The Definitive guide to Australia's top Japanese dining experiences.
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Introducing the Kirin Ichiban 50, the best modern Japanese bites in Sydney and Melbourne nominated by you and curated by our two expert judges—Chefs Mitch Orr and Masahiko Yomoda.
Get the crew together and tick them off one by one.
Cho Cho San
A modern and playful Izakya spot. Head here for beautifully prepared bites, including hibachi grilled meats, epic fried chicken and green tea soft serve.
Haco is a pint-sized 12-seat omakase dedicated almost entirely to tempura. On their seasonal menu of twenty bite-sized dishes, expect to sample lightly battered king prawn, lotus root and kombu-cured lobster.
Serving exciting twists on traditional flavours, don't miss their aged duck breast, matcha eclairs and impressive Japanese mixology.
Helmed by one of Sydney's first sushi masters, Chef Yoshii a seat at this sushi bar should be at the top of every foodies list.
Chef Chase Kojima is transporting diners to another world with his combination of Japanese contemporary cuisine with a modern Australian-style twist.
Helmed by Chef Dan Hong, menu highlights include the salmon tartare, miso cod, and Wagyu roll.
Only sitting six people, book in for a 30+ course degustation featuring carefully crafted sushi.
Kisuke is a platform for Chef Yusuke Morita to showcase his decades of experience and flair for Japanese cuisine, changing the menu daily to make the most of fresh, hand-picked ingredients.
"Kuon is leading the way for tiny sushi ya's in Sydney, and we're all the better for it"— Chef Mitch Orr
Chef Chase Kojima unleashes his creative flare with fresh, fine dining style takeaway sashimi.
A smash hit amongst Darlinghurst locals; this legendary ramen spot is essential Japanese dining. As Mitch Orr says, 'fat soy for life'.
"The leader of the pack for me. The move to a bigger space has allowed Keita san and the team to really flex their grill game."— Mitch Orr.
An authentic Japanese BBQ restaurant based on the popular Yakiniku method of cooking, Choji Yanikinu's epic Bentos are a must if you like plenty of variety in your sets.
Gaku Robata Grill
Here, enjoy the freshest catches from the market, seasonal produce and dry-age beef hot off the charcoal grill.
The Yakitori at this Izakaya will transport you straight ot the streets of Japan. Treat yourself to an omakase for a taste of their killer pork gyoza and TONKOTSU soup with cabbage.
Harada offers an innovative menu, blending modern Japanese ingredients and French cooking methods, all in a cozy space to the soundtrack of smooth jazz.
On a mission to create harmony in every bowl of ramen, they serve, every slurp at RaRa Ramen will kick your tastebuds into overdrive thanks to their ethically-sourced house-made noodles, toppings and broths.
Rising Sun Workshop
This famous ramen spot is a must-try for all Sydney-siders, featuring intriguing twists across their locally sourced menu. We recommend kickstarting the day with their breakfast ramen.
A no-fuss, in-and-out restaurant on bustling Falcon Street serving "some of best noodles in town—Ryo's is always worth the trip north of the bridge." — Mitch Orr.
Fresh fish is selected daily from the Sydney Fish Markets and fashioned into an array of authentic Japanese offerings at this contemporary fusion restaurant by Chef Mitushiro.
Whether you're a vegetarian, pescetarian or a full-on carnivore, you will not leave disappointed by their sprawling range of rave-worthy Yakitori.
Yebisu Bar + Grill
You certainly won't be going home hungry after a bite at Yebisu. This is a one-stop spot to curb your modern Japanese cravings from yakitori and fried noodles to sashimi and hot pots.
At Uminono, expect visually stunning sushi boxes with colourful arrangements of Sashimi-style Otoro and bluefin tuna—Chirashi bowls (scattered sushi) with Ora king salmon, black truffle, Hokkaido scallop and Ikura (salmon roe). Umibono's presentation and ingredients stand out for Chef Masahiko Yomoda, who calls the finish 'charming' and worthy of gifting.
Shyun Ramen Bar
Using only the freshest seasonal ingredients throughout their menu, Shyun's lovingly simmered stock is the perfect balance of savoury 'umami' flavourings—with each steamy bowl instantly transporting you to Japan with just a slurp. "It's been 8 years since Shun Ramen opened, and has since become a local favourite in Carnegie thanks it's has a great taste." — Chef Masahiko Yomoda.
With over 290K bowls of ramen served, Shunjinko's numbers speak for themselves. Their signature 1-12-hour brewed broth and handmade noodles ensure top-quality in every bite.
Robata's Japanese-inspired menu includes signature dishes like their Yakitori and Kushiyaki skewers which are perfectly kissed across the flames and features clever interpretations of Japanese staples such as pork belly with Yuzu Kosho—Katsu, Sashimi, and Kaisen Don.
A sushi omakase experience unlike any other in town, Minamishima offers world-class bites served piece by piece, each crafted with meticulous precision, technique and exquisite produce. For Chef Masahiko Yomoda, Minamishima transports him straight to Japan, commenting, "this is a restaurant you definitely want to use for special occasions and business" with its top-notch atmosphere and attention to detail.
Machi's experimental menu from chef Tatsuya Yamazaki features non-traditional Japenese dishes spliced with sprawling servings of sushi and sashimi.
Port Melbourne's Komeyui promises to impress with modern interpretations of authentic Japanese cuisine. We reccomend their spicy tuna sushi roll.
A three-level sushi and sake behemoth, Kisume is helmed by head chef Yonge Kim. The menu features a variety of hot and cold dishes, but expect to munch on plates of beautifully presented Tamago Mushi with egg custard, teamed King Crab gyoza or grilled mackerel with sesame ponzu.
From Chef Yuji Matsuzaki, Kakizaki offers a twelve-course fixed-price sushi omakase, leveled up with seasonal yakitori.
A 16-seat Kaiseki bar from acclaimed chef Tomotaka Ishizuka, Ishizuka's presentation is second to none. On the menu, you'll find delicacies like cured ocean trout sushi and simmered duck breast with truffled soba.
Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya
If you're in need of a mouth-watering Japanese fix on the north side, look no further than Ichi Ni Nana. The Izakaya's menu is extensive—every dish is delicious, beautifully presented and packed full of flavour.
Hakata Gensuke is home to some of the best ramen in Melbourne—namely their lip-smacking pork bone noodle soup, tonkatsu ramen and tsukemen.
Inspired by Japanese pop culture and nightlife, from the modern fit out to the inspired menu, Golden Gai is bursting with personality—which Chef Masahiko Yomada describes as a 'cool and funny Izakaya'. Our top pick is the crunching tiger roll sushi.
Serving show-stopping sushi and epic yakitori, this spot is one of Moonee Ponds best-kept secrets.
Fusing Japanese and classical French cuisine, Tetsuya's offers a fine-dining experience worth the waiting list.
Akaiito boasts an East-meets-West interpretation of Japanese Cuisine and is complete with a unique Robatayaki grill. Head here to taste their signature wagyu Takaki which uses Takeda Waygu with Ponzo, shredded leek and egg yolk, and the Glacier 51 Toothfish marinated in miso.
Nobu is faultless. Sashimi, tempura, sushi – they have it all. Indulge in Japanese cuisine of highest quality, served in the most stylish ways.
Musashi's noodles' distinct spring textures and flavour set their ramen spot apart from the rest. And when paired with their steamy signature broth—a recipe 25 years in the making—it results in unforgettable deliciousness. "Their style is not limited to the tradtional and constantly evolving," says Chef Masahiko Yomoda. "I look forward to their future menus."
It's no surprise ramen establishment IPPUDO now has locations across Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. A must-try for all ramen-lovers—their shiromaru motoaji tonkotsu ramen is sure to have your falling in love at first slurp.
Tamura Sake Bar
From Salmon Sashimi to Japanese Fried Chicken (JFC) to Ramen and bento, Tamura Sake & Jazz Bar has an option to whatever you’re craving.
Helmed by chef Daniel Wilson, Yakimono serves a range of small plates, quick bites, and larger dishes cooked directly over the flames including the barbecued octupus yakitori and whole miso-glazed chicken.
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