Japanese food is some of the best in the world. It’s no surprise that many flock to Japan to try the incredible cuisine. You may think you’ve tried Japanese food in your respective country, but this is nothing compared to what you’ll find in Japan. These famous foods include everything from sushi, takoyaki, tempura, udon, ramen, and tonkatsu (pork cutlet). If you’re only visiting Japan for a short period of time, you can’t waste your time trying to find the best. It is essential to experience the top quality, best selection of these Japanese delights. Especially when it comes to trying the best tonkatsu in Osaka.
Osaka in particular has a very strong food culture. Many famous dishes have come from this area, and the people greatly value their special cuisine. You’ve probably heard of most of these, or even tried some version of them before. But specifically with tonkatsu, have you ever had the best of the best? The juicy, mouth watering type? With perfectly crispy edges? With that being said, you’re likely to be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of restaurant options. Luckily, we’re here to help, with a list of the top options in Osaka.
SO WHAT IS TONKATSU?
For those of you who don’t know, tonkatsu is a pork cutlet that are deep fried. This dish often comes with some raw shredded cabbage. The main ingredients involved are the pork cutlets, egg, panko bread crumbs, and flour. The basic steps are putting the cutlets in flour, then dipping in egg, and putting in the panko bread crumbs. You might be wondering what the difference between regular bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs is.
Panko is just a breadcrumb type. It is made from white bread that is baked in electric current, which gets rid of the crust. Apparently, Japanese soldiers in World War II thought of this method because they needed a way to bake bread without an oven. From there, they air dry the bread loaves and then make it into crumbs. The crumbs are put into a high heat oven, resulting in this crispy texture. Tonkatsu also typically comes with a sauce that is very similar to Worcestershire sauce. Now that you know tonkatsu’s background, are you ready to dive in?
Tonkatsu Manger (とんかつマンジェ) is highly regarded among locals and tourists alike. You can tell how popular this place is due to the long line and wait that often comes with your visit. Luckily, you can put your name and phone number down. This way you won’t be stuck waiting around for your delicious tonkatsu to arrive. Tonkatsu Manger is about a 5 minute walk from Yao station. It is not the most centrally located place, but it won’t disappoint.
Opening in 1996, Tonkatsu Manger only serves pork of the utmost quality. Some of the types of pork offered are Aji and Iberian pork. This makes a difference in the taste. For example, the Iberian pork is from the Black Iberian pig, which is raised to have more fat. This ultimately results in a very tender, delicious flavor. Prices will vary depending on the pork you choose, with Iberian being the most expensive. They pay careful attention to everything, including the chef's frying technique. He lets the pork cook for a second after he’s done frying, so that the protein filled juices will not leak out.
Furthermore, they offer two different salt options. One is a white, truffle infused sea salt and the other is a black charcoal himalayan salt. Two sauce options are also available. These are an original sauce and house special sauce. As stated, tonkatsu sauce is similar to worchestire sauce. Tonkatsu Manger uses 10 different fruits to make theirs! A good sauce is key to completing your dish, so rest assured, this one is not too sweet.
You can get everything from pork tenderloin to tonkatsu sandwiches. Prices generally range from about 1000 yen to 4000 yen, depending on the size, type, and assortment you order.
It is open from 11 AM -2 PM and then 5 PM- 8:30 PM. However, as noted earlier, come early to grab a spot. They are open from 8:30 AM to reserve a spot - and trust us, you’ll want to come earlier rather than later. This is due to the limited seats available, so that they can focus on experience and quality. 80 people are allowed for lunch, and only 70 for dinner. They only have 13 seats total, which are counter style. They are also closed Monday and Tuesday, so keep this in mind before making the trek out here. If you want tonkatsu, this is the best tonkatsu in Osaka.
Don’t let the name confuse you, this place is not French, but rather serves some of the most delicious tonkatsu around! Epais is open from 11 AM - 3:30 PM, with the last order being at 2 PM. They will reopen for dinner starting at 6 PM and close at 10 PM. Epais is not open on Sunday. If you’re arriving by train, get off at Kitashinchi station. For the subway, get off at Higashi-Umeda station. Both will only require a short walk to reach Epais.
Opening in April 2013, Epais is a high quality place. Popular items include things such as Chamiton cutlet, where the pigs are actually partially fed with tea! Uniquely cared for pigs translates into the juicy, mouth watering flavor in the tonkatsu. Prices here can range from 1000-4000 yen for a dish, again, depending on what you get. The slightly pink tinge ensures a perfect texture, without being underdone.
This place can be slightly difficult to locate. It is on the third floor of the New Hana building. Kitashinchi, the area in which it is located, is very quiet during the day. It really starts to be a bustling area at night. Therefore, do not be alarmed if it appears to not be open. This place is also very popular, even at lunchtime, so keep this in mind. The last thing you want to do is wait hours for food when you’re already hungry. We recommend a reservation so you can avoid this situation altogether. This long wait is also due to the only 12 seats available. It is a mix of counter and table seating.
BEST TONKATSU IN OSAKA # 3: TAZUMURA DAIMARU UMEDA
Tazumura Daimaru is on the 14th floor of the department store Daimaru Umeda. It is quite common for Japanese department stores to have several restaurants within. This place is very close to Umeda station and actually connected to Osaka Station, making it a lot more convenient than some other places. Here, they specialize in serving the kurobuta pig. This is actually the same thing as a Berkshire pig. Again, these special pigs ensure a juicy, quality meat for the tonkatsu, as opposed to regular farm raised pigs.
At Tazumura, they will use panko and fry the tonkatsu in canola oil. This creates a very crispy exterior, with the perfect amount of crunch. The slow process also assists in making this top notch tonkatsu. Furthermore, this place is quite tourist friendly. They offer menus in three other languages. More specifically, they are English, Chinese, and Korean. It is also within a good price range. On average, lunch is around 1,100 yen and dinner is 2,000. These prices make Tazumura a great option to try some of the best tonkatsu in Osaka, without breaking your budget.
Their operating hours are 11 AM-8 PM, with last order being at 7:00 PM.
Kimukatsu actually has locations throughout Japan, and even internationally! Therefore, you might be able to have some tasty tonkatsu even in your home country, if you’re lucky. Their Osaka locations are also in prime tourist areas. One is in Dotonbori, with the other being in Shinsaibashi. Don’t let being a chain restaurant throw you off though, because this place still makes our list of the best tonkatsu in Osaka.
They are special for their cooking process. First, they use the best parts of the pork loin, which they carefully choose. Then, they fry the tonkatsu for 8 minutes at a low temperature. Following this, they steam it for two minutes, which they say provides uniform heat and therefore the best tonkatsu. After, they cut it into very thin layers. In fact, there are 25 layers in kimukatsu!
The Dotonbori location is open from 11 AM - 3 PM and then 5:30 PM-11 PM. Last order is at 2:30 for lunch, and 10 PM for the night hours. The Shinsaibashi location is open from 11 to 11, with last order at 10:30. It is not terribly expensive, with pricier dishes coming in at around 2200 yen. This is a great pick for some of the best tonkatsu in Osaka, and awesome locations to go with it.
BEST TONKATSU IN OSAKA # 5: TONKATSU KYK HANKYU SANBANGAI
This place is inside Hankyu Sanbangai on the Basement 2 floor, which is actually attached to Hankyu Umeda station. It also has other locations besides this one, including one at Kansai International Airport. Like other tonkatsu places, they also have several different types to choose from. One example is the Okinawa tonkatsu and black pork tonkatsu (Kagoshima). People praise the juicy, tender texture of the pork. They combine two oils for frying, namely soybean and vegetable oil. According to reviewers, they also have an English menu available. The hours are 10:30 AM to 10:30 PM. A tonkatsu set is typically around 1400 yen, but this can increase depending on the type you choose. KYK will provide a no frills, yet reliably tasty tonkatsu. You can count on this place for solid tonkatsu in good locations, which is why it makes our best tonkatsu in Osaka list.
Food is very important to the people of Osaka. With endless restaurant options though, it can be hard to pick just one place to try! There are also so many Japanese specialities, which makes it hard to decipher which places will serve what. In addition to a possible language barrier, visitors might feel lost deciding where to go. Lucky for you tonkatsu lovers, we have compiled a list of several excellent places that serve the best tonkatsu in Osaka. From small specialty restaurants to chain options, everyone looking to try tonkatsu will be able to find a place. We have chosen various options with tourists in mind, as it may be hard to travel to some of these locations.
Just to recap, the more specialty places with just one location are Tonkatsu Manger and Epais. Tonkatsu Manger is especially not the most conveniently located for tourists, but if you have the time and are committed, you must visit. Tazumura and KYK are great for people who are shopping or just need a convenient option. Kimukatsu is great for those in tourist areas in Osaka and are looking for some delicious tonkatsu. No matter where you go, rest assured that you will get some of the juiciest, crispiest, tender best tonkatsu in Osaka! Get ready for this mouth-watering dish, and to brag to all your friends about the incredible food you’ve devoured!