Traditional Udon in Shinsaibashi
Nishiya and sister shop, Naniwa Soba, have been serving up traditional udon and soba in the heart of Shinsaibashi for the past 20 years. In an area filled with the neon lights of modern builds, the soft glow from these two classics provide a warm welcome to customers in search of Edo Era charm. I hate to admit that, while I’ve known about both shops for years and cycle past them weekly, I had actually never been to both until this past week. I realize now that this has been a complete oversight!
Both restaurants are as lovely on the inside as they are on the outside. Muted natural-toned walls highlight the space’s wooden beamed ceilings and shoji doors. The first floor of both shops have typical table seating for diners coming for a casual lunch or dinner. For those wishing to host an event or party, the tatami mat rooms found on the upper floors are perfect for larger groups.
As for the food, it’s equally as impressive as the buildings and is very reasonably priced! This was the biggest surprise for me, as the only reason I hadn’t previously visited Nishiya and Naniwa was because I had assumed they would be way above my ‘noodle budget’. Meaning that I never seem to be able to justify splurging on ramen, udon or soba – ‘noodles’, in the same way that I can for some heavenly sushi. So you can imagine my delight in discovering that I wouldn’t have to!
For just ¥1,000 at Nishiya I had the very delicious and incredibly filling udon (pictured above) and a drink. Within the same week, I also managed a trip to Naniwa Soba for a lunch soba set, which came in under ¥1,000. It was here that the knowledgeable staff gave me a crash course in soba making. They explained that in keeping with tradition, the soba they produce are made using an ishiusu or ‘traditional stone grinder’ which adds a more natural and earthy favor to the noodles. I don’t know if I could taste the earth or not but it was hands-down one of the best soba sets I’ve had.
Monday – Saturday: 11am-11pm (last order – 10:30pm)
Sundays and Holidays: 11am-10pm (last order – 9:30pm)
To see Nishiya Udon’s complete menu, you can visit their website here.
Nishiya Udon:1 Chome-18-18, Higashishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0083
Naniwa Soba: 1 Chome-4-32, Higashishinsaibashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0085