If you love katsu, you may be more familiar with the chicken and pork varieties, but there's one other major katsu genre that must be mentioned, and that's beef katsu. Sometimes known as 牛カツ gyūkatsu, this type of katsu has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in recent years, with new restaurants vying for the attention of hungry diners.

However, there's one restaurant that has been faithfully serving amazing beef tenderloin katsu for over 80 years: 新世界グリル梵 Shinsekai Grill Bon.

Shinsekai Grill Bon had humble beginnings, starting off as a Western-style restaurant called レストラン二井 Restaurant Futatsui in an alley under Tsutenkaku Tower, the symbol of Osaka, back in 1937. After losing their restaurant once, they reopened in the 新世界 Shinsekai area and called themselves Shinsekai Grill Bon. Although the kanji 梵 bon means either "Sanskrit" or "Brahman" (the unchanging, universal spirit or consciousness which underlies all things in Hinduism), the owner chose it for a far more secular reason: its pronunciation sounds like the French word "bon," meaning "delicious."

This ended up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. Their delicious beef katsu and beef katsu sandwiches quickly earned a reputation in Osaka and their business thrived enough for them to open two more branches in Osaka and fourth branch in the posh shopping district of Ginza, Tokyo.

Moreover, their ビーフヘレカツサンド bīfu here katsu sando* beef tenderloin katsu sandwiches are famous as a 差し入れ sashiire, a food gift, often enjoyed as a backstage snack, and appreciated by members of Japanese show business. For example, actress, singer, model, and former AKB48 member 小島陽菜 Haruna Kojima introduced them on TV as being one of her favorite sashiire.

* Tenderloin, either pork or beef, is usually written ヒレ肉 hireniku ("filet" meat) but in Osaka, it's known as ヘレ肉 hereniku.

Ordering Shinsekai Grill Bon's famous Beef Herekatsu Sandwiches

Although you'll get the freshest sandwiches if you order them in the restaurant, they're also delicious at room temperature, so their takeout is an attractive option. Even more conveniently for those who live in Osaka or Tokyo, Shinsekai Grill Bon has partnered with delivery services such as Uber Eats, so you don't even need to step outside of your home to eat them. That's the option we chose when we decided to give these famous sandwiches a try.

Photo by grape Japan

They came in a plastic bag with their name printed in bold brown lettering along with the words "Beef Herekatsu Sandwiches."

Photo by grape Japan

Inside, we found a simple but handsomely decorated box in dark brown with a checkered yellow stripe along the side, a package of からし karashi (Japanese mustard, which is less tangy and more pungent than Western mustard), a moist towelette and the restaurant's brochure, showing a black-and-white picture from the restaurant's early days.

When we picked up the box, we were pleased to find that they were still warm!

Photo by grape Japan

A simple flap was all that stood between us and these tasty-looking sandwiches.

Photo by grape Japan

We had ordered the "sandwiches for one" which includes six pieces, but there's also what they call a "half size" although it has four pieces, not three. Perhaps the fourth piece is a bonus, like the thirteenth item in a baker's dozen.

A wonderful aroma of tonkatsu sauce and beef wafted over us. The beef looked tender indeed. According to their pamphlet, they "only use carefully selected beef tenederloin (...) and never use frozen beef (...), making each sandwich by hand with the utmost care."

Photo by grape Japan

Just by looking, you can tell that the slices of bread are lightly toasted. Sometimes katsu breading can be too thin but here, in this case, each katsu piece has a great balance of golden breading to beef.

Photo by grape Japan

We couldn't wait to sink our teeth into one of them. But first, we put a little smear of karashi on it since we know how great it goes with katsu.

Photo by grape Japan

Wow. We were very impressed. The beef was amazingly tender and flavorful, and just a bit of fat. The breading was crisp even though it had soaked up the sauce, and the bread wasn't soggy at all. We appreciated the fact that they didn't use sweet bread, which allowed the flavors of the katsu to come through.

Their sauce was amazing, full of umami, fruity and tangy flavors. According to the pamphlet, they start with a chicken bone stock, then use a blend of fruits and vegetables such as onions, carrots, apples, ginger, celery, and cabbage to give it a mild and rich flavor, then add their house blend soy-sake sauce, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire sauce and simmer it for about a week.

Combined with the delicious tenderloin and the breading, everything came together to create perfect katsu harmony.

The 一人前サイズ ichinin mae saizu (for one) contains six pieces, weighs about 380 grams and costs 2,240 JPY to eat in, 2,200 JPY for takeout, and 2,640 JPY with Uber Eats. The ハーフサイズ hāfu saizu size contains four pieces, weighs about 250 grams and costs 1,120 JPY to eat in, 1,100 JPY for takeout, and 1,320 JPY with Uber Eats. 100 grams has 243 calories, 14.4 grams protein, 9.8 grams fat, 24.2 grams carbs, and 532 miligrams sodium.

They're good at room temperature but if you want to make them even better, they recommend pre-heating a toaster oven for 2-3 minutes, turning off the heat, then putting the sandwich pieces (removed them from their box) inside to warm up between 60 to 90 seconds. Apparently, this will get rid of any excess moisture and let the flavor of the sauce come through.

Whether you dine in the store or order takeout or delivery, you can also enjoy two premium beverages along with your katsu, 有田みかんジュース Arita Mandarin Juice made especially for Grill Bon (400 JPY) and ガラナジュース Guarana Juice (400 JPY). It's an apple-flavored beverage that pours like a beer called "Diamond Guarana", made with mineral water and sold by Nunobiki Mineral Water Co., Ltd. since 1955.

If you're in Japan and want to try some delicious beef katsu sandwiches that have a solid reputation for excellence yet won't break your bank like some of the upscale wagyu beef katsu restaurants that have popped up lately, you can't go wrong Shinsekai Grill Bon.


グリル梵 本店 Grill Bon Main Branch

  • 〒556-0002大阪市浪速区恵美須東1-17-17
  • 1-17-17 Ebisuhigashi, Naniwa Ward, Osaka, 556-0002 (Google Maps)
  • Hours: 12:00-14:00, 17:00-19:30
  • Tel/Fax: 06-6632-3765

グリル梵 堂島店 Grill Bon Dojima Branch

  • 〒530-0003 大阪府大阪市北区堂島2-1−34
  • 2-1-34 Dojima, Kita Ward, Osaka, 530-0003 (Google Maps)
  • Hours: 17:00-1:00 (closed on weekends)
  • Tel/Fax: 06-6347-5007
  • Uber Eats

グリル梵 エキマルシェ新大阪店 Grill Bon Eki Marche Shin-Osaka Branch

  • 〒532-0011 大阪府大阪市淀川区西中島5-16−1
  • 5-16-1 Nishinakajima, Yodogawa Ward, Osaka, 532-0011
  • Hours: 9:30-22:00 (takeout only)
  • Tel/Fax: 06-6195-3602


グリル梵 銀座店 Grill Bon Ginza Branch

  • 〒104-0061 東京都中央区銀座7-14−1荏原実業第一ビル 1F
  • 〒104-0061 1F Ebara Jitsugyo Dai-ichi Bldg., 7−14−1 Ginza, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
  • Hours: 11:00-20:00 on weekdays (11:00-17:00 on Saturday, closed on Sunday)
  • Tel/Fax: 03-5565-3386
  • Uber Eats

By - grape Japan editorial staff.