It's hard to think of a better Osakan soul food than okonomiyaki. There's plenty of toppings to be had, and plenty to go around. The sizzle of mix on the griddle, the scent of the sauce wafting filling the store, the fluttering bonito flakes on top, all of it entices the appetite.
Dotonbori is a particularly contested spot for okonomiyaki, where popular establishments all duke it out against each other. From Michelin restaurants to veteran establishments, we'll look at three notable okonomiyaki spots!
1. Mizuno: Shining in the Michelin ratings for 4 years in a row
The entrance's spiral pattern leaves an impression
You'll find this restaurant in the arcade on Dotonbori's shopping street, on the east side of the storied Hozenji side street. Founded in 1945 with the first owner's yoshokuyaki as its roots, the second owner kept the flavor alive, while the third and current owner, Yoshiko Morikawa, added in a delightful texture to the okonomiyaki.
It's won awards from the Michelin Guide for four years in a row since 2016, and people are always lined up outside.
Decorated with a spiral of mayonnaise: Mizunoyaki (1,405 yen, tax included)
Mizunoyaki uses six types of carefully curated ingredients
Named after the restaurant itself, Mizunoyaki is one of the two most popular items on the menu. With expertly curated pork rib, octopus (oysters in winter), adductors and more, this luxuriously filled okonomiyaki boasts a powerful flavor.
Yamaimoyaki (1,620 yen, tax included)
The second most popular item is the Yamaimoyaki. Developed by the third owner Morikawa, it has been loved for about 36 years.
Using absolutely no flour, it instead uses Japanese yams, providing a slight sweetness that brings out the flavor of the ingredients. Warm and gooey as soon as it's finished, it gains a crispy quality as you eat it. There are two possible types of ingredients you order for it.
Professionals long in contact with Mizuno expertly choose its ingredients
Making the flavor that gained Michelin's approval is the expertly curated ingredients. The restaurant obtains its ingredients from specialists: Fish from fishmongers, meat from butchers, pickled vegetables from specialists, and all from the nearby Kuromon Ichiba Market. They deliver their best ingredients of the day, guaranteeing flavor and freshness.
The specialists of Team Mizuno ensure that you dine on only the finest!
Negiyaki (1,025, tax included)
Modanyaki (Mazeyaki) (1,135 yen and up, tax included)
Aside from the big two, there's also the negiyaki with plenty of green onions and soy sauce for the health-conscious, and the flavor-packed modanyaki with noodles for those who really want to chow down.
There are two types of modanyaki: The classic mazeyaki, made with flour or Japanese yams and cabbage, and the tasty, crepe-like yoshokuyaki.
The grill is on a counter with seats in front of it. Menus are in English, Chinese and Korean
1-4-15, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Ten-minute walk from Metro Midosuji Line/Sennichimae Line Nanba Station, Sakaisuji Line Nihonbashi Station, Hanshin Namba Line Osaka Namba Station, Kintetsu Railway Kintetsu Nihonbashi Station, and Nankai Main Line Namba Station.
Hours: 11AM to 10PM (last order: 9PM)
Closed: Open Daily
2. Bonkuraya: An alluring soft texture, favored by performers
Bonkuraya's entrance. Go up the stairs to the second floor
A slightly retro interior
When you go through the entrance off the tourist-filled main street of Dotonbori, you'll find Bonkuraya, purveyor of okonomiyaki and teppanyaki. The okonomiyaki here stands out for its soft, gooey texture, enhanced by the Japanese yams and finely cut cabbage it's made from.
Ahobonyaki (1,880 yen, tax included)
The first recommendation we have to make is the “ahobonyaki”. It’s a big, puffy okonomiyaki with shrimp poking out of it, making you want to snap a quick picture.
It's filled to the brim with ingredients: Pork, scallops, squid, octopus, beef tendon, and deep-fried pig offal making for a powerful combination of flavor. For an extra 200 yen, you can add in noodles to make it a modanyaki.
The fun of having okonomiyaki made right in front of you
The okonomiyaki is grilled up by the elite staff before being brought to your table's griddle. There are English menus and staff who can speak Chinese and Korean, so if you’re wondering what’s in a dish, you can always ask. The okonomiyaki tastes great cold, too, so their takeout is reportedly popular.
Negitororo Tsukimiyakisoba (1,380 yen, tax included)
Negitororo Tsukimiyakisoba is an excellent dish with a rather unique appearance. Using Ranou eggs from Oita Prefecture, known for their deep color and flavor, the dish is arranged to be eaten with grated yam and green onions, enhancing the rich flavor of the fried noodles. The onions also add a wonderful texture.
Tenshi no Ebi Garlic (1,280 yen, tax included)
On the teppanyaki menu, their “Tenshi no Ebi Garlic” is much loved. It makes use of New Caledonian angel prawn (tenshi no ebi), thought to be the highest quality shrimp in the world.
The soft shrimp meat grows only more fragrant when grilled with garlic, making it a perfect companion for some alcohol. The crispy garlic chips also make the thick bean sprouts taste all the better.
The window seats at the back give you a clear view of Dotonbori River
There are other items on the menu, such as the “puchiyaki” (6 ingredients 1,080 yen, 9 ingredients 1,580 yen, tax included) which has a variety of ingredients you can eat bit by bit, the soft “wafu harami steak” (1,080, tax included), the “bonchanyaki” (780 yen and up, tax included) that you eat by dipping into dashi like akashiyaki, and the “aburakasu cabbage” (1,180 yen, tax included) that is beloved by performers. There are plenty of items to try, so pick what sounds best to you!
Okonomiyaki Teppanyaki Bonkuraya Dotonboriten
2F, 1-5-9, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Ten-minute walk from Metro Midosuji Line/Sennichimae Line Namba Station, Sakaisuji Line Nihonbashi Station, Hanshin Namba Line Osaka Namba Station, Kintetsu Railway Kintetsu Nihonbashi Station, and Nankai Main Line Namba Station.
Hours: 11AM to 3AM next day (last order: 2AM), Sunday/Holidays to 12 AM (last order 11PM)
3. Botejyu: Founded in Osaka's meal street Tamade in 1946
The classy entrance to Botejyu Main Branch Dotonbori
Botejyu started on Osaka's meal street Tamade in 1946 and now has 85 branches domestic and abroad. Their okonomiyaki is made with flour, Japanese yams and their secret, all-natural dashi, fresh cabbage, and carefully curated meat and seafood. To top it all off, their expert cooks craft them on iron griddles. The sweet, thick sauce uses no additives. Enjoy it with carefully developed, creamy Osaka mayonnaise.
Botejyu Main Branch Exclusive: Dotonboriyaki (1,780 yen, tax included)
Most recommendable is the main branch's exclusive Dotonboriyaki, filled to the brim with beef, pork, shrimp, squid and octopus.
The fried egg on top gives it an aesthetic appeal, and the soft yolk mixes well with the sauce to create a rich flavor. The base, made from exclusively ground flour, is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The natural dashi extracted from seafood also has a high-class scent, allowing you to enjoy a truly luxurious dinner.
The original classic: Ganso Butadama (980 yen, tax included)
On the other hand, the “Ganso Butadama”, the original pork okonomiyaki, has had an unshakable popularity throughout the 70 years the restaurant has been in business. It includes a large amount of pork and is grilled in an elliptical shape. No matter how you cut it, you'll taste plenty of pork.
The steam rising from the open kitchen at the center of the establishment simulates the appetite
Buta Yakisoba (980 yen, tax included)
Yakisoba has also been around since the restaurant's founding. The original noodles were developed to be aged for a long time at low temperatures for exclusive use in yakisoba. They have a unique chewiness that lets you really taste the wheat with every bite. It boasts plenty of volume, as well, making this one dish you can't miss.
The chefs mix together three original sauces right on the griddle, allowing you to enjoy the lasting taste of combined noodles and sauce.
Original Takoyaki (600 yen, tax included)
Mukashinagara no Osaka Tonpeiyaki (680 yen, tax included)
There are other Kansai classics offered, such as the popular "original takoyaki" (600 yen, tax included), which is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and topped with delicious bonito flakes and konbu. The chewy octopus mixes well with the special sauce and white Osaka mayonnaise. The "Mukashinagara no Osaka Tonpeiyaki" has juicy pork wrapped in egg, another delicious pick.
Stylish interior, English menus available
The main branch has other exclusive items on the menu, as well. The “Namba Mix Okonomiyaki” (1,380 yen, tax included) and “Namba Mix Yakisoba” (1,380 yen, tax included) have a mix of pork, boiled beef and konjac, and kimchi to make for spicy dishes that are popular with tourists.
There's also the Botejyu Dotonbori Set for 2-3 people that runs for 4,500 yen and includes 5 items, including the Ganso Butadama and Dotonbori yakisoba, as well as another Botejyu set that includes the Botejyu-founded Osaka Modanyaki and Negiyaki in its five items.
1-6-15 Comradedouton Bld.2F, Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Seven-minute walk from Metro Midosuji Line Namba Station
Hours: 11AM to 11PM (last order: 10PM)
Closed: Always Open