Pablo v Rikuro Ojisan: Osaka’s Best Cheesecake?

Osaka’s Rikuro Ojisan’s is the most popular cheesecake in Osaka, or is it? Undoubtedly, Rikuro’s is a very well established and has a product seemingly the country gobbles up wholeheartedly. In the past ten years however, a dark horse competitor could very well dethrone Rikuro: Pablo. Rikuro and Pablo cheesecakes are intensely popular and there is stiff competition between them. Both companies’ headquarters are even located just a few short kilometers apart!

The war for the best cheesecake is well underfootWho can claim victory?

Rikuro Ojisan

First up is the king himself Rikuro Ojisan. Rikuro is only in Osaka. Come visit us. Rikuro-san served their first cheesecake in 1984. Since then, they have turned out millions of cakes. Rikuro’s cheesecakes have a charming, if not hypnotic wibbly-wobbly bounce.

Light and fluffy Rikuro Ojisan souffle cheesecake

Rikuro Ojisan Cheesecake

Where to get Rikuro

There are only a few Rikuro stores in Osaka but the most popular seems to be the original store in Namba.

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Taste

This is an extremely mild tasting cheesecake. It is so mild, you almost can’t tell there is any cheese at all. The super light fluffy texture is very different from what is typically expected of cheesecake. There is no crust at the bottom of a Rikuro cheesecake, just a handful of raisins. Because the cakes are so light I have seen people eat half the cake in one sitting.

Slice of Rikuro Ojisan souffle cheesecake on a blue plate

Super airy texture!

Another thing that is a bit unusual about a Rikuro cheesecake is that where almost all cheesecakes are served cold, many like to eat Rikuro-Ojisan cheesecakes while they are still warm.

Rikuro Restaurant

From what we can tell, there is only one Rikuro dine-in cafe and that is in the main store in Namba. Since it is the only one and there aren’t that many tables, wait times can be pretty long.

warmly lit cafe with wooden accents and fake flowers

We went just before the start of cheery blossom season

display case filled with various kinds of cakes

Rikuro Ojisan upstairs cafe.

At the cafe you can order other specialty cakes they don’t make anywhere else! You can even get the specials with a slice of the original cheesecake!

array of cakes at Rikuro Ojisan

This set of one specialty cake plus cheesecake and drink is 1,350\.

If you do not want to dine-in, then you can always buy one from the counter.

Lines of people standing in front of Rikuro Ojisan in Namba.

There are two lines at Rikuro: one is for the cheesecakes just out of the oven, and the other line is for cheesecakes made earlier in the day

Even though the lines at Rikuro’s can get really long, the overall wait time isn’t that bad.

Pablo

Relatively new to Osaka, Pablo has remained consistently popular ever since they opened shop back in 2011 in Umeda. The creator of Pablo was inspired by how steakhouses allow the customers to order a stake to their own preference of doneness. You can order your classic Pablo cheesecake either nude, rare, or medium.

Golden Pablo cheesecake next to its box

Pablo’s classic cheesecake. I take mine medium.

If you don’t mind spending a little bit more, then you can get a premium Pablo cheese tart that has burnt sugar crust on top. There are also a ton of seasonal variations! 

Pablo cheesecake covered in strawberries

Early sprin Pablo cheesecake. Strawberry with pistachio.

Where to get Pablo

Pablo shops are much more prolific than Rikuro. There are several sit down cafes in Namba, Umeda, and near the OPA shopping mall. In addition, there are Pablo shops throughout Japan.

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Taste

slice of Pablo cheesecake on a blue plate and pablo bags in background

Pablo classic

Pablo calls their cheesecake a “cheese tart”…but most people still call them cheesecake.

The classic cheese tart (or cake) is also a very like tasting dessert, but the flavor or the cheese is a little bit stronger than Rikuro. These cheesecakes come in a flaky pie shell like crust and the top has a thin coating of apricot glaze. 

Pablo Restaurant

There are two kinds of Pablo cafes: Casual Pablo and the singular “Premium Pablo”.

A Casual Pablo is behind OPA.

casual Pablo cafe with its light on

Casual Pablo cafe behind OPA.

assortment of cheesecakes in a warmly lit Pablo cheesecake cafe

cheesecakes at Casual Pablo

If you don’t mind the wait, Premium Pablo is near Dotonbori Street.

Premium Pablo a wall of fake plants and a screen showcasing their products

Inside Premium Pablo.

This café easily has the most options and a number of items are only available at that location. Everything is also made to order!

two pablo cheesecakes on separate white plates with scoops of ice cream.

These sets of a personal cheesecake and scoop of ice cream are 1,000\ each.

And the Victor is?

Between my husband and myself, we cannot agree on which is better.

I, having grown up with baked New York style cheesecakes, have a very set image in mind when I say I want to eat cheesecake. This concept is much closeer to a Pablo cheese tart, meaning that I am much more satisfied at Pablo. To me, a cheesecake from Rikuro is more souffle than cheesecake. It’s not bad–its just not cheesecake. Also, while I usually am never put off by raisins in my desserts, I think they are out of place in Rikuro’s…cake?

My husband on the other hand enjoys the light fluffy texture of Rikuro. He also doesn’t like strong cheese tasting things. Even though Pablo doesn’t have that strong of cheese flavor, he still prefers Rikuro Ojisan.

This doesn’t mean he nor I dislike the others preference…it’s just that our opinions clearly go in opposite directions.

two cheesecakes in intense fiery battle

The humanity!

So, who can claim victory in Osaka’s cheesecake war? Both brands produce tasty and good quality cheesecakes. The only draw backs we can find are based on personal preference. Pablo provides a new twist of what most could consider a more traditional cheesecake. Rikuro Ojisan on the other hand, has a very tasty cheesecake, it’s just not that traditional.

 

Which do you prefer?

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