Eating at the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne means indulgence without overindulgence. That’s because unlike say American diner food, Japanese cuisine is an exercise in exploration, presentation, harmony and, quite often, restraint–your meal will commonly be parsed out in small bites, giving you room to pace yourself and digest.
As a result, you leave satisfied, but rarely feeling as though you’ve been stuffed via feeding tube. We like to call it quality through quantity, and the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne can muster have the method down cold. So pull up a chair, order some sake, grab those chopsticks and try a little of everything without resorting to overkill.
Here is a list of the 21 Best Japanese Restaurants in Melbourne.
1. Wabi Sabi Salon
Resembling the kind of cosy and unpretentious nook you might find down a back-alley in Tokyo, Wabi Sabi Salon in Collingwood uses fresh, local ingredients to deliver massive flavours at affordable prices. A favourite among vegetarians and carnivores alike, this is one of the best Japanese restaurants Melbourne calls it own. Bring a group and try it all, or stop by for lunch and order one of their legendary bento boxes.
Address: 94 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Phone: 03 9417 6119
Trading Hours: Mon-Tue 12pm-3pm & 5:30pm-9:30pm, Wed-Thu 12pm-3pm & 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-3pm & 5:30pm-10:30pm
2. Little Ramen Bar
As the latest global food craze, ramen is now so much more than that thing you ate every day in college so you could spend all your money on beer. For proof, look no further than Little Ramen Bar. With great prices, a limited menu and some of the most delicious ramen in town, this bustling joint is as straightforward as it is satisfying. Pop in to see what all the fuss is about.
Address: 5/346 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9670 5558
Trading Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am-3pm & 5:30pm-9:30pm
3. Ichi Ni Izakaya
Ichi Ni Izakaya celebrates our two favourite epicurean mainstays–small bites and alcohol–in spectacular fashion. This wildly popular St. Kilda destination covers all the classics while keeping the prices within reason. Order a fresh pint of beer or a glass of cold sake and pair that with some yakitori and resoundingly fresh sashimi. In other words, indulge to your heart’s content at one of Melbourne’s best Japanese restaurants.
Address: 12 The Esplanade, St Kilda VIC 3182
Phone: 03 9534 1212
Trading Hours: Mon-Wed 12pm-3pm & 5pm-9:30pm, Thu 12pm-3pm & 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-10:30pm, Sun 12pm-9:30pm
Founded by husband and wife team, Kazuki Tsuya and Saori, Kazuki’s is an acclaimed dining destination and one of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne. The menu allows you to choose from two, three, five or seven courses of heavily curated Euro-Japanese plates.
Address: 121 Lygon St, Carlton VIC 3053
Phone: (03) 9349 2223
Trading Hours: Mon-Sat 12pm-3pm & 6pm-9pm, Sun 12pm-3pm
5. Izakaya Den
The name pretty much says it all. Tucked away inside hidden basement digs is Izakaya Den, an absolute haven for good times, great Japanese drinking and food. Once you’ve actually found the place, you’ll want to come back until you’ve tried everything on the menu. Bring a group of friends or impress a date with your knowledge of the Melbourne underground.
Address: 114 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9654 2977
Trading Hours: Mon-Thu 12pm-2:30pm & 5:30pm-11pm, Fri 12pm-2:30pm & 5:30pm-12am, Sat 5:30pm-12am
Ambitious in concept and brilliant in execution, Kisume is three stories of gastronomic splendour. Brought to us from the veritable tastemakers behind the Lucas Group, Kisume eschews the team’s normal blitzkrieg antics in favour of streamlined sophistication, copious variety and unforgettable taste. Choose between the street-level sushi bar, the omakase upstairs or the hot kitchen in the windowless basement, and leave your worries behind at one of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne
Address: 175 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9671 4888
Trading Hours: Sun-Thu 12pm-2:30pm & 5pm-10pm, Thu-Sat Sun-Thu 12pm-2:30pm & 5pm-11pm
This up-market Japanese restaurant in Melbourne is Haute cuisine at its finest. The restaurant has just 16 seats, all situated around a central counter. Ishizuka is a fine purveyor of Kaiseki, which is a time-honoured culinary tradition, similar to a Japanese degustation menu. The process is seasonal, so the nightly set menu will change regularly.
Address: Basement B01 139 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 8594 0895
Trading Hours: Tues-Sun 5pm-10pm
For all the black belt sushi enthusiasts of Melbourne, Minamishima is more than a destination, it’s a mecca. The discreet, omakase-only restaurant is arguably the best Japanese restaurant in Melbourne, and with good reason. Chef Koichi Minamishima’s technique is second to none and his cuisine is some of the tastiest you’ll find outside of Japan. Prepare to drop serious cash and yet still feel like you walked away with a deal.
Address: 4 Lord St. Richmond, VIC 3121
Phone: +61 3 9429 5180
Trading Hours: Tue-Sat 6pm-10pm
Decades before the sushi epidemic took the world by storm, Kenzan was serving up mouthwatering slices of fatty bluefin tuna belly and sweet, tenderly grilled eel. To call this place an institution would be an understatement. To call it one of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne is more or less obligatory. Put simply, Kenzan is old school sushi done right.
Address: Collins Place, 45 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9654 8933
Trading Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-2:15pm & 6pm-10pm, Sat 6pm-10pm
Headed by a former Kenzan chef, Komeyui executes Japanese classics with surgical precision and a touch of creative flair. Indeed, sometimes you just want a satisfying, familiar menu–you’ll find that here and then some.
Address: 396 Bay St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207
Phone: 03 9646 2296
Trading Hours: Mon-Sun 12pm-3pm, 5:30pm-10pm
11. Tokyo Tina
In the hyper-serious world of food culture, it’s always refreshing to encounter a restaurant that kicks back and has a little fun while nevertheless serving killer eats. In that regard, Tokyo Tina duly abides. Inspired by the street food and visuals of Japan, this wildly popular destination keeps the atmosphere festive and the bites tasty, saving any overwrought intensity for the kitchen.
Address: 66A Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181
Phone: 03 9525 2774
Trading Hours: Sun-Tue 12pm-10pm, Wed-Thu 12pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm
Between Shoya’s whopping six levels, you’ll find pretty much everything you can think of, including some the best Japanese Melbourne has to offer. You’ll also cop karaoke, fine dining, casual lunches, omakase dinners, full bars, fresh sushi and expertly grilled meats as well. Needless to say, this award-winning palace of degustation begs to be discovered many times over.
Address: 25 Market Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9650 0848
Trading Hours: Sun-Thu 12pm-2:30pm & 6pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-11pm
No restaurant is more synonymous with sexy, upscale Japanese dining than Nobu, and their Melbourne outpost is no exception. Located in the Crown Casino, the renowned hotspot delivers brilliant ambience, gorgeous people and delectable Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. The result is an epicurean experience that’s firing on all cylinders, and naturally one of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.
Address: Crown Riverwalk, Crown Melbourne, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank VIC 3006
Phone: 03 9292 5777
Trading Hours: Sun-Thu 12pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm
14. Sake Restaurant and Bar
Along with sister locations in cities like Sydney, Melbourne’s perennially popular Sake Restaurants have modern dining down to a science. However, don’t take that global franchise potential to mean the food here isn’t spectacular. Indeed, people flock from near and far to try Sake’s array of Japanese fusion dishes while sucking down delicious cocktails. The Hammer Hall location doubles down on the indulgence by way of stunning glass walls and riverside views.
Address: 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004
Phone: 03 8687 0775
Trading Hours: Mon-Thu 12pm-3pm & 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-3pm & 5pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-10pm
Address: 121 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 1300 670 910
Trading Hours: Mon-Thu 12pm-3pm & 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-3pm & 5pm-11pm, Sun 5pm-10pm
15. Tempura Hajime
Gaining entry to Tempura Hajime is kind of like getting into a secret society, and the experience once inside is no less sacrosanct. Take a seat and let Shigeo Yoshihara seduce your taste buds one dish at a time. This is foodie heaven.
Address: 60 Park St, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Phone: 03 9696 0051
Trading Hours: Tue-Fri 12pm-2pm & 6pm-10pm, Sat 6pm-10pm
Supernormal isn’t your average Melbourne Japanese restaurant. Offering a fusion between Chinese, Japanese and Korean cultures, the Flinders Lane venue is an eclectic mix of atmosphere and indulgence. Here, you’ll find Szechuan-peppers tickling the tongue as some decidedly more dulcet Japanese flavours flow through.
Address: 180 Flinders Lane Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9650 8688
Trading Hours: Mon-Sun 12pm-11pm
Wakenbo might be the calmest Japanese restaurant in Melbourne. The soft, airy and lift design of the venue makes you feel instantly at home and the food isn’t too bad either. Chef-owner Kenji Ito is a master of contemporary Japanese cuisine and Wakenbo delivers it in spades.
Address: 69 Victoria St Fitzroy VIC 3065
Phone: (03) 90419495
Trading Hours: Wed-Sat 4:30pm-8pm
18. Eazy Peazy
Expect a thriving yakitori menu with wings and salty yuzu spice, paired with some charred leek and miso barramundi. Eazy Peazy is one of the coolest and best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne. What’s more, this eatery also has a pretty great beverage menu, so why not make a whole night out of it.
Address: 108 Swan Street Richmond VIC 3121
Phone: (03) 9965 1977
Trading Hours: Mon-Wed 5:30pm-11pm, Thurs-Sun 1pm-11pm
19. Izakaya Chuji
This Lonsdale Street stalwart is about as raw as they come, but despite its basic interior and lack of aesthetic prowess, Izakaya Chuji more than makes up for it in food and atmosphere. Operating since 1989, this isn’t just one of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne, it’s one of the oldest.
Address: 108 Swan Street Richmond VIC 3121
Phone: (03) 9663 8118
Trading Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-2:30pm 6pm-10:30pm, Sat 6pm-11pm
20. Yoku Ono Ramen + Sake
This small, traditional-themed ramen bar, features wooden chairs and tables, maintaining an air of calmness while you chow down. Keep an eye out for the eight-hour slow-cooked chicken broth.
Address: 6A Anchor Place Prahran VIC 3181
Phone: (03) 9521 4746
Trading Hours: Tues-Fri 12pm-3pm 5:30pm-11pm, Sat 5:30pm-11pm
Ocha is a great combination of old and new, bringing together the traditional Japanese elements with more contemporary characteristics and flavour profiles. You’ll find gyozas, yakisoba and nabeyaki udon, but you’ll also score some crazy concoctions. Best to make a booking.
Address: 3 Church Street Hawthorn VIC 3122
Phone: (03) 9853 6002
Trading Hours: Tues-Fri 12pm-2:30pm 6pm-10:30pm
What is the best Japanese restaurant in Melbourne?
While there are a number of great Japanese restaurants in Melbourne, Minamishima is the highest rated on Google.
What suburb is the best for Japanese restaurants?
The Melbourne CBD has the highest concentration of Japanese restaurants, particularly around Flinders Lane.
Where can you get the best ramen in Melbourne?
Fitzroy's Neko Neko is the highest rated ramen bar in Melbourne, but there are many great options, particularly in the Melbourne CBD.