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220 E. 9th St. New York, NY 10003 | East Village | 646-998-3438

Location Description:

Otafuku opened more than a decade ago in a closet of a space on East 9th Street with a menu that contained just two items. Micro-focused, niche restaurants since have spread like kudzu; Otafuku now occupies a larger, brighter space down the street, and the menu has — trends be damned — expanded. But the throngs still come for the takoyaki octopus balls and the cabbage pancakes known as okonomiyaki, both of which sport crisp exteriors and soft innards and receive a showering of toppings including aonori seaweed powder, squirts of Kewpie mayo, and a mop of dried bonito flakes. For dessert, puffy taiyaki — nutty, fragrant fish-shaped cakes filled with red bean paste — provide a fitting foil for the gut-busting main event. A selection of imported Japanese beverages and packaged desserts (like gummy daifuku, glutinous mochi filled with sweet azuki bean paste) are displayed in a fridge against the back wall. You can find takoyaki and okonomiyaki elsewhere in the city nowadays, but Otafuku exhibits a rogue downtown charm that makes stopping in an utter delight.

Related Stories (2)


  • Cuisine(s): Japanese
  • Hours: Sun-Thu 12pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm
  • Price: $$
  • Serving: Dinner, Lunch
  • Alcohol: None
  • Reservations: Accepted, Not Necessary
  • Parking: No Parking
  • Payment Types: cash
  • Features: Patio/Sidewalk Dining, Takeout

Related Stories

  • Fork in the Road: Openings
    Like a settlement-winning divorcee, Otafuku (220 East 9th Street, 212-353-8503), the city's premiere destination for down-and-dirty takoyaki, okonomiyaki and taiyaki, has gotten a facelift...
  • Fork in the Road: Lists
    I love restaurant hopping. Whenever a friend visits from Los Angeles, I'll take them on an extensive eating tour of the East Village where we'll eat at four to five restaurants...

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