Travel Guide: Michelin-Recommended Spots for Oden in Osaka

For flavourful, piping hot bowls that will warm you right up.
Oden is winter food. Of course, you may consume it during the other seasons but huddling over a steaming pot of oden accompanied by hot sake in the middle of a frigid winter delivers a different kind of magic.

Osaka is home to the most number of Michelin-recommended oden restaurants in Japan; four with a Michelin star and four that's been given the Bib Gourmand distinction. But if you haven't got the time to pay all eight a visit, here are five that will deliver on the delicious stew-like goodness packed with ingredients such as daikon radish, tofu and konnyaku (also known as devil's tongue).

SEE RELATED: The Souper Bowl: Where to Go for Japanese Oden in Singapore
Man-u 万ん卯
1F, Toyota Bldg, 1-2-32 Dojima, Kita-ku
Opening hours: 5pm to 10pm, daily.
Distinction: One Michelin Star

What our inspectors say: We suggest first-timers leave it to the chef to choose at this creative oden restaurant, operated by Kagaman. The masterful blend of items served from the pot and prepared by hand will keep your palate busy. The 30 items in the oden include tofu, stuffed cabbage, rice cakes, iwanori and other rare ingredients. Prices are quite high but the oden features both Japanese techniques and the owner-chef’s original ideas.
Man-u Bekkan 万ん卯 別館
5F, Yamana Bldg, 1-6-19 Sonezakishinchi, Kita-ku
Opening hours: 5pm to 9.30pm, daily.
Distinction: One Michelin Star

What our inspectors say: It is always busy, so book early and sit at the counter, which allows for interaction with the hospitable chefs. Order omakase or à la carte: there is a single price that does not vary. Many of the seasonal favourites are the same as offered in the main restaurant, but the annexe also serves original dishes, such as beef cheek inspired by beef stew, Shimonita konnyaku and lettuce seasoned with black pepper. Look out for the brands of cold sake.

Choraku 長樂
9F, Matsukikosan Bldg, 1-5-21 Sonezakishinchi, Kita-ku
Opening hours: 5pm to 10pm, daily.
Distinction: Bib Gourmand

What our inspectors say: In 2015, the head chef, who plied his trade for many years at an oden restaurant in Kitashinchi, went out on his own. You’ll be greeted by a server in a kimono, and seated at a counter. The main offering is the omakase. Clams are served as soup is, in lacquerware; sea lettuce and kinome go well with the bamboo shoots; and creative oden items like butterbur with katsuo-bushi (bonito flakes) and shredded burdock root are inspired by kaiseki cuisine.

SEE ALSO: A Japanese Food Guide To Oden
Hanakujira Honten 花くじら 本店
2-8-2 Fukushima, Fukushima-ku
Opening hours: 4.30pm to 11.30pm, daily. Closed in August.
Distinction: Bib Gourmand

Hanakujira is an institution patronised by all members of the Japanese society from the minute they open to when they close for the day. The humble eatery that has expanded to three other outlets sees uniform-wearing middle school students to briefcase-toting businessmen, undergraduates to high-society elite with their furs and branded handbags at the door. The usual oden suspects bop on the surface of the giant vat of hot dashi along with several unidentified morsels. If it's your first visit to Hanakujira, your best bet is to leave it to the cook and try a little of everything. And of course, having oden in winter is incomplete without some hot sake.
Tominoya とみ乃家
5F, Saka Bldg, 1-2-33 Dojima, Kita-ku
Opening hours: 5pm to 9.30pmm, daily. Closed on Sundays.
Distinction: One Michelin Star

What our inspectors say: Tominoya offers Japanese cuisine, with the omakase of tsukuri (when used in the context of a traditional Japanese meal, refers to raw fish or other meat), baked dishes and oden. Just-boiled octopus is flavoured with mizansho (Japanese pepper). The meal wraps up with an earthenware pot of rice, one per group, with the topping of the day. Additional oden can be ordered as desired, with the price differing according to the items eaten.

SEE ALSO: 10 Types Of Ramen and Where They Are From
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