By Sammy Preston
5th Aug 2022
Sydney’s Japanese food scene has always been alive and well, but these daysit’s absolutely thriving.
Whether you’re salivating over sashimi, searching for saké or needing nigiri, Sydney’s inner-city suburbs are peppered with authentic,new world and fusion-style Japanese restaurants to satiate your taste buds. From Surry Hills to Potts Point and down the pebbled alleyways of The Rocks, here are 16 of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney.
After decades of training and working in kitchens around the world, from Tokyo and Amsterdam to London and Sydney, chef Yusuke Morita finally settled in Potts Points to open up Kisuke in 2020. Teaming up with his wife, Mirota's restaurant offers just six seats for a genuinely intimate sit down omakase dining experience ($200), showcasing a lifetime of passion for and experience with traditional Japanese cuisine. Expect soups, sashimi, grilled and steamed dishes, as well as plenty of sushi to pair with sake and whisky. Keep an eye on theirInstagramandbook online here.
As one ofSydney's best specialtyroasters, coffee is second-to-none at Edition.But top-quality coffee and quick lunch fixes aren't the only things on the menu at the sleek Scandi-Japanese venuethese days.Once the sun goes down, Edition transforms from bustling cafe to moody izakaya—and it's one of the best in Sydney.
Fittingly namedEdition Izakaya, the cafe'snighttime twin ditches coffee for sake and fluffy pancakes for mochi croquettes swimming in Japanese curry. Also onthe menu, you'll find teriyaki-glazed friedchicken, kingfish sashimi, and skewered charcoal meats.Plus, thetwo must-try dishes: miso salmon ochazuke and thesoy butter clams with crispy potato in abroth that's so good you'll want toslurp straight from the bowl.
There's also a handful of desserts that tie in Edition's cross-continental fusion, from miso chocolate tiramisu to yuzu Basque cheesecake. And, of course, it wouldn't be an izakaya without some bevs. Manager Taku Kimura has pulled together an exceptional sake list, from entry-level plum umeshu and yuzu-infused sakes to nigori styles and a red rice one. Oh, and you'll want to order the aged Ogasawara mirin (yes, really) to end. Walk-in only.
Hidden within the glittering Crown Sydney tower at Barangaroo, Sydney's very own Nobu is a spot to sample the famousfine-dining Japanese dreamt up bylegendary chef Nobu Matsuhisa. For the unacquainted, the world-renowned chef kicked off his career studying Japanese cuisine at Matsuei before shifting to Peru to open his own sushi bar. Here, he found inspiration in the local culture and native Peruvian ingredients, developing an entirely new spectrum, which is now called “Nobu style”.
There are now 42 Nobu restaurants around the world, and Sydney is the third Aussie iteration (Melbourne and Perth beat us to it). At Nobu Sydney, you'll get to tryiconic dishes like black cod miso and yellowtail jalapeño, alongside some fresh ideas like pan-friedscallops with yuzu truffle and lobster tempura with tamari honey, with the menu divided into "Nobu Classic" and "Nobu Now". Running the show in Sydney is head chef Harold Hurtada and head sushi chef Sanghhyeop Kim,and, if you're keen to get the full Nobu experience, we highly recommend going all-in with the Omakase menu, a seven-course experience you'll savour for weeks, and months, and years to come.
Pro tip? You'll want to plan your Nobu night well in advance—the restaurant has been booked out for months. Oh! And make sure you order the "whisky cappuccino" for dessert. Book here.
Darlinghurst and Bondi
Chaco Ramenin Darlinghurstis home to some of Sydney’s best ramen. That might sound like a strong claim, but ask around, and the consensus is that this Darlinghurst den is serving up the best in the biz. And, good news to Bondi residents, it's open another ramen joint on O'Brien Street.As for what makes Chaco such a unique place to dine, director Keita Abe says it’s “because of the amount of thought and care we put into everything we do. From the menu to décor—Chaco represents Japanese culture in a way that is true to itself and doesn’t try to be anything else.” Chaco Ramen Darlinghurst is walk-in only, but you can book for the Bondi venue here.
A little further east, sister venueChaco Bar Potts Point doesn't serve broth.Instead, the Potts Point outpost specialises in Yakitori dining, meaning chargrilled skewers are the main event. On the sticks, you’ll find everything from chicken, lamb, and pork, to ox tongue, hearts, and gizzards meaning nothing is wasted and everything put to good use. Dishes are cooked over cherry blossom charcoal and basted in Japanese seasonings giving them a rich, smoky flavour. The sake here is bought from an endless rotation of small, family-run makers in Japan, packing out their extensive drinks list of shochu and whisky. Excellent stuff all round. Book here.
Fresh from the same team that brought Sydney Chaco Bar and Chaco Ramen above (chef Keita Abe andex-Sasaki head chef Kensuke Yada), Haco is a pint-sized 12-seat omakasededicated almost entirely to tempura. Housed within a concrete cube at the Surry Hills end of the CBD, it's a first of its kind in Sydney where the sheer theatre of deep-dried deliciousnesstakes centre stage("haco" translates to "theatre").
At Haco, you're in for a relatively vagueset menu of 20 bite-sized dishes—kept vague because chef Yada likes to really move with what's in season. Expect to samplelightly battered king prawn, lotus root, and—for dessert—banana, alongside braised pork belly, kombu-cured lobster, and bonito sashimi, while you sip sake, Japanese beer, and house-madeumeshuandyuzushu. Haco is asuper special experience—though you'll want to plan your trip. Being a super small spot, it books out months in advance! Book here.
From former Chuuka chef Jason Nguyen, Kaiza Izakaya fits in with its Enmore Road neighbours with a relaxed, casual fit-out and a BYO license.ThoughKaiza Izakaya might look the part, the menu really does set itapart from your run-of-the-mill Newtown Japanese joint. Dip intoNguyen's polished take onizakaya favourites like silken tofu in ankake broth, a colourful sashimi platter, spicy pork udon, and gyu don with kombu dashi and teriyaki.
Butit'd be a crime to leave without trying Nguyen'smore experimental fusion dishes.Like thewagyu nigiri with crispy rice, kizami wasabi, and cured egg yolk. It's a brilliant balance of flavours and surprising textures wrapped into one surprising parcel. The crispy deep-fried eggplant is another of our favourites,with a light crunch, oozing centreand dressed in sweet black miso, chives, and furikake. The blue swimmer crab fried rice with prawn floss is hearty and filling;as is the grilled broccolini with truffle miso and roasted almonds, and the richlamb cutlets with garlic yuzu kosho and yuzu miso. Book here.
Surry Hills AndBarangaroo
When you think of Japanese food, burgers rarely come to mind. Yet here we are, lining up to get a table at Ume Burger,which features a menu full of Japanese-meets-American-style burgers. There’s the signature Ume Burger with wagyu mince sauce, the fish katsu burger with Japanese tartare sauce, and even a concoction with bacon. Wash it all down with an ice-cold Asahi and you’ve found yourself your new favourite neighbourhood burger joint. Ume Burger Darling Square is walk-in only, but you can book the Barangaroo venue over here.
According to co-owner Alan Wong, “Every element ofKurois driven by innovation and precision, from the seemingly understated interiors layered with intricate detail and ambience through to the menu uniting familiar Japanese flavours with stellar Australian produce. It’s one of those venues that continues to surprise and delight with every dining experience”, and anyone who’s been would agree. In the morning, Kent Street’s Kuro offers house-roasted coffee and baked treats, before fusing
Australian ingredients and Japanese techniques for their delicious dinner service. It’s also impossible to not mention the incredible architecture and design of the space, with 56 illuminated oak beams framing the room from floor to ceiling. Pretty impressive stuff. Book here.
There are no two ways about it: Tetsuya’s is a Sydney institution. It’s been offering high-end Japanese food with a French twist to locals and tourists for thirty years, and it’ll likely continue to do so for another thirty. For the last 19 of those years, Tetsuya’s kitchen has sat in a refurbished heritage-listed site on Kent St, serving a unique degustation menu based around natural seasonal flavours for $240 per person. And once that famous confit of ocean trout hits your buds, you’ll understand why it’s worth every penny. Book here.
Once you enter this shiny-black-fish-scale-walled-Japanese-inspired-restaurant, (say that three times) the only thing you’re going to worry about is whether you ordered enough sashimi. Add some tempura and high-quality meats cooked over the robata grill, and you’ve got yourself a feast fit for Tokyo. Book here.
Cho Cho San
Inspired by the lively drinking culture they witnessed while visiting japan, owners Jonathan Barthelmes and Sam Christie sought to bring the izakaya style of dining to Macleay Street in Potts Point. At Cho Cho San, the colour palette is neutral and considered, with a long stone dining table beckoning you to take a seat. The menu is as intriguing as it is mouth-watering, and though everything is worth trying, you shouldn’t leave without sampling the wagyu sirloin with mustard and wasabi. Or the charcoal chicken with sansho pepper. Or the prawns with kombu butter. Or the now-iconic matcha soft serve. Actually, we could be here for a while. Book here.
If you’re looking for a cool, calmand collected spot to snack on sushi and sake, head to Waterloo Street in Surry Hills. This hattedJapanese restaurantchanged ownership earlier this year, with Kenji Maenaka selling it to Koji Shibata—but rest assured, it’s still in good hands. Dimly lit with sake-lined walls, Izakaya Fujiyama exudes an authentic Japanese Izakaya vibe while boasting a warm and inviting atmosphere. Menu must-haves include the wagyu cheek buns and tsukune skewers, and if sake isn’t your thing, ask to see the Japanese whiskey list. Book here.
Nikkei Bar And Restaurant
Without wanting to give too much away,Nikkei Bar and Restaurantis all about Nikkei food. Nikkei is the cuisine of the Japanese-Peruvians that dates back to the late 1890s. At this comfy and cosy spot on Commonwealth St, everything is made to be shared—which could be problematic once you taste the beef short rib with miso and garlic corn puree or the southern calamari with salsa criolla and roasted banana. Yep, you’re definitely going to want to keep those to yourself. Book here.
Saké Restaurant And Bar
The Rocks, Double Bay, Manly
Down the pebbled laneways of The Rocks, on the wharf at Manly and at Double Bay's impressive Intercontinental Hotel,you’ll findSakéRestaurant and Bar, a fine dining optionknown for its unique spin on traditional Japanese flavours. Loud, bustling and always busy, Saké offers incredible sushi and nigiri, made with seafood so fresh it’s almostflipping on the plate. But it's Saké’s spectacular desserts that really have people talking, most notably—a coconut cream "dragon egg"and miso caramel chocolate fondant that once tasted, can never be forgotten. Book here.
Bay Nine Omakase
At theCampbells Cove waterfront dining precinct in The Rocks,Bay Ninefeatures anultra-intimate 10-seater omakase dining experience at the bar,led by one of Sydney'syoungest omakase head chefs, Tomohiro Marshall Oguro.Dishes in the personalisedomakase experience will be adapted to the customer as well as what's in season. You might sample things like cured and cold smoked Victorian high country king trout sushi,Wagyu sukiyaki with sea urchin, andTokoroten—aKansai-style dessert, made with hand-pressed agar-based jelly noodles with dark sugar syrup. Book here.
Now, for more incredible Japanese dining, check out Sydney's best omakase restaurants.
Image credit: Sake, Edition, Crown Sydney, Chaco Ramen, Chaco Bar, Jude Cohen, Haco, Leigh Griffiths, Bar Ume, Megann Evans, Tetsuya's, Sokyo, Toko, Cho Cho San, Daryl Kong, Nikkei, Saké
According to the Chef's Pencil survey, Thai cuisine is the most popular in Australia, followed by Chinese and Japanese dishes.What is a Japanese cuisine? ›
The traditional cuisine of Japan (Japanese: washoku) is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes; there is an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. Side dishes often consist of fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth. Seafood is common, often grilled, but also served raw as sashimi or in sushi.What is Japan's least favorite food? ›
Natto. Believe it or not, most Japanese don't even like natto (fermented soy beans). As a warm-up for my junior high school students, I would often query them on both their favorite and most-hated foods. Nine out of 10 of my students hated natto.What is the number 1 dish in Japan? ›
1. Sushi. Sushi is the most famous Japanese dish and the first thing people think of when they think of Japanese cuisine.What is the most popular food in Australia 2022? ›
The trending cuisines for 2022 will go beyond the Southeast Asian food many Australians already know and love, such as Thai and Vietnamese food, and spotlight cuisines such as Filipino, set to be the cuisine of the year.What food is most consumed by the Japanese? ›
For over 2000 years, rice has been the most important food in Japanese cuisine. Despite changes in eating patterns and gradually decreasing rice consumption over the past decades, rice remains one of the most important ingredients in Japan today.What do Japanese eat for breakfast? ›
Traditional Japanese breakfast usually follows the style of a Japanese set meal, with the staple being rice and miso soup and ohitashi (boiled vegetables) served as side dishes. Natto (fermented soybeans), pickles, and grilled fish are often also served on the side to help complement the rice.What are Japan's top 3 favorite foods? ›
- Sushi. A popular dish in Japan, sushi is also well loved in the Western world. ...
- Tempura. Tempura is commonly made by deep-frying seafood, vegetables, or prawns in vegetable oil after applying a coating of egg, water, and wheat flour. ...
- Sashimi. ...
- Miso Soup. ...
- Soba and Udon Noodles.
For both religious and practical reasons, the Japanese mostly avoided eating meat for more than 12 centuries. Beef was especially taboo, with certain shrines demanding more than 100 days of fasting as penance for consuming it.What do Japan people eat daily? ›
The diet is rich in steamed rice, noodles, fish, tofu, natto, seaweed, and fresh, cooked, or pickled fruits and vegetables but low in added sugars and fats. It may also contain some eggs, dairy, or meat, although these typically make up a small part of the diet.
Daikon (giant white radish)
Daikon is a very popular and versatile vegetable. It can be eaten raw or cooked or grated into daikon-oroshi, a refreshing topping used to counteract the oiliness of dishes like grilled fish and tempura. Especially the bottom half a daikon is often quite spicy like other radish varieties.
- Sake is probably the most famous drink in Japan. ...
- Although sake is actually rice wine, the production process is probably more similar to brewing beer.
Try favourites like sushi and ramen, taste authentic regional cuisine, and enjoy local sake, shochu and beer. Japanese cuisine is roughly divided into washoku (traditional Japanese dishes like sushi, somen and tempura) and yoshoku (Japanese versions of western dishes, like pasta, omelette and beef stew).How do Australian say hello? ›
The most common verbal greeting is a simple “Hey”, “Hello”, or “Hi”. Some people may use Australian slang and say “G'day” or “G'day mate”. However, this is less common in cities. Many Australians greet by saying “Hey, how are you?”.What do Australians drink? ›
The alcohol beverages most commonly consumed by Australians are bottled wine (34%), regular strength beer (19%), and bottled spirits/liqueur (15%).What are Australians eating in 2022? ›
- More wholesome plant-based diets. ...
- Home-style meals. ...
- Robotic food prep and delivery. ...
- Transparency of ingredients. ...
- Improving individual immunity. ...
- Online food & grocery delivery. ...
- Food waste reduction. ...
- City-based agriculture.
Australian breakfast can put together in many ways, but the most popular & preferred morning food was “The Big Fry”. Nothing can beat a well-cooked farm fresh eggs, Smokey bacon, grilled tomato, and mushrooms.What fruit is eaten the most in Japan? ›
- Mandarin Oranges. Mandarin oranges are Japan's most popular fruit. ...
- Apples. Among the many different varieties of Japanese apple are Fuji, Orin, Mutsu, Sekaiichi, and Kinsei. ...
- Peaches. ...
- Persimmons. ...
- Sweet Potatoes.
Of the 95% of Japanese that eat three meals a day, most people consider dinner to be the most important.What is considered rude while eating in Japan? ›
When eating from shared dishes (as it is commonly done at some restaurants such as izakaya), it is polite to use the opposite end of your chopsticks or dedicated serving chopsticks for moving food. Blowing your nose at the table, burping and audible munching are considered bad manners in Japan.
Pointing at people or things is considered rude in Japan. Instead of using a finger to point at something, the Japanese use a hand to gently wave at what they would like to indicate. When referring to themselves, people will use their forefinger to touch their nose instead of pointing at themselves.Do Japanese eat eggs everyday? ›
According to the International Egg Commission (IEC) (1), Japan is second only to Mexico in the number of eggs consumed per capita per year; according to data from 2020, 340 eggs per capita per year are consumed. It means that Japanese consumers eat eggs almost every day.What do Japanese people sleep on? ›
It is common practice in Japan to sleep on a very thin mattress over a tatami mat, made of rice straw and woven with soft rush grass. The Japanese believe this practice will help your muscles relax, allowing for a natural alignment of your hips, shoulders and spine.
Rice and noodles: They are considered the most common staple foods in Japan. In most cases, you will find rice as the most popular choice. But, in other cases, you can find noodles instead. In Okinawa, they often replace rice with sweet potatoes and whole grains.What is Japan's favorite snack? ›
One of the most popular snacks in Japan, Jagariko are brittle potato sticks in a cup with a peel-off lid. Among the wide array of flavors, you're sure to find a favorite!
Various rice bowls and noodle dishes are popular for lunch. For example, ramen, soba, udon, and gyudon beef bowls are popular. Many people take bento lunch boxes to school or work. Dinner is usually the main meal of the day and can range from sushi to tori katsu, which is like a chicken cutlet.What religion are Japanese? ›
The Japanese religious tradition is made up of several major components, including Shinto, Japan's earliest religion, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Christianity has been only a minor movement in Japan.What is the most popular tourist destination outside of Japan for Japanese? ›
Popular Travel Destinations.
|Places Visited in 2018||Places People Wish to Visit in the Future|
|South Korea (13.6%)||France|
|Oahu, Hawaii (13.4%)||Spain|
Migration from Japan to Brazil started early in the twentieth century, and steadily grew. Through many ups and downs, the Japanese-Brazilian population has reached around 1.9 million, the largest worldwide, making Liberdade the largest ethnically Japanese settlement outside of Japan.What Japanese city has the best food? ›
Osaka has been called the best food city in Japan, and it's easy to see why. If you're trying to figure out what to do in Japan, you could do worse than eating your way through Osaka.
The island nation stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea in the south. Japan shares maritime borders with PR China, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, Russia, Northern Mariana Islands (United States), and the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Mt Fuji, Yamanashi
Japan's crown jewel and arguably the most beautiful place in the country, Mt Fuji is a must for any visitor. There are plenty of places to see the grand mountain, but the views from Arakurayama Sengen Park, which boasts the majestic Chureito Pagoda, and from Lake Kawaguchi best capture its beauty.
Kyoto, considered by many as Japan's most beautiful city, was the Japanese capital until the government was moved to Tokyo in 1868. However, the city is still Japan's religious center with over 1000 Buddhist temples.What is the richest region of Japan? ›
|Rank||Prefecture||2014 GDP per capita in US$ (PPP)|
As of October 2021, the country with the highest number of Japanese residents except for Japan itself was the United States with almost 430 thousand Japanese citizens.Which city has the most Japanese immigrants? ›
- Sushi. Most likely everyone has had sushi in their home country before setting foot in Japan. ...
- Ramen. Even though ramen is not an invention of the Japanese, it is a food that has been a staple of the culture for years. ...
- Gyoza. ...
- Tempura. ...
- Unagi. ...
- Shabu Shabu. ...
- Yakiniku. ...
The Japanese island of Okinawa alone has about 457 of them. It is considered to be the healthiest place in the world, where the average life expectancy of an Okinawan woman is 86, and man's is 78. Not only do they live long lives, they live very healthy and happy ones too.What is the country opposite to Japan? ›
|Country||No. of antipodal countries||Antipodal countries|
|Japan||2||(Ryukyu) Brazil, Paraguay|
|South Korea||2||Uruguay, Brazil|
Japan's closest neighbors are Korea, Russia and China.
↔️ Kilometers: 6851.99 km. / Miles: 4257.63 miles. / Nautical Miles: 3697.32 NM. ✈️ Estimated flight time: 7.51 hours. (With average airplane speed of 567mph).