There is something oh-so-magical about the hustle and bustle of fast-paced Dotonbori, an iconic street in Osaka that is packed with a never-ending array of things to see and do. If you’re an unashamed foodie like us, you’ll also be glad to know that the area is a fantastic place to try some authentic Japanese fare.
However, the crowd does sometimes get to us and some of the prices for food here can be rather steep as Dotonbori is, at the end of the day, still a tourist hotspot. Many a time, we wished that there was somewhere we could settle down for a quiet meal to get away from the crowd for a bit.
We are glad to say that if you search hard enough, you can actually find some gems that are a little less hectic than the places in the main area of Dotonbori. That was how we came across Wakasaya Nankai Namba along a random street. This humble restaurant is great for people who love raw seafood as they specialise in wholesome sashimi bowls at wallet-friendly prices.
Located in an obscure, quiet street of Dotonbori away from the massive crowds, the restaurant is your typical Japanese dining establishment with its narrow, cramped interior. One side of the eatery is lined with a long table with around eight seats while the other has three four-seater tables.
They have a very extensive menu, packed with every conceivable combination of sashimi bowls out there. While we were spoilt for choice, we decided to go back to the basics and ordered ourselves a Salmon Bowl (720 Yen)
The dish featured a bed of warm rice that was generously blanketed with thick strips of salmon sashimi. Each piece of salmon was fresh and evenly sliced, and we liked how each cut was thick enough for you to get a good mouthfeel of the fish without it being too cloying. We also loved how buttery the salmon was; it simply melts away in your mouth!
If you’re an indecisive person who enjoys sampling a little bit of everything, we recommend getting bowls that come with a variety of different toppings. We ourselves opted for the Negitoro, Sea Urchin & Ikura Don (1320 Yen) and were pretty impressed by it.
The dish came embellished with a generous, fresh smothering of negitoro (minced tuna), creamy uni and juicy salmon roe served once again atop a bed of warm rice.
We liked how the negitoro managed to add some richness and saltiness to the dish without being too fishy or overpowering. When mixed in with the rice, it also added a little stickiness that helped to gel the various components together.
The uni, on the other hand, had a more buttery texture that too helped enhance the dish by giving it an addictive creaminess. It also provided the dish with a subtle sweetness as well as a briny touch.
Finally, the explosive ikura (salmon roe) tied everything together by giving us little sensational pops of flavour with every mouthful.
If you’re in Dotonbori, be sure to check out Wakasaya Nankai Namba. They don’t have the best sashimi bowls in town, but we find that for the price point and the location, this spot is really worth visiting.
Wakasaya Nankai Namba
Japan, 542-0075 Osaka, Chuo Ward
Tel: +81 6-6556-9508
Daily: 11am – 10.30pm
Nearest Station: Osaka-Namba