Time Out Melbourne

Hungry for the city's finest Japanese joints? Dig in, brothers and sisters

"Fashion changes, but style endures". Coco Chanel could have been talking about Japanese food, which will ever be en vogue thanks to its god-damn deliciousness. Say "konnichiwa" to the city's finest places to enjoy sushi, sashimi, saké and so much more. Whether you want to dip into a cosy inn-style café or hobnob with the glitterati, you'll find what you're looking for here. (We can also point you in the direction of best Japanese restaurants for a first date, Melbourne's best ramen shopscocktail bars, dumplings and more.)


Minamishima might just be serving Melbourne's best sushi. Former Kenzan sushi master Koichi Minamishima will guide you through the set menu; sommelier Randolph Cheung (ex-Flower Drum) will keep the saké flowing. Richmond.

Izakaya Den

Descend below street level for this taste of Tokyo that pays equal attention to its dishes and drinks. The corridor-like space is adorned with an extensive range of saké and beer, and food from the open kitchen arrives quickly. Melbourne.


Once you’ve located the door, you’ll discover a smoky yakitori grill which stands as the centrepiece for an elegant dining room. There's a lunch and dinner service: the set lunch is a standout for both value and taste; book weeks ahead for dinner. Melbourne


Press the buzzer and you’ll be collected at the door and escorted into this shrine to grace and decorum. Match delicious bar nibbles with updated classic cocktails: try the Negro-kan (Negroni) with plum-infused gin, Umeshu (plum wine) and Campari. Melbourne.

Kenzan @ GPO

This Melbourne institute for Japanese cuisine has a menu that spans classics and more contemporary small plates. There’s something special about watching your food being prepared by sushi connoisseurs. Melbourne.


Spread over six levels, this monolith of a restaurant covers everything that makes Japanese food great. From relaxed yakiniku (grilled meat cooked on a smokeless barbecue) to modern fine dining and even a karaoke bar, Shoya showcases Japanese culture. Melbourne.


More than a little bit glamorous, Nobu’s Melbourne incarnation ups the exclusivity at Crown Casino. Here, Japanese cuisine meets Peruvian flavours – one visit and you'll see why chef Nobu Matsuhisa is world-famous. Southbank.

Sake Restaurant & Bar

Perched underneath Hamer Hall, Sake is decorated with polished concrete and pops of colour. The menu is innovative and experimental – dishes constantly evolve with the seasons. Drinks are swift: shochu and saké are the headline acts (combine the two for a Japanese Martini). Melbourne.

Hinoki Japanese Pantry

If fluorescent sweets and pocky sticks make your heart beat faster, this sleek supermarket is for you. The accompanying sushi bar means serious business. Pre-made lunch packs are available, but most fish is sliced on demand for those dining in. Fitzroy.


With a focus on quality organic ingredients, this café offers an honest and endearing approach to food. Offering a mix of Japanese and Western breakfast and lunch options, the Japanese breakfast plate (weekends only) is where this humble gem really shines. Collingwood.

Aka Siro

The homely restaurant specialises in teishoku (main, plus rice, miso soup and salad) served for lunch every day of the week. Aka Siro stays open late on Fridays and Saturdays for saké, beer and izakaya snacks. Collingwood.

Wabi Sabi Salon

We love Wabi Sabi Salon's styling, which nods to Japanese street-food shacks and rural seaside villages. The food is cheap without sacrificing taste, and there’s plenty of choice for vegan and vegetarians. Collingwood.


Kappo is an omakase restaurant. That either translates here as “no menu – but you get to flag likes and dislikes” or “slow”. Choose from five, seven or nine courses, but commit yourself to the cause for at least two hours. Melbourne.

Kobe Jones

Kobe Jones right by the Yarra River combines Japanese flavours and Californian flair. The menu is designed for grazing, will all plates made to be shared. Staff are knowledgable and attentive, and most dietary requirements catered to. Melbourne.

Updated on 2 Sep 2015.

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