By John Carter
The ‘Vegan in Japan’ series continues with three spots in the modern and youthful city of Osaka.
In a city where I found vegan options to be scarce in comparison to Kyoto or Tokyo, it was comforting to notice that ‘Vegan for Life’ was proudly emblazoned on the sign at the entrance to this cafe. Warmly lit and charming, Paprika Shokudo offers an extensive and indulgent vegan menu that is filled with variety. Your options here include salads, pastas, pizzas, and Japanese style rice and ‘meat’ dishes. The soy meat chicken karaage was my personal favourite (based off the numerous times I ate here), the portion size of which came as a surprise to me—it was so large in comparison to your average Japanese dish. The karaage is also seasoned with a mayo that is made in house out of soy milk, vinegar, and canola oil. When you’re ready to order, each table comes with a ‘book’ or a ‘chest’, which is really just a box with a round gadget inside that has a button on top. Press the button and a server will be at your table almost immediately. Smoothies, desserts, coffees, and teas are also offered, though they tend to run out of bananas for smoothies by dinner time. Desserts include brownies, cakes, and a soy milk soft serve topped with either a chocolate or berry sauce. Paprika Shokudo is easily one of my favourite vegan spots in Japan.
Accepts credit cards
Mon-Sun 11:30-3:00pm (last order 2:00), 5:30-12:00am (last order 11)
1F Alivio Shinmachi Bldg, 1-9-9 Shinmachi, Nishi-ku, Osaka, Japan
Organic & Vegetarian Cafe Atl
Located in the midst of Shinsaibashi and just a couple of blocks from Dotonbori and Amerikamura is Cafe Atl. Entirely vegan and offering a set menu that consists of a salad or soup to start, a main, and rounded off with coffee/tea at the end for just 1500 yen. Desserts and cakes are also offered, though are not included in the set. Off the set menu they also sell bagels with tofu cream cheese or topped with cinnamon and sugar. The menu changes daily, though you can always bet on there being a curry rice dish offered as one of the mains. The two times I went it was a spicy lentil curry and a coconut radish and tofu curry. The curries are more runny than they are thick, the light, natural flavours of which make for a cozy homemade tasting meal. Unlike most vegan restaurants in Osaka, this spot does not close between lunch and dinner and is open from 12:00pm to 10:30pm. This was a lifesaver for me when I found myself in need of a late lunch.
Accepts credit cards
2-1-24 Shinsaibashisuji, Chuoku, Osaka, Japan 542-0085
[Permanently closed] Le Coccole
I’m always a bit hesitant to use the term ‘quirky’ as it tends to just be a default replacement for ‘weird’ or ‘different’, but Le Coccole embodies ‘quirky’ down to every last detail. The inside sees walls decorated with bright colourful tiles, old wooden vintage chairs, and Christmas lights and streamers hanging from the ceiling. The owner is proud to use all natural ingredients with no MSG, GMO’s, or refined sugars. Their vegetables are mainly sourced from the owner’s brother in Shimofukagawa in Nara and contain no chemicals, so you can eat rest-assured knowing your meal was sourced locally. Their lunch menu consists of only three options; a Japanese curry, a plate lunch, or tomato sauce risotto. Between lunch and dinner they only offer desserts and drinks, such as a strawberry or mango smoothie and tofu cheesecake. The dinner menu is more extensive, featuring three set options and more. The restaurant is a bit tucked away as the building itself is located deep inside the lot, I walked by it a couple of times before realising where it actually was.
Wed-Sat 11:30am-9:00pm, Sun 11:30am-5:30pm
3-4-1 Kitakyuhojimachi, Chuo-ku (Honmachi), Osaka, Japan
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