Food & Drink

Where To Find 17 Of The Gold Coast’s Best Japanese Restaurants

By Natalie Messenger
10th Aug 2022

the exterior of an izakaya

Ramen slurping, bowl sipping and sashimi devouring—there’s something particularly magical about Japanese cuisine. Perhaps it’s the silky smooth ramen broth, buttery melt-in-your-mouth seafood selection or friendly, cheerful service that never misses a beat.

One day, someone will have the chance to write up a comprehensive list of every single Japanese restaurant on the Gold Coast. Let’s face it, it’ll probably be us. But considering the sheer number of them, for now, we’re lending our expertise to telling you about the best Gold Coast Japanese restaurants we've sampled, just for you. From long-time staples to fresh faces on the scene, here are 17 of the best Japanese restaurants on the Gold Coast that are definitely worth removing your shoes for.



As well as tiny ramshackle eateries and snaking foodie villages (we’re looking at you, Golden Gai), Japan is home to some seriously luxe restaurants too. And if you’re on the hunt for a high-class Tokyo-inspired grazing sesh, you’ve found it at Kiyomi. Located at The Star Gold Coast, this multi-award-winning, one-hatted Japanese restaurant doesn’t skimp on the good stuff. Nestled within Kiyomi’s extensive menu, you’ll find a range of fine caviar, wasabi flower, saikou salmon and top-shelf wagyu—to name a few. On date night, we recommend splashing out on the twenty-course omakase menu with sake flight. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed. Hands down, one of the best Japanese restaurants we’ve had the pleasure of dining at.

Etsu Izakaya

Mermaid Beach

Like many of Japan’s charming eating spots, Etsu Izakaya is unassuming from the outside but exceptionally impressive on the inside. Who knew that one of the best Gold Coast Japanese restaurants was hiding behind an old barn door? Recognised by its signature red lantern out front, Etsu’s lively atmosphere and authentic Japanese eats make it one of the best on the Coast. In fact, they’ve built quite a cult following who can’t get enough of their dive-bar meets indulgent share plate hotspot. Don’t leave without trying the Sashimi Moriawase, a selection of fresh fish served straight from the raw bar. 

Muso Ramen & Gyoza Bar

Mermaid Beach, Robina & Chirn Park 

Ready to slurp up authentic ramen eats for less than $20? Then head straight to Muso for the best Japanese on the Gold Coast when you’re on a budget. Pillowy pork gyoza and creamy tonkotsu all washed down with an icy cold beer—it would be rude not to. Muso covers three corners of our lucky city; Mermaid Beach, Robina and Chirn Park. Famous for their particularly flavoursome ramen base and cheery staff, clever Muso chefs make all their noodles on-site, adding a seriously fresh addition to any golden bowl of goodness.


Surfers Paradise

Blending old-school Japanese spirit with modern cheffing innovation, QT Gold Coast’s own Yamagen is a next-level Gold Coast Japanese restaurant you need to visit. Open for both lunch and dinner, Yamagen’s market-fresh sashimi, character-filled whisky list and inventive cocktails steal the show. We can’t go past the sashimi zensai with a selection of tuna, salmon, kingfish and snapper paired with a seaweed-infused negroni umami, and the traditional white coal yakitori grill will see you craving that smoky umami long after you’ve devoured your final skewer.

Iku Yakitori & Whisky Bar

Burleigh Heads

Currently under renovations

Head to any Japanese market precinct and you’ll find a wildly popular Yakitori Bar. Yakitori bars (authentic Japanese chicken skewer hideaways) were largely the inspiration for Iku Yakitori & Whisky Bar, and we can see why. Whether it’s for their deliciously succulent chicken pieces, intricate toppings or the fact you can order chicken skin on a stick, yakitori bars really are something else. Hidden in an alleyway behind Justin Lane, Iku goes down as easily one of the most finger-licking good Japanese restaurants on the Gold Coast.


Mermaid Beach

One of the longest-standing Japanese restaurants on the Gold Coast, Itoshin prides itself on creating authentic and hearty Japanese delights that will transport you straight to the city of Kyoto. You can choose from their variety of set menus which are generous and sure to fill you up, get creative and order your own meals from the a la carte menu or if you're feel extra fancy, order from the banquet menu which showcase the best of Itoshin's culinary flair. Our menu favourites include aburi nigiris, Itoshin nabe hot pot and the melt-in-your-mouth agedashi tofu.

Little Itoshin


The sister restaurant to the aforementioned Itoshin in Mermaid, Little Itoshin is vibrant, inventive and located within a Miami Shopping Village— but it completely works. Pull up a red velvet stool, check out their retro-chic interiors and tuck into house-made Temaki wrapped in lettuce or on nori (dried seaweed paper). With a menu changing regularly, Little Itoshin dishes out everything from crispy katsu curry and rice, right through to premium eye fillet beef tataki and Yarra Valley salmon caviar. As one of the more affordable Japanese restaurants on the Gold Coast, we recommend dropping by a few times to satisfy those insatiable Japanese cravings.

Oi Izakaya

Burleigh Heads

Oi Izakaya lies hidden in an unassuming alleyway off Burleigh’s bustling James Street and it’s totally worth hunting down. Delicately combining traditional Japanese dishes like okonomiyaki and yakisoba with modern twists (think: crispy pork belly), fourth-generation sushi chef, Ran Kubota chops, sizzles and tosses some of the best Japanese eats we’ve come across. Post-meal and to stave off the impending food coma, slink off to the sleek bar hidden at the back of the eatery, where you’ll find beers, cocktails, sake and over 70 whiskies on the shelf. 

Ramen Danbo

Southport & Surfers Paradise

Ramen Danbo first opened in Japan over 22 years ago, in a little place called Chikushino. Now we’re lucky enough to home two of their excellent Japanese restaurants on the Gold Coast. Using a selection of local and authentic Japanese ingredients, Danbo is serious about its ramen broth and has absolutely mastered its recipe. Rich, creamy and made to your liking, choose everything from your richness and heat to thickness and toppings. It’s hard to go past the classic tonkotsu pork ramen, but if you can, head straight to the chashu pork donburi or hakata gyoza.



If you’re keen to impress a date, the intimate, fine-dining setting of Mudgeeraba’s Anekawa needs to be a serious contender on your list of venues. With a constantly changing menu that reflects the freshest of the available seasonal produce, you’ll never get tired of coming back to Anekawa. Their house-made gotofu has a unique, stretchy texture unlike any tofu we’ve ever tried, and the menu often includes fascinating flavour combinations like nut butter and artichokes or sesame and cherry. Hot tip: Get a clay pot and thank us later. Whatever goes through the wonderfully creative minds of the chefs at Anekawa ends up on the plate, and it all works beautifully. A must-try Gold Coast Japanese experience.

Izakaya Midori 

Reedy Creek

With each taste of an Izakaya Midori dish, you’re transported straight to the simple, honest and calming pleasures of Japan. Except this time, they’re all completely vegan. Taste your way around plant-based katsu don, ramen and bite-sized nigiri sushi topped with wild mushrooms, sliced apple and carefully carved tomato flesh. This is one of the best Gold Coast Japanese restaurants for those in search of plant-powered dishes with far more adventure than an avocado nori roll.

Mr Kojima

Chevron Island

Mr Kojima’s has all the understated class and modern simplicity of a fine dining restaurant, with the lively atmosphere of an after-work bar in the laneways of Tokyo. They offer a sophisticated twist on the traditional Japanese Izakaya style of informal dining, where guests are encouraged to order their share plates slowly over several courses. To maintain the ultimate level of freshness, food is served up to the table whenever it happens to be ready, which makes for some fun surprises throughout the evening. Mr Kojima’s raw bar contains a scallop and cucumber dish that will see you trying to sneak the last bite off the plate from under your friends’ noses, while the beef cheek katsu offers an insanely tasty twist on a classic.

i like ramen

Mermaid Beach

Look. You like ramen, we like ramen, everyone likes ramen. So why not call it like it is? i like ramen is Australia’s first 100% plant-based ramen restaurant, but there is plenty here to satisfy every kind of diner. With the rich umami flavours this talented team manages to pack into every single bite of its delectable menu, even the most dedicated carnivores won’t be missing the meat. Our must-trys are the panko crumbed mushrooms, the creamy tonkotsu ramen and the deep-fried dessert bao, complete with lychee and raspberry jam. The Japanese-style whisky bar offers an Instagram-worthy range of classic cocktails with a twist, and of course, cold pints of Japanese beer are served too if that’s what you're into. Hands down, one of the best Japanese joints on the Gold Coast.

Amimoto Japanese Restaurant

Surfers Paradise

This teeny Surfers hole-in-the-wall might be a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of deal, but it’s also as authentic as they come. Situated in the Lido Arcade, Amimoto is run by owner-chef Hidekatsu Fujino, who is definitely the real deal. Whether you’re interested in getting your bento on, or you’re after sashimi cut and presented down to the most exquisite detail, it’s a joy to watch Fujino-san work his magical knife skills on the fresh produce. For hot food, it’s hard to go past the generous, steaming katsu curries or freshly cooked pork gyoza with the thinnest of skins and a tangy sauce. Amimoto might not be the fanciest place to look at, but it’ll definitely leave your tastebuds zinging.



One for the Southerners, Zipang has all the accoutrements of modern Japanese casual dining with one little extra service—a drive through. While not technically the same as your average squawking box drive-thru experience, you can nonetheless order ahead by phone and give the team a buzz when you get there, and they’ll bring it out to your car, making it a great (and healthier) Friday night take out option. Our current foodie fave dish at Zipang is the miso eggplant, so be sure to add it to your order or the lotus fries, pork belly and scallops, and mochi ice cream are also hot contenders. Dinner: sorted.


West Burleigh

The name Wazen refers to the rustic Japanese family dinner table, and the vibe at this Burleigh eatery definitely checks out. Here the focus is on quality ingredients— you’ll only see free range chicken, you won’t find any MSG, and there are plenty of gluten free, dairy free, vegan and nut free dishes. Did we mention even the wines are organic? With a large range of bento boxes, curries and rice bowls to choose from, you’ll be assured of a hearty meal, made straight from the heart.

Hachi Japanese Restaurant

Mermaid Beach

Hachi Japanese Restaurant is the lifelong dream of owner Nam, who worked his way into his first Palm Beach establishment in 2008 before opening up Hachi in Nobby’s Beach in 2014. Since then, this casual, homestyle eatery has gone from strength to strength, with a swathe of loyal regulars popping in for their fix of Nam’s simple but tasty modern Japanese share plates and generous mains, as well as the dozens of other traditional and contemporary items on the gigantic menu. If you suffer from food envy, you might struggle at Hachi, but we can tell you right now, that you need to try Nam’s mother’s calamari pancake at least once in your life.

Are you keen to keep practicing your chopstick skills? Slurp your way through the best ramen joints on the Gold Coast.

Image Credit: Hayley Williamson and Kaitlin Maree for Urban List

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