We wouldn’t have discovered OKO okonomiyaki if we hadn’t had such an unsuccessful time with finding somewhere to eat. We had a day of exploring Osaka castle grounds and Shinsekai and had planned on having dinner at a restaurant close by, however, that didn’t go to plan.
We had been walking quite a while to one restaurant to find it closed and then walked a bit further to our second option to find this one closed as well. Feeling like luck was not on our side, we had two options: Either give up and go and eat another konbini onigiri or walk another 25 minutes to go into town and see if we could find a restaurant.
I wanted to have a proper warm dinner, so I dragged Jonny who was HANGRY at this point and took the walk. Luckily OKO Okonomiyaki was open! I’m not sure what we would have done if it wasn’t.
Planning a trip to Osaka? You might also like it here!
OKO okonomiyaki is on the second floor of a building. A very small, fun and quirky restaurant ran from 6 pm to 2 am by one girl, 7 days a week. The restaurant is full of colour and there’s so much going on. Every time you look around, you find something new. It plays retro music and TV, and just generally has a cool, friendly vibe.
As mentioned, it’s a small restaurant with seating for maybe 12 people. As it’s popular, we did have to wait about an hour until seated. However, at this point, our attitude was “We’re here and we’re hungry, we’re not moving until we get fed” 😂
The restaurant serves meat but has a vegan and vegetarian menu. The drinks are based on the honour system. You serve yourself the drinks and just let her know what you had when you go up to pay.
Things that are close by:
- Osaka Castle: 14 min by car, 25 min train
- Dontonbori (where the famous Glico sign is): 10 min walking, 1 min by car
- Namba: 15 min walk, 10 min by car
- Shinsekai Market: 37 min walk, 12 min by car
Oko Okonomiyaki Menu
As I mentioned above this restaurant does serve meat, but it’s very easy to identify what’s vegan as she has a separate vegan and vegetarian menu (and mayonnaise!) She speaks English, and the menu has English on it too, so it’s very easy to identify and order what you’d like.
Their main item on the menu, as you may have guessed from the name, is okonomiyaki.
What is Okonomiyaki?
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake, consisting of batter, cabbage, normally meat and or seafood topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, aonori (green laver/ seaweed that gets sprinkled), katsuobushi (shaved fish flakes) and pickled ginger. Depending on if you have an Osaka or Hiroshima okonomiyaki, it may also come with noodles.
What kind of vegan okonomiyaki can you get at OKO Okonomiyaki?
At Oko Okonomiyaki, there are three sizes of okonomiyaki. Half size ¥1020, medium ¥1480 or large ¥2200.
Once you choose the size, you can choose up to 5 vegetable toppings including, potato, mushroom, spinach, asparagus, okra, carrot, and long green onion.
They also have a few other vegan dishes on their menu.
What we ordered at OKO Okonomiyaki
Gyoza’s are always a winner with us. A hot, fried thinly rolled dough filled with delicious flavoured veggies, dipped in soy sauce. You just can’t go wrong!
A thick battered savoury pancake, filled with cabbage and topped with our chosen five vegetables.
We got 2 different types of mushrooms, potatoes, spinach and asparagus on ours. The okonomiyaki we had here was not a traditional Japanese one like some pictures you may have seen. Typically, it doesn’t come with those extra vegetables on the top.
To make the dish complete, it has to be topped with mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce which is a brown sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce, but a sweeter and less salty version.
Okonomiyaki is one of the foods that I used to eat when living in Japan. I often went with my dad to a restaurant where you would make it yourself and sat down on the floor at the table. So it was nice to be able to eat foods that were reminiscent of my childhood.
A common street food, yakisoba is a fried noodle and veggies dish in a sweet, tangy and savoury brown sauce. The sauce typically always includes soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, with a lot of variations including ketchup, sake, mirin or sugar.
How to get to OKO Okonomiyaki
Address: 〒542-0083 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Higashishinsaibashi, 1 Chome−13−9 ２Ｆ
Open times: Monday to Sunday 6 pm – 2 am
Oko okonomiyaki is definitely a must-eat if you’re in the area. The friendly and fun colour-filled restaurant has a lovely atmosphere, good food and cool vibes.
It’s a great place to visit especially if you’re travelling with a group who have mixed diets. Finding a place in Japan where they have vegan options on their menu can be a little tricky, so this was a great find and somewhere I’ll be going back to when I visit Osaka again!