Aimee O'Keefe
22 Best Japanese Restaurants in Melbourne | Man of Many
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, the restaurant 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.
1. Kisume
Located in the landmark 80 Collins Street in the heart of Melbourne’s fashion quarter, Yakimono is hard not to miss, with a signature bright neon sign out front. The neon sets the scene — as much a Japanese restaurant as it is a cocktail, sake and music venue. We come for the outlandish Japanese-inspired cocktails, with tipples like alcoholic bubble tea and every sake you could imagine. With a menu focused on fire and flavour, Yakimono will transport you straight to the streets of Japan.
2. Yakimono
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.
3. Supernormal
Founded by the 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. We recommend the seven-course menu, which includes salmon tartare, calamari crackers, and chicken liver, just to name a few.
4. Kazuki’s Restaurant
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 featuring miso ramen, vegan ramen and plenty of traditional side dishes, this bustling joint is as straightforward as it is satisfying. Pop in to see what all the fuss is about.
5. Little Ramen Bar
One of the main reasons we love Mr. Miyagi is its fun, playful energy. Known for its exciting spin on traditional Japanese dishes and flavours, the Windsor institution is our recommendation for where to go when you want a good, and delicious time. Our top picks from the menu include the ‘Soba Noodz’ with green tea soba noodles, sesame dressing, edamame, and shaved vegetables, and their raw bar has some fresh selections, like oysters and the sashimi of your dreams. No trip here is complete without a cocktail, however, with 12 cocktails to choose from — the ‘Hello Kitty Sour’ is our choice.
6. Mr. Miyagi
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.
7. Minamishima
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.
8. Ichi Ni Izakaya
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 its own. Bring a group and try it all, or stop by for lunch and order one of their legendary bento boxes.
9. Wabi Sabi Salon
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 — starting off with the Kara-Age chicken wingettes is our best bet. Bring a group of friends or impress a date with your knowledge of the Melbourne underground.
10. Izakaya Den
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. They also offer drink pairings curated by sommelier David Lawler, so you’re always in for a treat when paying a visit here.
11. Ishizuka
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.
12. Kenzan
Almost more of an art form than a meal, KOMEYUI re-invents traditional Japanese dishes to create a unique, unforgettable sensory experience. With dishes that look so good, you’d be forgiven for feeling like a crime to dig in, but the aromas will tell you otherwise. We recommend trying the chef’s tasting menu for the full experience, some standouts include the steamed scampi and josper-grilled miso-marinated duck breast, all paired wine the finest selection of sake, of course.
13. KOMEYUI Melbourne
An underground bar and dining experience like nothing else, Yugen Dining exists on an entirely different playing field. Whether it’s the six-seat mezzanine omakase bar, the considered dishes, bold flavours, and the sizzling accent of umami in the lower dining room, or the eight-seat golden orb, the six-metre-high stone walls and industrial interiors of Yugen Dining are where great things happen. The food and drinks don’t take a backseat to the ambience, either — menu standouts include the pork, beef and chicken skewers, the special fried rice and the raw king salmon with green apple, salmon roe, puffed rice and sudachi vinaigrette. They even gave a late-night supper menu for those who can’t seem to leave (we’ve been there.)
14. Yugen Dining
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. Try the DIY pork belly bao with pickled daikon, teriyaki, and kewpie.
15. Tokyo Tina
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.
16. Shoya Japanese Restaurant
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 a 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.
17. Nobu
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 indulgence by way of stunning glass walls and riverside views.
18. Sake Restaurant and Bar
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. We can’t go past the Ten-don these guys do, which is a selection of vegetable and seafood tempura on steamed rice with teriyaki sauce on top, served with miso soup and salad.
19. Tempura Hajime
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?
20. Eazy Peazy
This small, intimate spot reminds us of the traditional ramen bars you would expect to find in Tokyo, which is one of the main reasons we love it, running in a close second to the delicious ramen that’s served here. They serve up bento boxes for a quick and easy lunch, but, it is the ramen that’s the star of the show here. Choose from chicken breast, pork belly or spicy pork mince, in a slow-cooked chicken broth with noodles. Wash it down with sake, matcha tea or a cocktail — the Nashi paired with nashi pear sake, cinnamon whiskey, lemon, and sugar is our go-to.
21. Yoku Ono Ramen + Sake
Serving up traditional Japanese dishes with a creative flare, in a moody, minimalist space, Machi is one of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne. On the menu, you will find a selection of Japanese ‘tapas’, think age dashi tofu, eggplant chips and gyoza, as well as signature machi tacos (our recommendation) and maki rolls, sashimi, nigiri and a selection of platters to share. They have a decent selection of vegetarian options, without forgetting about the meat-eaters, too.
22. Machi
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Key Things to Consider for Melbourne’s Japanese Restaurants
If you’re looking for other things to do in and around Melbourne, we’ve got you covered with some of the options listed below. You can also check out our list of Fun Thing To Do in Melbourne. If you’re looking for a more specific cuisine, check out our list of Best Mexican Restaurants in Melbourne or the Best Italian Restaurants in Melbourne. If you’re full, we can also help you with your search for the best vintage clothes with our list of the Best Op Shops in Melbourne for Vintage Clothes or show you the Best Beaches in Melbourne for Surfing and Swimming.
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