One of Osaka's most famous local dishes is takoyaki, balls of dough with octopus inside and topped with a variety of ingredients like bonito flakes, mayonnaise, sauce, and more. There are so many takoyaki places in Osaka that you're bound to find at least one just by walking around the neighborhood. Here are 5 particularly recommended places. Each place has different characteristics, so walking around and comparing takoyaki quality is one way to enjoy Osaka!
1. Takoyaki Douraku Wanaka
Takoyaki Douraku Wanaka is beloved by locks and always has a line. The batter uses dashi made of kombu and bonito to great effect, and the pieces of octopus used are fairly large. The outside is crispy but the inside is moist. Usually takoyaki is eaten with sauce (a brown, slightly-sweet sauce that is sort of similar to Worcestershire), at Wanaka there are four kinds of seasonings you can eat the takoyaki with. One of them is that sauce for a mild and refreshing taste. The second is Okinawan kettle-boiled salt that enhances the umami of the dough and the octopus. The third is soy sauce and it works gently with the flavors of the dough to create a typically Japanese-taste. Finally the last one is doro sauce, a type of sauce from Kobe that is like the aforementioned sauce but a little spicier and stickier. They have a set called Ooiri (500 JPY (incl. tax) where you can pick two flavors from these four as well as any limited flavors they have on hand. If you can't decide on which flavor to pick, why not get the Ooiri and enjoy multiple?
8 pieces of takoyaki (450 JPY (incl. tax), 12 pieces (600 JPY (incl. tax))
2. Takoyaki Juuhachiban
If you want to enjoy takoyaki as a snack, the place to go is Takoyaki Juuhachiban. The batter is made using a blend of dashi, milk, and tenkasu (crunchy bits of deep-fried dough left over from making tempura), resulting in a dough that's rather unique, but that creaminess has made it very popular. The ingredients are octopus, ginger, tiny shrimp, and finally when it's done it's covered in more tenkasu, resulting in a bumpy texture. The outside is crispy thanks to the tenkasu, but the inside is moist. The difference in textures in just one bite will make you addicted. You can pick between sauce mayonnaise or salt as toppings. You can also do half and half to compare how each one tastes. A box of 6 go for around 300 JPY while 10 are about 600 JPY.
*Price changes depending on the branch.
*Depending on the branch, they may not offer 6 pieces.
3. Dotonbori Honke Ootako
Ootako is a well-established spot that has stuck to its original flavor for the past 40 years even though it's in the takoyaki battlefield that is Dotonbori. They are very particular about the freshness of their octopus and each takoyaki uses quite large pieces of it. When you take a bite into the takoyaki, it feels like the octopus is jumping out at you thanks to its volume - this is something that you can't find anywhere else. The batter is slightly sweet and goes well with a slightly fruity, sour sauce. They offer traditional toppings for takoyaki, including sauce, dried seaweed, and bonito flakes - but don't use mayonnaise!. This is the place to go for the true flavor of traditional Osaka takoyaki.
6 pieces of takoyaki (380 JPY (incl. tax )), 10 pieces of takoyaki (630 JPY (incl. tax)), 20 pieces of takoyaki (1,260 JPY (incl. tax))
4. Tako no Tetsu
Tako no Tetsu is a rare shop where you grill your own takoyaki. Takoyaki is the perfect size for eating and walking, but why not try takoyaki while sitting at a table and enjoying yourself with your friends and family? Of course the staff will help you if you need it, but you can customize your takoyaki based on how much you want it grilled, your chosen toppings, and your sauce choices. Outside of regular takoyaki they have meat-stuffed sanzokuyaki, curry takoyaki, tropical yaki filled with corn or cheese or pineapple, and other variations of takoyaki that you can enjoy. How about making a purely Osaka memory of your trip by making and enjoying your own takoyaki?
Aiduya is said to be birthplace of takoyaki. The main characteristic of Aiduya's takoyaki is that it's smaller than other shops and they don't use sauce. The first generation owner wanted to create a takoyaki that you could eat with your hands, was cheap, and tasted good even when cold, and they have continued his legacy. Of course you can eat it with sauce if you want, and the shop makes sauce, vinegar soy sauce, and cayenne powder out so you can season it to your liking. Something that's particularly recommended is the Ganso Radioyaki. It's said to be the prototype for modern takoyaki. It doesn't use octopus, but beef tendon, konnyaku (jelly made from konjac yam). and green onions. The soy sauce dashi used in the dough matches perfectly with the richness of the beef and the konnyaku. Please enjoy the roots of takoyaki at Aiduya.
12 pieces of takoyaki (500 JPY (incl. tax)), 15 pieces (620 JPY (incl. tax)), 18 pieces (740 JPY (incl. tax)), and 21 pieces (860 JPY (incl. tax))
Takoyaki is one of Osaka's representative foods and as a result each restaurant has its own particularities about the takoyaki they serve. Please appreciate their passion and energy when you go try the different takoyaki styles available to you in Osaka, especially at these spots.
*Please note that the prices and other information in the article may not be the most up-to-date information