Japanese cuisine is truly an all-rounder. Depending on the dish, it can be delicate enough for a light lunch or pack enough punch as a hearty dinner, and fortunately for us, some of the best Japanese restaurants are here in Melbourne
The yield from a simple 'Japanese restaurant near me' search can be overwhelming in this city, but from sushi and ramen, to izakaya and sake bars, Melbourne has a full gamut of spots to get your Japanese food fix. Whether you’re after a cheap eat or a fine dining experience, you can find it in our guide to best Japanese restaurants Melbourne has to offer for 2023.
Picking Melbourne’s best Japanese restaurant is no walk in the park. There are at least half a dozen restaurants that could lay claim to the title of the city's best Japanese food.
But in 2023, this one is still rightly deserving of a spot at the top. Minamishima in Richmond serves the omakase c/o Chef Koichi Minamishima. He’s got 30 years experience in Japanese cuisine and in preparing A-grade sashimi You get one piece of traditional Japanese food at a time, made lovingly with incredible attention to detail at this top-notch sushi restaurant. We don’t throw around terms like ‘Melbourne’s best sushi’ lightly, but we’re doing it here.
If you’ve got a penchant for the finer things in life, look no further than Ishizuka for one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants. This is one fancy restaurant dealing in the finest Japanese cuisine, with food that backs it up.
The menu changes seasonally and daily with a revolving nightly set menu of eleven unbeatable dishes. And here’s the kicker: they only serve sixteen diners each evening. So, needless to say, book ahead if you’re planning to get in here in 2023—spots fill up for one of Melbourne's most stunning dining rooms weeks in advance
Kisume means ‘a pure obsession with beauty’, which makes sense when you see the space and the Japanese food. There’s a hot kitchen in the basement, a sushi restaurant on the ground floor and a bar/omakase space up top.
The team is equally impressive: helmed by head chef Yonge Kim who essentially provides a masterclass in Japanese cuisine with every dish served; if there’s anything these guys don’t know about sushi and sake, it ain’t worth knowing. Hands down one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants in 2023.
Located inside the W Melbourne and opening just earlier last year, Warabi is one of the newer Japanese restaurants to join into Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants list. Led by Wa Creations, the Omakase-style diner has a sleek fit with a long seated bar that looks onto the kitchen— providing an inside glimpse into the preparation of Japanese cuisine.
The menu which has a 'Kappo' (cut and cook) style of Japanese food, features several courses all based around seasonal ingredients and precise cooking techniques. Sake lovers can expect a diverse selection curated to highlight the different brewing styles across the various regions of Japan.
Anyone searching 'best Japanese restaurants near me' Gyoza is iconically Japanese and Izakaya Den does it best.
The izakaya restaurant is not only aesthetically pleasing, with its chic wooden bar, open grill and concrete floors, but it offers a treat for your tastebuds, with an incredible range of traditional offerings like grilled octopus, agedashi tofu and salted edamame. There’s also a new vegan menu for those less into the fish dishes. We suggest booking ahead—this place packs out on Friday and Saturday nights.
Anyone looking for the best Japanese restaurant cbd-side has likely come across Yakimono. If you like your Japanese food grilled to perfection, then you’re going to love this new restaurant specialising in all things fire.
Opening recently and quickly climbing many best Japanese restaurants lists, Yakimono is the brainchild of owner Chris Lucas, who spent three years living and working in Japan and exploring their late-night izakaya restaurants. Located over two floors with an outdoor terrace, this Japanese bbq is nestled in the heart of Melbourne’s fashion district and packs a stylish punch—food and decor alike.
Supernormal is Andrew McConnell's crown jewel and home to the most famous lobster roll in Melbourne.
The Supernormal menu is changing all the time, but it's always designed to be shared, so grab a couple of mates (or that date you’re trying to impress) and get yourselves a serve of duck bao, a whole snapper with burnt butter sauce, wild watercress and shaved kombu, some beef tartare, and whatever else you can fit in.
Robata Japanese Grill
The San Telmo Group are stepping into Japanese cuisine for the first time with their venture, Robata Japanese Grill, a playful Japanese bbq in Melbourne CBD. The menu is a celebration of Japanese food, featuring fresh sashimi, grilled skewer-based dishes, pork katsu, wagyu beef, pork belly and plenty more.
As for drinks, you can't go past the toasted sesame whisky highball—it's just one of the reasons Robata is considered some of the best Japanese Melbourne has to offer.
Ichi Ni Na Na
At Ichi Ni Na Na, treat yourself to wafu-seasoned wagyu beef tartare with pickled shallots, radish, shiso and croutons, just-out-of-the-ocean sashimi salads and charcoal-grilled king prawns with yakitori sauce.
Wash it all down with a cocktail up on the Rooftop Bar. You’re in for a top-notch evening at one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants on Fitzroy’s bustling Brunswick Street.
Helmed by the team from Wagyu Ya and Niku Ou, Yakikami is the foremost location for quality wagyu in Melbourne. Located on Toorak Road in South Yarra, Yakikami is also an opulent escape for flame-grilled Nomad chicken Yakitori and top-shelf sake.
The 70-seat diner, focusing on Japanese bbq, is spread out across 350sqm of sleek marble flooring and features a dedicated Yakitori bar with charcoal Josper (Hibachi) grills that churn out skewers of chicken, seafood and vegetables.
On the other side of the venue is the chef's table; an intimate 10-seat dining experience with a team of chefs preparing a range of Japanese food right in front of you, from the Shinjyou a prawn and bonito soup to the A5 Wagyu tartare with smoked caviar—and they're just a few reasons Yakikami is some of Melbourne's best Japanese.
Since 1975, Teppanyaki Inn has been Melbourne’s go-to for getting an egg thrown 'artfully' into your face—sorry—bowl. As the first teppanyaki restaurant to ever open in Australia, they've mastered the art of the open grill and you can expect the freshest, most mouth-watering nosh this side of the hemisphere. If you're in the mood for Moreton Bay Bugs and freshly cooked fried rice, book a seat at Teppanyaki Inn. Hot tip: reservations are essential on the weekend and if you snooze you lose.
CBD, South Yarra
The founders of this diner take the art of the Japanese restaurant very, very seriously. Bento, sushi and sashimi are all on the cards at Niku Ou, but you must opt in for their wagyu here, and there are at least a few reasons why.
Several of their selections are available exclusively at Niku Ou in Australia for 2023, like the Japanese Kobe beef, which is the world's number one wagyu—if you're feeling like balling out, try their $228 gold leaf wagyu sandwich. It's worth every bite. Or, have your wagyu grilled on the Japanese bbq right in front of you at your table.
Chef Kazuki Tsuya and his partner Saori transported Kazuki’s from its former Daylesford home to Lygon Street several years ago. Kazuki’s is based on the tradition of ‘Omotenashi’, which refers to an intuitive, kind and distinct approach to Japanese food and hospitality, it's both one of the more unique experiences and best in Melbourne. The restaurant offers both a set tasting menu and a seasonal à la carte menu, so whether you’re ravenous or curious is irrelevant—this Japanese restaurant is sure to satisfy.
IPPUDO is the epitome of ramen spots and it’s one you have to add to, then subsequently check off, your best Japanese CBD list. Chicken ramen is in no short supply, but they’ve also got a veggie soba which is topped with sauteed tomato and fried mushrooms. Find IPPUDO on Artemis lane in QV—just follow the ramen aromas, or the crowds of people that flock to this institution of a Japanese restaurant.
As far as Japanese restaurants north of Melbourne go, Gogyo is one of the best. Their signature charred miso ramen dish is like nothing else found here, and their spicier dishes pack some heat (try the karaka-men bowl for a real punch in the tastebuds). Gogyo is owned by IPPUDO, a Japan-based chain that has been doing ramen back in Japan for years, so you know you're in good hands when you order a bowl of the good stuff.
If you just can’t get enough ramen in your life, then let Shujinko be your late-night supplier in Melbourne CBD. Go for the classic Shujinko ramen—a pork broth with grilled pork belly, spring onion, bok choy, marinated egg and bean sprouts. Try the Black Ramen if you’re after (and can handle) an added chilli kick. Either way, you'll be scoring some of Melbourne's best Japanese ramen.
Ichi Ni Izakaya
You’ve already seen sister venue Ichi Ni Na Na make the cut, but why not stop by the OG izakaya restaurant? If you dream of dining in an open sushi kitchen but can’t wait for international travel, St Kilda’s Ichi Ni Izakaya might be the solution.
While it’s a little fancier than most—think traditional motifs and red cloth decorating the walls—it sticks with the traditional bar-snack approach, making it one of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne for a solo sushi session. Grab a stool and some chopsticks, and get ready for some of the freshest sashimi and crispest beers around. It's been around for several years now, but in 2023 it's still one of Melbourne's best.
As the name suggests, Marble Yakiniku is all about steak. Step into an opulent world of traditional Japanese cuisine and dining with timber-lined dining spaces reminiscent of traditional tea houses, cosy nooks for sake tastings, and a menu steeped in tender wagyu cuts. Beautifully presented in special wooden bento boxes, your Japanese food is barbecued at the tableside and served fresh onto your plate. This slice of steak paradise is tucked away in the suburbs, but it’s well worth the journey.
Little Ramen Bar
As the name suggests, Little Ramen Bar is on the smaller side when it comes to Japanese restaurants (or any kind of restaurant) in Melbourne. But size absolutely does not matter. The menu makes decision-making easy (you can have ramen, edamame, kimchi, seaweed salad or gyoza, and not much else) and the $7 Sapporo Draught on tap makes it one of our top cheap eats.
In true Japanese style, the dining space is tiny, so getting a table if there’s more than two or three of you can be tricky, but trust us, it’s so worth it. Make sure you check out one of the best Japanese restaurants Melbourne CBD has to offer at the new Little Collins Street location.
A longstanding Japanese restaurant in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, Aoba sushi restaurant feels like you're stepping into one of the many family-run restaurants found throughout Tokyo's winding back streets.
Like many traditional eateries in Japan, Aoba seats around fifteen people, which makes for a cosy fair, but Chef Shingo and the staff will make you feel right at home should you have any qualms—the Japanese food here is unbelievably fresh—think fresh sashimi and sushi—and if you close your eyes for just a second, it feels like you're back in Japan for just a split second.
Make a day of it and hit up some of Melbourne's best spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner:
Melbourne's best restaurants
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Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis