It’s my final week in Buenos Aires, *sniff*, so I’ve been frantically running around trying to eat at all the places that I am going to miss the most and a few that I just had to try before I left. One restaurant that gets a lot of hype whenever anyone comes to visit is the famous Osaka. One of the first of the Peruvian Japanese fusion restaurants in Buenos Aires, it is up there with Cabrera as one of the restaurants that everyone’s wants to go to. I’d been a couple of times and had mixed feelings about it but wanted to give it one more shot.
After some bitterly cold weather in June, July in Buenos Aires has been unseasonably warm; I’m talking nearly 20 degrees in the middle of winter. Remind me why I’m leaving again? Anyways as it was another gorgeous day we decided that we owed ourselves one last visit to Osaka to deliver the final verdict.
We plonked ourselves down on the balcony that overlooks Soler and ordered ourselves a couple of pisco maracuyas and got stuck into the menu. Osaka basically has three types of things you can order; you’ve got the Japanese (but not really Japanese) tapas type things, the Peruvian stuff (ceviche, tiraditos etc) and the sushi/sashimi menu. I always try to order something from each bit and at this point I would say it’s probably best to go to Osaka with a big group of people and order as much as you can to get a real feel for the menu but it was just the two of us so we were a bit limited as to what we could order.
We started off with some “evil scallops” and duck gyozas from the Japanese section. I’ve also tried the salmon sesame sake which I wish I’d ordered again as it is one of the best things on the menu but this time I stupidly forgot to. The scallops were ok I suppose but the “evil” sauce it came in was a little to close to “bbq” sauce for my liking although it had a nice spicy kick to it. The gyozas were better, filled with nice big chunks of duck and glazed onions but weren’t a patch on the ones I’ve had at Nimji. Those I still dream about.
Moving on to the Peruvian part of the menu we stayed away from the ceviches as I knew they would probably disappoint. In my opinion if you want to taste ceviche the way it’s meant to be and at the price it should be then get your butt to Solo Pescados and eat like a king for $50. Tiraditos, on the other hand, are a bit more of a speciality and worth a try at the more upmarket places. We chose the Osaka salmon tiradito that came with a mixture lemon, sesame and shiso sauce. I have to grudgingly admit that this was really, really good. It perfectly encapsulates what Osaka is all about and why Peruvian and Japanese cooking can be such a good match. The smokiness of the sesame mixed with the freshness of the lemon worked wonderfully with the delicately sliced salmon, this was a big highlight of the meal and worth the trip alone. It tasted even better with a sip of the pisco maracuya.
Finally we finished up with some sashimi and sushi. The sashimi was fresh and tasty but the amount we got for $80 was a fu*king joke. It was good but there is no way it’s that good. This plate had me thinking about Nimji again where you can get twice the amount for the same price and just as good quality. Osaka really loses its Japanese credentials when it comes to the sushi. About 80% of the options include cream cheese, which I think has absolutely no place in a sushi roll. Another gripe is that you can only order 10 at a time. We asked if we could mix two together but were told no. This was a little annoying considering there are only two of us but not much we could do about it. If you’re looking for traditional sushi then Osaka is not the place to go but it does have some fun “fusion” options but only if you like cream cheese.
Osaka will always be on the list of anyone who comes to visit Buenos Aires, and it certainly encapsulates a lot of what Buenos Aires fusion cuisine has to offer. I do however think that it is pretty pricey for what you end up getting but I doubt many tourists really care about that. It will always be a big name because it does the important things right and has some great cocktails but it won’t be one of the restaurants that I miss when I go home. To find out who is on that list you’re going to have to wait till my next post.