Osaka: Shinsaibashi / Coffee shop
Higashi-Shinsaibashi 1-13-19, NT Bldg 1F. [from Midosuji turn E on the street that runs along the north side of Daimaru; keep walking for 3 blocks until you get to Family Mart on your left hand side; at Family Mart turn left; Link is located about 10 meters north, on the right hand side] Open 9am-10pm. Closed Mondays.
: Open Sundays
Stumbling across Link was something of a godsend, as I had just received email from a soon-to-visit relative who is a connoisseur of both beer and coffee. He was looking forward to experiencing the best that Osaka had to offer in both these categories, and while I had the beer places down pat, I was afraid that our search for seriously good coffee in Osaka would come up empty. Until I found Link, that is.
Located on a quiet back street of Shinsaibashi, Link offers coffee plain and simple, without the modern-day frills - meaning there is no whipped cream to be found on the premises! That said, they do have seventeen kinds of coffee, divided evenly on the menu into Strong, Medium and Light. You can sample freshly brewed coffee from all four corners of the world in a matter of minutes. Prices range from 380 yen for a cup of strong Ethiopian to 650 yen for a cup of 100% Blue Mountain or Kona, which is reasonable given the quality and the selection. Along with your coffee you can enjoy small morsels of sandwiches or cheesecake at very reasonable prices.
Link itself has a very modern cafe feel to it - it could be at home in any major North American city. It is well laid out with six perfectly aligned two-person tables on one side of the room and a six-person counter facing neat rows of porcelain coffee cups on the other. I knew this place was more than just a flashy, no-nothing coffee shop when I saw a roasting room in the back - the management here obviously means business. The atmosphere is very relaxing and this is the perfect place for a quiet conversation with a friend and a good escape from the bustle of Shinsaibashi-suji.
My only complaint is that there are ashtrays on every table, which means that smoke may interfere with the wonderful smell of your coffee. Nevertheless, in the three times I've been there I've only seen one table smoking, so this is only a minor flaw in this wonderful coffee house that I now call 'My Saturday Sanctuary'.
by Tim Eustace