Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto
La Boheme - Italian: Chayamachi [ Open 11:30am-3:30am (LO) daily. ]
You'll find inexpensive but good-quality pastas, pizzas from a wood-fired oven and more substantial Italian fare at this popular Kanto-based chain. This wine list is similarly budget-friendly.
Monsoon Cafe - Misc. Southeast Asian: Chayamachi [ Open 11:30am-3:30am (LO) daily. ]
"Healthy ethnic cuisine" is the theme at Monsoon Cafe, and you'll find dishes inspired by various Asian cuisines in a festive, resort-themed dining space.
Peko - Bar: Chayamachi [ Open 6pm-2am (5am weekends) daily. ]
This quiet, well-hidden bar has plenty of space spread out over three floors, and they offer a good selection of whiskey and bourbon, cocktails and a few Japanese craft beers, as well as an...
Beer Belly - Beer bar: Higobashi [ Open 5pm-midnight (LO; Sat 3-10, Sun 3-8) daily. ]
Minoh Beer is a craft brewery a bit north of Osaka city, and this centrally located taproom serves a line-up of their regular beers (including their excellent W-IPA) plus a few limited-edition...
Cafe Absinthe - Mediterranean: Kita-Horie [ Open 11:30am-3am (Fri, Sat -5am). Closed Tuesdays. ]
Absinthe cocktails are the specialty here; they also serve a nice, extensive menu of Greek/Mediterranean specialties all day long.
Covent Garden - Bar: Kita-Horie [ Open noon-4pm, 6pm-2am. Closed Sundays. ]
A big bar serving good hamburgers and lunchtime sandwiches; they even have poutine, that mysterious French-Canadian dish involving fried potatoes, cheese and gravy. There's a games room in the back,...
Poron Poron - Spanish: Kita-Horie [ Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30pm-late. Closed Mondays. ]
Bunny's paella is chock full of seafood - squid, shrimp, mussels and clams - along with a healthy dose of chorizo, lamb, chicken and, most importantly, saffron-infused rice. It is but one of the ways...
El Poniente Gozo - Spanish: Kitahama [ Open 3pm-2:30am (LO). Closed Sundays. ]
Another jewel in the El Poniente Spanish-food empire, this is a more casual tapas-bar setup, an easy spot to grab a glass of wine and a snack after work.
Chibo - Okonomiyaki: Namba [ Open 11am-2am daily. ]
Five floors of okonomiyaki action here at Chibo headquarters overlooking the river. Actually the top floor - called "President Chibo" - specializes in grilled steaks.
Ippudo Namba - Ramen: Namba [ Open 11am-3am daily. ]
A branch of the famous Hakata ramen chain, featuring thin, slightly chewy noodles in a pork-based broth ("red" or "white"), with or without extra chashu. You can add your own freshly grated garlic.
Kinryu Ramen - Ramen: Namba [Open 24 hours a day. ]
This all-night Dotonbori landmark with the gigantic dragon on top serves a very popular Kyushu-style tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen. Help yourself to unlimited garlic, kimchi and pickles from the...
Zanmai - Sushi: Namba [Open 24 hours a day. ]
Good-value Tokyo-style sushi and convenient hours from the famous Tsukiji-based chain; this is their only Kansai outlet.
Chinese Cafe Eight - Chinese: Shinsaibashi [Open 24 hours a day. ]
Located atop the H&M department store, this 24-hour-a-day shop serves good Peking Duck at just Y3680 for a portion big enough for three or four people. They also serve dumplings and small-plate...
Hatena - Thai: Shinsaibashi [ Open 5:30pm-2am daily. ]
Thai pop music blares from the little food stall right out on the street, where take-out Thai dishes are available until midnight. Inside is a small cafe-style space and art gallery; the food is an...
Ippudo Nagahori-ten - Ramen: Shinsaibashi [ Open 11am-2am daily. ]
A branch of the famous Hakata ramen chain, featuring thin, slightly chewy noodles in a pork-based broth ("red" or "white"), with or without extra chashu. You can add your own freshly grated garlic....
Akashiya - Japanese regional: Umeda [ Open 5pm -2am (LO). Closed Mondays. ]
The prices on the menu outside Akashiya are in U.S. dollars and the sign reads: we have loco food. Does this mean crazy or local? It's a little of both. Masa, your congenial host, will cook up an...
Amelie - French: Umeda [ Open 11:30am-3am daily. ]
The provincial cuisine of Bretagne (Brittany) is the specialty here, including some 40 varieties of galettes (savory buckwheat crepes). Lunch is served till 3pm, and in the evenings the bar is open...
Bar The Farm - Italian: Umeda [ Open 11:30am-midnight. daily. ]
Cheese and vegetable cuisine is the theme at this attractive basement spot in the heart of Doyamacho. The dishes are fairly simple for the most part and nicely presented, focusing on the quality of...
Christon Cafe - Japanese: Umeda [ Open 5pm-4am daily. ]
If you crave an environment of religious statuary, massive chandeliers and bordello-ready plush sofas when you dine out, we've got just the place for you. The over-the-top decor and late-night hours...
En - Japanese: Umeda [ Open 5pm-1am daily. ]
The splashy modern-Japanese decor is all part of the fun at En, but the excellent food and sake are just as big a draw. It's all pretty straightforward izakaya standards - sashimi, grilled fish and...
Ippudo - Ramen: Umeda [ Open 11am-3am daily. ]
Ippudo's Hakata-style ramen noodles, served in a surprisingly rich pork broth, draw the crowds here every night. It's worth the occasional wait.
Kuruma - Yakitori: Umeda [ Open 5pm-midnight (LO) daily. ]
Miyazaki free-range chicken is the main ingredient at Kuruma, with chicken sukiyaki and chicken shabu-shabu supplementing the usual yakitori menu. The tasteful interior is plusher than what you'd...
Portugalia - Portuguese: Umeda [ Open 11am-2, 6pm-2am (food LO 10:30pm). Closed Sundays. ]
You'll find authentic Portuguese cuisine prepared by a native chef in this homey little restaurant. The food is very down-to-earth - rabbit stew, garlic-fried shrimp, grilled meats, codfish...
Tohoku Tabesa - Japanese regional: Umeda [ Open 2pm-5am daily. ]
Kiritampo (toasted rice on skewers) from Akita, tongue stew from Sendai, and other dozens of other exotic specialties from the Tohoku region are the specialty at this lively izakaya. You'll also...
Bar Mar - Spanish: Umeda 2-chome [ Open 5pm-1am (LO). Closed Sundays. ]
This cozy, cave-like Spanish wine bar serves tapas-size servings, including grilled Iberico ham and good fish and seafood dishes. Most wines are priced at Y2500/bottle; budget around Y2500 per...
Ippudo - Ramen: Karasuma [ Open 11am-2am daily. ]
Ippudo's Hakata-style ramen is known for its rich pork-based broth and thin, slightly chewy noodles. There are graters and garlic cloves on the counter if you're so inclined.
Bakujun - Beer bar: Karasuma-Oike [ Open 5:30pm-2am. Closed Mondays. ]
This quiet bar has good food and craft beers, although the atmosphere is rather subdued. There are eight taps along with a selection of bottled beer (both Japanese and Belgian), with beers ranging...
Wine Grocery - Wine bar: Karasuma-Oike [ Open 6pm-2am. Closed Sundays. ]
A cozy little wine bar with an extensive list - mostly French - ranging from Y6000 to Y100,000 per bottle and more (the median price point seems to be around Y15,000). There's also a choice of six...
Yoramu - Bar: Karasuma-Oike [ Open 6pm-midnight. Closed Mondays, 1st Sunday. ]
You'll find a fantastic trove of unusual, limited-edition sakes in this off-the-beaten-track sake pub. The food menu is just as eclectic, and well suited to the drinks.
Ringer Hut - Japanese regional: Kawaramachi [ Open 11am-4am daily. ]
Tasty Nagasaki-style champon and sara-udon noodles are served well into the wee hours at this late-night budget noodle shop.
Le Monument Bleu - Belgian rest/beer bar: Kyoto City [ Open 6pm-2am. Closed Mondays. ]
Located just one minute from Hankyu Saiin station, this attractively decorated specialty bar is worth seeking out if you're a fan of Belgian beers. The list of brews is impressive, and it's matched...
Cordon Noir - Bar: Kyoto City Hall [ Open 7pm-3am. Closed Wednesdays. ]
A specialty bar with an amazing selection of rare Scotch whiskeys; the bartender also mixes good cocktails. The food menu includes the Scottish favorite haggis.
Dai-ichi Asahi - Ramen: Kyoto Station [ Open 5am-2am. Closed Thursdays. ]
A very popular late-night ramen shop with a devoted following.
E.H. Bank - Cafe: Kyukyoryuchi [ Open 11:30am-5am daily. ]
Featured in architecture and design magazines as well as restaurant guides, this beautifully repurposed space is the former lobby of a British bank built in 1938. It's a stylish spot for an...
Ippudo - Ramen: Motomachi [ Open 11am-3am daily. ]
This well-known Hakata ramen shop serves thin, chewy noodles in a pork-based broth ("red" or "white"), either with or without extra chashu. Numerous condiments line the counter, including spicy...
Ringer Hut - Ramen: Motomachi [ Open 11am-5am daily. ]
This late-night budget ramen shop is perhaps the only place in town where you can find Nagasaki-style noodles - champon and sara-udon.
Barstro Kitchen - French: Sannomiya [ Open 6pm-1am (LO) daily. ]
As the name implies, Barstro falls somewhere between a bistrot and a straight-out bar, and you can either enjoy a full-on French-inspired meal here, with dishes like duck confit and foie gras pate,...
Kanemo - Izakaya: Sannomiya [ Open 5pm-2:30am (LO) daily. ]
This comfortable late-night neighborhood izakaya serves excellent fish and seafood. Budget around Y5000 for dinner and drinks.
Ohnishi - Teppanyaki: Sannomiya [ Open 5pm-3am. Closed Mondays. ]
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...
Wine Bar D - Italian: Sannomiya [ Open 6pm-2am. Closed Sundays. ]
This beautifully appointed wine bar-restaurant offers an impressive list of around 400 wines by the bottle, focusing on Italy and France. Wines by the glass start at around Y1200, or Y8,000 by the...
Beer bars and beer festivals around Japan
Fun things to do in the big city
Cat, rabbit and bird cafe guide
Popcult, design and cool stuff to buy
Sushi dictionary and Japan Android apps