Restaurants

20 Of The Best Japanese Restaurants In Sydney Right Now

By Sammy Preston and Georgia Condon

best Japanese restaurants Sydney Nomidokoro Indigo

Japanese restaurants have always been a top-tier culinary experience, but right now Sydney/Eora is absolutely thriving with sushi spots, omakase counters, artful kaiseki cuisine and more.

Whether you’re salivating over sashimi, searching for saké or needing nigiri, Sydney is peppered with new-world, ultra-traditional and fusion-style Japanese restaurants to satiate your taste buds. Here are Urban List's picks for the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney.

Nomidokoro Indigo

393 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst

best Japanese restaurants Sydney Nomidokoro Indigo Darlinghurst
Image credit: Nomidokoro Indogo | Instagram

Nomidokoro Indigo might be Sydney's smallest Japanese restaurant, but it brings some serious A-game to the fore. From the team behind Darling Square's buzzy Nakano Darling, Nomidokoro Indigo is a teeny saké bar and izakaya that'll transport you directly to the backstreets of Tokyo, with a wall of saké and an 11-seat counter found behind deep blue noren (traditional Japanese curtains).

Co-owners Tin Jung Shea, Mitomo Somehara, and Chris Wu have designed a menu of simple snacks, side dishes, and heartier items, each made from scratch from the dashi to the miso. While you sip saké from traditional tokkuri bottles, you can sample ika shiokara (fermented squid), miso-marinated cream cheese, Wagyu tongue, karaage school prawns, and deep-fried scallops. 

Toko

Lower Ground, 275 George St, Sydney CBD

best japanese restaurants sydney toko cbd
Image credit: Toko | Instagram

Toko was one of a handful of restaurants that really set the pace in Surry Hills way back when. After 15 years in their iconic Crown Street digs, Toko moved on to a new location in the heart of the city.

The new menu, created by owner Matt Yazbek and head chef Sunil Shrestha, features smash hits from the last 10 years like stunning sashimi platters, signature nigiri, smoked miso king salmon, and yuzu meringue cheesecake, and new creations like Toko tartare and caviar, and tempura zucchini flowers. Other new additions include an ultra-comprehensive Japanese drinks offering—and Australia's first saké sommelier.

Kisuke

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point

After decades of training and working in kitchens around the world, from Tokyo and Amsterdam to London and Sydney, chef Yusuke Morita finally settled in Potts Points to open up Kisuke in 2020. Run with his wife, Mirota's restaurant offers just six seats for a genuinely intimate omakase dining experience ($200pp), showcasing a lifetime of passion for and experience with traditional Japanese cuisine.

Expect soups, sashimi, grilled and steamed dishes, as well as plenty of sushi to pair with saké and whisky. Keep an eye on their Instagram for availability and book online here.

Kazan

25 Martin Place, Sydney CBD

japanese sydney kazan cbd
Image credit: Kazan | Instagram

Kazan is all about the theatre of Japanese cuisine, and the menu is a modern interpretation of traditional Japanese cuisine. Alongside finessed staples of top-quality sashimi, nigiri, and maki rolls, a robata grill offering covers the meatier things, with fun snacks like crispy tacos with Wagyu or salmon confit, custardy miso eggplant, and golden prawn tempura.

To drink, there's an edit of signature cocktails with Japanese flavours, top-tier sake (and a team with the knowledge to guide you to the perfect pick for your palate), and a refined mix of local and international wines. 

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Haco

102/21 Alberta Street, Sydney CBD

From the same team behind Chaco Bar and Chaco Ramen (chef Keita Abe and ex-Sasaki head chef Kensuke Yada), Haco is a pint-sized 12-seat omakase dedicated almost entirely to tempura. Housed within a concrete cube at the Surry Hills end of the CBD, the sheer theatre of deep-fried deliciousness takes centre stage ("haco" translates to "theatre").

At Haco, you're in for a set menu of 20 bite-sized tempura dishes, kept vague because chef Yada likes to really move with what's in season. Expect to sample lightly battered king prawn, lotus root, and—for dessert—banana, alongside braised pork belly, kombu-cured lobster, and bonito sashimi, while you sip sake, Japanese beer, and house-made umeshu and yuzushu. Being a super small spot, dinner books out months in advance—but keep your eyes peeled for their monthly tempura lunch as well. Book here

Cho Cho San

73 Macleay Street, Potts Point

best japanese restaurants sydney cho cho san potts point
Image credit: Cho Cho San | Instagram

Inspired by the lively drinking culture they witnessed while visiting Japan, owners Jonathan Barthelmess and Sam Christie seek to serve the izakaya style of dining, and delivered one of the best restaurants in Potts Point. At Cho Cho San, the colour palette is neutral and considered, but the atmosphere is fun and bustling.

The menu is as intriguing as it is mouth-watering, and you can settle on a couple of set menus, or work your way through the a la carte selection of small snacks, raw bites, share plates, substantial proteins like the golden tonkatsu, and cute mochi desserts.

Nobu Sydney

Level 2/1 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo

best japanese restaurants sydney nobu crown barangaroo yoshii's omakase
Image credit: Crown Sydney | Instagram

Within the glittering Crown Sydney at Barangaroo, Sydney's very own Nobu is a spot to sample the famous Japanese restaurant concept dreamt up by legendary chef Nobu Matsuhisa, who found inspiration working in Peru, developing an entirely new spectrum of cuisine, now called “Nobu style”. 

At Nobu Sydney (one of over 50 in the world), you'll get to try iconic dishes like black cod miso and yellowtail jalapeño, alongside pan-fried scallops with yuzu truffle, and lobster tempura with tamari honey, with the menu divided into Nobu Classic and Nobu Now.

If you're keen to get a truly memorable experience, we recommend seeking out a booking at Yoshii's Omakase, found inside Nobu Sydney—it's a 10-course experience by chef Ryuichi Yoshii that books out months in advance and expresses the absolute pinnacle of seasonal Japanese dining.

Amuro

2/255 Crown Street, Darlinghurst


Image credit: Amuro | Instagram

An ode to the foundational ingredient of some of Japan’s most loved creations (sushi, saké, mochi… we could go on), Amuro is all about exalting the possibilities of rice. The 20-seat venue's menu of Japanese snacks (incorporating contemporary Chinese and American influences) changes almost daily and might look like simply dressed sashimi, tempura snacks, rice bowls including warming ochazuke, and one-bite seasonal desserts combining Japanese and European techniques.

While there’s no drinks list with the goal of starting genuine, enlightening conversations between staff and patrons, there are typically around 20 types of Nihon-shu (Japanese liquor) including hand-picked boutique and premium sake, umeshu and shochu available.

Chaco Ramen

238 Crown Street, Darlinghurst and 11 O’Brien Street, Bondi Beach

Chaco Ramen is home to some of Sydney’s best ramen. That might sound like a strong claim, but ask around, and the consensus is that this den is serving up the best in the biz. As for what makes Chaco such a unique place to dine, director Keita Abe says it’s “because of the amount of thought and care we put into everything we do."

"From the menu to décor, Chaco represents Japanese culture in a way that is true to itself and doesn’t try to be anything else.” You can expect pretty textbook takes on balanced soy-based ramen sitting right alongside boundary-pushing bowls like the beloved yuzu scallop with Hokkaidō scallop, John Dory and prawn wonton, black fungus, leek and mizuna. Chaco Ramen Darlinghurst is walk-in only, but you can book for the Bondi venue here.

Chaco Bar

186-188 Victoria Street, Potts Point

best japanese restaurants sydney chaco bar yakitori
Image credit: Chaco Bar | Instagram

A little further east, sister venue Chaco Bar Potts Point doesn't serve broth. Instead, the Potts Point Japanese restaurant specialises in yakitori, meaning chargrilled skewers are the main event. On the sticks, you’ll find everything from chicken, lamb and pork, to ox tongue, hearts and gizzards meaning nothing is wasted and everything is put to good use.

Dishes are cooked over cherry wood charcoal and basted in Japanese seasonings giving them a rich, smoky flavour, and the sake here is bought from an endless rotation of small, family-run makers in Japan, packing out their extensive drinks list of shochu and whisky. 

Besuto

6 Loftus Lane, Sydney CBD

best japanese restaurants sydney besuto cbd
Image credit: Besuto | Oba Yusuke

A 15-course omakase experience with just 12 seats available per session, Besuto serves up a glam Ginza-style treat from the moment you step past its mini Japanese garden and rice paper screen doors.

Naturally, the menu changes regularly but always offers the best produce available, so you can expect highlights like miso-marinated Glacier 51 toothfish, toro with N25 caviar, and delicate steamed egg custard served with uni, plus sushi and sashimi courses.

If you have room for more after your omakase, head to sister venue Bar Besuto for a premium whisky and late-night Japanese bar snack.

Kaiza Izakaya

95 Enmore Road, Newtown

From former Chuuka chef Jason Nguyen, Kaiza Izakaya fits in with its Enmore Road neighbours with a relaxed, casual fit-out, but the menu of polished take on izakaya favourites with Vietnamese influences sets it apart.

Try the Wagyu nigiri with crispy rice, kizami wasabi, and cured egg yolk, or the crispy deep-fried eggplant with a light crunch, oozing centre and dressed in sweet black miso, chives, and furikake. The blue swimmer crab fried rice with prawn floss is hearty and filling; as is the grilled broccolini with truffle miso and roasted almonds, and there's an omakase experience available Friday–Sunday nights. Book here.

Sokyo

Level G, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont 

best japanese sydney sokyo the star
Image credit: Sokyo | Instagram

Once you enter this shiny-black-fish-scale-walled Japanese-inspired-restaurant, (say that three times) the only thing you’re going to worry about is whether you ordered enough sashimi.

Sokyo has a massive a la carte selection of sushi and sashimi, tempura, robata-grilled snacks, fusion dishes (like Wagyu ravioli with foie gras glaze, wasabi immersion and chive), and a set menu that covers all the bases if you prefer to leave the choice to the experts. Sokyo also offers an exclusive six-seat omakase that books out well in advance.

Saké Restaurant And Bar

12 Argyle Street, The Rocks, 33 Cross Street, Double Bay and Manly Wharf, Manly

best japanese restaurants sydney sake manly the rocks double bay
Image credit: Sake | Instagram

Down the pebbled laneways of The Rocks, with water views on the wharf at Manly and at Double Bay's impressive Intercontinental Hotel, you’ll find Saké Restaurant and Bar, a fine dining option known for its unique spin on traditional Japanese flavours. Loud, bustling and always busy, Saké offers incredible sushi and nigiri, made with seafood so fresh it’s almost flipping on the plate.

Some signature dishes are an absolute must-order, like the salmon sashimi nori tacos, popcorn shrimp with yuzu and chilli mayonnaise, and iconic Dragon Egg dessert, which changes seasonally. Book here

Bay Nine Omakase

Bay 9, 7-27 Circular Quay, The Rocks

At the Campbells Cove waterfront dining precinct, Bay Nine does an intimate 10-seater omakase dining experience of 11 courses, with dishes adapted to the customer as well as what's in season, for $215pp.

Away from the counter, you can also book in for an eight-course set menu that'll set you back $155pp. Bay Nine offers a premium sake or wine pairing, as well as Japan-inspired crafted cocktails and a wine list of heavy hitters to pair with your memorable meal. Book here

Oborozuki 

Level 3, 71 Macquarie St, Sydney CBD

best Japanese restaurants Sydney Oborozuki CBD
Instagram: Oborozuki | Instagram

Oborozuki is housed within one of Sydney's most luxurious apartment buildings, and the concept is as fancy as its address: a high-end Japanese restaurant and bar, complete with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, private teppanyaki rooms, and a breathtaking dining room.

The multi-storey venue also features a bar where you can sip on signatures like the Smoked Oborozuki, which is a smoky mix of Japanese green tea-infused whisky, cherry herring, PX, and cherry puree. Naturally, there's also a large edit of saké, Japanese whisky, and rare Japanese spirits.

Ora

8 Danks St, Waterloo

best japanese restaurants sydney ora waterloo
Image credit: Ora | Instagram

Behind a revolving door on Danks Street in Waterloo, Ora is three venues in one enormous warehouse space. In the centre, a long stretch of marble makes up the sushi and raw bar; towards the back, a Japanese cocktail bar with velvet lounges and a canopy of twinkling lights; and to the right, a 10-seat omakase helmed by former Sushi E chef, Nobuyuki Ura.

The omakase is been designed by Ura himself as a multi-course spectacular, beginning with "zensai"—a Japanese-style tapas that features delicate snacks like foie gras chawanmushi and charcoal-grilled taro with Kinome miso. 

Over at the sushi bar, you're able to order a la carte—but the finesse in each dish is just as good. Begin with starters like Balmain bug tempura san choi bao and Wagyu beef tataki before you go deep on sashimi, sushi, and nigiri prepared by Ora's team of talented sushi chefs. There's also yakitori prepared on the charcoal grill. For dessert? Matcha tiramisu and cherry blossom ice cream both make an appearance. 

Izakaya Fujiyama

38-52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills

best Japanese restaurants sydney izakaya fujiyama surry hills
Image credit: Izakaya Fujiyama | Instagram

If you’re looking for a casual Japanese restaurant to snack on textbook sushi and sake in a setting that feels ripped right from a Tokyo back street, Izakaya Fujiyama fits the bill.

With sake-lined walls, this spot exudes an authentic Japanese izakaya vibe while boasting a warm and inviting atmosphere. Menu must-haves include the tsukune skewers, shatteringly crisp vegetable tempura, and Wagyu cheek bao buns and, if sake isn’t your thing, ask to see the Japanese whisky list. Book here.

Kuro

368 Kent Street, Sydney CBD

According to co-owner Alan Wong, “Every element of Kuro is driven by innovation and precision, from the seemingly understated interiors layered with intricate detail and ambience through to the menu uniting familiar Japanese flavours with stellar Australian produce. It’s one of those venues that continues to surprise and delight with every dining experience”, and anyone who’s been would agree.

The lunch and dinner menus fuse Australian ingredients and Japanese techniques, and a range of set menus at various price points cover all your bases—we'd go the premium seafood chef's selection. It’s also impossible to not mention the incredible architecture and design of the space, with 56 illuminated oak beams framing the room from floor to ceiling. 

For more memorable dining experiences check out

Main image credit: Nomidokoro Indigo | Instagram

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