At The Urban List, we would dine in Tokyo every weekend if we could. While taking a weekly trip to Japan might not be on the cards, finding a slice of Japanese culture right here on our doorstep is the perfect alternative.
We’ve teamed up with Sapporo Draught Beer to bring you Brisbane’s Best Japanese Restaurants for that authentic Japanese food and drink experience. Because some days, nothing beats a sashimi platter and a freshly poured beer.
If you’re anything like us and reliably forget to BYO you’ll be thankful for how far liquor licensing has come. If you’re even more like us you’ll be able to appreciate a good Japanese banquet when you see one.
We’ve scoured Brisbane (and beyond!) for the most premium spots to settle in for a delicious 9-courser with the squad (saves you settling for sushi from Woollies or instant ramen).
Here are our picks for Brisbane’s best Japanese restaurants with a stellar drinks selection:
That ancient dilemma of how to combine the finesse and subtlety of Japanese cuisine with the boozy abandon of a long lunch has been forever solved by Saké. Bottomless glasses of their gently warmed namesake beautifully complement Saké’s delicate plates of some of Brisbane’s best Japanese dishes.
Hanging out with the cool kids in M&A Lane, Nikuya is a two-tiered lunch den of intense Japanese funtimes. As well as offering lunch-friendly bento boxes, a buffet menu and specialty Japanese BBQ menu, Nikuya also stocks a full saké menu and amber spouts of Sapporo on tap to make your luncheon extra boozy.
With a warm, wooden exterior, Izakaya Goku affords you all the comfort and privacy you need to make the most of a long-ass boozy lunch. Start out with some okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), quickly foray into the chicken katsu and then step it up with some yuzu pepper steak guaranteed to blow your trumpet. Don’t forget their expansive range of sakes and, of course, Sapporo on tap.
Nonbei Saké Bar and BBQ
If it’s in the title you’re got to deliver, and Nonbei works the saké and BBQ game like it’s nobody’s business. Their hot pots are pretty feisty as well, but the joy of Nonbei resides in their enabling of any chronic saké habits exacerbated by an evening of top shelf Yakiniku.
Mermaid Beach’s Etsu Izakaya is an exquisite mecca of Japanese fine dining. Designed for sharing, Etsu’s menu is perfect for leisurely dinners and champions fresh sushi and sashimi as well as meats and vegetables off their Robata grill. Their bar is pretty ballin’ as well and features a stunning array of Japanese whiskies, sakes and ciders to toast with.
No list of Brisbane’s finest Japanese lunch haunts would be complete without Matsuzaka reppin’ the teppanyaki. Their big enthusiasm for Japanese/Australian fusion will have them flipping stuff like crocodile tail and kangaroo fillet hot off the grill. Oh, and they’re fully licensed as well.
Killer sushi and beach vibes flower in abundance at Noosa’s local Japan connection. Sushi Yah-Man is a veritable trove of freshly rolled sushi and offer as a heft of vegan and gluten-free options (isn’t it sweet when they think of everything?). And I know you’re wondering if they have saké, shochu, umeshu and Sapporo and the answer is yah, man, they do.
Osaka Kaiten Sushi
For the freshest sushi in Surfers you simply cannot pass up a trip to Osaka Kaiten Sushi. Led by renowned master sushi chef Jimmy Makiyama, Osaka Kaiten brings all the tradition and authenticity of its iconic namesake to the tropical South-East.
Editor's Note: This article is proudly sponsored by Sapporo and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credits: Ariana Gillrie