The one food all tourists insist on trying when they come to Osaka is without a doubt takoyaki. While takoyaki is really popular, it merely just a kind of junk food snack, hardly a satisfying meal. If you’d like to elevate your takoyaki experience from snack to exciting dinner head to Sakai City for a real takoyaki restaurant called Takomasa Chikusui-tei [たこ昌竹粋亭]. This takoyaki restaurant has taken the concept of “takoyaki” and made into a real dining experience. Their takoyaki course meal is surprise after surprise!
Getting to Takomasa Chikusui-tei
Many takoyaki restaurants are inside Osaka City, but this one is a bit off the beaten path. However, this doesn’t mean it’s hard to get to at all! Takomasa Chikusui-tei has two locations where you can enjoy their course menu; one in Hamadera and another in Otori. Both are roughly 30-45 minutes away from Osaka City and are easy to access. We went to the Hamadera restaurant, which is near Ishizugawa Station off the Nankai Main Line.
If you leave from Nankai Namba Station it will take you about 20 minutes to reach Ishizugawa. The restaurant is near the Rinkai Hotel.
Takoyaki Resaurant: Takomasa Chikusui-tei
If the name “Takomasa” sounds familiar, that is because it is one of most well-known takoyaki vendors in Osaka! They are so popular that you can even find frozen versions of their takoyaki sold in major airports and Shinkansen stations throughout Japan!
Normally, takoyaki restaurants are just a couple hundred yen, but Takomasa Chikusui-tei offers several full course meals. These courses range from 3,000 to 4,000, so they are still pretty affordable and you do indeed get a lot of food. They also have a similar takoyaki course meal for lunch, which is naturally cheaper than the dinner courses.
Dinner at Takomasa Chikusui-tei
Our first course for dinner was an appetizer of boiled octopus in a sweet soy sauce, and boiled octopus with cucumbers topped with a vinegary miso sauce. I often find that octopus is pretty chewy, but here their octopus is especially soft.
After that, our next course was takoyaki two ways: regular and with whitebait, or chirimen in Japanese. These takoyaki are of course very nice and the absence of the standard barbeque sauce and mayonnaise lets the flavors of the seafood and the dumpling come through.
Next, we moved on to a fried course. This was very surprising, as I don’t think I’ve ever had fried takoyaki anywhere before!
The super crunchy exterior takoyaki are covered in yuba, or tofu skins. The yuba becomes very crunch when fried and was a nice contrast.
Then was a set of akashiyaki, the predecessor of takoyaki. A popular food in nearby Hyogo, ayakashi have a distinctive eggy flavor. Dunk these dumplings quickly in the dashi soup before you ate them!
Our final savory dish was kamameshi, or rice cooked in an earthenware pot. These kinds of dishes are common in Japanese course meals, and naturally this one was packed with octopus.
Desert was a small serving of fruit and some green tea ice cream. In keeping with the theme of this dinner, there was even a small piece of octopus in the ice cream! It was unexpected, and somehow didn’t conflict with the ice cream
There is one drink we really recommend if you come here and that is tako cham. Tako cham is a sparkling wine especially made to pair with takoyaki. Unfortunately, tako cham is a limited item, but if it’s there, you should try it. Tako cham is made by Katashimo Winery, the oldest Kansai winery, in Kashihara Osaka.
This sparkling wine is dry with a distinct fruity note that somehow goes well with takoyaki.
Takomasa Chikusui-tei Takoyaki Restaurant
|Address||1-338-1 Ishizucho-Nishi Hamadera Nishi-Ku, Osaka Prefecture, 〒592-8333|
|Hours of Operation||Weekdays: Lunch: 11:00-14:00
Dinner: 17:00-22:00Weekends: 11:00-22:00
|Price Range||Lunch: 980-2,300 yen
Dinner: 1,200-4,000 yen
This is a little ways off, but it is really worth it to come here. As I’ve said, Takomasa Chikusui-tei offers interesting new takes on takoyaki. I’ve never been to another takoyaki restaurant that offers similar dishes. It’s a true one of a kind experience!
Coming next time, Horyu-ji, a must visit temple in Nara.
The adventure continues…