Osaka’s Foodie Destinations

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Foodies will fall in love with Japan’s city of Osaka. Nestled in the Kansai region of Japan, visitors to Osaka will find plenty of variety to choose from when deciding on where to eat. Popular dishes include ramen, Japanese pancake omelets called Okonomiyaki, sushi made from just caught fish, and a local delicacy called Takoyaki and nicknamed Octopus Balls.

Entrance to Ichiran - Osaka, Japan

Entrance to Ichiran

Ramen preference form at Ichiran - Osaka, Japan

Ramen preference form at Ichiran

Ramen at Ichiran

The restaurant chain of Ichiran is known for producing high quality delicious bowls of ramen. Osaka’s district of Dotonbori has two Ichiran restaurants. Opt for the original location right by the canal. If the original location is busy, with a line of people waiting, do not be dissuaded as the line moves fast.

Ichiran makes ramen made to order. If you’re waiting in line, a server may hand you a form. This form, available in English, lists preferences for selecting your ramen. Fill this form out so you will be ready to order once you reach the front of the line. The form will have you select strength of flavor and level of richness for your bowl. You can select toppings such as garlic, green onion, or sliced pork. If you opt to add Ichiran’s original hot sauce to the ramen check the box for the level of spiciness you prefer.

You’ve made it to the front of the line when you reach a vending style machine. Don’t worry though, your food won’t dispense from this machine. You will use the machine to place your food order. You will select the ramen you want which will set the base price of your meal. Besides the ramen select items such as an egg, seaweed, and drinks, including beer. You will pay through the machine and be given tickets printed with various parts of your order.

Private booth inside Ichiran - Osaka, Japan

Private booth inside Ichiran

Ramen at Ichiran - Osaka, Japan

Ramen at Ichiran

From the machine you will sit at a private booth. Designed for one person, partitions between each booth move to the side if you are eating with someone else. Once in your booth layout the form you filled out, along with the printed tickets from the vending machine, at the front of your table. These tickets signify what extras you bought and the form you filled out tells the servers and chefs how to prepare your ramen.

As you sit in your private booth, you will see only your server’s legs. You won’t speak to the server but you will hear their voice letting you know what they are delivering to your table. After you have received your food, a lowered blind gives you privacy. You won’t even see the legs of the server anymore. Just sit and enjoy your ramen in blissful foodie solitude.

Sign for the entrance to Kiji - Osaka, Japan

Sign for the entrance to Kiji

Plate found at Kiji - Osaka, Japan

Plate found at Kiji

Okonomiyaki at Kiji - Osaka, Japan

Okonomiyaki at Kiji

Okonomiyaki in Osaka

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese style savory dish similar in texture to an omelet and similar in shape to a pancake. Associated with the areas of Hiroshima and the Kansai region of Osaka, the Okonomiyaki dish comes in two different styles. Cooking Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima involves the ingredients being layered to form the omelet pancake. In Kansai, Osaka chefs mix the ingredients before using them to form the omelet pancake. The Osaka style of Okonomiyaki is what you will find in other parts of Japan.

Head to the Umeda Sky Building’s Takimi Koji Alley for a fantastic Okonomiyaki experience. Here you will find Kiji, with its friendly staff and owner. Although you won’t find an English menu, the staff knows enough English to ask you if you want your Okonomiyaki made with seafood, chicken, beef, or pork. The chefs will create as many omelet pancakes as you want. In the center of the table is a hot plate that will keep your Okonomiyaki warm while you eat. Enjoy the fantastic flavors the chefs bring together to make the exquisite Okonomiyaki.

Entrance to Endo - Osaka, Japan

Entrance to Endo

Menu for Endo Sushi - Osaka, Japan

Menu for Endo Sushi

Fish Market Sushi

Sushi in Japan is way and above fresher, compared to sushi served in other parts of the world. It doesn’t matter if you eat sushi at a high-end restaurant or from a subway stall vendor. Even so, levels of sushi quality exist within the various Japan eateries. For the freshest spots for sushi aim to eat near fish markets, such as those next to the Osaka Central Fish Market.

Ginger and soy sauce at Endo - Osaka, Japan

Ginger and soy sauce at Endo

Sake (salmon) and Toro (fatty tuna) sushi at Endo - Osaka, Japan

Sake (salmon) and Toro (fatty tuna)

Ikura (salmon roe), Ika (calamari), and Sayori (halfbeak) sushi at Endo - Osaka, Japan

Ikura (salmon roe), Ika (calamari), and Sayori (halfbeak)

Toro (fatty tuna) and Hamo (sharp toothed eel) sushi at Endo - Osaka, Japan

Toro (fatty tuna) and Hamo (sharp toothed eel)

One such restaurant is Endo Sushi. Here you order sushi made of fresh fish pulled out of the water by fisherman that morning and sold at the nearby fish market to the restaurant. You’ll sit either at a table or the counter and can ask for an English menu. The simple menu has just four different plate options. Each plate comes with five different pieces of sushi. Besides sushi you can order miso soup made with small clams. If you’re there when the friendly owner is working he may even come over and help you brush soy sauce on to your sushi.

Waiting in line for Octopus Balls - Osaka, Japan

Waiting in line for Octopus Balls

Batter being poured for the Octopus Balls - Osaka, Japan

Batter being poured for the Octopus Balls

Warming up the Octopus Balls before serving - Osaka, Japan

Warming up the Octopus Balls before serving

Final product, Octopus Balls with toppings - Osaka, Japan

Final product, Octopus Balls with toppings

Osaka’s Octopus Balls

You will find plenty of options to try the local delicacy of Takoyaki, or Octopus Balls, if you are by the canal walkway of Osaka. These bite size-fried goodness consist of batter mixed with bits of octopus and cost five US Dollars. You will order the Octopus Balls flavored in either soy sauce or soy sauce and mayonnaise. You can ask the vendors to add onions and other toppings on top of the Octopus Balls. Enjoy the show by watching the vendors prepare the Octopus Balls right in front of you. Eat the Octopus Balls on the spot before continuing on to your next destination.

 

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Osaka Eats

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Ichiran: 34.669210, 135.503039
Kiji: 34.704728, 135.490601
Endo Sushi: 34.684256, 135.479588
Takoyaki (Octopus Balls): 34.668515, 135.502552
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Ichiran
Osaka’s Foodie Destinations
Ichiran Dotonbori shop, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
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Kiji
Osaka’s Foodie Destinations
Kiji Umeda Sky Bldg., Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
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Endo Sushi
Osaka’s Foodie Destinations
Endo Sushi, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan
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Takoyaki (Octopus Balls)
Osaka’s Foodie Destinations
Dotonbori, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Japan

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Vancouver Dining

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Vancouver dining reflects the diversity that embodies the city. Within the various neighborhoods that make up Vancouver visitors will find every cuisine imaginable. This article aims to help travelers in choosing which restaurants to visit. Listed below are six of the best eateries in Vancouver. Each of these Vancouver dining options in this article embodies a different eating experience. From fine dining to food trucks, no one will ever leave Vancouver hungry.

Blue Water Cafe – Fine Dining in Vancouver

Being next to the Pacific Ocean means any Vancouver dining list must include at least one restaurant that serves high quality seafood. For the freshest seafood and a fine dining experience look no further than Blue Water Cafe. Here you will experience top-notch service from a knowledgeable wait staff. The menu includes a plethora of seafood caught in local waters. The chefs create each dish with extreme care. These chefs understand that eating is more than sustenance. For those that enjoy oysters Blue Water Cafe’s extensive menu won’t disappoint. The seafood tasting for two is a perfect way to sample four different seafood dishes. Although not a traditional Japanese restaurant, the sushi rolls and sashimi are delicious. The main course seafood selections range from scallops to lobster to local fish such as the sablefish. Other than seafood Blue Water Cafe’s menu includes steak and chicken options.

Chatime – For When You Need a Drink Break

Walk the many streets of Vancouver and you’re bound to get thirsty. When it’s time for a drink break stop by one of Chatime’s two Vancouver locations. Chatime proclaims itself as being the world’s number one place to get bubble tea. Although the title for world’s number one is always up for debate, Chatime is in the discussion for a good reason. Bubble tea originated in Taiwan and is a tea based drink served with milk and either tapioca balls or fruit jellies. Chatime brews their tea fresh in store and that freshness is found in every sip you take. Natural ingredients and natural flavors combine to make sure that your drink will be delicious. Besides Vancouver Chatime has a store in the nearby cities of Richmond, Burnaby, and Surrey. Other than Canada, Chatime is available in ten other countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, and the United States.

Dinesty Dumpling House – A Chinese Restaurant Beyond Chinatown

To search for a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown is akin to searching for hay in a haystack. The trick is finding a good Chinese restaurant in parts of the city not designated a part of Chinatown. When the craving for Chinese food hits you and you’re on Vancouver’s busy Robson street head to Dinesty Dumpling House. Dinesty specializes in Shanghai style Chinese dishes. One of the more popular dishes is their Xiao Long Bao, dumplings filled with soup and meat. Diners can watch employees of Dinesty through large glass windows as they wrap the dumplings for each Xiao Long Bao order. Dinesty’s menu features traditional Chinese dishes and snacks. Other dishes worth ordering include spicy wontons, string beans with pork, and deep-fried prawns. Keep in mind that besides the Robson location Dinesty has three restaurants in Richmond and one in Burnaby.

Guu – Japanese Izakaya

With six locations in Vancouver, Guu has cornered the market on Japanese izakaya dining. Izakaya’s are Japanese pub style restaurants where diners order a variety of small plates. This tapas style dining experience makes Guu a great place for dining with a group. The more people in your party the more dishes you can order and try out. With Guu’s extensive menu making selections will be a difficult task. A refreshing seafood choice is the Tuna Tataki. The chefs sear the fish in this dish and serve it with a ponzu sauce and garlic chips. Another popular dish is the melt in your mouth Kakuni, known as pork belly. For noodles order the Yaki Udon. Those that enjoy beer will find Guuud Ale intriguing. This beer is a joint venture between Guu and the Russell Brewing Company. This beer is a perfect pairing fit with any dish you order.

Japadog – Street Food

Vancouver dining isn’t regulated to just restaurants. Along the streets of Vancouver you will find various food trucks. Before today’s food obsessed culture only the bravest of travelers dared to order food from a food truck. Times have changed and now food trucks lead the way in innovative cooking. Culinary fusion is at the forefront of many street food chefs. Japadog is no exception, serving Japanese style hot dogs. Each menu item is a twist on a traditional Japanese dish joined with a hot dog. A first reaction upon seeing the creations at Japadog might be curiosity. The moment you take your first bite any worry you might have had vanishes. The various flavors blend to form one perfect bite after another. Within Vancouver Japadog operates four stands, a truck, a trailer, and one store. Visit any location for a great food truck culinary experience.

Tim Hortons – Canadian’s Popular Restaurant Chain

For a Vancouver dining experience that screams Canada visit Tim Hortons. Tim Hortons is one restaurant chain you won’t be able to avoid while visiting British Columbia.   In Vancouver alone you will find twenty Tim Hortons stores. Even those that have never been to Canada might have seen a Tim Hortons add while watching a hockey game. Tim Hortons may well be as synonymous with Canada these days as the maple leaf. You’ll even find two Tim Hortons at the Vancouver International Airport. Tim Hortons sells coffee, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and wraps. Lovers of donuts will enjoy Tim Hortons bakery selections. Their donuts are soft and fluffy, regardless of which chain you visit. Since you’re in Canada, be sure to try one of the maple-flavored donuts.

 

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Vancouver Dining

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Blue Water Cafe: 49.276155, -123.121129
Chatime: 49.286649, -123.128278
Dinesty Dumpling House: 49.290780, -123.134073
Guu: 49.284008, -123.125433
Japadog: 49.280244, -123.118355
Tim Hortons: 49.193316, -123.181198
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Blue Water Cafe
Vancouver Dining
Blue Water Cafe, Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Chatime
Vancouver Dining
Chatime Robson, Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Dinesty Dumpling House
Vancouver Dining
Dinesty Dumpling House, Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Guu
Vancouver Dining
Kitanoya Guu Original Thurlow, Thurlow Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Japadog
Vancouver Dining
JAPADOG, Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Tim Hortons
Vancouver Dining
Tim Hortons, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) Domestic and International Terminals, Grant McConachie Way, Richmond, BC, Canada

 

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Other Eats on Big Island’s Western Coast

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With so many dining options in Kailua-Kona and Kawaihae one may never eat a meal beyond those regions. Yet the Big Island of Hawaii has much to offer food lovers. Chances are during your time on the Big Island’s western coast you may venture into areas beyond Kailua-Kona and Kawaihae. Below we offer four restaurants sprinkled throughout the Big Island’s western coast to try out if you’re in the neighborhood.

The Coffee Shack

Tourist that are spending the day visiting coffee farms will find the Coffee Shack a great place for breakfast or lunch. In addition, the Coffee Shack is a great pit stop for those heading from the Big Island’s western coast out to the Volcanoes National Park. Even if you aren’t touring coffee farms or volcanoes Coffee Shack’s view alone makes it a worthwhile eatery. Enjoy the views of the ocean while sipping coffee and eating your meal. One of the best dishes off the breakfast menu is the French toast, made with their homemade Luau Bread. The Coffee Shack serves its own coffee, made from coffee beans from their own coffee farm. You can order a cup with your meal and buy a bag to take with you if you wish. For lunch choose from a variety of sandwich or pizza options. Homemade dessert is available for those with room to spare in their stomachs after their meal.

Manago Hotel Restaurant

Three miles away from the historic Kainaliu district in Captain Cook you will find the Manago Hotel. The Manago Hotel has on site a Hawaiian-American restaurant. This Big Island’s western coast restaurant is known for their famous pork chops. Grilled to perfection, the pork chops are tender in the inside and seared on the outside to ideal specifications. This attention to detail carries over to grilling other items on the menu such as the New York Steak and Mahi Mahi. Each entrée comes with a bowl of rice and three sides. Sides rotate daily and might include string beans, tofu, or macaroni salad.

Merriman’s

For a fine dining experience on the Big Island’s western coast dine at Merriman’s in Waimea. This region of the Big Island is cooler than the rest of the west coast. Contrary to other parts of the island if you are dining at Merriman’s for dinner bring a jacket or sweater to combat the cool breeze. Open for brunch Saturday and Sunday, and lunch and dinner daily once inside Merriman’s you will receive top-notch service. The staff is attentive and dedicated to providing you a wonderful dining experience. Menus change but always include cuts of meat from local ranches. The fish Merriman’s serves is straight from the nearby ocean. Those that enjoy a glass of wine with dinner will find Merriman’s wine list exhaustive with great selections from California and Europe.

Monstera

Four miles from the Waikoloa Beach Resorts and within the Shops at Mauna Lani is Monstera. This Big Island’s western coast restaurant specializes in Japanese-Hawaiian cuisine. Anyone who craves fresh served sushi will enjoy dining at Monstera. Select from a variety of sushi rolls or sashimi options. For those wishing to augment their sushi selections the menu includes small plates and noodle dishes. The head chef of Monstera trained in Tokyo and has worked at hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton. Having such a skilled chef at the helm means that the meal you consume is a feast for your mouth.

 

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Big Island West Coast Eats

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The Coffee Shack: 19.475276, -155.892291
Manago Hotel Restaurant: 19.489198, -155.910803
Merriman’s: 20.023014, -155.676598
Monstera: 19.941275, -155.857801
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The Coffee Shack
Other Eats on Big Island’s Western Coast
The Coffee Shack, Honaunau-Napoopoo, HI, United States
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Manago Hotel Restaurant
Other Eats on Big Island’s Western Coast
Manago Hotel, Mamalahoa Highway, Captain Cook, HI, United States
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Merriman’s
Other Eats on Big Island’s Western Coast
Merriman's Big Island, Opelo Road, Waimea, HI, United States
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Monstera
Other Eats on Big Island’s Western Coast
Monstera, Mauna Lani Drive, Puako, HI, United States

 

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Three Dining Options in Napa Valley

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There are two things Napa Valley does not lack, wineries and restaurants. With so many dining options it might be difficult for visitors to decide where to eat a meal. To help make your decision we have selected three restaurants we recommend. These restaurants each offer a quality dining experience and are each unique in their own way. Know that whichever restaurant you choose after your meal you will have a happy belly. In alphabetical order we present to you:

Ad Hoc

Front of Ad Hoc - Yountville, CA

Front of Ad Hoc

Chef Thomas Keller is best known for the French Laundry and Bouchon, both very respected fine-dining establishments. In Yountville he expanded his culinary prowess by opening another restaurant, Ad Hoc. What sets Ad Hoc apart is what makes this place a decision-phobic person’s dream. Ad Hoc offers just one menu for every patron. There is no need to hem and haw between two dishes that interest you or worry that your neighbor ordered a better meal. The menu changes daily, but the Buttermilk Fried Chicken is a reoccurring entrée, and a crowd favorite. Each meal has a set price and includes a starter (such as soup or salad), the main entrée, a cheese plate, and dessert.

Ribeye with carrots at Ad Hoc

Ribeye with carrots at Ad Hoc

Reservations are recommended and if you want a preview of what your meal will be you can find the day’s menu on their website. Come with a hearty appetite for the portions are large. Don’t worry though, you can take your leftovers home to enjoy another day. Ad Hoc is on a street made for walking so after dinner work off your meal with a nice stroll.

Gott’s Roadside

Gott's Roadside - Napa, CA

Gott’s Roadside

Gott’s Roadside is casual dining at its finest. The immediate vibe upon entering Gott’s is that of an old-fashioned American Drive-In. If you’re a fan of burgers you will be highly pleased with any of the ten different hamburger options. Each hamburger is made with a 1/3-pound meat patty served on a toasted egg bun. Hamburgers aren’t the only dish Gott’s Roadside serves. You’ll find classics such as French Fries, hot dogs, sodas, and milkshakes. A closer look at the menu and you’ll find that Gott’s is an American establishment with an updated twist. You can order dishes such as salads, fish tacos, and sandwiches. The Ahi Poke Crispy Tacos are a good choice. The tacos are made with crunchy cabbage, fresh tuna, and a big slice of avocado along with a spicy mayo sauce. Gott’s serves a variety of wines and beers.

Ahi Poke Crispy Tacos at Gott's Roadside

Ahi Poke Crispy Tacos at Gott’s Roadside

Gott’s Roadside has two locations in Napa Valley, one in St. Helena and the other in Napa, part of the Oxbow Public Market. There are two other locations as well in California, one in San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace and the other in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village.

Morimoto Napa

Toro Tartare at Morimoto Napa

Toro Tartare at Morimoto Napa

When the food you cook grants you the title of being an Iron Chef you know you’re a damn good chef. Chef Masaharu Morimoto is an amazing chef and world-renowned for his culinary skills. Morimoto Napa is the first West Coast restaurant Chef Morimoto opened. It is in Napa’s downtown riverfront. Reservations are available for either lunch or dinner. The restaurant itself has a modern design but wooden tables create a comfortable atmosphere. Outdoor seating offers a nice view of the river.

Chirashi Bowl at Morimoto Napa

Chirashi Bowl at Morimoto Napa

With an Iron Chef’s backing the food you will eat will be of the highest quality. The attention to detail is shown in how the food is prepared and its presentation. For example, when the Toro Tartare appetizer arrives at your table you’re hesitant to dig in right away. You don’t want to mess up how the toro, wasabi, and nori paste are laid out. The Kakuni, pork belly, melts in your mouth. There is an extensive list of sushi and sashimi. If you are unsure which sushi or sashimi to select order the Chef’s Combination. If you want to sample a few different fishes a good choice is the Chirashi Sushi Rice Bowl. Remember to leave room for one of their unique desserts, such as mango pudding or tofu cheesecake.

 

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Napa Valley Dining

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Ad Hoc: 38.399180, -122.358529
Gott\'s Roadside - Napa: 38.301215, -122.281906
Gott\'s Roadside - St. Helena: 38.501911, -122.465471
Morimoto Napa: 38.296854, -122.283423
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Ad Hoc
Three Dining Options in Napa Valley
Ad Hoc, Washington Street, Yountville, CA, United States
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Gott's Roadside - Napa
Three Dining Options in Napa Valley
Gott's Roadside, 1st Street, Napa, CA, United States
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Gott's Roadside - St. Helena
Three Dining Options in Napa Valley
Gott's Roadside, Main Street, Saint Helena, CA, United States
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Morimoto Napa
Three Dining Options in Napa Valley
Morimoto Napa, Main Street, Napa, CA, United States

 

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