THE PLANT LIST X Vegan Guide to Osaka
Osaka is notoriously a major foodie city. They have many dishes they’re famous for, but two of their main ones are okonomiyaki and takoyaki - you guessed it, not vegan by nature, but that definitely wasn’t going to stop me in hunting. Osaka, Japan is a super cool city, good culture, good coffee, trendy af, more laid back and cheaper than Tokyo; if I were to pick one place to live in Japan, it’d be here! I only had a day and a half to enjoy this great city, but it was the second time so wasn’t wasting any minutes when planning where to hit. Here’s our own personal guide to the best vegan food in Osaka (that I had time for trying!)...
If any of you have been before and have your own recommendations to add, we’d love to hear them!
#1 • BASE ISLAND KITCHEN
1 Chome-16-27 Kitahorie, Nishi Ward, Osaka, 550-0014, Japan
One of my favourite spots in Osaka! A Jamaican-Japanese spot run by one very cool female chef who speaks perfect English, oozing good energy and passion for conscious cooking, serving up a ton of wholesome and creative vegan tapas. It's a small, cosy hole in the wall by every sense of the word, where you sit at the bar and get to watch the owner prepping her Plant magic. Affordable and convenient location. Highly recommended.
Tried: 4 different tapas (carrot tofu hot dog, cauliflower salad, forgotten the rest!) served with bean rice, salad and a soy chai.
Closed on Tuesdays.
#2 • SHIZEN BAR PAPRIKA SHOKUDOU
Japan, 〒550-0013 Osaka, Nishi Ward, Shinmachi, 1 Chome−9−９ alivio 新町１F
This place was packed on arrival and surprise, they said they had no more room. Not one to give up so easily, after travelling especially to experience this spot I’d read a lot about, I asked if I could come back in half an hour. They agreed and success, there was room when I returned! Persistence pays off, fam. The hype was true - this spot was definitely a stand out in Osaka! Soy meat that was deep fried to perfection, drizzled in a Japanese style mayo, accompanied by some equally delicious sides. Finishing off with a baked cheezcake - beautifully presented on a wooden platter, 10/10 would come back again.
Tried: Fried soy meat platter and cake for dessert.
11:30AM–2PM & 5:30–10PM daily
#3 • SELF TACOYAKI BAR IDUCO
1 Chome-3-20 Taishi, Nishinari Ward, Osaka, 557-0002, Japan
An absolute treat of a find! An authentic DIY takoyaki bar that’s not only fun but affordable, and a cool spot to just hang out drinking a beverage chatting to some down to earth locals. Not a sit down place and not a lot of room so a good place to roll up solo or with a couple of friends max. Normally this traditional Osakan delicacy is made with octopus, so not only was it a real treasure to find this joint that used some exciting ingredients like shiitake, kelp, konjac and yam for the batter, but to get to make it (or at least try to) yourself!! Full disclosure, I was rubbish at the technique; foreigner shining through, so the gracious bartender/takoyakitender lent me a hand in the process, and I got to be entertained watching in mesmerisation instead. A truly chilled out hole in the wall spot, full of good vibes, this place is a must visit.
Tried: 16x very filling vegan yaki balls.
5PM-12AM Sun-Thu. 5PM-1AM Fridays & Saturdays.
#4 • AJU
1 Chome-10-14 Nakazaki, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0016, Japan
Ready to tick off mission two on the try all the Osakan hits, I managed to find this no-frills homely spot serving up traditional Japanese Okonomiyaki (normally always contains egg), vegan mayo and all. Finished off with a tasty soft serve ice cream. Props to the man running this joint all on his own; making food and running orders - he didn’t speak English but easy enough to point and pronounce what you wanted. No ambience but a good spot to sample some Osakan cuisine with a plant based spin.
Tried: Okonomiyaki and soy soft serve.
Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays.