Okaru Osaka is where locals go to get the best Osaka okonomiyaki - that tasty flour-based dish that resembles a pancake. Everyone knows Osaka is the number one place in the world to get tasty okonomiyaki, which in the city is an everyday food that can be found not only at restaurants but at markets, shopping streets, and every downtown area.
So if you ask “Where to go for the best Osaka okonomiyaki?” most people have a favorite restaurant in their neighborhood.
We’d like to introduce you to Okaru Osaka, a restaurant where everyone leaves satisfied.
Okaru Osaka: Popular Restaurant with a Long History
Okaru, a long-established okonomiyaki restaurant, is a short 5-minute walk from Namba Sation on the Osaka Metro Midosuji Line, and is located near Hozenji Temple (also known as with Mizukake Fudo), which is famous for its moss covered statue.
While the Minami area was still in ruins after World War II, Okaru Osaka was established by Takeo Adachi and his wife Kazue in 1946. Their grandson, Kazuyoshi, now continues the legacy of the okonomiyaki that represents Osaka.
We arrived on a weekday ten minutes before they opened for dinner at 5:00 PM and there were already six people waiting in line, so when we were taken to our seats right at 5:00 PM Okaru Osaka was already full.
Okaru has tables with four seats that face each other with a hotplate in the middle. Since there are no seats for single customers, it’s kind of like eating hotpot with your friends and family, a popular dining style in Osaka.
And then the best Osaka okonomiyaki is cooked on a humble hotplate in front of the customers. As an appetizer, we ordered the nama-chu (medium size draft beer) for 500 yen and the ika-shioyaki (grilled salted squids) for 800 yen.
For our main course of okonomiyaki and yakisoba (fried noodles), we ordered the tokujo (premium) option for 900 yen, which allows customers to choose two ingredients.
For the okonomiyaki, we ordered pork and beef (ground beef), and pork and octopus for the yakisoba. After the hotplate is heated, the manager will cook the okonomiyaki in front of the customers. The yakisoba is first cooked in the kitchen then served on the hotplate at the table.
After oil is applied to the heated hotplate, the ingredients are skillfully mixed together by the manager, following the standard Osaka custom.
The ingredients are placed in a circle on the hotplate with the pork on top, then covered with a lid.
After cooking for a while, the lid is removed and the okonomiyaki is flipped using a teko, a metal spatula. It is then pressed so the center is indented.
At this point, the ika-shioyaki we ordered was served – just the perfect time!
The squid is precut with hidden slices made to one side so it can be easily eaten. The big, thick squid is grilled with butter.
Take a bite of squid and a swig of beer. Right as it hits the spot, the okonomiyaki is done, as if it was perfectly timed!
The okonomiyaki is flavored with a sweet sauce and a spicy sauce. After that bonito powder and aonori (green laver powder) are sprinkled on top, and it’s finished off by using mayonnaise to make a drawing of Tsutenkaku Tower.
The okonomiyaki is perfect when the surface is crispy, and the inside is fluffy and juicy with the melted fat from the ground beef.
When you are about halfway done with the okonomiyaki the yakisoba is served. In contrast to its appearance the yakisoba only has a light flavor of savory sauce, so it provides a nice balance for the okonomiyaki. The pork and octopus are delicious!
Since there were many people waiting, we paid our bill as soon as we finished our meal. When we exited Okaru Osaka, there was a group of college students from Tokyo waiting in line. They said that sampling the best Osaka okonomiyaki is “exciting.”
Okaru Osaka was renovated in 2014, but just like the flavor of okonomiyaki, the exterior still gives us a feeling of good old Osaka.
- Address 1-9-19 Sennichimae Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka-fu
- Phone Number 06-6211-0985
Hours: 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM (L.O.) 5:00 PM – 9:30 PM (L.O.)
Closed: Thursday, Third Wednesday
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*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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