During my trip to Japan, I met up with some local friends of friends. We went and got sushi one night and had such a good time, that we all decided to meet up again the following day. We met up at Takotsubo, a neighborhood izakaya that specalized in okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) and akashiyaki (明石焼き).
When you arrive in Osaka, it won't be long before you realize that it is a food-centric city. They love their food here. And one type of food that Osaka is known for is konamon (コナモン) or foods that are made with flour. That includes the Japanese savory pancake okonomiyaki as well as takoyaki, a round flour dumpling ball filled with octopus pieces. And while Takotsubo does indeed have okonomiyaki, it does not have takoyaki. Instead, it has akashiyaki, a similar-looking food that actually inspired the creation of takoyaki.
Unlike takoyaki, akashiyaki is egg based. It is also served with a broth on the side. You are supposed to dip the akashiyaki in the broth prior to eating it.
Anyways, it was delicious. Because of the eggs, akashiyaki is really soft and fluffy. And the broth that its served with was steaming hot–perfect for that chilly Osaka day. It was also very mild (but the addition of hot pepper flakes spiced it up a little). We must have ordered like 40 of them.
We also had the okonomiyaki and modanyaki (okonomiyaki with a layer of yakisoba noodles under it). Again, delicious. They came to us in iron pans. Because the pancakes were still steaming hot at our table, the bonito flakes on top were dancing and moving around. They were stuffed with all sorts of vegetables and meats and were the perfect foods to pair with the ice cold beers we had at the table as well.
Even though it wasn't a “fancy” restaurant by any means, I really enjoyed Takotsubo. Just like we have small neighborhood bars here in the States, Takotsubo is a neighborhood izakaya that I imagine locals to show up at after work. We went for lunch so it was fairly empty… there was a small TV in the corner droning on with some Japanese game show, its sounds occasionally interrupted by the sizzle of foods on the flat top in the kitchen area. The owner, a kind lady who smiled at us and asked how the food was, checked up on us constantly (she knew one of the friends I was with). Anyways, we ate akashiyaki, okonomiyaki, and modanyaki till our hearts' content and washed it down with glasses of cold beer. It was the best.