As mentioned in one of my previous posts, you can expect to find something delicious anywhere you go in Osaka. However, for a truly memorable experience, I’d recommend visiting a restaurant like Chibo Okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki is basically a “pancake” consisting of flour, egg, cabbage and mountain yams, plus a choice of additional ingredients. Once cooked the okonomiyaki is topped off with okonomiyaki sauce, a Japanese version of plum sauce, a mayonnaise sauce, seaweed powder and dried bonito flakes. Okonomiyaki is also frequently referred to as “Japanese Pizza”. There are okonomiyaki restaurants dotted along almost every street in Osaka but I found Chibo to be one of the more outstanding ones.
Because the okonomiyaki is cooked on an iron plate, most okonomiyaki restaurants like Chibo also specialise in teppanyaki. Chibo opened its first restaurant in 1967 and today, there are 54 of them. We’re here at their headquarters in Namba, Osaka, where there are five floors of okonomiyaki action!
It is fairly early but the restaurant on the ground floor is already full – all except for the chef’s table, which is definitely the best table in the house!
The table setting includes a cute little kote which is a shovel-like spatula for picking and cutting up the okonomiyaki.
We all start with a glass of the Chibo soda which cools us down instantly. I can’t recall exactly what is in it, but I think it is honey, lemon, Oolong tea and soda water.
Osaka’s obsession with takoyaki is translated by Chibo into a succulent okonomiyaki-style treat. This Oka Tako (580円) is a fried batter wrapped around diced octopus and served on the same bamboo boat tray as used by takoyaki street vendors. It is dangerously delicious and I may even like this omelette variation more than the original balls!
The next thing I order is the house specialty. I’d like to think that you can never go wrong, ordering something the restaurant has named after themselves. The Okonomiyaki Chibo (1600円) consists of a thick savoury batter with chunky bits of pork, beef, cuttlefish, octopus and a king prawn. The flavours are delicate and utterly moreish.
Other okonomiyaki variations we try are the Yamaimoyaki Mix (1500円) with pork, cuttlefish, shrimp and yam, and the Okonomiyaki Dotonbori, which has pork, sujikon, cheese, cuttlefish and shrimp.
We also have a large serve of the classic yakisoba (1450円) which is evenly coated with a fragrant soy/Worcestershire sauce.
Followed by cups of complimentary tea, some of us have the smoky azuki bean ice-cream with mochi balls for dessert, while others have the matcha (green tea) ice-cream with azuki beans sandwiched between wafers (380円). Like all Japanese desserts, these are divine.
We say our goodbyes to the chefs, who’ve put on a great show and waddle out with a deeply-satisfied appetite and our souveneir ‘Chibo Okonomiyaki’ stickers.
This has been one of the best meals I’ve had in Japan yet.
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Chibo Okonomiyaki Restaurant
〒542-0074 Michikaze Bldg
1/2F, 11-27 Namba Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan
Phone: +81 06-6643-0111