Dotonburi: All-you-can-eat Okonomiyaki Chain
Hearing the name Dotonbori, I’m sure you are thinking of the famous street of delicious cuisines and hot street food down in Osaka. Okonomiyaki, takoyaki, kushiage, ramen; that street has so many awesome foods that you’d wish you can double your stomach size just to taste them all.
A nation-wide okonomiyaki restaurant also shares this name. Dotonbori is a popular chain across Japan that focuses on affordable all-you-can-eat okonomiyaki. Starting from around ¥1300, you will definitely walk out of this place full and satisfied.
Walking into the restaurant, the staffs cheerfully greet you with a loud “irrashaimase, po-po-po-pon!” That is their gimmick whenever a customer enters the shop, and it makes me laugh out loud every time. After you are seated, you can choose to enjoy dinner à la carte, or take one of the 2 hour all-can-eat-deals. The staff will turn the hot griddle on for you and give you the okonomiyaki sauce after you have chosen your course for the day.
With the all-you-can-eat course, you can choose from a selection of items. The cheaper course limits you to only okonomiyaki and monjayaki. However, if you’re willing to dish out a bit more money, you can open up other options such as yakisoba and even grilled meats and desserts.
Even with the cheapest course, there is still quite a selection to choose from: classic okonomiyaki, seafood, three meat, tororo, spicy pork, cheese and mochi…… After you have ordered your first round of okonomiyaki (each person can have one each time), the waiter will soon return with bowls of neatly arranged mixture of the ingredients.
Pour the oil onto the hot plate, mix the heck out of the ingredients and cook. Flip after a few minutes and cook until the other side is crispy too. Making okonomiyaki is not all that challenging, and for me, that was part of the fun with this restaurant where we got to do it ourselves and have fun with it. Having friends who have never tried flipping the Japanese pancake is exciting and entertaining. Even if they fail at the flipping, the next okonomiyaki is just one order away.
PRO-TIP TIME! Since it does take time to cook the okonomiyaki, once you have poured your first round of okonomiyaki mixture onto the hot gridle, you can make your next order! This way, as soon as the little Japanese pancakes are done, the next batch will already be on the table so you guys can start cooking them immediately.
One caveat with the place (as with most other all-you-can-eat restaurants) is the 2 hour limit. More specifically, you have 90 minutes place orders and an extra 30 minutes to stay at the seat after your last order. That is a restriction making you unable to stay there and chat for hours with your friends. However, based on personal experiences, we were always extremely stuffed before the call for last order even came, so the food factor is definitely satisfying.
Dotonbori is one of my favourite restaurants for a cheap yet deliciously filling dinner when I feel like sitting down with my friends to chat and make easy food together. On their website, you can often find coupons to discount you half price on the drink bar corner or ¥500 à la carte okonomiyaki, but going for the all-you-can-eat courses will liberate you from having to budget the meal with each order. If you are a fan of okonomiyaki, this restaurant is a great option to have on your list of places to eat at!