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Vegetable Kitchen Bar Aju

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 19 reviews )
Contact 06-63757791

1-10-14 Nakazaki, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan, 530-0016

At 大阪市北区中崎町. 16 seat resto and small shop. Not 100% vegan (e.g. honey is on the menu). Located between Nakazakicho & Tenjimbashisuji Rokuchōme subway stations. International dishes including some with mock meat. Uses organic ingredients. Menu items are accompanied by photos. Menu also in Chinese & English. At lunch time, lunch box or burgers only. Navigate using GPS to a perfect map marker used in HappyCow. Tue-Fri 12:00pm-2:30pm, Tue-Sun 6:00pm-10:30pm

Category: Japanese, Organic, Korean

Reviews (19)

First Review by Vegeiko

Disappointing - Edit

I finally made it here last week after having heard about it several times. The first impression on the outside was cute, in the funky area of Nakazakicho, near Umeda.
Inside it's clean, but the comments on the interior really are correct. I thought this wouldn't really both me (and it might not have if the food had been excellent), but for me personally, part of the experience of eating out is always the environment, and this just didn't cut it at all. It's clean, but dark and just kind of depressing. When I entered, the only 2 people already inside looked up and stared at me without smiling, and the owner waved me to whatever table I'd like. I'd called earlier to check if they were open, and he was really nice on the phone, but when I got there he seemed extremely rushed and slightly impatient, even though he was only serving the 2 other people. I ordered the tofu burger set. I tried to confirm that I was vegan and couldn't eat any animal products (since the place isn't fully vegan) and he brushed me off with a "yea yea" while walking away.
The food itself was probably the biggest let-down though. The burger came soaked in an oily sauce, accompanied by 2 small pieces of potato coated in mayonnaise, some oily noodles, steamed (and oily) komatsuna, some dressed carrot slices (they were decent), an overly salty soup, and a baby leaf salad with an off-putting amount of wilted / brown pieces. All of the food dishes except the mug were plastic (re-usable, not disposable), and although he gave me a jug of water (big plus!!) the jug was also plastic and a little grimy. I can't remember every doing this before, but I considered leaving without eating (being super, super hungry though, I didn't).
I received a smile and thank you when I paid and left, but exited knowing I won't go back.
It pains me to write a negative review about a place serving vegan food, especially here in Japan, but I honestly wouldn't recommend this place to anyone. If you're super relaxed, short on cash (it was relatively cheap), and non fussy, then I could understand it being acceptable, but I personally still wouldn't pay for an experience like that again. Instead, you'd be better off going to Babel Cafe - 5 mins away in the same neighbourhood!

Updated from previous review on 2016-10-09

Pros: Great area (Nakazakicho), Cheap

Cons: Bad food, Depressing environment, Poor service

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Vegetable Kitchen Bar Aju, Osaka - Edit

Some points to clarify from the current listing details (update submitted a moment ago for HappyCow HQ to correct:-

1) The correct name listed on the sign at the resto door is:-

Vegetable Kitchen Bar Aju

2) There's honey on the menu so it isn't all vegan

It seems to be a one person operation (more power to the guy's elbow if that is indeed the case). The food was great. It's pretty easy to find with GPS from either Nakazakicho & Tenjimbashisuji Rokuchōme subway stations.

If this place was all vegan I'd defo rate it a 5.

Pros: Vegan friendly, Great tasting food

Cons: Shame about the honey

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Great corner in one of Osaka's best neighborhoods - Edit

I stopped by Aju just to grab a bento box to take home (vegan hamburger with their homemade vegan cheese spiced with coconut and served with brown rice, salad, and deliciously seasoned eggplant, all for only ¥550), and will certainly be going back there again to try out their whole menu.

The service is great, and it's a cozy spot, pretty quiet in the afternoon.

Pros: Delicious food, Excellent value, Bento take out option

Cons: The shimeji seemed to have a lot of "konbo," artif

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Awesome Osaka Find! - Edit

We made a little detour on the way back from Universal Studios to try Aju and I'm so glad we did!

Don't be discouraged by the fact this looks like someone's home, the food is well worth it. We had the avocado fritters, salad and assorted vegan chicken, all incredibly tasty and served by lovely staff.

Finished things off with a soy soft serve with secret cornflakes underneath and picked up some cookies to take home. Definitely give this place a try!

Pros: All vegan, Vegan soft serve, Friendly staff

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Lots of choice, a bit expensive ! - Edit

The staff and setting were very nice, there is a little shop where you can buy meat substitute, nutritional yeast, etc... But I think the food was a bit expensive, the pizza especially was very small and we got out still hungry.

Pros: very nice staff, lots of options (vegan cheeese !!!), small vegan store

Cons: a bit expensive

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Disappointing food quality - Edit

With high expectations, my partner and I dropped by Aju for lunch. Given the many positive reviews, we were quite excited but only to be disappointed with the food.

They have three lunch bento sets, my partner ordered the soy and tofu hamburger set and I ordered the daily special bento.

They both was poor in quality. Seemed to lack proper planning and preparation of the food. First of, the burger was dry with overly salted sauce. The side dishes were unappetizing to look at. The daily special was some kind of white sauce vegetable stew. It was bland in taste and again unappealing to the eyes.

Overall, it felt like we were eating airplane food. Or the kind of food you could grab quickly from a convenience store. Very poor in quality.

Perhaps we just had bad luck that day but we definitely won't go back unless we are desperate for food.

Pros: Cheap, easy to find

Cons: poor quality , lack of taste

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Tasty Comfort Food - Edit

I've been to Aju several times, and I'm never disappointed. As mentioned before it's a very small place, but cozy and comfortable. There is a menu available in English and the owner/chef is a really nice guy.
Very good comfort food. Try the mock chicken skewers.

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Processed food. - Edit

I dropped by for lunch here on a recent trip to Osaka. Given the many positive reviews, I have to say, I expected better. A lot better.

To start with, the positives. As others have stated, the bento boxes are convenient, and the prices are reasonable.

However, the food quality leaves a lot to be desired. It's clear that factory-processed food is used fairly extensively (which negates calling anything "vegan" in my opinion). The food tasted bland and processed, and I did not feel as good as I normally do after eating "real" natural vegan food. This is made obvious even by the miso soup you can order as an extra with your meal, which in fact is just a couple of processed powder packets that you (the customer) add hot water to.

The location is also not very convenient, although in its defense, it's in one of my favorite parts of Osaka, the somewhat bohemian-like Nakazakicho. It is on a small side street off the main shopping arcade, and I recommend a map the first time. The place itself is tiny - 8 seats - and a little dark but the vibe is pleasant enough.

Basically, the advantage here would be if you are already in the area and if a bento would be useful for you rather than eating in (for example, eating outside on the way, on a nice day). I definitely cannot recommend going out of your way to come here. And in any case, I advise caution that the other reviews disappointingly do not: the food quality does not seem real/natural and is nowhere near as good as most other veg places I have tried in Japan.

I don't think it's quite as bad as deserving a 1, but still disappointing. I likely will not be coming back, but can (barely) recommend it for vegetarians, only for cheap on-the-go bentos when in the area. For vegans and those who care about natural (vs processed) food, I cannot recommend it at all. Very overrated.

Pros: Cheap bentos

Cons: Processed food

2 Responses

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tiny, perfect for lunch - Edit

We unexpectedly and happily found Aju for lunch. It's very small, 3 tables, but a great veg option for a quick lunch. Lunch served in plastic bento box for easy takeout.

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Osaka Gem - Edit

Truly a vegan / vegetarian gem buried in Osaka. Small and cozy. Full English vegan menu. Even calls out honey if it is used (only looks to be used in certain alcoholic beverages). Had the fried soy chicken, Caesar salad, sphalerite with "meat sauce", and assorted soy chicken Yokitori (skewers). Such a relief to find this restaurant in a sea of non-veg places... Great food! Highly recommend!

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Definitely a repeater! - Edit

In between Umeda station and Tenjinbashisuji Rokuchoume station so very centrally located. Went several times and the food is always fabulous. Kimchi soy meat is delicious and so are the doria (rice with soy meat, vegetables, tomato sauce and vegan cheese). Local vegetables you've never heard of are on the menu. Well priced, also possible to take two starters or so and only one main dish with two people. Free tap water, as always in Japan.

Pros: Excellent food, Nice vibe, Centrally located near Umeda and Tenroku

Cons: No more than 4 people/reservation

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delicious and filling! - Edit

Went to Aju in May 2014, and was really impressed. The food was very good, really reasonably priced and very imaginative. The owner even commented on the ingredients whenever he brought a dish over, things like "this mayonnaise contains no egg" or "this dessert is made with kanten and yuzu", so it was really nice to hear more about the food. You can also buy some vegan groceries in store, such as fake meat pieces, vegan mayo and matcha cookies. The restaurant is very small (seats 10 people, max) so do book in advance if you can. We will definitely be going back.

Pros: good knowledge of veganism, explanation of ingredients , delicious, well priced food

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Tastiest budget dinner in Osaka - Edit

Two minutes on foot from Nakazakacho station. If you were not told beforehand the meals were vegetarian, you would never know the difference. Full of flavor and loads of menu options. Extremely reasonable prices and one of the few vegan cafes you can dinner items for under 1000yen。 Boxed lunches are an amazing 500yen! Has the feel of a cozy izakaya, but better food than you would ever find at a real one.

Pros: Mock meat could fool a meat eater, amazing prices, cozy feel

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Fresh and delicious - Edit

Very tasty! Had a radish salad with cornflakes on top (much better than it sounds). Deep fried soy chicken, eggplant dip with veggies, avocado fries with veganaise and a sort of veggie-ground-round patty in a squash and rice casserole. All very good and cheap!

Found it very easily, too. Don't be afraid to go down these random alleys!

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Amazing flavours that will tantalise your tastebud - Edit

Great place Great master Great Food. A must go!!

the map doesnt quite point to the right place check out the webpage http://a-ju.org/info/access.html to get accurate directions.

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The best Veg food in Osaka - Edit

I'm a vegetarian that has lived in Osaka for a long time and felt there were poor offerings for vegetarians. I finally came across Vegetable Bar Aju, and it's wide assortment of vegan and veg-friendly dishes. Everything I've had there, from the vegetarian fondue to the special appetizers and main course dishes has a degree of pure taste that surpasses just about anything I've had anywhere else. They offer a lunch bento set from 12-2:00 and in the evening you can order off their full menu. It's a small building with only a few tables, but once you check it out it'll be hard to not frequently return.
Updated from previous review on Friday July 06, 2012

Pros: top-notch veg food, inexpensive, Friendly service

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Great vegan lunch box just for 500 yen! ($5) - Edit

I often go there to get Vegan Lunch Box, with Tofu hamburgs or soy meat nuggets, etc, it has a great volume and you can eat at there, too. The price is AMAZING!! 500 yen for that gorgeous lunch! Makes you want to go there every day!

How to get there, go to subway Tanimachi station, exit no.1 go inside the arcade (shotengai) walk about 100m until you see the nail/cell phone decoration (with swalovski stones) salon then turn left for about 40m. and you will see a small signboard says "あじゅ” should be 5 min. from the station.

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