Japan’s tastiest greasy spoon chain

“Greasy Spoon” is perhaps an exaggeration for some of these places listed in this goo Ranking survey into Japan’s tastiest set meal chain restaurants.

The basic features of a set meal in Japan is usually one main meat dish like pork cutlet or boiled beef, with rice, miso soup and pickles, and maybe a small salad or other side dish, all often for under 1,000 yen. Here’s a sample from the rather nice (but over 1,000 yen) Obon no Gohan chain:

鮭魚排蜂蜜生薑燒, 御盤de食堂, おぼんdeごはん, 微風松高, 台北

Number 2, Ootoya is just about my favourite price/performance-wise on the list, and is far from the greasy spoon I in the title. Last time I was there I had a very quiet and relaxed time with basil grilled chicken on a large salad bed plus the above side dishes and self-service soft drinks, posh tea bags and freshly-brewed coffee for just over 1,000 yen.

On the other hand, places like Sukiya, Yoshinoya and Matsuya are rapid gob-stuffing pit stops (convince me otherwise!) that as someone very sensitive to chewing and slurping noises quite frankly scare me!

What’s your favourite chain?

All-you-can eat restaurants in Japan

About how often do you go for all-you-can-eat meals? graph of japanese opinionBetween the 1st and 5th of April 2007 MyVoice looked at all-you-can-eat restaurants. This is perhaps a subject dear to many foreigners’ hearts as they can find the portions in Japan a little small. This survey does not, however, cover all-you-can-drink offers.


17,261 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private internet-based survey. 54% were female, 2% in their teens, 18% in their twenties, 39% in their thirties, 26% in their forties, and 15% in their fifties.

I’ve got a few favourite all-you-can-eat restaurants in the Kansai area, and we tend to visit about twice a month. Rather than just listing them, let’s try a Google Map of the locations.

Click here to visit my custom Google Maps map.

My number one top spot is Solviva atop of the Hankyu Terminal Building in Umeda. It’s 1,890 yen for a varied selection of Japanese farm cooking, with some organic veggies here and there. There’s about forty dishes to choose from, then another ten or so desserts, organic coffee and tea, and a wonderful view from the counter seats looking north over Osaka. There’s also an alcohol menu with interesting shochu, from boring old wheat or potato base to milk via corn and sesame.

I also discovered this interesting page of reviews of other all-you-can-eat locations in Osaka.