Eating washoku (Japanese cuisine) is one of the best parts about visiting Japan. One of the most popular washoku dishes is ten-don (short for "tempura donburi"), which consists of tempura placed on top of a bowl of rice. It's something you just have to try! With that, here are 5 recommended restaurants in Osaka where you can pick up this dish.
1. Hyouten Umeda Sky Building Branch (Umeda)
This restaurant is located in Takimi-koji, a restaurant area designed to look like a retro townscape inside the Umeda Sky Building, a popular sightseeing location. They top their ever-popular ten-don with 7 kinds of tempura, including shrimp, renkon (lotus root), eggplant, and more. You will be amazed by the crispy texture of the freshly fried tempura! During lunchtime, it costs 750 JPY (incl. tax) for an order of ten-don by itself, or 800 JPY (incl. tax) for a set with a small bowl of udon (thick noodles). You can also enjoy reasonable prices during dinnertime, as there is a set meal including ten-don and miso-soup available for 1,000 JPY (incl. tax). English and Simplified Chinese menus are available.
2. GINZA Hageten Shinsaibashi Store (Shinsaibashi)
This long-established tempura specialty chain opened its first location in Ginza, Tokyo in 1928. At their Shinsaibashi location, you can taste the foodies' favorite Edo-mae tempura* even in Osaka! As for the ingredients, they use seasonal vegetables and fresh fish delivered to the restaurant while still alive. The ingredients are covered in a thin coating of batter and fried for just a short period of time, so the tempura here is very light. During lunch, you can order ten-don covered in a rich, sweet, and spicy sauce. One recommended dish is the Oebi Ten-don (1,512 JPY (incl. tax)), which is topped with 8 types of tempura, including oebi (prawn), a half-boiled egg, and vegetables.
*Edo-mae tempura refers to Kanto-style tempura consisting of ingredients dipped in an egg batter and fried in sesame oil. It is characterized by its deep golden-brown color. In contrast, Kansai-style tempura does not include eggs in the batter and is fried in purified vegetable oil, resulting in a much lighter color than Edo-mae tempura.
3. Tempura Tsunahachi Namba Branch (Namba)
The main store of tempura specialty restaurant Tempura Tsunahachi was opened in 1924 in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Here, you can enjoy Edo-mae tempura cooked until crispy in Taihaku sesame oil. On top of the Kyuzo Bowl (3,024 JPY (incl. tax.)) you will find tempura made from oebi, seasonal seafood and vegetables, anago (conger eel), and kakiage (seafood and vegetables cut into small pieces, battered, and fried in clusters). If you order it, you will also receive miso soup, pickles, and some sashimi as part of the set. This restaurant is easy to stop by, as it is located in the iconic Osaka entertainment district of Namba.
4. Sakaoka (Noe)
Sakaoka is located 5 minutes on foot from Noe Station on the Keihan Railway, and serves reasonably-priced tempura made from seasonal ingredients hand-picked by the discerning chef. The ten-don here is topped with tempura of 2 shrimps, onion, benishoga (ginger pickled in plum vinegar), and vegetables, and costs 780 JPY (incl. tax) during lunchtime. You can also order the Premium Ten-don (940 JPY (incl. tax)), which includes the addition of anago and octopus tempura. Each option comes with miso soup and pickles. During dinner, you can add a small serving of ten-don to your course or entree for 580 JPY (incl. tax)).
5. Ebinoya Namba Walk Branch (Nippombashi)
You can find this tempura specialty restaurant in the underground mall Namba Walk, located just 1 minute on foot from Nippombashi Station on the Kintetsu Namba Line. Here, you can savor fragrant tempura lightly fried in a special blend of sesame oil and soy shirashime oil. One selling point of this shop is that they will fry your tempura right in front of your eyes after you order it, and serve it to you piping hot. The prices are also quite reasonable, so don't be afraid to casually stop by. The recommended choice from among the ten-don offerings is the Ebi Nihon-don (890 JPY (incl. tax)), which comes with miso soup. In addition to 2 pieces of shrimp tempura, this ten-don is topped with tempura of squid, white fish, egg, and seasonal vegetables.
This article introduced restaurants located in Umeda and Namba, the two largest entertainment districts in Osaka, as well as some spots off the beaten path. They all serve delicious food, so try one out if you can!
*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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