The city of Takatsuki, halfway between Kyoto and Osaka, is served by two train lines and, in the densely packed area between the two, there’s no shortage of cafes and bars.

In early 2017, Otto Knot entered this mix, occupying a glass-fronted shop located more or less halfway between the two stations and down one of the city’s quieter and prettier streets.

Alas, the restaurant’s concept is not so easily communicable: a peculiar combination of Italian food and sailing knots. Inside, it attempts to convey the feeling of a neighborhood cafe, and in that, it succeeds.

While the food menu is concise — and slightly generic (penne pasta, toasted panini, cold meat salads, et cetera) — the drinks menu is extensive, especially the cocktail list, which takes up an entire blackboard. At lunch, the food menu is limited to a lineup of sandwiches and the restaurant’s dessert of choice: homemade waffles.

The panini I chose — mozzarella and tomato — was simple and pleasing and, while I waited for dessert, I perused the cafe’s shop, which sells a variety of picnic and camping gear, and waffle irons.

When my waffle with raspberry sauce finally arrived, it was met with gasps of envy from the diners around me who collectively mulled whether they should order it too. My advice: do, it’s seriously delicious.

Closed Mon. and third Sun. of the month; lunch from ¥850; English menu

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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