Visiting Osaka, Japan in the Kansai area and on a budget? We know that food expenses can be one of the largest concerns in a travel budget, so we’re providing our list of the 9 best restaurants in Osaka for cheap eats. The budget-friendly metric that we’re using is around 1,000 yen ($9.30 USD) per person for a meal.
We know that Japan gets a bad reputation for being “expensive.” While hotels and food prices are higher than many other Asian countries, you can still get a complete meal with your protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables for an affordable price. You just have to find the right restaurants that are not too touristy or luxurious.
Now, we’re sure you’re itching to find out where to go in Osaka to eat cheaper food! Continue reading our Osaka restaurant food guide to learn more about where to find these inexpensive, yet delicious eats. On our list, we’re also sharing several restaurants that are vegetarian friendly. With these reviews, they’re based on our personal experiences as we paid for our meals and are not getting compensated for them.
Tip: Do not read this post while you’re hungry as you may be drooling over these food photos.
For more information on what to do in Osaka, check out our 1 day in Osaka itinerary.
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Map of Osaka Cheap Eats
Best Cheap Places to Eat in Osaka
1. Base Island Kitchen
Jamaican food in Osaka? You bet! Base Island Kitchen is a small, homey restaurant that serves Jamaican inspired cuisine. The owner and chef is a lovely person and you’ll see her passion for cooking. We love how this place has many vegan and gluten-free options as it can be challenging to find these types of restaurants in Japan. Don’t worry, the menu also has chicken and pork items.
If you go during lunchtime, there is a vegan lunch deal where you can get a fresh salad with seasonal vegetables, Jamaican rice and beans, and 3 tapas (small, bite-size appetizers) for 900 yen ($8.40). You can add additional tapas for 300 yen ($2.80) each. It’s a good value for healthy eating!
We recommend the vegan tapas since the options vary each day. On our visit, there were a dozen choices such as jerk fried tofu, vegan meatballs, and taro potato steak with tofu cheese sauce. We tried the avocado and seaweed vegan nuggets since we can’t resist anything made with avocado! The creaminess from the avocado and umami from the seaweed complemented the flavors of the plant-based nuggets. We regretfully didn’t try more of the tapas.
We’ve also tried the Jerk Vegan Craft Burger which was awesome with the homemade vegan patty that included shredded beets and layers of avocado and sprouts. The black bamboo charcoal bun and homemade yuba cream cheese mayo was also a delicious way to enjoy the burger. This one costs a bit more at 1,200 yen ($11.20).
A meat option we tried was the jerk chicken. It was flavorful and moist with a side of healthy brown rice and beans. Pour on some hot sauce to get some kick.
As a heads up, this place is very tight with the seating arrangements. It’s recommended to not have any huge luggage or bags since those items will take up the walkway.
Address: 1 Chome-16-27 Kitahorie, Nishi Ward, Osaka, 550-0014, Japan (〒550-0014 大阪府大阪市西区北堀江１丁目１６−27)
Opening Hours: 11:00am-5:00pm
Average Food Price: 900-1,400 yen ($8.40-$13.00) Credit cards accepted but there is an extra 5% service fee.
2. Takoyaki Wanaka
Takoyaki is one of the most popular things to eat in Osaka. It’s a doughy ball stuffed with a piece of octopus (tako in Japanese) and topped with takoyaki sauce, mayo, dried green seaweed (aonori), and dried bonito flakes. The balls are grilled in a specific circular pan.
We liked the takoyaki at Takoyaki Wanaka (たこ焼道楽わなか) since they are crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. It’s a bit messy to eat even though you’re given skewer sticks. Although it’s tempting to dig right into your tray of takoyaki, you’ll need to wait a few minutes to have them cool down as they were just taken off the grill at your time of purchase. We’ve burned the roof of our mouths with our impatience.
This place is also affordable with their takoyaki. We had 8 balls (original flavor) for 500 yen ($4.70) while other places were 6 balls for 600 yen ($5.60). If you want more, they have 12 balls for 700 yen ($6.50) or 15 balls for 800 yen ($7.50). The other flavor is soy sauce with ponzu (citrus) with or without green onions.
At the main shop in Sennichimae, you can sit inside the restaurant to enjoy your snack. Otherwise, you can stand outside of the shop to eat them.
Check out this video on how takoyaki is made by Takoyaki Wanaka:
Address: There are 9 locations in Osaka. The main shop is in the Sennichimae area at 11-19 Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0075, Japan (〒542-0075 大阪府大阪市中央区難波千日前１１−19)
Opening Hours: 10:00am-11:00pm (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-11:00pm (Saturday-Sunday and public holidays) for the Sennichimae main shop
Average Food Price: Starting at 500 yen ($4.70) for 8 balls for the original flavor
3. Oretachi No Curry-ya
Oretachi No Curry-ya (俺たちのカレー家) is an inexpensive option if you want to get your curry fix and you’re nearby the Namba Station. This no-frills Japanese curry restaurant allows visitors the opportunity to customize their order. Choose your rice and curry sauce size from 200-400 grams and add your toppings such as soft boiled egg, fried eggplant, and tonkatsu. You pay per topping and you can easily order a very full plate for under 1,000 yen ($9.30). The curry sauce is sweeter but you can easily add Shichi-mi togarashi chili powder to give an extra kick to the sauce.
This restaurant also serves ramen with soup made from barley miso base and shrimp with white and red miso base.
They have an English, Chinese, and Korean menu available. The menu also shows the process of how to order your meal from the ticket machine.
Address: 14-13 Nanbasennichimae, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0075, Japan (〒542-0075 大阪府大阪市中央区難波千日前１４−13)
Opening Hours: 11:30am-5:00pm, 6:00pm-10:30pm
Average Food Price: Starts at 450 yen ($4.20) for plain rice with curry sauce for 200 grams
4. Gyozaoh Dotonbori
Love gyozas? Head to Gyozaoh (餃子王 道頓堀本店 GYOZAOH) in the Dotonbori area as gyozas are their specialty! Gyozas are Japanese versions of potstickers and have different fillings.
At Gyozaoh, they offer a variety of gyozas from pan-fried, deep-fried, to boiled versions. Their #1 seller is the pan-fried gyozas with pork, cabbage, ginger, garlic, and other special flavors. One order is cheap as 6 pieces cost just 390 yen ($3.60). The gyozas had a juicy filling and a crispy dumpling wrapper.
If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll appreciate the pan-fried or deep-fried vegetarian gyozas here. Yay for a vegetarian option! One order is affordable at 480 yen ($4.50) for 8 pieces. We ordered the pan-fried gyozas and I ate all 8 pieces. It’s rare to have vegetarian dumplings. While the pan-fried ones are tasty, the wrapper wasn’t as crispy and tended to fall apart due to the filling’s moisture content. Next time, I would try the deep-fried version as the wrapper should hold the filling together better.
Other items on the menu include appetizers of edamame, seared mentaiko (pollack roe), raw octopus, etc, deep-fried foods, salad, ramen, and rice dishes. All are reasonably priced as nothing is over 790 yen ($7.40). We loved the clam ramen as the noodles were cooked perfectly. The broth had a refreshing clam flavor and came with a generous amount of clams in the broth. We counted over 15 clams.
They also have a lot of sake (Japanese alcohol) so it’s a fun place to hang out with your friends or unwind after a long day at work.
Address: 2 Chome-4-14 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan (〒542-0071 大阪府大阪市中央区道頓堀２丁目４−14)
Opening Hours: 5:00pm-1:00am (Perfect for late-night!)
Average Food Cost: 480-790 yen ($4.50-$7.40) per dish
5. Tako Hachi Sohonten
Tako Hachi Sohonten (たこ八 道頓堀総本店) is located in the heart of Dotonbori street. It’s a popular restaurant in Osaka to try Osaka style okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a pancake that has cabbage, meat, flour, and cooked on a griddle. Hiroshima, a city to the west of Osaka in the Hiroshima Prefecture,s also serves its version of okonomiyaki.
The difference between Osaka and Hiroshima style okonomiyaki is that the Osaka version mixes their ingredients, then pours it onto the griddle. For Hiroshima style, every ingredient is added layer by layer directly onto the grill and also has either ramen or soba noodles as a layer. The final product has bonito flakes, mayo, okonomiyaki sauce, and green onion flakes on top.
Read More: Check out where we ate okonomiyaki on our Hiroshima itinerary.
At Tako Hachi Sohonten, we tried the shrimp and egg okonomiyaki which was a good introduction to okonomiyaki. The texture is softer than the Hiroshima style yet still has the flavors of the fresh ingredients. There are a variety of fillings to choose from beef, pork, kimchi, and more.
They also serve takoyaki and yakisoba in the restaurant. You can do a takeaway order of the takoyaki on your way out.
Address: 1 Chome-5-10 Dotonbori, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0071, Japan (〒542-0071 大阪府大阪市中央区道頓堀１丁目５−10)
Opening Hours: 10:00am-1:00am (on first floor), 11:30am-11:00pm (on second floor)
Average Food Price: Starts at 1,000 yen ($9.30)
6. Junk Story Ramen
Junk Story is a fabulous place to try ramen. We came across this restaurant as we stayed nearby the Sheraton Osaka Hotel. We were recommended to go to another shop, but on the way we saw a line at this place so like all good tourists should, we also lined up. This ramen shop holds about 10 people and we waited for 30 minutes.
This shop is known for their shio chicken broth (salt flavor). During our visit we had chicken shio ramen and shoyu (soy sauce based) ramen. We enjoyed the homemade springy noodles and the flavorful broth. Surprisingly, the broth wasn’t too salty either. Now they have a shio base with clams which sounds heavenly.
If you do visit this place, we suggest that you check out their Twitter page. They provide updates on their limited menu of the day. Once they sell out of an item, then you’re out of luck!
Address: 1 Chome-2-11 Kozu, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0072, Japan (〒542-0072 大阪府大阪市中央区高津１丁目２−11)
Opening Hours: 11:00am-3:00pm, 6:00pm-10:00pm (Monday-Friday), 11:00am-3:30pm, 5:00pm-10:00pm (Saturday-Sunday and holidays)
Average Food Price: 800-1,250 yen ($7.50-$11.70)
7. Tonkatsu KYK
Love eating tonkatsu, fried pork cutlet? Check out Tonkatsu KYK (とんかつKYK 阪急三番街店). This beloved tonkatsu chain restaurant has been around since 1965. While tonkatsu is a popular item, they have other fried items such as shrimp and scallops. The restaurant says that their pork comes from the Kagoshima area. The pork is made from black pigs and is juicier and tender.
While you may think that the fried foods are not healthy, all items are fried in soybean and rapeseed oil. Our fried items were not oily yet the batter was crispy and light. Your meal also comes with cabbage salad, rice, and miso soup. During our visit, there was unlimited salad and rice refills. You can never have enough salad!
Address: There are 13 locations in Osaka such as in Abeno Underground Shopping Center, Keihan Mall, Nannan Town, Osaka Station, and more.
We’re sharing information for the one located in Hankyu Sanbangai, Japan, 〒530-0012 Osaka, Kita Ward, Shibata, 1 Chome−1−3 阪急三番街地下2階 グルメミュージアム (〒530-0012 大阪府大阪市北区芝田１丁目１−3 阪急三番街地下2階 グルメミュージアム)
Opening Hours: 11:00am-10:30pm (Monday-Friday), 10:30am-10:30pm (Saturday-Sunday and holidays)
Average Food Price: Prices are slightly higher compared to the other restaurants. Meals start from 980-1,940 yen ($9.15-$18.10) yet still reasonable for the quality of food. Most of the tonkatsu meals are around 1,260 yen ($11.80)
8. Kuromon Market
Need a place for a quick snack? Check out Kuromon Market, also known as Kuromon Ichiba Market (黒門市場). The market is 580 meters (.40 miles) long and is a good place to explore over 150 shops. Choose from takeaway items such as grilled Kobe beef, fish cakes, and fresh seafood or sit down at one of the stalls to enjoy some skewered items or cheaper sushi. It’s recommended to browse around the aisles to see what you’re interested in trying, otherwise, each item can add up to your food budget.
You can also take a food tour to learn more about the history of the market and try new street food. The tour will cost more than 1,000 yen but it’s another option. Click here to reserve the food tour.
Address: 2 Chome-4-1 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 542-0073, Japan (〒542-0073 大阪府大阪市中央区日本橋２丁目４−1)
Opening Hours: 9:00am-6:00pm
Average Food Price: Prices vary depending on what you want to eat try. Snack foods or takeaway items can range from 500-1,700+ yen ($4.70-$15.90+)
9. Ichiran Ramen
This beloved ramen chain that originated from Fukuoka on Kyushu Island is another place in Osaka to enjoy a bowl of tonkotsu ramen. What is great about Ichiran Ramen (一蘭) is that the flavors and taste are consistent with every shop. After you pay for your meal from the ticket machine, you get a piece of paper to customize how you want to enjoy your ramen from the spiciness, dashi (fish flavor), garlic, green onions, noodle texture, and broth richness. Eating at Ichiran is a unique experience as you get to sit in an individual booth to enjoy the flavors of your ramen.
One of the newer Ichiran shops in Osaka offers halal ramen which means that the tonkotsu broth is not made with any pork products. While we haven’t tried the halal version of ramen, it would be perfect for those who do not eat pork.
Address: There are 11 shops in Osaka so you can find the list of locations here. There are 2 shops in the Dotonbori Street area.
The halal shop is at 542-0085 Gurukasu City Building 2F, 2-4-2 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, Osaka-fu .
Opening Hours: Varies depending on the shop but usually from 11:00am-10:00pm
Average Food Price: 890-1,500 yen ($8.30-$14.00). If you add more toppings, the ramen cost increases. Otherwise, stick with basic ramen for a cheaper option. Cash only.
We hope you get to try these cheap foods when you’re in Osaka. There are so many good options to try, so we can’t wait to return and eat more!
Which restaurants do you want to try? If you have suggestions on other restaurants that are inexpensive, let us know in the comments below.
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