When it comes to down-home eating, unpretentious Osaka means business. In this centrally located trading nexus, rice from the fertile south was long swapped for shiploads from the north filled with the staples Japanese really go for: kombu seaweed to make broths, salmon galore and their caviar-like eggs. There’s still an old Osaka neighborhood stocked with seaweed warehouses. And Osaka is also second to none when it comes to sukiyaki — a one-dish celebration of how many vegetables can be used to dress up the superb beef from nearby Kobe. There’s even a good selection of Okinawan eateries, where Chinese and Polynesian influences inform a unique array of slow-cooked dishes.
Sakuichi — Three tight stories of sheer delight for free-spending businessmen, tel: (81-6) 6243 4391.
Kahala — Famed chefs make the pilgrimage to this one-counter lair of an obsessive genius in artistic presentation, tel: (81-6) 6345 6778.
Yoshino Sushi — The place to find Osaka’s traditional form of sushi, pressed into cakelike squares, tel: (81-6) 6231 7181.