Yakitori is skewered chunks of chicken broiled over flame with sauce and salt. It may be a simple dish, but there are many shops that specialize in their distinct flavors and in the kind of chicken that they use. Below are 10 of the best spots in Osaka where you can eat tasty yakitori.
Ueda is a famous shop where you can taste their so-called “yakitori for adults”. Here, you can savor dishes incorporating carefully chosen chicken in a relaxed atmosphere. The chicken that they use is Nara’s popular Yamato Nikudori, a local rich and sweet chicken that is overflowing in meaty juice. This shop’s menu is filled with standard dishes and unconventional, creative yakitori concoctions. The experienced sommelier and sake connoisseur will even suggest wine and Japanese sake that will go with your food. This restaurant is in the Michelin Guide Kyoto/Osaka 2018.
Average budget: 7,000 JPY
ROKKEN is a restaurant where you can enjoy rare local chicken and natural wine at reasonable prices. For chicken, it uses extremely fresh Tamba chicken that is directly delivered from specific poultries in Hyogo and Kyoto. The moderately lean meat is rich in taste and contains only a small amount of fat. Its appeal comes from the flavors that will fill your mouth when you bite into it. You must pair their local chicken dishes with Bio-wine (natural wine) that does not use pesticides and chemical fertilizers on the grapes. There are about 30 types of dishes on its menu all the time. English menu available.
Average budget: 760 JPY for lunch, 3,500 JPY for dinner
3. Motomi Osaka Nishi-Umeda Shop
Motomi is a restaurant specializing in chicken dishes that are extremely fresh and overflowing in robust taste. It uses chicken that is raised and subject to asabiki (slaughtered on the same day that it is cooked) in Kagoshima by its owners. The producers know all about chicken, so this shop is able to serve chicken with the kind of recognizable tastiness. Aside from the Kushiyaki (spit-roasted chicken) (180 JPY (excl. tax)) in which the flavors of the meat are drawn out by carefully broiling every stick of yakitori over charcoal, there are many other dishes that go really well with Japanese sake, such as the Tori Liver no Pate (chicken liver pate (600 JPY (excl. tax)) and Tori Muneniku no Ichiyaboshi (chicken breast salted and dried overnight) (650 JPY (excl. tax)). Try pairing your food with any of the collection of brand sakes from all over Japan. English menu available.
At YAMATO, you will be able to relish dishes made by the chef, who worked in a yakitori joint, using the knowledge he has cultivated over many years. It is famous for the Faisandage wo Shita Poulet Noir no Yakishimo (grilled faisandage (cured) poulet noir) (1,200 JPY (incl. tax)), in which the meat that has been cured for 4-5 days is broiled and then garnished with black truffle salt. The Kushiyaki that is priced from 200 JPY (incl. tax) per stick uses Omi Shamo and Yamato Nikudori meats that are characterized by their small amount of fat and crisp texture. Aside from thigh and other standard meats, this restaurant also offers a lineup of rare parts (availability depends on the state of meat delivery). Further, it serves a variety of dishes that include sashimi and ala carte dishes that use liver, among others. This restaurant is in the Michelin Guide Kyoto/Osaka 2018.
GENKI is an izakaya (Japanese-style tavern) where you can enjoy chicken dishes and seasonal delights that use fresh vegetables sourced from contract farmers. This spot uses Banshu Jidori chicken that is characterized by its adequate firmness that comes from its free-range breeding over a vast area. It offers an exquisite collection of dishes that include Sumibi Jidorikushi (skewered local chicken broiled over charcoal) (prices start at 250 JPY (excl. tax)), Sashimi (780 JPY (excl. tax)) and the Hiden no Shiroi Jidori Nabe (hotpot of secret white local chicken) (3,800 JPY (excl. tax)). The Genki Tokusei Tsukune (special chicken meatloaf) ※ (390 JPY (excl. tax)) that is eaten with the yolk of eggs shipped directly from the poultry is also recommended.
※Tsukune is grilled minced meat that is formed into dumplings or cylinders
6. Torifuji Fukushima Shop
Torifuji is a specialty yakitori restaurant where you can savor delicious dishes together with local sakes chosen by the shop owner and many other Japanese sake and shochu (white distilled liquor). It also serves Otsukuri (sashimi) (prices start at 980 JPY for assorted sashimi) that is guaranteed fresh since it uses local asabiki chicken. You are sure to enjoy the inherent sweetness and deliciousness of local chicken. Here, there is a long lineup of yakitori that costs from 130 JPY per stick, centering on the staple varieties such as Negima in which green onion is wrapped inside thigh meat. Don’t miss the Kodawari Tamago no Oyakodon (chicken and specialty egg on rice)※ (680 JPY) that uses three thick eggs.
※Oyakodon is a dish wherein chicken meat that is being stewed in broth seasoned in soy sauce, sake, sugar and other condiments is covered in egg mixture and then poured on top of rice
This restaurant is a place where you can dine on exquisite dishes such as sashimi and smoked yakitori that use asabiki chicken. The chicken caught that morning is dissected in the shop to ensure freshness. You can even enjoy rare chicken parts here. But the one thing that makes this shop is the Ibushiyaki (smoked) method that uses Bincho charcoal (a kind of high-grade charcoal). The key to this method is the charcoal grill that is designed in such a way that the smoke from the chicken fat that fell into the coal does not escape. The meat is evenly grilled on the surface thanks to the far-infrared rays of the charcoal fire, and the smoke adds another layer of delicious aroma to the meat. Make sure to try pairing your yakitori with Japanese sake that has been handpicked by the restaurant owner.
Tachibana is a restaurant where you can taste kushiyaki and creative dishes using chicken. The kushiyaki that is carefully grilled over bincho charcoal, stick by stick, comes in an assorted set (prices start at 735 JPY) and ala carte (prices start at 136 JPY). You have to try the Kushiyaki 5-shu Mori (assortment of five types of kushiyaki) (1,000 JPY) that uses Hinai Jidori (Hinai chicken) which is said to be the best in all of the branded chickens in Japan in terms of taste and quality. The most popular dish here is the Jishin Manman no Tsukune (Ran-o-tsuki) (chicken meat loaf with egg yolk) (525 JPY) that will make you feel an explosion of sweet and delicious flavors of chicken in your mouth. If you order the Chiisana Tsukune Moriawase (assorted small tsukune pieces) (1,000 JPY), you will get to enjoy a variety of flavors, including oroshi ponzu (grated citrus), cheese, mayonnaise and garlic, and special sauce.
Ayamuya is a restaurant where you can taste Tamba chicken that has the right texture, richness and distinct taste. The Sumibi Yakitori (charcoal-grilled yakitori) (prices start at 250 JPY (excl. tax)) that is broiled over high-grade Kishu Bincho charcoal is prepared by adjusting the strength of the fire according to the chicken part that is being cooked. To ensure that the yakitori is served at the best possible state, the chef applies the perfect skewering technique and seasoning with salt, and then carefully grills each stick of the yakitori. Aside from the grilled dishes, the Otsukuri (1,520 JPY for the assorted set (excl. tax)) and the Nama Tsukune are also popular here. The dishes go perfectly with Japanese sake, as well as wine. This restaurant is in the Michelin Guide Kyoto/Osaka 2018.
Naraya is a kappo (an authentic Japanese cuisine restaurant where you can see the chefs cook the food across the counter) where you can enjoy chicken dishes in a refined space. Its dishes use the famous local chicken Yamato Nikudori that is directly delivered by its partner poultry farms in Nara. When it comes to yakitori, this restaurant offers ala carte dishes such as the Omakase Kushiyaki Goshu-mori (assortment of five types of yakitori chosen by the chef) (1,780 JPY (excl. tax)), as well as the Yamato Nikudori Kushiyaki Course (4,500 JPY (incl. tax)). Aside from those, there are also dishes that will let you fully enjoy the delicious flavors of chicken, such as the Yamato Nikudori Otsukurimori (1,800 JPY (excl. tax)) that will let you enjoy the sweetness of chicken, and the rare Yamato Nikudori Shirogimo-aburi (1,680 JPY (excl. tax)).
The restaurants in this list serve dishes that are cooked using a distinct type of chicken and cooking method. If you ever visit Osaka, make sure to find and visit the shop that offers the kind of yakitori you like.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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