In the heart of Dotonbori 道頓堀 in Namba 難波 is the main store of Kani Douraku かに道楽, specialist in crab cuisine. There are also at least another 2-3 outlets all within 5min walk but that’s Namba I guess.
This one is the king store. It has 3 levels of dining, each with a superb view of Dotonbori canal and humans milling about the Ebisubashi bridge and taking pictures of the Glico man. Which floor the manager sends you to depends on how touristy you look. The 2nd floor has recessed areas under the table for silly foreigners who look like they can’t sit cross legged. The 4th floor is much larger and has traditional tatami seating, and of course a better view of the canal. We got sent to the 4th floor the 1st time, and then the 2nd floor the next. Go figure.
They serve 3 main types of crab there, as well as some seasonal crabs. The set courses are a good way to try everything in all its forms, raw, boiled, grilled, fried, etc. If you have 2 people, the largest set will have just about all the main dishes for about 10000 yen.
King crabs タラバかに
King crabs have long legs and relatively big spikes all over its shell. There is one in the top tank in the entrance. The grilled meat was very sweet, as long as you got it just cooked but still juicy. The sashimi version was also nice, but nothing spectacular to write home about. I think the meat is not strongly flavored enough to be sliced so thin. Quite meaty relative to the other crabs.
Snow crabs ズワイかに
Snow crabs have long forward pointing legs and populate most of the tank in the entrance. It is also the shop icon. I guess this is the ‘normal’ type of crab Japanese eat. It is very light and sweet when raw, and superb in the shabu, though there is a strong temptation to eat the shabu version raw too!
Horsehair crabs 毛がに
Horsehair crabs are small light brown crabs with small hairs all over them. They are not in every set, but you should definitely order it. The meat is amazingly sweet and we couldn’t get enough. The middle part is a bit frustrating to get the meat out of.
Boiled crab with vinegar かに酢
Boiled snow crab legs served cold, with part of the shell cut off for easy eating. The vinegar nicely enhances the flavor of the crab. A good appetiser.
Crab miso かに味噌甲羅焼
You are probably better off not knowing what crab miso is exactly. But it’s delicious. If you like crab butter you’ll love this. It has a similar but stronger flavor. Cooked in the crab shell with some other ingredients mixed in, you have to keep stirring and eating so it doesn’t burn.
Crab sushi かに寿司
Crab sushi is a waste of time in its various forms. Unfortunately in almost every set you will get some, as if to ‘complete’ the experience.
Crab steamed egg かに茶碗蒸し
Usually I don’t like chawanmushi at all, but here they managed to get strong crab flavor into the egg, and I actually enjoyed it. Good if you need something hot after all the crab sashimi.
Crab shabu かにしゃぶ
Crab shabu comes with a superb soup base, and frankly not enough crab legs. Just 1-2 seconds in the soup and you have warm soup on the outside and a still juicy middle. You should order extra meat and not let the soup go to waste.
Good food, good service, good views, and reasonable prices. A must visit.