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  • Writer's picturecookingwiththehamster


At Corso Garibaldi 68 there is an authentic Japanese restaurant with a long and important history. A reference point in Milan not only for the genuineness of the dishes on offer, but also the first ramen restaurant in the milanese city, Osaka is a place with a strong female characterization.

Naoko Aoki is the owner of Osaka. The daughter of teachers, she graduated with a degree in French language in Japan. Her adventure began in Paris in 1999 when, not yet thirty years old, she worked for a company that deals with fashion import and export. The capital French was at that time the main square of Japanese cuisine in Europe, a city where you could enjoy excellent ramen. Naoko San decides to bring ramen to Italy and chooses Milan. A brave and difficult choice because at that time in Milan there were no ramen restaurants and Japanese cuisine was the preserve of a Japanese clientele or rare admirers. In fact, there were very few Japanese restaurants (including Tomoyoshi Endo and Poporoya). There were many difficulties encountered in the early years, the Italian clientele was very wary, there were deep prejudices against the cuisine of the Rising Sun, especially with respect to raw fish (which would soon be inserted into the menu). Naoko Aoki was supported and encouraged by the owner of the Osaka restaurant in Paris (who, among other things, was also his partner until 2009, when Naoko San took 100% of the shares): in this way, she managed to maintain a high quality standard of the expanding the menu gradually.

Today Osaka is an essential reference point in Milan for lovers of true Japanese cuisine. It differs in an essential and traditional style, where the female staff wears the kimono and the atmosphere recalls the Japanese elegance of yesdies once described in the novels with the refined charm of Yukio Mishima. Appreciated by both Japanese and Italian clientele, Osaka is a member of the Airg (Italian Association of Japanese Restaurateurs). Many things have changed from the initial fear of Asian food: despite the worrying boom in restaurants all you can eat, young people and adults want to learn to recognize and appreciate the genuine taste of the tradition. And this was possible without a shadow of a doubt thanks to the experience and the strong aesthetic taste of Ikeda Osamu. Born in 1969 in Akita, Ikeda San graduated from cooking school in 1987 and began working in Paris at the Japanese restaurant Benken at the Nikko Hotel. From 1990 to 2001 he worked at the Osaka restaurant in Paris and later moved to Milan. His goal is to give back through his creations the authentic taste of Japan through the very fresh local ingredients purchased daily, to make customers feel at home. He is still Osaka’s head chef and can be seen at work behind the long wooden sushi counter with fellow sous chef Takimoto, who has 20 years of experience in the city of Osaka.

The menu is very large and changes twice a year to ensure the seasonality of the ingredients. Every day a menu of the day is presented, consisting of very rich sets. Various sets of sushi and sashimi, tenpura, ramen and curry are offered for lunch. But the real show takes place at dinner. Fresh and delicious fish can be ordered in sets of different qualities or directly à la carte, huge is the amount of traditional dishes typical of the washoku tradition (“food harmony”), many of which really can not be found elsewhere. There is also excellent wagyu meat (also proposed as sukiyaki) and of course ramen. Great also the deserts and remarkable the sake menu.

© Cookingwiththehamster

Osaka cookingwiththehamster
Sushi set | © Cookingwiththehamster
Osaka cookingwiththehamster
Cirashi | © Cookingwiththehamster
Osaka cookingwiththehamster
Tuna maki | © Cookingwiththehamster

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