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Osaka (Kansai) Japan

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Thing To Do & See


Café Absinthe

For fantastic alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and juices and an incredibly diverse menu of Mediterranean food (something of a rarity in Kansai), this friendly restaurant on the western edge of Ame-Mura is a must. The drinks and food here cost a little more, but they're worth it when you factor in the quality of the ingredients and the atmosphere. And, yes, it does serve the eponymous absinthe. Needless to say, this place can easily double as a nightspot.

Gataro

This a cosy little spot that does creative twists on standard izakaya themes. Look for the glass front with credit card stickers on the left as you head north in the arcade. Unlike most izakaya, this one has an English menu.

Imai Honten

One of the area's oldest and most revered udon specialists and our favourite place on the strip. Try the tendon (tempura over rice; ¥1575). An oasis of calm amid the chaos (the no-mobile-phone policy ensures quiet), it's sandwiched between two pachinko parlours. There's no English sign, but the traditional front stands out among the glitter.

Chibō

A good spot to sample okonomiyaki (literally ‘cook what you like’; often called Japanese pancake), one of Osaka’s most popular dishes. Chibō’s modan yaki (a kind of okonomiyaki ) is a good bet at ¥950.

Nishiya

An Osaka landmark that serves udon noodles and a variety of hearty nabe (iron pot) dishes for reasonable prices, including a tempura udon (¥1100). Look for the semirustic façade and the food models about 10m north of the corner.

Zuboraya

The place to go when you’ve worked up the nerve to try fugu (Japanese pufferfish). Look for the giant fugu hanging out the front.

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