There are many quaint yakitori places in the narrow streets of Namba old town in Osaka, but we came across a modern izakaya specialising in the grilled chicken skewers – Gonbei Yakitori in the Namba Parks mall (炭火焼鳥 権兵衛 なんばパークス店). Gonbei, founded in 1978, has seven stores in Osaka. According to the English translation on the website, it “… is a full-scale charcoal grilled chicken specialty store that uses Kamitobi charcoal”.
Namba Parks is one of the several malls that are connected to the Namba Station in Osaka. We like it because it is further away (as compared to those immediately next to the station such as Takashimaya) and less crowded. It also has an interesting mix of tenants and not just those we find in big malls. Gonbei Yakitori Namba Parks is located in the restaurant zone of the mall. It had a short waiting queue when we were there. Like a typical izakaya, it has an open kitchen and serves a wide range of Japanese food, but yakitori was clearly the main focus.
Gonbei Yakitori Namba Parks Menu
Gonbei serves a wide range of yakitori – grilled skewers of different chicken parts as well as some prawns and vegetables. Here are pictures of some pages from the English menu. There seemed to be more specials on the loose leaf Japanese menu, which alas, we could not comprehend.
Looking at our neighbouring tables, we noticed that drinks flow at a rapid rate at Gonbei Japanese izakaya. We think it is quite natural because the types of food – either grilled or deep-fried go so well with a cool drink. Plus, the prices are quite reasonable – around 500 Yen for a beer and 750 Yen for a small carafe of sake. So when in Osaka we did what the local folks did. Like most of the people here, we rely on walking or public transport and so there is no fear of drink driving issues. The potato wedges and sweet potato fries were a nice start to the meal. The sweet potato was really sweet. Dipping them into the ball of butter was a new way of eating it.
Another unusual dish that we tried were the rice balls. They had been coated with some kind of seasoning and roasted till the surfaces were crisp and charred. A simple dish that tasted wonderful.
The rest of our meal was made up of different types of yakitori. I cannot remember exactly what we had. With a price of around 500 Yen for two sticks of good sized chunks of meat, it was easy on the wallet. We could see why Gonbei Yakitori Namba Parks was such a popular place for drinks and yakitori.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Gonbei Yakitori Namba Parks
2-10-70, Nambanaka, Naniwa-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, 556-0011
Dinner 17: 00 ～ 23: 00
Lunch 11: 00 ～ 17: 00
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
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