We have not been to that many restaurants in Osaka, but we did visit a yakiniku restaurant – Shichirin Wakabaya in Namba and had a good experience. The food was good and it was also value for money. The restaurant was almost full when we arrived at 5.30pm in the evening, which is considered early for dinnertime.
S had read that it’s actually better to have barbecued meats in Osaka than Kobe, despite Kobe being famous for its beef. This is because most of the beef would have been shipped off to other parts of Japan, and most of them do pass through Osaka. Therefore, we took the chance to look for yakiniku (grilled meats) restaurants in the area. Through Google reviews and Tablelog, we found a restaurant which was rated quite well by Japanese people.
For good grilled meats visit Shichirin Yakiniku Wakabaya in Namba Osaka
When we first entered, we were assigned two seats by the counter. The feeling was akin to the Solitary Gourmet entering a neighbourhood izakaya, in search of good food to soothe his hungry stomach. The man behind the counter could speak two languages – Japanese and Mandarin. This worked really well for us, being non-Japanese speakers. We managed to make subsequent orders in Mandarin. He handed us a Chinese menu as well.
The items were pretty affordable. It is no wonder that the place was filled with many locals. Next to us were some boys (presumably in their adolescence) who had finished 5-6 plates of meat. The evidence was stacked up right next to them. The beef tongue appeared to be the signature dish and so we got that as the starter.
This made good beer food, but we thought that to align ourselves with Goro in Solitary Gourmet, we should have some Oolong tea instead.
We ordered more cuts of meat, including beef and pork. One of the meats was the Wagyu shortribs, which was actually nicely marbled (see picture above). Because we were cooking with a raw charcoal flame, it produced a large flame when the oil dripped into the pot. Didn’t seem like there was a way to avoid the large flames. By the way, one way to know if the charcoal is hot is to look at its colour. If it’s whitish grey, it’s actually producing lots of heat. Like the one in the picture below.
We decided to order some vegetables to accompany the meat, as it was getting to be quite flavourful and yet a greasy meal.
Here came the intense flames coming from the pork, which was quite fatty. The fat melted on the grill, and became drops of oil which sparked off a big flame. I was glad that S was doing the cooking as it was getting quite hot and one had to gingerly turn the meat to avoid it getting burnt, and at the same time, avoid the flames contacting your hand as well. I’m not quite sure what the vents at the front of the grill do.
I learnt that the minute the flame touched the meat, it was so hot till the meat turned black on the outside. So we tried our best to avoid such a scenario, but it was quite challenging to be honest. I ended up peeling out the burnt bits before eating the meat. To avoid the leaping flames, I realised one way could be to cook fewer pieces of meat at one go. This allowed for better flame control, with less oil dripping into the charcoal pot.
The Travelling Squid’s Take
The bill came up to ¥4,000 / SGD50/ USD36 for the two of us, which was really affordable given the amount of food we had ordered. I’m glad we went slow on the meat – ordering just four types and some vegetables to go along with it. I’m pretty sure that the wagyu shortribs at other more touristy restaurants in the area would have cost ¥4,000 per serving.
While I would have preferred cooking the meats on a pan instead of under a direct charcoal fire, it was a good experience nonetheless. I’d always remember the Chinese staff behind the counter who spoke fluent Mandarin and Japanese. I was left wondering about his story after we left the restaurant…
Shichirin Yakiniku Wakabaya in Namba Osaka
- Address: 4-6-6 Nanba Chuo-ku Osaka Osaka, 大阪府 大阪市中央区 難波 4-6-6
- Tel: +81-50-5868-2979
- Website: https://tabelog.com/en/osaka/A2701/A270202/27058234/dtlrvwlst/#anchor-rd-detail
- Opening hours: 17: 00 ~ 23: 30 (Last order for food is at 22: 30, drinks at 23: 00)