Osaka is a city known for its food but that doesn't always mean that those preferring meals without meat and dairy are well catered to. Luckily, Le Coccole brings a plethora of vegetable-based options to fill the void.
It's not easy to track down Le Coccole, whose name in Italian means "cuddles". Tucked away between what looks like two metal sheds in a small thoroughfare a short walk from the Honmachi intersection, the restaurant sits back from the road and is marked by a tent-like awning out its front. In good weather, you can sit outside at the picnic tables.
Inside, you can sit at either individual tables or at the long bar in front of the open kitchen, though due to the eatery's popularity at mealtimes, you might not have much of a choice! The dinner menu is fairly extensive but the lunch menu sports just three options. While the two main plates (tofu quiche and a tomato-based risotto) looked delicious to me, I decided to try out the "one-plate" lunch, an offering of several different vegetable-based salads.
I was served a clear onion soup before my meal came and the main lunch was accompanied by a large bowl of brown rice. On the plate itself I was treated to such goodies as a salad of organic greens (sourced from farms in nearby Nara prefecture), a breaded carrot that was made to resemble the typical bento staple of fried shrimp, a daikon salad, a zucchini fritter and a delicious pumpkin and pepper salad with a white sesame dressing. The food was delicious, and though I could have eaten twice as much, the sizable portion of rice helped to fill me up.
The lunch plate included the standard option of tea or coffee, but I personally opted for a larger (and pricier) ginger tea brewed with Earl Grey. I also couldn't say no to a dessert, and the tofu cheesecake was delectable. Its texture so resembles that of real cheese I could hardly tell I wasn't eating a typical dairy-based dessert.
Le Coccole is a two-woman operation in the kitchen, so when the restaurant is full the service might slow down a bit. Come here if you're looking for delicious food and are content to pass the time with friends or a good book.