Dotonbori is the premier tourist area in Osaka. With the bright lights, canal, and famous spots (such as the Glico running man), it is a must visit when you come to Osaka. This area is particularly known for its incredible food. With so many restaurants, it might be overwhelming to pick which ones to try. However, our guide to the 5 best Dotonbori restaurants makes this process much easier. A famous expression “kuidaore” is often used to describe Osaka’s passion for food. This phrase essentially means to eat until you’re broke! Start your kuidaore adventures at any of these top Dotonbori restaurant picks. But before you begin, here’s a brief history of this popular area.
This area, despite its modern appearance, dates back to 1612. A merchant, Yasui Doton, wanted to widen the Umezu River to create greater business opportunities. Unfortunately, he died before this came to life. However, his canal was finished in the end. A lot of trade came with the canal’s completion, also turning the area into an entertainment area. Dotonbori is very different today, with World War II inflicting damage on the area. Now, it has become a food destination, with an abundance of shops to fit your every craving.
Mizuno is a famous spot for okonomiyaki. For those of you who don’t know, okonomiyaki is basically a Japanese pancake. However, it is savory, with batter and cabbage combined to make it. You can put various toppings and ingredients to switch it up. There are two styles for okonomiyaki, one being Kansai/Osaka style, or Hiroshima style. Osaka style will blend the ingredients together and cook it at one time. Hiroshima style incorporates the food in layers.
Okonomiyaki is very customizable, allowing you to choose just what you like. Some of their popular options are yamaimo-yaki and Mizunoyaki. Yamaimo-yaki is made with yam, and the Mizunoyaki is with pork, squid, and other seafood, among other ingredients.
Mizuno is a very popular spot, so you can expect a line when you go. However, you can expect quick service once you’re seated. Therefore, the line moves pretty fast, and is worth the wait to visit one of the best Dotonbori restaurants. It is open from 11 AM- 10 PM. Prices are roughly 15 USD or 1630 yen for one, depending on what you order.
Address: 1 Chome-4-15 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
Kani Doraku actually has several locations, with the main one being the Dotonbori location. You can easily spot Kani Doraku due to the massive moving crab outside. And it is not a surprise that Kani Doraku specializes in crab dishes, such as hot pots, sushi, and kaiseki.
Kaiseki, or multicourse meals are highly regarded here. They have various options for this. An example is their Kobai. This includes boiled crab, crab sushi, snow crab, and Japanese soup, among other things. They also have a la carte options. Kani Doraku is not a cheap place, because it is serving quality seafood. However, it is worth it and not terribly pricey. Dishes are around 50 USD, but again this will vary depending on what you order. You can also try coming around lunch time to save a little bit of money.
There are also different seating styles. This ranges from smoking/non smoking and Japanese or Western style. There are horigotatsu and private room options throughout the place. Horigotatsu, for those of you who don’t know, is a table that is very low to the ground and has an area for your feet, so that you can outstretch them. You’ll take off your shoes for this. Some people think the seafood smell can be overwhelming, so opt to sit on a higher floor if this will bother you. They also exclusively use Japanese made rice. If you’re a crab lover, you must check out Kani Doraku, as it is truly one of the best Dotonbori restaurants.
Calling all ramen lovers! If you’re dying to try ramen, look no further than Kinryu Ramen. They have several locations as well. A large dragon figure above the restaurant will make this place easy to find. Opening its doors in 1982, Kinryu has established itself as one of the best Dotonbori restaurants. Traditionally, ramen is served in four distinct styles. Those are salt, soy sauce, miso, and tonkatsu based. At Kinryu, they use a tonkatsu (pork) base as the broth. In addition to the excellent ramen, the experience is unique as well.
When you arrive, you select the ramen you want at a vending machine type of machine. Then, you will pay and receive a ticket. You’ll then give your ticket to the counter and be given a number. Just wait for your order number to be called, and then your delicious ramen will be waiting for you. There are only two options here. Either regular ramen or the chashumen. Chashumen is ramen with pork slices. You can add different toppings to customize the ramen to your liking. For example, you can add some kimchi or garlic if you would like.
The plain ramen is 600 yen, making this a great, yet cheap option. The chashumen is slightly more expensive, due to the extra pork. There is also a small tatami style seating area at the Dotonbori location. One of the best parts about this place is their operating hours. Kinryu Ramen is open 24 hours daily. This means you can satisfy your ramen craving any time you please!
Address:1 Chome-7-26 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
Takoyaki lovers, this one's for you. For those unfamiliar with takoyaki, it is one of Osaka’s most famous dishes. Takoyaki are little, round octopus balls. Traditionally cooked with wheat based batter, you can add various toppings and sauces to accompany the dish. This is a very tasty dish that many people are looking to try when they visit Osaka. At Creo-ru, they have excellent takoyaki that people are constantly lining up for. But Creo-ru doesn’t stop there. They also have other Osaka favorites, such as okonomiyaki and kushikatsu.
Kushikatsu is deep fried skewers filled with meat/fish and vegetables. This can be chicken, pork, beef, or seafood. It is often served with sauce. However, do not double dip! This is a big no in the eyes of Osakans. Kushikatsu is said to have been born in Osaka, in the Shinsekai neighborhood. Originally, it was a way for workers to have a quick snack/meal in a convenient form before heading back. Now, it has turned into a very popular, renowned dish.
People also praise the good service here. It is also pretty inexpensive. You can get 6 pieces of takoyaki for about 500 yen, depending on toppings and flavor. Creo-ru is special because you can try many Osaka specialties in one place. It is one of the top Dotonbori restaurants for a reason. It is open from 11 AM-12 AM. Last order is at 11:15 PM.
Address: 1-6-4, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
If you’re simply searching for some sushi, but also a unique experience, try Genrokuzushi. Genrokuzushi is a kaiten sushi place, or a conveyor belt sushi establishment. However, it also happens to be the original kaiten sushi place! The owner is said to have been inspired by beer bottle factories, and thought the same system could be used in his own restaurant. Now, it has evolved to become a popular spot for people to try kaiten sushi. You can find Genrokuzushi based off of the giant tuna sushi above the store. Tourists appreciate the English menus and free green tea provided as well. Sitting in front of the sushi chefs can also provide a fun experience, as you’ll witness how they craft the delicious sushi.
There are many tasty options here. You can get anything from tamago (egg) to corn salad rolls! Everyone can surely find something that suits their taste here. Similar to other kaiten sushi places, the pricing is by the plate. It is about 135 yen per plate, making this a more cost effective option for tourists. It is open from 11 AM to 10:30 PM. Because of the popularity, there will likely be a wait. Make sure to arrive early! If you can’t check out this location, they have many others around Osaka. This is one of the best Dotonbori restaurants, with a low cost and fun atmosphere to go with it.
Address:1 Chome-6-9 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan
Dotonbori has some of Osaka’s premier food picks. Osaka locals have a genuine appreciation for all the wonderful dishes they have created and continue to serve. Tourists find themselves absolutely engulfed in Osaka’s food culture and longing for it when they return home. However, just choosing where to go can quickly become a stressful process on its own. Hopefully our guide can narrow down this process and assist you on your Osaka food journey.
Here is a quick recap to refresh your mind. If you want to have some ramen, try Kinryu Ramen. The simplistic, yet unique nature of the shop makes it a great place to try authentic ramen. The cheap prices and all day operation are additional perks. If you’re in the mood for some takoyaki, try Creo-ru. With several flavors and sauces, you can get a very customizable experience. Additionally, other Osaka cuisines are available to try, making this the perfect place to stop. We specifically recommend Creo-ru if you only have time for one place.
Those looking to enjoy some top notch seafood, specifically crab, should look no further than Kani Doraku. With a wide assortment of crab dishes, you can satisfy your seafood craving here. The variety of seating options can further add to your Japanese experience. But this may not be your best option if you’re on a strict budget. Looking to try okonomiyaki? Mizuno is a great choice. This famous spot is a great way to introduce yourself to the delectable treat. Lastly, for those looking to try some sushi, Genrokuzushi is a top pick. With the kaiten sushi experience and low prices to accompany it, you can satisfy your sushi craving here.
As you can see, Dotonbori has quite an extensive restaurant collection. You can find a restaurant that carries any of your Osaka food desires. There are so many wonderful options, and these 5 best Dotonbori restaurants are only scratching the surface. All food lovers are highly encouraged to visit Osaka, specifically Dotonbori, and try some of the world’s best food. Enjoy!