Sai-sai is one of those neighborhood restaurants that specializes in good old-fashioned Ramen. The place is run by an elderly couple and, due to the location of the restaurant (near the more commercial area of Higashi-Awaji), isn´t really visited by too many foreigners. They were super helpful though and eager to assist me, which isn´t too much of a surprise since Japan is one of the best countries in the world in terms of customer service. The menus are fairly inexpensive and the ram is very well prepared. They also offer soba and udon. If you are in the area, do not hesitate to try it!
Kinryu (金 竜), which means golden dragon, is one of many Ramen stands that are on the streets of major Japanese cities. This one in particular is right next to the Namba station, one of the busiest areas of Osaka. These stands are designed to optimize the lunch hour, and are mostly used by men called "salary-man". It has a Ticket machine where you choose what you want to eat, pay and it gives you change, so that you only have to give it to the waiter, ve prepares it right then and there and serves you at the bar (on the same street) . Once you finish the food, leave the dishes there and go on your way, thereby minimizing the time spent on eating.
Hanamaru Udon is a fast food franchise mainly using udon, a type of thick noodle made from wheat that may be eaten with different things, tofu, tempura, vegetables, algae ... Specifically, this corner is the one that is located in the Shinsaibashi Shotengai. It's a very cheap semi-self service type of place where, upon entering you take a tray and choose your drink and a side that you want for your noodles. Then you get to the kitchen window where they ask what style of noodles you would like.
This is one of the restaurants that I like the most in the center of Osaka, in front of the Glico poster. It specializes in chicken (chicken skewers for the most part, which in Japanese are called yakitori), hence the name (tori means chicken in Japanese). They also make very good salads, salmon in particular. It is a place I recommend for dinner for its location and quality design. Regarding price, it's a little more expensive than normal, but affordable.
Juicer Bar is a small franchise of juice stands found in many of the suburban train stations throughout Tokyo and Osaka. Although the company is from Osaka, the quality of its juices and smoothies made soon also spread through Tokyo and there may also pop up in suburban train stations in other cities. To me the juices were tasty but a bit pricey (about 2.5 - 3euros per quart)
Royal Host is a "Family Restaurant" chain located in various places throughout Japan. There are restaurants serving various types of food (Italian, Japanese, etc..), Desserts and coffees. Although the food can't be classified as fine dining, it's well prepared with quality ingredients. Such places are ideal for heterogeneous groups with different tastes when it comes to eating. Also, they offer children's menus at affordable meals.
Kouryu (康竜 in Japanese) is a chain of restaurants specializing in ramen, a popular noodle soup in Japan. Its name means something like "healthy dragon" and it has outlets throughout the country, though I visited the one in Dotonbori in Osaka. The decor is stunning and they have menus starting at around 1,000 yen. The ramen isn't the best I've had in Japan, but it's good, filling, and authentic enough. If you're in the area, it's a really great place to stop by for a quick lunch.
Nijyu-Maru is a Japanese restaurant chain present throughout Asia, but my favorite one is in Dotonbori at the beiginning of Shinsaibasi. To get in, you have to enter the building on the opposite side of the bridge and go to the second floor. We asked for a table by the window, so we could dine in the glow of the neon lights. One thing that makes this place stand out is that you order your food and drinks from a tablet rather than from a water! The food is far from traditional, but you can have a nice meal in a young, fun atmosphere for around 20 or 25 euros per person. Highly recommended!
Amataro is a chain of izakayas (Japanese style taverns) found throughout Japan, but this corner is on one of the sites specifically, Senri-Chuo, which is an area of northern Osaka which you can get to by taking line Kyuko Kita-Osaka, which is an extension of the metro-line Midoshuji that was built for the exhibition of Osaka 70. While the food wasn´t anything different from what we had already tried in any other Amataro, there is something that makes this place particularly special, being located on the 22nd floor, it has a breathtaking view of Osaka from north to south that you can enjoy while you eat. The price per person for a meal at this restaurant between 25-35Euros
Tapa is a Tokyo-based restaurant chain found throughout the island of Honshu. Despite the name, the food is primarily Asian but there are some Western fusion dishes on the menu. I visited the branch of Namba (great location, by the way). You order your meals on tablets and if you get a pamphlet from the street you can get up to 20% off your meal. The best way to get there is going to the Namba Subway and taking Exit 14.
Umeda Toka is a traditional Japanese restaurant which, as the name suggests, is located in Umeda, one of the most privileged areas of Osaka.It specializes in fish, but oddly, when I went there with my coworkers we actually liked the meat dishes best. They serve thinly-sliced cuts of meat along with potatoes and vegetables which you cook over a small fire then dip in one of the accompanying sauces. A full meal with salad, meat, fish, dessert, and drinks costs around 30 euros.
Although there a Starbucks on Sakurabashi Street, I'm going to write about the more popular outlet in Nishi-Umeda on the ground floor of the hotel Dai-ichi in the Maru Building. It is so popular because there's a small garden right in front and it's a nice area to sit out and chat over a cup of coffee when the weather is nice. Really lovely atmosphere.
Sojibou specializes in Japanese soba and is a member of Gourmet Kineya chain of noodle restaurants found throughout the country. This restaurant is in Rinku Station. In summer, they offer dishes of hot soba starting at about 800 yen (5 euros), which include noodles, pickled vegetables and a bowl of rice. There are also tempura dishes and other sides available.
It's a little Ramen shop (Ramenya) located in the heart of Dotonbori. I like it because it's usually not too crowded, but the taste is genuine and tables overlooking the river are great for a conversation between friends. It's a traditional ramen shop (but with a very nice décor) where you can choose the thickness and texture of the noodles as well as specialty meats with extra cha-shu-men (which is delicious).
Kura Sushi is one of those typical sushi restaurants with the "Kaiten" style, meaning that the sushi dishes are on a conveyor belt and you go about collecting them off the belt. If it didn't have what we wanted, we just ordered it. Later they count your dishes in order to calculate the bill. Depending on the shape or color of the plate, depends on the cost of the plate. In this particular place, located in Suita-shi, the north of Osaka, we found a great value. The nearest station is Ryokuchikōuen station, from the station you still have to walk about 10 minutes south.
Seattle's Best Coffee is a chain of coffee shops, but the one I'm talking about is on the ground floor of Umeda station. The variety of coffee on offer and the decor will probably remind your of Starbucks. All in all, it's a nice place to have a quiet chat while waiting for your train.
The string "El Torito" is a Tex-Mex chain located in several countries, including Japan. The branch that I visited was the one on the fourth floor of the Namba Hips building in Osaka. The restaurant is quiet and tastefully decorated in Mexican motif but with a modern twist. The food wasn't typical as expected, and seemed to be adapted to be softer to please more palates, but it was delicious. An ideal place for people ve like this kind of food but may be sensitive to spicy food.
"Mos Burger" is a Japanese burger chain where you can find a touch of oriental flavor in each of their fixed menus. Personally, the burgers and other snacks of this chain are more appetizing to me than those of Western franchisees, but I must admit that the portions are smaller. This particular place is Senri-Chuo (called by locals SenChu), which is an area of northern Osaka which is accessible by monorail or taking line Kita-Osaka-Kyuko, which is an extension of the metro-line Midoshuji that was built for the Osaka exhibition 70.