Naniwa Kappo Kigawa Osaka was the best restaurant in Osaka that we tried when we were there recently. It is a Michelin star restaurant that seems to be highly regarded universally, appearing in many lists of the top restaurants in Osaka. We were not the only ones who were impressed. Even the locals that we struck up a conversation with during our lunch had no qualms about declaring Naniwa Kappo Kigawa the best restaurant in Osaka.
Naniwa Kappo Kigawa Osaka is located in a small house near the Namba Station. It is along a quiet alley (Hozenji Yokocho) that is just steps away from the bustling covered walkway arcades in the area. It was not easy to find and is probably easier to use the famous Hozen-ji Temple as the navigation point. The restaurant is only a few steps away.
Naniwa Kappo Kigawa was humming with business when we arrived. It is a dimly place with all the cooking done right in front of diners. We had two ringside seats at the counter with full view of the action. It was a smooth operation with the chefs churning out dish after dish without much overt communication.
My understanding of Kappo dining is that it is formal dining at the counter. According to the Michelin Guide, it is said to be in between the refined kaiseki and the casual izakaya style cuisines. We were there for lunch and had pre-selected the 8.000 Yen course menu.
Naniwa Kappo Kigawa Menu
Here are pictures of our lunch menu and portions of the sake list. We had a few types of sake (cold and hot) to go with our meal.
The Small Dishes
Our meal at Kigawa started with some light items. The appetizer was a delicate creation made up of many ingredients – clam, vegetables, yam and agar etc. It was exquisite. It was followed by a dish of sashimi. Not thick slabs of fish we find in a typical restaurant, but thin small pieces. We thought that the sashimi was fine, but it was not at as high a level as the cooked items that day.
After the sashimi, we had the soup and the grilled dish. Both were exceptionally good. The soup of bamboo shoots and sea bream dumpling was clear and light but contained a complex, pure taste.
The Big Dishes
We decided to try some hot sake with the hot dishes that were to follow. A selection of sake cups were offered to us (no such choice was made available for the cold sake which were served in generic clear glass cups).
Two types of hot dishes were available – cream croquette and simmered assorted vegetables. We selected one of each. The croquette was the more flavourful dish. The simmered vegetables was a simple dish that showcased the natural taste of various vegetables.
The cooked tongue of pig and asparagus was a dish that was only available with the 8,000 Yen menu. It tasted better than its description. The tongue was cooked till it was soft. It had no porky taste and was very good.
The arrival of rice, miso soup and pickles signalled the impending end of the meal. Dessert was a departure from the classic Japanese cuisine so far – a soufflé.
We like the kappo dining style at Kigawa Osaka. It is elegant food but without too much ostentation. The atmosphere of the restaurant is serious yet casual at the same time. The restaurant is very traditional, yet offers enough concessions like the English menu and communication to make foreigners like us feel welcome.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Naniwa Kappo Kigawa (浪速割烹 喜川)
1-7-7 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Osaka
Japanese Address: 大阪府大阪市中央区道頓堀1-7-7
Tel: +81 662113030
More information on the Kigawa Osaka restaurant can be found here.
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog