Beautifully presented and value for money Japanese cuisine (Photo: Herry Lawford / CC BY 2.0)

Ganko Japanese Restaurant Momodani

Eat like a local in this authentic working quarter

Beautifully presented and value for money Japanese cuisine (Photo: Herry Lawford / CC BY 2.0)
Bonson Lam   - 3 min read

For simple mainstream Japanese meals at family friendly prices, Ganko is hard to beat. Whether you love udon soba, grilled fish, sashimi tempura or even steak and chips, Ganko has something to suit your appetite. They even have children’s' menus.

Whilst the menu is in Japanese, all choices have clear pictures so it is easy to order. They even have a children’s’ menu and a tofu based dessert menu, ranging from tofu donuts to tofu cheesecake which is similar to pudding and cheesecake in texture, and annin tofu with fruit which is familiar to anyone who has been to a Cantonese yum cha lunch.

I tried the steak and chips which was filling and delicious with the sauce, however the tempura and noodles are the highlights. The sashimi is good though having just came from Tsukiji fish markets the day before I have been spoilt by amazingly fresh fish. For less than 1300 yen you can enjoy a main and dessert with freshly brewed tea and relax in a comfortable and elegant atmosphere with family and friends.

While the food will not win accolades with Michelin guide, the service and comfort levels are equal if not better than many four star restaurants, especially for families or any medium sized groups, where you can use a private tatami room with simple but exquisite decorations, with a feel of a country ryokan. The kimono clad waitresses are gracious and you feel transported to a more elegant time.

This comfortable, elegant but not stuffy service style is in keeping with the founder of this restaurant chain. Mr Kojima originally started out with just one tiny sushi shop in Osaka in 1961. He lovingly called it Ganko, his nickname for “stubborn” during his childhood. While the service is definitely not stubborn, he remembers his humble roots so that despite his successes in establishing restaurants in Kansai and Tokyo, the service remains discreet rather than aloof. At the same time each Ganko restaurant has its own feel, reflective of the architectural and social heritage of the district.

As you can see, pleasant young families and older couples favor this restaurant, and being out of the usual tourist circuit, you can get a glimpse of everyday Japanese life. For families or travelers the private room has a lot of space to put your children’s gear or backpack. The tatami floor and low seating with foot holes means that you can sit in Japanese style without having to kneel.

From the comfort of a private room, it is also easy to keep an eye on the children and even if they fall the tatami mat means that they are unlikely to hurt themselves. Of course there is plenty of space between the dining table and the door should you need to nappy change or nap, which may happen after a few sakes or beers?

After the meal your young child may be lucky enough to be greeted by the wait staff bearing small toys to choose from. It is surprises like this that lift old favorites into a pleasant dining experience.

Getting there

This Momodani eatery reflects the down to earth character of the district. Close to the old Korean town in Tsuruhashi, the area is lined with family run home-style barbeque restaurants and you may even hear old school Korean that has long been superseded in the streets of Seoul. Momodani is also close to old Osaka in Tennoji and Shin Sekai, and just a short bus or ten minute subway or train ride away from the main Namba commercial district in Minami, Osaka.

Bonson Lam

Bonson Lam @bonson.lam

I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric laneways of Kyoto last century.  I am humbled to have met many distinguished people during this time, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperia...