Top 10 Great-Value Izakaya in Osaka for Budgets Under 2,000 JPY
There are a lot of izakaya (Japanese-style taverns) in Osaka – the battleground of food. Below are 10 select izakaya in Osaka that are extremely affordable – from joints where the prices are so low that you’d be surprised, to spots where you can eat takoyaki (octopus dumplings) – where a budget of 2,000 JPY or less will already get you plenty of food and alcohol.
Okanaga is an izakaya where you can drink sitting down while paying tachinomiya (a bar where people drink while standing) prices. Here, there is a wide array of a la carte dishes such as sashimi, fried food, oden (a dish of various ingredients boiled in soy sauce-flavored broth) and salads. Most of the dishes are priced between 200 JPY and 500 JPY, so you can partake without worrying about the cost. One thing that you will surely be happy to know about this place is that its nabe-ryori (hot pot dishes) such as Kaisen Nabe (seafood hot pot) (590 JPY (incl. tax)) are reasonably priced and are available as single servings. There are many alcoholic drinks that can be paired with the dishes, too, and they are mainly priced at around 300 JPY a glass. There is also a variety of local alcohol available here, priced at 500 JPY – 600 JPY per shot (180ml).
Nippon Bar is a bar that is designed using Japan for inspiration. This is a place where authentic side dishes created by hand by a chef who was trained in a ryotei (traditional Japanese restaurant) are priced for a low as 180 JPY (excl. tax), and sashimi kobachi (small bowl) servings all cost 280 JPY (excl. tax). The highball is also extremely cheap at just 170 JPY (excl. tax). It has a sister restaurant that specializes in Matsusaka beef, so it offers guests affordable Matsusaka beef side dishes and the Matsusakagyu Korokke (Matsusaka beef croquette) (380 JPY (excl. tax)) that comes in a limited quantity of 20 pieces per day. These dishes are sold out every day. Now diagonally across this spot is its sister shop Nippon Bar Osaka Ekimae Daiyon Building Shop Sakuranoma.
Shirasukujira is an izakaya where you can enjoy the local cuisine of Kyushu and fresh fish directly sourced from the market in a rather casual atmosphere. It is a spot where people who want to drink just a single shot and those who want to drink alone feel free to drop in anytime. Here, the approximately 10 types of Kisetsugawari no Obanzai – a local home-cooked dish in Kyoto – that uses seasonal ingredients costs 350 JPY (incl. tax) and above. You shouldn’t miss the Hakata-fu Gomasaba (Hakata-style sesame seed-flavored mackerel (650 JPY (incl. tax)) and the sashimi (prices start at 390 JPY (incl. tax)) that are eaten with Kyushu soy sauce, a sauce with a sweet taste. You can pair your food with the Kyushu Kaku Highball (490 JPY (incl. tax)) that uses a generous amount of fruit from Kyushu.
Katsuo is an izakaya where you can eat Oita-style kara-age (deep-fried chicken) that originated from Nakatsu City in Oita, which is said to be the holy ground of kara-age. The Momo Kara-age (thigh kara-age) (480 JPY for five pieces (excl. tax)) that uses the secret dipping sauce of Nakatsu’s famous restaurant Bungoya is properly seasoned with the flavors of soy sauce and garlic. A bite of this crispy fried chicken will reveal that it is piping hot and juicy inside. You can have this to go as well as eat-in. The draft beer, irresistible to beer lovers, is really cheap at just 180 (excl. tax) JPY per glass, regardless of how many glasses you drink. Some beer would go down well with the piping hot karaage and specialty teppan-ryori (dish cooked on an iron plate)!
Nanatsuya is a shop where everything offers great value for your money, but the so-called one coin (500 JPY) sets and limited-time value dishes are especially cheap. This is a tachinomiya-style izakaya where a-la-carte dishes are very cheap, including teppan-ryori, oden, kushikatsu (skewered deep-fried meat and vegetables) and sashimi. It's surprising that most of the dishes in this menu cost around 100 JPY. Note that the price for sashimi is very affordable, starting at 390 JPY (incl. tax). It is pretty cheap here already, but if you come on Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, then you will be able to partake in the Akindo Service that will let you drink alcohol at bargain prices as well. It is really true to the spirit of Osaka’s “akindo” (merchant). With its low prices, this izakaya is constantly packed with customers.
Shin'ya is an izakaya that uses takoyaki (an Osakan specialty of octopus fried in batter balls) as its specialty dish. Here, you can have soft and fluffy takoyaki, which is eaten with delicious bonito stock, starting from 300 JPY. There are many takoyaki dishes here, including the ones that are flavored with salt and the famed mentai-mayo (walleye Pollack roe and mayonnaise). It also offers a full lineup of kushiyaki (prices start at 100 JPY) and izakaya dishes. The Otsukare-chan Set (takoyaki + 2 kinds of snacks/appetizers + one drink (may be draft beer)) is just worth a single 500 JPY coin. The takoyaki can purchased to go.
Yukai Sakaba is an izakaya that runs under the motto of “cheap and delicious”. Starting with its famous Omu-Takoyaki (390 JPY (excl. tax)) that is made by covering takoyaki in fluffy egg, the dishes here that are created by Japanese and Western professional chefs have three price points: 290 JPY, 390 JPY and 490 JPY. The prices of dishes and drinks at this joint are easy to understand. Furthermore, the One Coin Set is a great-value set that you can enjoy with a single 500 JPY coin (incl. tax), and you can choose three snacks/appetizers and a drink, including draft beer (medium size), for your set. Note, though, that this set is only offered for a limited time on weekdays.
※One Coin Set: 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm on weekdays, and all day on Saturday (one serving per person per day)
Ittoku is a shop that is dedicated to kushikatsu – an Osakan comfort food. This famous deep-fried katsu (cutlet) that is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside can be ordered for as low as 70 JPY (excl. tax) per stick. The Honjitsu no Katsu Moriawase 10-pon (daily assorted 10 pieces of katsu) (1,300 JPY (excl. tax)), in which the types of katsu in the set are decided by the chef, is a plateful of well-balanced and delicious katsu, so it comes recommended. Furthermore, if you enter before 7:00 pm on weekdays, then you can have the One Coin Set that includes five sticks of kushikatsu and a drink for just 500 JPY (excl. tax), and the applicable drinks come at such a low price of 180 JPY (excl. tax), so it is an excellent deal. The kushikatsu is eaten by dipping in the sauce on the table. However, the sauce is shared among customers, so double dipping is strictly prohibited.
Eat Man is an izakaya that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Here, they offer the great value set Tanpin Nomihodai (all-you-can-drink single-type alcohol) (every person is required to order three dishes), wherein you can drink an unlimited amount of just a single kind of drink, at the affordable price of 500 JPY (excl. tax). While its dishes are a little pricier than the dishes in the above shops, they have the biggest serving size, so coming in a group is preferred. While its dishes are relatively expensive, including the most famous dish, Maguro no Shippo Steak (tuna tail) (626 JPY (incl. tax)), and Tori Harami no Tatsutaage (a kind of coated, deep-fried chicken (464 JPY (incl. tax)), they are still reasonably priced in general, so there’s no need to worry. The main appeal of this izakaya is that you can come here anytime of the day.
Kintaro is an izakaya that serves yakitori (pieces of chicken grilled on skewers) and chicken dishes that are made with extremely fresh domestic chicken that are purchased through a special supplier. You can order just a single stick (140 JPY (excl. tax)) of the yakitori that is carefully prepared and grilled by the chefs every day. Aside from the delicious flavors of the chicken itself, the secret sauce that is topped up daily also goes really well with alcohol. From opening time until 7:00 pm Monday through Thursday is Happy Hour, and draft beer, cocktails and other applicable drinks are priced at 180 JPY (excl. tax) per glass, however many you drink. It would be best to come early, though.
※Happy hour period: 00:00 am on July 11, 2017 (Tuesday) – 11:45 pm on July 11, 2019
People in Osaka love the feeling of “o-toku” (great value). Being able to drink and eat at just 2,000 JPY, these izakaya definitely fall into that category. So, enjoy value for your money in Osaka, where there has long been a lot of foodies and a huge selection of a variety of dishes.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.