2013 kicked off with a wonderful trip to Osaka with Y’s Hong Kong friends – YW, AL and TW, just before Chinese New Year. I haven’t been to Osaka in ages since I think 2003 so it was nice to be back there for a short weekend trip before heading down to Niseko for Y and my first skiing trip (a pity they don’t have skis built for bears like me yet, sigh!)
Osaka went past really fast, since we were there for merely 2 and a half days. I will itemise what are the must tries in Osaka for a short weekend. Osaka has increasingly become quite a noteworthy gourmet haven, with an increasing number of Michelin star-rated restaurants, and it’s also great for a lot of its casual eats too.
1-4-15 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Tel: +81 (0) 6 6212 6360
Famous for their okonomiyaki, which I researched fervently before the Osaka trip, this was Y and my first stop for lunch in Osaka after we arrived from a tiring “red eye” flight. Thank goodness, I asked Ritz Carlton concierge to reserve a seat for me at the bar, as the queue was pretty long!
1-9-11-1F, Edobori, NIshi-Ku, Osaka-City, Osaka, 550-0002 Japan
It’s such a pity that we weren’t allowed to take pictures, the 3 hour degustation lunch here was simply mind blowing. Chef Hajime Yoneda adopts French techniques with Japanese ingredients that creates a really unique taste, combination of flavours. It’s definitely one of the best meals I had in my life, and I would ask anyone who comes to Osaka to come here. Just make sure you bring a jacket as it’s bit more formal.
But what was nice that the restaurant manager placed “spare” jackets on the back of the men’s chairs just to make it look like they were wearing it after we realised none of them remembered the “jacket dress code”. I thought that was a nice touch. I spotted Chef Takazawa from Aronia de Takazawa from Tokyo with his whole restaurant team there, this does say something about this restaurant, when another really reputable chef from Tokyo is eating there. Hajime had the honour of receiving 3 stars in when it was listed in the first Kyoto & Osaka Michelin Guide in 2012, and it well deserves it. We practically rolled out of the restaurant, so full but so happy.
3. Shinsaibashi Kawaguchi
This was a really good yakitori place, the tsukune was just the best! God knows how many plates we went through, but my dear friends still continued stuffing their face after this, with gyozas, 2 rounds of ramen in one night, and oh yes dessert.
Chuo-ku, Osaka Shinsaibashi 2-4-4
This is some serious kickass ramen which YW spotted after we had a really BAD BOWL of noodles at Kinryu Ramen (Otherwise known as “Golden Dragon” literal translation from the chinese characters 金龙- so you have been warmed do not go to that one).
We were walking along the famous Dotonbori stretch trying to find better ramen restaurants after a disappointing bowl at Kinryu. Yasubee serves the ramen in a dry style with soup on the side and the classic ramen. Both are so so good. After researching on them, I realised the Osaka branch was newly opened in August 2012, and they started in Tokyo, am just surprised why I never discovered it in my countless trips to Tokyo… hmmmm.. I am quite excited to try it again when I go to Tokyo in October with Auntie LY and Y.
Dotonbori, Chuoku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan
Tel: +81 6-6211-5357
This famous beef establishment has been standing at the corner of Midosuji for about 80 years. We didn’t eat here, but came specially to buy tons and tons of beef, for sukiyaki, shabu shabu, yakiniku and steak to cook in Niseko. Bookmark this next time if you want to bring home some beef to cook. See my next blog on Niseko – where you can see the beef in the hotpot. We didn’t bring a cooler bag, but they had it packed very well, so we just requested for Ritz Carlton concierge to store in their fridge for a night before we checked out the next day.
Located in the fish market of Osaka, we came here for breakfast before going to the airport to catch the flight to Sapporo. This is a great affordable place that I won’t mind eating everyday. It’s great value for money and the sashimi and sushi is so fresh.
I love how it’s so easy to order, with just 4 sets to choose from, convenient especially since the staff in the restaurant only speak Japanese. And it’s a nice touch that we can put as much of the special soya sauce that’s on the table for our sushi. This was a great “yummylicious” breakfast before boarding our flight to Sapporo.
EATS – SWEETS
Oh my Lord, the quality of desserts here are amazing of course, and I am so happy I discovered my all time favourite.
DAIMARU UMEDA take out shop
B1F, Daimaru Umedamise 3-1-1, Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka-city, Osaka
This is my all time favourite Japanese dessert, beating even Gramercy Park for their strawberry cream cakes. I discovered while walking with the blokes around Daimaru basement near Ritz Carlton. And I went on a dessert shopping spree, picking a slice of the ones that I fancied, so that we could potentially eat it after our Yakitori dinner later. I can’t wait to check out the Harbs when I am in Tokyo in October.. yummy!!! Me, Y and LY will eat our hearts out! They have a few locations in Osaka, so don’t fret, just check the website and you may find one near where you are in Osaka.
2. GRAMERCY PARK
Basement of Daimaru Shinsaibashi
One of my favourites for strawberry cream cake, this is not to be missed if you are in Japan. Their other location I know of is Tokyo Takashimaya, but somehow never made it there, so am glad I managed to try it here. The cream is just so light, and the sponge cake is so soft and moist, heavenly!
SOME MEMORABLE PICS TAKEN WHILE WALKING AROUND IN OSAKA
Gyoza King in Dotonbori, TM insisted on buying gyoza here after the yakitori dinner. What was so memorable is listening to their specially produced “gyoza song” which we heard probably 10 times at least while waiting for our gyozas.