never quite remember where it is, or what it's called, but I think it might be "Sushi Tetsu." Friendly staff, low prices, and acceptable sushi.
- Chibo okonomiyaki, Kinryu ramen, Torikizoku yakitori were the same as on previous visits. They are familiar, if not great, places.
- We went to a few places in Amemura, based on locals' recommendations. One restaurant in Big Step that served "Tomato ramen," which was quite good; one was a hot dog stall near Sankaku-koen which was also rather good.
Sorry to disappoint guys... :p
I don't know if you're still in Tokyo or not but if you're into Sake you should check out Omasa Komasa if you get the chance. While I haven't had the chance to visit, it came highly recommended to me by some good friends.
They specialize in serving my favorite sake Juyondai in all of its many incarnations and from what said friends tell me, it's a great place to be if you're a sake enthusiast. The owner is very passionate about sake and more specifically Juyondai and he'll really try to get to know your tastes/quizz you about sake before he pairs your dishes up.
4-2-25 Higashi Nakano, Nakano-ku
Closed Sundays and Holidays
re: Notorious P.I.G.
I HAVE had the chance to visit, and it IS a great place for sake enthusiasts. Be warned though - it's a bit dark and dingy, and the 'get to know your tastes' segment was more like a 10-minute exam where you had to name specific brands & brews, where you drank them and why you liked them. He was pretty critical of all my answers!
It's true though - he's more particular about sourcing and storage than almost anywhere I've been, and it really shows in the flavor. He let us drink Juyondai's Dewansansan product in new and 1-year-old versions, which was awesome - still the best single sake I've ever had. The whole thing kinda spoiled me on other places because the freshness was so different.
PIG, I've got one for you - cheap standing bar near Awajicho that does curry at lunchtime and carries more than 10 varieties of Juyondai at really low prices. Happy to go any time!
Another place in that area is Hanakago, which I can't get enough of.
Whoa Dude! Both of those places sound awesome. Will definitely go try them out! Good One sounds incredible.
Juyondai really is an amazing Sake and brewery. I always hear stories of young people trying Juyondai for the first time and it blowing their minds so much that they become heavily involved in the Sake world or at the very least become Sake Otaku thereafter.
Thanks for the heads up on those spots!
Finally got to Kahala. Great stuff.
I had to take notes, because the descriptions were so detailed.
1. Half-fermented wine with grapes from Osaka
2. Junsai with crysanthemum, sourced from Hyogo
3. Appetiser plate:
3a. Corned beef & lime
3b. Whale blubber, mustard & tomato
3c. Duck in coffee & watermelon
3d. Broadbeans & freeze-dried yuzu-pepper
3e. Ayu/sweetfish from Lake Biwa with Ankor pepper
4. Grilled caciocavallo cheese
5. Shark fin, Clams, Asparagus, Tasmanian pepperberries, grated caciocavallo
6. Handmade soba noodles with grated bottarga
7. Abalone & four-cheese fondue
8. Caterpillar fungus in chicken consomme
9. Wild watercress, Tomato from Miyazaki.
10. Hida beef mille-feuille with condiments
11. Fried rice with brown mushroom and pickles
13. Watermelon juice, from Kumamoto
14. Coffee, cognac, fig creme caramel
15. Chai & Mukhwa (candied fennel seeds)