Top 6 Takoyaki Restaurants in Osaka

Wondering where to eat Takoyaki in Osaka? So were we. So I made this list:

My husband and I recently ate our way through Osaka, dining several times a day on Takoyaki (because, why not?)

Takoyaki is one of Osaka’s “iconic foods” – in English, we say it is fried octopus balls, but really it is chunks of octopus fried in a circular batter. It’s not actually octopus balls (do they have balls?) and is absolutely delicious. I love it.

Takoyaki octopus balls fried osaka

And if you want to read about all the other food I love in Osaka, check out this post I wrote last time I visited, on the top 5 foods to eat in Osaka.

Moving on.

Osaka is one of the most famous places in Japan to eat Takoyaki, so of course we were stressed, trying to find the “perfect” takoyaki place. We went to expensive, city-wide famous restaurants, small mom-and-pop restaurants, and greasy stalls. All were good (in their own way), but my top 6 favorite had to be:

1. Lemon and Black Pepper Takoyaki in “American Town”

Takoyaki octopus balls fried osaka lemon black pepper

For those of you who are familiar with Takoyaki, you know that it almost always comes topped with mayonnaise, Takoyaki/Okonomiyaki sauce (a dark brown, savory sauce), fish flakes, and powdered seaweed.

My husband hates mayonnaise; I love it. We always have to ask for no mayonnaise on half our Takoyaki when we eat out…

This Takoyaki, on the other side, came topped with black pepper and squeezed lemon. And somehow, the flavors worked. I don’t know how.

I wasn’t expecting to like it – and I ended up loving it. Ryosuke too. We got this Takoyaki in “American Village,” near the square. The shop looked like this (not the “Uncle Sam” shop, I’m talking about the shop on the right)

IMG_0698

I wanted to put a “regular Takoyaki” as Number 1… but I couldn’t. I really couldn’t. The Lemon and Black Pepper Takoyaki was just too good.

2. Gindaco “regular” Takoyaki

I love Gindaco. They are a chain restaurant and I frequent several of their chains in Tokyo. I know it’s super unoriginal to put down a chain as one of “Osaka’s best places to eat Takoyaki,” but seriously. Gindaco serves a superior product.

Takoyaki octopus balls fried osaka

They don’t hold back on the oil – and the resulting balls are incredibly crispy on the outside, while still soft and gooey on the inside. I have never had a bad experience at Gindaco and, as much as I wanted to put a small, local Osaka stall above Gindaco, I couldn’t.

They have several different types of Takoyaki. My favorite, of course, is the regular stuff, with mayonnaise, Takoyaki sauce (like a sweet/savory BBQ sauce), seaweed powder, and fish flakes. I am also a fan of their Yuzu/Orange + green onion flavored dipping Takoyaki and their Ume (sour plum) flavored dipping Takoyaki.

Takoyaki octopus balls fried osaka

You can eat in or take-out. We do both. Very often. Osaka was no exception.

Seriously, look at how crispy those Takoyaki are. They are perfect.

3. Greasy Takoyaki from any of the small stalls

Our cheapest Takoyaki came at only 200yen for 6 pieces. It was incredibly cheap – and surprisingly good.

Takoyaki octopus balls fried osaka

I mean, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t the best Takoyaki I’ve ever had. I mean, I’ve had a lot of Takoyaki.

But for 200yen? That is a pretty incredibly price, it’s served fresh, and the people making the Takoyaki are usually pretty friendly. We got this as a midday snack while walking towards Osaka Castle.

4. Dipping Takoyaki at Kukuru Takoyaki

We had high hopes for “Kukuru Takoyaki.” For one, it is along one of the most famous streets in Osaka – and has a giant octopus on the sign. It’s a restaurant that has made the front page of all the Osaka guidebooks because it is supposed to serve mouthwateringly delicious Takoyaki.

IMG_0631

We felt a bit let down. Don’t get me wrong, the Takoyaki was still delicious. It wouldn’t have made this list if it wasn’t delicious.

It just wasn’t “Amazing!” (and was the most expensive Takoyaki on this list) I like my Takoyaki crispy and flavorful, with a unique “kick.” These were soft, gooey all the way through, and very plain. I’m sure they appeal to someone with a much more sophisticated palate, but that’s just not me.

Our favorite at Kukuru was the dipping Takoyaki.

Takoyaki octopus balls fried osaka

I loved the dipping Takoyaki.

It came with a very simple broth (that reminded me suspiciously of Passover Matzo Ball Soup) and with a side of ginger and greens. The Takoyaki themselves were gooey all the way through (not my favorite) and broke apart easily. I guess that is good for dipping in the soup, though.

Takoyaki octopus balls fried osaka

It was an interesting combination.

It was also probably the most “healthy” Takoyaki I’ve ever eaten :)

5. At a food court near Osaka Station

Similar to chain restaurants, food courts know what they’re doing. They serve a delicious, easy to eat, run-of-the-mill Takoyaki. I loved it.

Takoyaki osaka best of tako yaki fried octopus balls japan japanese food

6. Regular Takoyaki from a Mom and Pop restaurant (that doesn’t specialize in Takoyaki)

Just for fun, we tried ordering Takoyaki at a family-run restaurant in Osaka. Their specialty was Udon and Okonomiyaki, but they had Takoyaki on the menu, so we thought “why not?”

Takoyaki octopus balls fried osaka

It was good. Not great, but still pretty good. Once again, the Takoyaki was a bit squishy (I love my oil, sorry) and it was a very average Takoyaki. But still, loads better than you can get at most festivals in Tokyo.

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

15 Comments on Top 6 Takoyaki Restaurants in Osaka

  1. I’m not a fan of takoyaki having crunched down on weird bits, gummed doughy blobs or burnt my mouth. With your suggestions, I will try once more! By the way, have you dropped Disqus? I’m secretly pleased. :D

  2. Thanks for the list! We will be in Osaka in early November and one of my sons is a big fan of the takoyaki that he buys at our local food court in Sydney, Australia. We are all looking forward to trying the genuine article! The crisp ones sound the most appealing to me.

  3. I loved your husband Taco face. You haven’t really experienced all there is about Takoyaki. I went to a place in Namba where you make your own on one of those blue flame clay pot cookers on your table. The place is closed now. It was that place with the one man band robot.

    Also yout can buy electric home Takoyaki makers from the Supa in Japan.

  4. “It’s not actually octopus balls (do they have balls?)”

    According to Dave Barry, they have eight… :)

  5. Recently I watched a YouTube video of one of the popular jvloggers making takoyaki. I make takoyaki at home because in college I had some Japanese housemates that had showed me how, so I ordered and electric takoyaki plate and make them all the time (they’re one of my top favorite foods) however in the video the vlogger and the others in the video put little pieces of mochi in with the octopus! I think I can see the appeal in that but I’m wondering if you have had takoyaki with mochi in it and if so have you found that to be very common and how did you like it compared to non mochi variety?

    • Hmmm. I’ve never had mochi in takoyaki. I often put it in monjayaki and okonomiyaki when cooking at home, though. I feel like that would be a great addition :)

      Personally, I’ve taken to putting Kimchi and corn in my takoyaki in the last couple months. Weird, I know, but strangely delicious.

  6. My oh my, those takoyakis are totally on a different level compared to what I can find in Malaysia. I mean the size. One of your tako is easily the same size as 3 of ours. Now you’re making me regret not hunting for authentic takoyakis when I was in Tokyo :(

  7. I love takoyaki as well. I’ll always try and order it whenever it’s available, which is less often than I’d like. However, it’s also an incredibly dangerous food. I will always remember the time at a convention where I ordered takoyaki, and it was only only a little warm, so the next day when I ordered it again I just put it in my mouth without thinking. Worst mistake ever. It was incredibly hot, and I couldn’t even spit it out because it burned even more if I tried to move it. I ended up just standing there with hot octopus balls in my mouth for 5 minutes or so for it to cool down enough for me to even start to chew it.

    I still ate them all, of course. It was delicious burny hot death.

    • Shoot. That reminds me of the first time I had takoyaki. I can still feel the phantom pain of my tongue burning and deciding not to taste anything for the next three days…

      Now I’m super-careful when it comes to eating hot takoyaki.

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