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 Sydney'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.
One thing is for certain—we’re definitely not lacking when it comes to awesome Japanese restaurants in Sydney. In fact, some of our offerings are almost as good as jumping on a plane and heading to Japan (almost).
Whether you’re after sushi and sashimi, karaage or kushiage, we’ve found some of Sydney’s best Japanese restaurants that you may not know about—and if you do, kanpai to you!
So grab yourself a Sapporo Draught (to be totally authentic) and pick up those chopsticks, there’s some good eatin’ to be had. Itadakimasu! (let’s eat)
So it’s kind of in a pretty high traffic area, but Masu Izakaya has been flying under the radar for a little while now. Well, not any more! Sorry to those who were hoping to keep this one to themselves. Based off the typical izakayas you’ll find all over Japan, Masu Izakaya serve up tasty Japanese bar food including yakitori, gyoza and the classic takowasa (raw octopus with wasabi). Being a typical izakaya, eating and drinking at the same time is a must, so wash it all down with one of their many sakes, shochus or an ice-cold Sapporo Draught.
We love that many Japanese restaurants in Sydney have a real homey feel. Sushi-Ya in Artarmon is a perfect example of this. It’s not at all fancy, but that’s what we love about this hidden Japanese gem. Expect the classics here—salmon laden rolls, saucy hamburg steaks, and, of course, sushi. A favourite among locals, if you’re after legit Japanese food in Sydney, pay a visit to Sushi-Ya.
This izakaya in Surry Hills is hidden away from busy Crown Street and is one of those places you sort of need to know about to go (because you usually wouldn’t walk past it). Stocking an impressive 62 types of Japanese whisky, tonnes of sake and Sapporo Draughts, Izakaya Fujiyama is a great place to go if you want to get your drank on… with some amazing food to accompany it, of course. Don’t miss Kenji’s fried chicken and the fish head served with ponzu and soy (which sounds weird, but is actually awesome).
Lantern by Wagaya
So you may have heard of Wagaya, but have you been to Lantern by Wagaya? Hidden within an apartment building just off George Street, you’ll definitely need someone to guide you on your first visit here. The best part about Lantern is that it’s also a karaoke bar, which means you bust a tune while cramming your face with Japanese deliciousness. A bit of Taylor Swift with your teriyaki? You got it. Some Sting with your Sapporo Draught? Consider it done!
We love this izakaya that’s tucked away in Maroubra. It’s so Japanese that even the adorable typos on the menu makes you feel like you’ve been transported to Japan. There’s a focus on healthy options at this izakaya but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in taste or is boring at all—which is good, because it means you can eat (and drink) more… right?!
Manmaruya Japanese BBQ
You may not have even known that this Japanese yakiniku restaurant existed, but it does and it’s delicious. Here, at Manmaruya Japanese BBQ, order up plates of raw meat (the beef here is wagyu) and cook it yourself on a small grill. Sure, it sounds like work, but it’s a tonne of fun, especially when there’s Sapporo Draught involved. BBQ meat and beer? Count us in.
The guys at Sharak are so into their Sapporo Draughts that they serve them in three glorious sizes—300mL, 500mL and a shareable jug that’s over one litre of liquid gold. There’s a wonderfully large menu (that’s just been revamped), which says to us: bring some friends with healthy appetites and get ready for a Japanese feast of epic proportions.
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Image credit: Daryl Kong