Restaurants

Top Choice Izakaya in Nara

Washokuya Happoh

This large, cheery, modern farmhouse-style spot salutes Nara as sake's birthplace, in both drink and food. Alongside izakaya standards like sashimi and karaage (fried chicken pieces), we loved the dishes marinated i…
Top Choice Sushi in Osaka

Yoshino Sushi

In business since 1841, Yoshino specialises in Osaka-style sushi, which is hako-sushi ('pressed sushi'). This older version of the dish (compared to the newer, hand-pressed Tokyo-style nigiri-sushi) is formed by a w…
Top Choice Steak in Kōbe

Kōbe Plaisir

You can't get any more locavore than this – ingredients come directly from the local branch of the Japan Agricultural Cooperative. You and your party choose your preparation of Kōbe or other steak – seiro-mushi (ste…
Top Choice Street Food in Osaka

Wanaka Honten

This famous tako-yaki (octopus dumplings) stand, just north of Dōguya-suji arcade, uses custom copper hotplates (instead of cast iron) to make dumplings that are crisper on the outside than usual (but still runny in…
Top Choice Burgers in Kōbe

Wanto Burger

Run by a cool young crew, this spot looks like a vintage US diner, with long counter and a few tables, but that's where the resemblance ends. It's utterly different in both taste and price because the burgers are ma…
Top Choice Steak in Kinosaki Onsen

Irori Dining Mikuni

If you want a break from Kinosaki seafood, this new, cosy, whitewashed spot-on Eki-dōri serves Tajima beef (both a cousin and a neighbour of Kōbe beef). Get yours atop donburi (rice bowl; our favourite), in croquett…
Top Choice Okonomiyaki in Osaka

Chibō

Chibō is one of Osaka's most famous okonomiyaki restaurants. It almost always has a line, but it moves fast because there is seating on multiple floors (though you might want to hold out for the coveted tables overl…
Top Choice Izakaya in Nara

Kura

This friendly spot in Naramachi is styled like an old storehouse and has just 16 seats around a counter amid dark-wood panels and an old beer sign. Indulge in mini-katsu (mini pork cutlets), yakitori (grilled chicke…
Top Choice Burgers in Nara

Sakura Burger

This unassumingly gourmet burger joint is steps north of Kintetsu Nara Station. Expect a lunchtime queue for burgers, sandwiches and hot dogs with your choice of toppings. The namesake Sakura burger comes piled with…
Top Choice Noodles in Nagahama

Yokarō

With its tatami room and garden, this intimate, 200-plus-year-old restaurant positively oozes 'old Japan' charm. The signature dish is yakisaba-sōmen (grilled mackerel over thin noodles), which is also available in …