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Kansai regional dishes
Kansai regional dishes
In addition to Kyoto cuisine and kaiseki, there are many other specialty cuisines that have their origins in the Kansai region. These include kushi-age (deep-fried meat and vegetables on skewers); takoyaki (octopus balls); okonomiyaki (savory seafood pancakes); and of course the world-famous Kobe beef.

Takoyaki, Akashiyaki

Takoyaki are balls of fried batter filled with bits of octopus, an inexpensive delicacy of Osaka. Akashiyaki are a Kobe version of this dish with a lighter and fluffier batter, using octopus from the Akashi area.

Osaka: Namba -- Takohachi. 06-6211-7808
Located on a quieter side street of Dotonbori, this cute little shop prepares takoyaki, okonomiyaki, yakisoba and an "Osaka set" that includes all of the above plus ikayaki (squid balls) for Y1500.
SunDotonbori 1-8-7. (one block E, one block S of Kani Doraku - the giant crab restaurant ) Open noon-10:30pm. Closed Mondays.
Osaka: Umeda -- Bubutei. 06-6373-3563
This small shop serves takoyaki and akashiyaki (the Kobe-style version of the dish); take-out is available.
SunShibata 1-1-3, Hankyu Sanbangai Minamikan B2F. Open 10am-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Osaka: Umeda 1-chome -- Takonotetsu. 06-6314-0847
Sure you can get takoyaki anywhere in town, but here the metal takoyaki grills are actually built into the tables, and the grills also serve as a motif for the decor here, if it can be called that. Signed photos of local celebrity diners adorn the walls.
SunUmeda 1-9-20, Maru Building B2F. Open 11am-11pm. Closed 3rd Monday.
Osaka: Universal Studios -- Osaka Takoyaki Museum. 06-6467-5144
Yes, it's yet another food-oriented mini-theme park, this one devoted to Osaka's beloved octopus balls. Five famous takoyaki shops are represented, and the souvenir area sells frozen takoyaki to prepare at home.
SunShimaya 6-2-61, Universal Citywalk. Open 11am-10pm daily.
Kobe: Motomachi -- Tako-no-tsubo. 078-392-7256
Akashiyaki is a lighter, fluffier version of takoyaki, made with local octopus, and Tako-no-tsubo is an expert in its preparation. The room cozy dining room - usually filled with the aroma of simmering octopus - is organized around one large wooden table that everybody sits around.
SunSannomiya 3-3-3. (from JR Motomachi take Koikawasuji S, then take the first alley on the left after the Center-gai shopping street) Open noon-9:45pm (LO) daily.

Kushiage

Kushiage (aka kushiyaki) refers to battered and deep-fried food on skewers. Typical ingredients include pork, chicken and other meats; mushrooms, lotus root, and seafood like scallops and shrimp.

Osaka: Namba -- Kushiya Monogatari. 06-6649-0126
It's do-it-yourself deep-fry fun at this popular kushiage chain - pick as many of your favorite skewers as you like along with unlimited side dishes and desserts. Y2625 at dinner, plus an extra Y1000 for all you can drink.
SunNanbanaka 2-10-70, Nanba Parks 6F. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Osaka: Shinsaibashi -- Kushinobo. 06-6282-2294
Good-quality kushiyaki deep-fried skewers from this Tokyo-based chain.
SunMinamisemba 2, Crysta Nagahori B1F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
Osaka: Umeda -- Kushiya. 06-6360-3394
All-you-can-eat deep-fried skewers of meat and vegetables, plus assorted side dishes and desserts, will set you back Y2500 (or Y1260 at lunchtime). There's a two-hour limit, so don't dawdle over the fryer.
SunKakudacho 7-10, Hep Navio 7F. Open 11am-10:30pm daily.
Osaka: Umeda -- Mogami. 06-6345-9085
Earthen walls with backlit niches and the spacious dining room at Mogami elevate the humble kushikatsu (fried morsels on skewers) to a feast. There are 36 different kinds, from fish to vegetables, quail eggs to cheese. However, the indecisive are well catered for. The chefs serve an array of skewers at your table or your place at the long, wide counter until you have had enough. You then say "koko made desu" ("until here" in Japanese). You pay for what you have eaten, as well as any Yamagata sake or wine you have drunk along the way. There is an English-language menu at Mogami and the staff speaks English. Y16,000 for two, including drinks.
SunSonezaki Shinchi 1-10-16. Open 11:30am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Kyoto: Kawaramachi -- Kushiya Monogatari. 075-213-8194
This popular shop lets you cook your own kushiage skewers in a deep-fryer right at your table. It's all you can eat, including various side dishes and a big variety of skewered tidbits. Y2500 per person, with a 90-minute limit. Lunch is served on weekends only.
SunUraderacho 598, Oki Bldg 2F. Open 4-11pm daily.
Kyoto: Kyoto Station -- Kushinobo. 075-365-8734
Reliable kushiage from this Tokyo-based chain. Full-course dinner-size sets start at around Y2000.
SunJR Kyoto Station, The Cube, 11F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
Kyoto: Kyoto Station -- Kushiya Monogatari. 075-691-7655
This popular shop lets you cook your own kushiage skewers in a deep-fryer right at your table. It's all you can eat, including various side dishes and a big variety of skewered tidbits. Y2500 per person, with a 90-minute limit.
SunNishi-Kujo Toriguchicho 1, Aeon Mall Kyoto 1F. Open 11am-9pm daily.
Kobe: Harborland -- Kushiya Monogatari. 078-360-0948
This popular shop lets you cook your own kushiage skewers in a deep-fryer right at your table. It's all you can eat, including various side dishes and a big variety of skewered tidbits. Y2500 per person, with a 90-minute limit.
SunHigashi-Kawasakicho 1-6-1, Mosaic 3F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
Kobe: Nishinomiya -- Kushiya Monogatari. 0798-62-4173
This popular shop lets you cook your own kushiage skewers in a deep-fryer right at your table. It's all you can eat, including various side dishes and a big variety of skewered tidbits. Y2500 per person, with a 90-minute limit.
SunNishinomiya, Takamatsucho 14-2, Hankyu Nishinomiya Gardens 4F. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Kobe: Sannomiya -- Kushiya Monogatari. 078-331-1194
This popular shop lets you cook your own kushiage skewers in a deep-fryer right at your table. It's all you can eat, including various side dishes and a big variety of skewered tidbits. Y2500 per person, with a 90-minute limit.
SunKanocho 4-3-5, Chateau Kitanozaka Bldg 9F. Open 4-11pm daily.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is another inexpensive Osaka favorite - savory pancakes made from flour and eggs and filled with pork, squid, shrimp, shredded cabbage and other ingredients. See the okonimyaki menu article for more details.

Osaka: Namba -- Chibo. 06-6212-2211
Five floors of okonomiyaki action here at Chibo headquarters overlooking the river. Actually the top floor - called "President Chibo" - specializes in grilled steaks.
SunlateDotonbori 1-5-5. Open 11am-2am daily.
Osaka: Umeda -- Boteju. 06-6316-1455
This national chain prepares good-quality okonomiyaki, yakisoba, "modern-yaki", and interesting five-color "salads" of shredded vegetables. They also do a Hiroshima-style option. Take-out is available.
SunKakudacho 7-10, Hep Navio 7F. Open 11am-10:30pm daily.
Osaka: Umeda -- Fugetsu. 06-6367-8002
Besides the usual okonomiyaki variations, Fugetsu also serves grilled seafood - a combo of octopus tentacles, shrimp, squid and oysters is Y1050.
SunKakudacho 8-47, Hankyu Grand Bldg 29F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
Osaka: Umeda 2-chome -- Chibo. 06-6343-7112
This tiny Chibo branch serves the usual inexpensive okonomiyaki variations.
SunUmeda 2-5-25, Herbis Plaza B2F. Open 11am-10:30pm daily.
Kyoto: Kyoto Station -- Hanamarutei. 075-365-8730
Kyoto-style "negiyaki" and the oddly named pizza-style okonomiyaki (with ingredients like tuna, cheese, tomato and corn) are among the choices at this inexpensive shop.
SunJR Kyoto Station, The Cube, 11F. Open 11am-10pm daily.

Kobe beef steaks/ teppanyaki

This section covers classic "steak houses" as well as teppanyaki restaurants, which serve full-course meals that include seasonal seafood delicacies in addition to steak.

Osaka: Umeda -- Ron. 06-6344-6664
A classic old-style Kansai steakhouse that looks like it was frozen in time at some point in the late 1970s; the picture of Bill Clinton on the wall dates back to when he was a governor. Dinner starts at Y8000.
Sonezaki Shinchi 1-10-2. Open 11:30am-2, 5-9:30pm. Closed Sundays.
Kyoto: Gion -- Grill Miyata. 075-525-0848
Monsieur Miyata claims to grill the best steaks in town, and who are we to argue? His no-frills basement shop is charmingly unfashion-conscious, apprearing to have gone through only minimal decorative changes since it opened in the 1960s. Domestic Japanese beef steaks start at around Y5000, and a 200-gram wagyu hamburger set dinner is Y3000; there's also a mixed grill.
SunGion Nawate Shijo-agaru. (1 block E and N of Shijo-Ohashi intersection) Open 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Mondays.
Kobe: Motomachi -- Miyasu. 078-391-3088
One of Kobe's top-rated places for steaks; full-course dinners start at Y9000, or you can go a la carte.
Shimo-Yamate-dori 3-2-19. Open noon-9pm. Closed Sundays.
Kobe: Motomachi -- Rokudan. 078-331-2108
One of the better places in town for Kobe beef and other steaks; they also serve shabu-shabu and nabe-style stews. Steak dinners start at Y5200; Kobe beef steaks are Y10,000.
SunMotomachi-dori 3-8-4. Open 11:30am-8:15pm (LO); lunch to 2pm. Closed Wednesdays.
Kobe: Sannomiya -- A-1. 078-331-8676
The interior here is far from fancy, but the steaks are good and the prices reasonable; full-course Kobe beef steak dinners start at Y6500.
SunShimo-Yamate-dori 2-2-9. (across from Washington Hotel Plaza, on Ikuta-shinmichi next to Kobe Sauna) Open noon-11pm. Closed Tuesdays.
Osaka: Namba -- Minami. 06-6646-5128
Top-quality domestic beef and seasonal seafood dinners start at Y13,860; lunches run from Y5428. The pleasant dining room looks out over the rooftop gardens of the Swissotel directly above Namba station. The drinks menu features Dom Perignon.
SunNanba 5-1-60, Swissotel Nankai. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Kyoto: Kawaramachi -- Misono. 075-255-2981
The "originator of teppanyaki" is Misono's claim, and they've certainly been around long enough, serving Kobe and other local beef steaks since the 1940s. The decor and prices are more down-to-earth than the average hotel teppanyaki house, with dinners starting in the Y5000 range.
SunKawaramachi-Shijo-agaru, TSC Tower 5F. (on E side of Kawaramachi about 2 min. N of Shijo (at first traffic light)) Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-9:30pm (LO). Closed Tuesdays.
Kyoto: Kyoto Station -- Gozanbo. 075-342-5521
Top-class teppanyaki in a very stylish setting inside the Hotel Granvia. Steak lunches start at Y5,000, dinners at Y10,000.
SunJR Kyoto Station, Hotel Granvia 15F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Kobe: Sannomiya -- Ohnishi. 078-332-4029
An unpretentious steak house with friendly service and the feel of a neighborhood hangout. Multi-course steak dinners start at Y8000, but you can also order steak a la carte (from Y4000) as well as grilled chicken, seafood, vegetables and okonomiyaki. They also have a decent wine list that's not overpriced.
SunlateNaka-Yamate-dori 1-17-6, Kitano Phoenix 3F. Open 5pm-3am. Closed Mondays.
Kobe: Sannomiya south -- Itoh Dining. 078-232-3031
Far more affordable than the typical hotel teppanyaki-ya, this attractive department-store shop serves up good-quality seafood, chicken, and of course Kobe beef. The steak lunch is just Y1260, and a full-course seafood teppanyaki dinner is Y3300.
SunIsogami-dori 8-1-23, Sogo Wing 6F. (from the intersection in front of the S exit of JR Sannomiya go 2 blocks S and 1 block E to Sogo Wing) Open 11:30am-9pm (LO) daily.

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Updated 2012/05/07
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