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12 Highly-rated Places to Eat on Dotonbori, Osaka’s Iconic Food Street

Osaka is known in Japan for its delectable food, and if you want the full experience when it comes to all the delicious types of food here, there’s one area in the city you need to visit — Dotonbori.

Dōtonbori (道頓堀, どうとんぼり) is a street located in Namba where locals and tourists alike flock to get their fix of Osaka specialties, whether it be a meal at a restaurant, a snack at one of the many street stalls, or both. You can spend an entire day just eating different things here, which is why it is associated with the term kuidaore (食い倒れ, くいだおれ), meaning to eat until you drop.

I love the bustling vibe in Dotonbori and the colorful restaurants and stalls with massive replicas of Osaka favorites like takoyaki, or seafood like crab and octopus. The atmosphere is exciting, albeit a little overwhelming when it comes to deciding exactly where to eat. After all, our stomachs can (unfortunately) only hold so much. 

So for those who have limited time in Osaka, here are 12 highly-rated places to eat on Dotonbori that are popular with locals as well as domestic and international tourists in Japan.

Looking down Dotonbori food street in Osaka. It's approaching dusk and the street is full of people walking in both directions. On either side of the street, the buildings feature many colorful and gaudy lit-up signs that have already been turned on in the fading light.
Dotonbori food street in Osaka is well-known both for its range of food options and ostentatious signage /via Getty Images.

Kushikatsu Daruma Dotonbori (道頓堀だるま)

Kushikatsu (串カツ, くしかつ), sometimes known as kushiage (串揚げ, くしあげ), is an Osaka delicacy consisting of skewed meat and vegetables, which are battered and fried.

Kushikatsu Daruma is one of the most popular chains for this type of food and Dotonbori’s is absolutely worth visiting. The giant face above the entrance of the restaurant alone makes it hard to miss!

The massive face above the entrance to the Kushikatsu Daruma restaurant on Dotonbori, Osaka. The face is of a male chef with a black hat and white attire. His expression is cartoonish and over-the-top, almost a little angry-looking with furrowed brows, big flared nostrils and bared teeth.
The commanding entrance to the Kushikatsu Daruma restaurant on Dotonbori, Osaka © Kay A.

Kushikatsu Shirotaya (串カツ しろたや)

Shirotaya has excellent kushikatsu, some of the best I’ve had in Osaka thus far, especially for the price. It doesn’t have a flashy appearance like some of the places on this list and is tucked inside the third floor of the Nakaza Kuidaore Building, but it doesn’t need any gimmicks to lure in customers. 

I love their variety of kushikatsu, which are cooked right in front of you if you get a counter seat. The kushikatsu are crispy on the outside and juicy and tender inside. My favorites are the chicken tenders and the mozzarella, which is perfectly melty and stringy with each bite.

The wooden exterior of Kushikatsu Shirotaya - it has a simple traditional Japanese vibe that contrasts with the flashy facades of street-level restaurants along Dotonbori.
The simple exterior of Kushikatsu Shirotaya contrasts with many of the flashy facades of street-level restaurants along Dotonbori © Kay A.
A silver rectangular metal tray with a cooling rack nested inside. Four pieces of kushikatsu are resting on top. From right to left: Pork, chicken tender, mozzarella and asparagus.
From right to left: Pork, chicken tender, mozzarella and asparagus. Note that the restaurant is currently serving kushikatsu sauce in a bottle but you can ask for a traditional tin container to dip your kushikatsu into for an additional charge © Kay A.

Chibo Okonomiyaki Restaurant

Trying okonomiyaki, a savory grilled pancake, is a must when in Osaka. Chibo is a beloved chain restaurant with branches worldwide, and their Dotonbori branch is certainly worth visiting as it has a special okonomiyaki called Dotonboriyaki (道頓堀焼き). This item is the most popular, which is no surprise given that it is larger than your typical okonomiyaki and packed with pork slices, shrimp, squid, cheese, and beef tendon with konjac. 

There may be a line outside but it moves fast as the friendly staff takes your order while you wait. You can customize the okonomiyaki to your liking in case there’s something you’d prefer to omit, and there are also gluten-free options!  

Your okonomiyaki is cooked right in front of you if you have a counter seat and the flourish of mayonnaise that is then spread and made into a beautiful pattern on the okonomiyaki is fun to see. Although the okonomiyaki is made quickly, taste is not compromised.

The torso and hands of the chef can be seen pouring brown okonomiyaki sauce from a metal container onto one of the three okonomiyaki cooking on the hot plate. The chef is wearing a white shirt and a red apron.
The cook pouring okonomiyaki sauce onto the okonomiyaki, which will then be topped with mayonnaise and bonito flakes © Kay A.

I got the Mentaiko Mayo Cheese Fuwatoroyaki but asked for regular mayonnaise instead of mayo containing mentaiko (明太子, めんたいこ) — seasoned pollack roe. Despite omitting what may have been an important topping (it’s in the name, after all), the golden brown okonomiyaki was packed with flavor with perfectly crispy pork slices. The perilla leaves inside were also a refreshing touch.

The size was just right for me as it wasn’t overly filling, meaning I had room to eat other things on Dotonbori. But don’t worry, if you want something more hearty, there are larger sized okonomiyaki, such as the aforementioned Dotonboriyaki, as well as many side dishes.   

Chibo’s Mentaiko Mayo Cheese Fuwatoroyaki on the hot plate and ready to eat. The author swapped the mentaiko mayo for regular mayo. The pancake is topped with dried bonito flakes.
Chibo’s Mentaiko Mayo Cheese Fuwatoroyaki wih regular mayo © Kay A.

Ajinoya Honten (味乃家 本店)

I have been wanting to try Ajinoya Honten but whenever I go, there’s a huge line and I haven’t had the time to wait, unfortunately. Once I passed by at 3pm and there were even more people waiting than there had been at noon! However, this is a testament to the popularity of this place, which has been in business for decades. 

Their various kinds of delicious, fluffy okonomiyaki bursting with cabbage are loved by both locals and tourists. The staff will also cook the okonomiyaki for you so that your tastebuds have a perfect experience. I’ve heard their special okonomiyaki sauce is excellent as well.

Two women in white tops and black bottoms facing away from the camera wait at the front of the line on the balcony of Ajinoya Honten (located on the 2nd floor) to get a seat. A row of traditional lanterns hang from the ceiling above.
The incredibly popular Ajinoya Honten okonomiyaki restaurant, located on the 2nd floor, consistently has a line all the way down the stairs, even outside of typical lunch hours © Kay A.

Teppanjinjya Dotonbori Branch (鉄板神社)

This teppanyaki restaurant is tucked into the basement of the Erika (エリカ) building, but it is easy to find. Jinjya (神社, じんじゃ) means shrine, so the outside of the restaurant has both a large white lantern with the restaurant’s name on it and a bell, which are both typically found at shrines in Japan.

I love the stylish and relaxed atmosphere in Teppanjinjya. It’s a perfect place to wind down and try different kinds of grilled food served on skewers while enjoying a beer or two with some edamame and jazz music. My favorites were the bacon-wrapped camembert cheese, shiitake mushroom stuffed with minced meat, and the asparagus. They also have seasonal specialties such as oyster and Yellowtail in the fall.  

The red, black and white traditional facade of Teppanjinjya teppanyaki restaurant on Dotonbori, Osaka. There is a large white lantern outside and a rope with a bell, that you'd typically see at a shrine, before the stairs leading down to the basement restaurant.
The traditional facade of Teppanjinjya teppanyaki restaurant on Dotonbori, Osaka © Kay A.
Kushikatsu (battered and fried meat and vegetables on skewers) at Teppanjinjya teppanyaki restaurant on Dotonbori, Osaka. Clockwise from the top right: Asparagus in mayonnaise, shiitake mushroom with minced meat and bacon-wrapped camembert cheese.
Clockwise from the top right: Asparagus in mayonnaise, shiitake mushroom with minced meat, and bacon-wrapped camembert cheese © Kay A.

Kani Doraku Dotonbori (かに道楽)

One of the most famous sights in Dotonbori, other than the neon Glico Running Man, is a giant moving red crab atop Kani Dōraku, a restaurant specializing in (unsurprisingly) crab, which is kani (かに) in Japanese. They have a ton of different dishes featuring crab, such as sushi, tempura, boiled crab, simmered crab, grilled crab, and the list goes on.

Given the price, I wouldn’t recommend coming here unless you want a full-on crab experience and get one of their set meals. Otherwise, you can grab a kani man (かにまん), which is a steamed bun filled with crab meat, at their outdoor stall. 

A night time shot of a bustling Dotonbori, Osaka. To the right, the giant orange mechanical moving crab above Kani Doraku restaurant can be seen.
The giant orange mechanical moving crab above Kani Doraku restaurant is one of the most recognizable and photographed spots along Dotonbori /via Getty Images.

There are several branches across Japan but this particular one in Dotonbori is the first. I haven’t had the chance to enjoy a sit-down meal here as I want to enjoy this restaurant with my family; however, I have gotten one of their fancy bento boxes for my husband and daughter to share. It took about thirty minutes to prepare, which was fine because I was able to eat some things along Dotonbori as I waited.

As is typical of bento boxes, it was cold by the time my family had it but despite this, they enjoyed every last bit and felt very spoiled by the meal. This makes me look forward to when we can enjoy a piping hot meal in the restaurant. 

A six compartment kani bento (crab lunch/meal box) with crab prepared various ways from Kani Doraku crab restaurant on Dotonbori in Osaka. The crab shumai dumplings even have a little soy sauce bottle, the kind you'd typically get with takeout sushi, in the shape of a crab.
The ‘Kani Bento’ from Kani Doraku crab restaurant on Dotonbori in Osaka featuring crab prepared various ways. It contains (clockwise from the top left): grilled crab, rice mixed with crab, boiled crab, crab croquette, crab and vegetable tempura, and crab shumai dumplings. The crab-shaped soy sauce bottle is a cute touch © Kay A.

Dotonbori Imai Honten (道頓堀今井 本店)

Boasting over seven decades of history, Dōtonbori Imai catches almost every traveler’s eye because of how much it contrasts with many of the showy and modern restaurants in the area. It is located in a modest traditional Japanese building with black kawara (tiles) and a willow tree called Yoimachiyanagi, which has become a landmark of sorts in Dotonbori. 

Known for its kitsune udon, which originated in Osaka, this restaurant is commonly featured in gourmet magazines in Japan. This is one reason why there’s usually always a line of people outside waiting to have a taste of the famous noodles and the special dashi (broth), a family recipe that has been passed down generations.

If you live in Japan and can’t make it down to Dotonbori to try this udon restaurant, they have an online store where you can order their broth, noodles, or even bentos.

A line of people wearing face masks outside the traditional facade of the Dotonbori Imai main branch. A willow tree, that has become a landmark on Dotonbori can be seen out the front.
For a more traditional vibe, check out the Dotonbori Imai main branch and their famous kitsune udon © Kay A.

Harijyu (はり重)

The Harijyū building, built in 1948, sits on the corner of Dotonbori and houses three highly-rated restaurants that all feature beef in different styles — one specializing in Japanese curry, the second sukiyaki and shabu-shabu, and the third a western-style grill.

A sign on the corner with the name of the building. It reads "Harijyu" from left to right at the top, and then has the name in kanji characters in vertical alignment along with the reading in hiragana (furigana) down the side. The building is tiled in two different shades of brown.
Harijyu is a one-stop-shop for beef dishes on Dotonbori © Kay A.

There is also a meat shop where you can get fresh meat or packaged meals like beef stew to cook at home, and even ready-made food such as bentos and katsu (cutlet) sandwiches.

Mattari Purin (まったりプリン)

Mattari Purin is located in the Harijyu building, but unlike the others, it doesn’t specialize in meat. Instead, it’s the place you go to for a quick dessert. 

The custard pudding (purin in Japanese, written as プリン) from this store is among the best I have ever had in my life and is true to its name, mattari (まったり) meaning rich in flavor. It’s thick and creamy with a perfect balance of vanilla, sugar, and egg, with a hint of cheesecake flavor. It’s no wonder that Mattari Purin has been featured various times on television programs, in magazines, and in newspapers in Japan.

The outside of Mattari Purin on Dotonbori. It is a simple take-out shop with a counter facing the street and various signboards out on the pavement.
When you’re in search of a quick and delicious dessert on Dotonbori, head to Mattari Purin for rich and creamy take-out pudding © Kay A.

Takoyaki Doraku Wanaka (たこ焼き道楽 わなか)

Of course, I can’t write an article about what to eat in Dotonbori without including one of the most famous must-have foods in Osaka — takoyaki! These savory grilled balls of batter containing a piece of octopus and topped with delectable sauces are sold in many shops along Dotonbori but one of the most well-known is Takoyaki Dōraku Wanaka. This is a chain shop but the Dotonbori branch is absolutely worth visiting. 

You can either dine inside and grab a beer while you’re at it or take your takoyaki to go. I recommend getting their variety box (ooii, おおいい) so that you can try four different flavors — traditional takoyaki sauce with mayonnaise, green onion with salt, soy sauce, and mentaiko mayonnaise (usually shortened to mentai mayo, 明太マヨ, in Japanese).

The outside of the Takoyaki Wanaka store with its red awning and red lanterns above the counter.
What to eat in Osaka: Takoyaki is a must-try in Osaka and Takoyaki Wanaka is one of the top spots to enjoy this Osaka street food © Kay A.

Creole Junk (くれおーるJUNK)

If you want to try some takoyaki with a spin on it, check out Creole Junk. This stall serves standard takoyaki as well as four different gourmet takoyaki topped with either porcini mushroom sauce, olive oil, cheese and black pepper, truffle salt, or two different kinds of spicy sauce. They also have fried chicken and yakisoba if you want a little extra. 

There are small outdoor tables where you can enjoy your takoyaki with some bottled beer. I’ve tried the porcini mushroom sauce and I quite enjoyed the creamy and savory taste of it on the soft and piping hot takoyaki. It was like a tasty hug on a crisp winter day.

A serving of four porcini mushroom takoyaki with a toothpick flag poked into one of them that says "Creole JUNK" (the Creole part written in hiragana) and under it the words "Spicy takoyaki" in English. Next to the text is a little takoyaki character with a black hat and black sunglasses.
The porcini mushroom takoyaki at Creole Junk, Dotonbori © Kay A.

Salon De The Alcyon

If you somehow have room for dessert, then you’ll want to visit the Salon De The Alcyon patisserie. Their seasonal sweets, such as cakes and tarts, are exceptional. You can either dine in with a dessert and one of their many teas at the fancy European-style salon on the second floor, perhaps even treat yourself to a Paris Afternoon Tea set, or simply order some sweets to go from the first floor.

The European-style facade of the Salon De The Alcyon tea shop and patisserie on Dotonbori, Osaka. There are some pot plants and various signboards on the pavement showcasing current offerings.
For tea and dessert on Dotonbori, it doesn’t get more stylish than the Salon De The Alcyon tea shop and patisserie © Kay A.

When I first visited in the winter, they had several desserts flavored with Earl Grey tea, my favorite, so I ordered an Earl Grey mousse with orange peel to go as well as a strawberry shortcake for my husband and daughter. They packaged everything perfectly so everything looked just like it had in the store’s glass display case by the time I got home.

After one bite, I was instantly hooked by the perfect balance of flavor and texture, and my family felt the same. I’m looking forward to trying more of their desserts, especially their fruit tart, which was already sold out in the afternoon when I arrived.

A display case filled with French-style cakes and desserts for take-out at Salon De The Alcyon tea shop and patisserie on Dotonbori, Osaka.
A selection of cakes and desserts on offer for take-out at Salon De The Alcyon tea shop and patisserie on Dotonbori, Osaka © Kay A.

If you’re interested in visiting any of these shops (which you absolutely should!) you can find them on this Google map to make it easier for you to eat your way through Dotonbori! 

Happy feasting!

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