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Best Japanese Restaurant Sydney - Besuto Omakase | Image: Besuto

15 Best Japanese Restaurants in Sydney

With international fine dining favourites like Nobu to hidden izakaya eateries like Chaco Bar, the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney offer far more than just curry and sashimi. And although you’ll find plenty of raw fish on the menus around the CBD, don’t be afraid to explore the other Japanese fine dining options because you won’t be disappointed. After all, the essence of Japanese cuisine is extracting massive flavour from spare, healthy ingredients.

The result is Japanese dishes that taste fantastic and won’t send you into a food coma just after eating them (though whether or not you overdo it on the sake or beer it’s up to you). So how can one distinguish the fine dining options from the standard fare? We just let the flavours do the talking. Here is a list of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney.

Best Japanese Restaurants in Sydney at a Glance

Kaiza Izakaya
Image: Kaiza Izakaya

1. Kaiza Izakaya

  • Address: 95 Enmore Rd, Newtown NSW 2042
  • Hours: Tue-Wed 5-9:30pm, Thur-Sat 12-10pm, Sun 12-9:30pm

This Japanese restaurant in Sydney might be the ‘new kid on the block,’ but Kaiza Izakaya’s head chef Jason Nguyễn takes a traditional approach to Japanese cuisine that encompasses precision, quality and a rich, umami flavour profile. Enough to knock your socks off, the menu aims to transport guests to the bustling streets of Tokyo through a journey of hot flames, ice-cold drinks and warm service. Our personal favourites include the Coffin Bay oysters with Spicy noun Cham and ponzu granita; Crispy eggplant with black miso, rice puff chive and furikake, and the ultimate Wagyu Nigiri with crispy rice, kizami wasabi and cured egg yolk.

Japanese scallops | Image: Nomidokoro Indigo
Japanese scallops | Image: Nomidokoro Indigo

2. Nomidokoro Indigo

  • Address: 393 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
  • Hours: Sun-Mon: 5-9:30pm, Wed-Thurs: 5-9:30pm, Fri-Sat: 5-10pm
  • Phone: 0460 650 061

Embracing Tokyo’s small-bar presence, Darlinghurst eatery Nomidokoro Indigo could well be Sydney’s best hidden gem. The tiny izakaya features only 11 seats in total, meaning that bookings are absolutely essential if you want to get your hands on the stunning John Dory sashimi or Dashimaki Tamago omelette. If you don’t manage to snag a table, there is a four-person standing bar available as well, which makes for a pretty excellent takeaway spot, should you be in the mood for something quick. Importantly, Nomidokoro Indigo isn’t just a stand-alone effort; it comes from the award-winning team behind Nakano Darling; the Hatena Group. If you love the relaxed Tokyo-esque vibes with a smattering of decadent flavours, we can’t recommend this one enough.

Main dining room at Nobu Sydney Japanese restaurant | Image: Nobu
Main dining room at Nobu Sydney Japanese restaurant | Image: Nobu

3. Nobu

  • Located in: Crown Sydney
  • Address: Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo NSW 2000
  • Hours: Sun-Thurs: 12-3pm, 5:30-9:30pm, Fri-Sat: 12-3pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm
  • Phone: (02) 8871 7171

When international icon Nobu officially opened its doors in 2020, the entire city took note. The restaurant, which boasts more than 50 outposts across five continents, brought a new sense of celebrity-backed style to the Japanese dining scene, delivering big flavours and most surprisingly, big value. We recently sat down to test out the $95 all-you-can-eat sushi offering (which has sadly since finished) and it was an absolute game-changer, but there is so much to see and do while you are here.

The entrance to Nobu Sydney, located in the Crown Hotel, is unequivocally grand with guests escorted through a selfie-worthy lobby and into the main dining room. From here, you are primed to take in arguably the best view in Sydney, before indulging in the near-endless bevy of hot and cold dishes. Make no mistake, however, the black cod miso is still the star of the show.

Best Japanese Restaurant Sydney - Besuto Omakase | Image: Besuto
Best Japanese Restaurant Sydney – Besuto Omakase | Image: Besuto

4. Besuto Omakase Sydney

  • Address: 3 Underwood St, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Hours: Tues-Fri: 5:30-10pm, Sat: 12:30-10pm

Teeny-tiny and impossibly luxe, Besuto might just be Sydney’s best omakase. The traditional-style Japanese restaurant boasts just 14 seats in total, with those lucky enough to score one treated to an incredible assortment of seafood delicacies. Chefs Joel Best and Hiro Fujita’s CBD eatery is a remarkable feat of culinary excellence, with highlights including the Japanese scallops, John Dory, N25 caviar and Western Australian octopus, however, the real star of the show remains the miso marinated Glacier 51 toothfish. If you get to try just one dish at this revered Japanese restaurant, make sure that it is this one.

Haco Japanese Sydney | Image: Haco
Haco Japanese Sydney | Image: Haco

5. Haco

  • Address: 102/21 Alberta St, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Hours: Tues-Thurs: 5:45-11pm, Fri-Sat: 12-2pm, 5:45-11pm
  • Phone: 0408 866 285

Headed up by Chaco Bar Group executive Chef Keita Abe and ex-Sasaki restaurant Head Chef Kensuke Yada, Haco is the kind of Japanese dining experience you can set your watch to. The Sydney restaurant features a meticulously crafted 20-course menu, complete with delicate seafood starts, deep-fried favourites and a few surprises along the way. Put simply, Haco is a restaurant where dinner becomes the show (Haco means theatre in Japanese), and the experience is nothing short of incredible. The small-format omakase diner is dimly lit and effortlessly romantic, particularly if you and your special someone are fans of tempura. Dig in and delight, Haco is a serious fun night out.

Best Japanese Sydney - Ora Restaurant | Image: Ora
Best Japanese Sydney – Ora Restaurant | Image: Ora

6. Ora

  • Address: 8 Danks St, Waterloo NSW 2017
  • Hours: Tues-Thurs: 6-10pm, Fri: 12-3pm, 5:30pm-12am, Sat: 5:30pm-12am
  • Phone: (02) 6261 0088

Fresh off a decade behind the grill at Merivale institution Sushi E, chef Nobuyuki Ura has stepped out on his own and created a mindblowing Japanese food experience in Sydney’s Waterloo. The culinary stalwart now lays claim to Ora, a restaurant that serves up an impeccable menu of seafood-heavy favourites, delicately sliced to perfection. The venue itself is sleek and sexy, with a modern finish that feels innately high-end, which is reflected in the pricing. In terms of Japanese restaurants in Sydney, Ora is on the pricier end, however, the experience itself is second to none and it makes for the perfect date night getaway. If you do go, make sure to check out the sea urchin, cuttlefish and bluefin tuna.

Image: Izakaya Fujiyama
Image: Izakaya Fujiyama

7. Izakaya Fujiyama

  • Address: 38-52 Waterloo St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
  • Hours: Mon-Thur 6pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm
  • Phone: (02) 9698 2797

Izakaya loosely translates to “drinking food” and Izakaya Fujiyama duly abides. More to the point, this Surry Hills hotspot delivers an array of delectable, classic dishes, along with an epic selection of Japanese whiskies and sakes. The prices are tough to beat and the flavours are exceptional, making this one of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney. Go with the mouthwatering sushi hand rolls or try something fresh out of the frier. Either way, you’ll leave satisfied.

Best Japanese restaurants in Sydney | Image: Sokyo
Best Japanese restaurants in Sydney | Image: Sokyo

8. Sokyo

  • Address: Level 2, Sun Tower, 591 George St Sydney New South Wales 2000
  • Hours: Mon-Wed & Sun 7-10am & 5:30-10pm, Thur 7-10am & 12-3pm & 5:30-10pm, Fri-Sat 7-10am & 12-3pm & 5:30-11pm
  • Phone: 1800 700 700

Hidden behind an inconspicuous entryway in Star Casino is one of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney. An oasis of epicurean delight, Sokyo doesn’t so much capitalise on its surroundings as much it does enhance them. Expect a vibe that falls somewhere between playful and opulent, with exquisite presentations and flavours to match. Your meal won’t be cheap, but it sure as heck beats throwing your money away on slot machines. The breakfasts here are also the stuff of legend.

Japanese fine dining restaurant in Sydney | Image: Tetsuya's Restaurant
Japanese fine dining restaurant in Sydney | Image: Tetsuya’s Restaurant

9. Tetsuya’s Restaurant

  • Address: 529 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Hours: Thur 5:30-9pm, Fri 12-12:30pm & 6-9pm, Sat 12pm-12:30pm & 6:30pm-9pm, Sun 12-12:30pm
  • Phone: 02 9267 2900

More than one of the best Japanese restaurants that Sydney can muster, Tetsuya’s is one of Australia’s top restaurants, period. Taking culinary cues from Japan and France alike, this acclaimed fine dining destination leaves no flavour or visual detail unattended. Will the experience cost you? Naturally. But you’ll accordingly reap value from every morsel.

Japanese restaurant Cho cho san
Image: Cho Cho San

10. Cho Cho San

  • Address: 73 MacLeay St, Potts Point NSW 2011
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 5-10pm, Sat-Sun 12-10pm
  • Phone: (02) 9331 6601

Step inside Cho Cho San’s impeccable, minimalist decor and order the soft steamed buns before you’ve even asked for water. Then keep the Izakaya parade marching strong by getting a variety of dishes and sharing with friends. Pair that with a sake flight or craft cocktail and you’re on your way to one of the best dining experiences you’ve ever had. To call this legendary Potts Point destination one of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney feels practically redundant.

Japanese restaurant Chaco Bar | Image: Chaco Bar
Japanese restaurant Chaco Bar | Image: Chaco Bar

11. Chaco Bar

  • Address: 186-188 Victoria St, Potts Point NSW 2010
  • Hours: Tue-Sat 5:30-10pm
  • Phone: (02) 8593 4567

Yakitori is a Japanese style of cooking that involves grilling skewered meat over a charcoal fire, and Chaco Bar has Yakitori down to an art form. In addition to their delectable range of skewered meats (think everything from lamb shoulder to chicken gizzards), this tiny Darlinghurst spot offers some of the tastiest ramens outside of Japan. That’s all joined by an ample selection of beers, sakes and wines. Get your grub on at one of the coolest and quaintest places close to the CBD. If you do find yourself at Chaco bar, you have to try the Fat Soy ramen; a delicious soupy broth of bone marrow and skinless pork belly, this meal is a must-try for any Sydney Japanese food lover.

Japanese fine dining restaurant Toko | Image: Toko Sydney
Japanese fine dining restaurant Toko | Image: Toko Sydney

12. Toko Sydney

  • Address: 490 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
  • Hours: Tue-Wed 5:30-11pm, Thur 12-3 & 5:30-11pm, Fri 12-3pm & 5:30-12am, Sat 5:30pm-12am
  • Phone: (02) 9357 6100

A Surry Hills favourite, Toko is known for its exemplary seafood and steaks and has therefore won the hearts of Aussies everywhere. The fish is resoundingly fresh, the meat drips with flavour, and the wine list is extensive. Order at random or try one of the chef’s tasting menus, and expect some of the best Japanese in Sydney to follow. And don’t forget about dessert–the yuzu cheesecake, in particular, is to die for.

Azuma Japanese restaurant in Sydney
Image: Azuma

13. Azuma

  • Located in: Chifley
  • Address: 2 Chifley Square, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-2pm & 6-9pm, Fri 12-2pm & 6-9:30pm, Sat 5:30-9pm
  • Phone: (02) 9222 9960

One of the best and most authentic Japanese restaurants in Sydney, Azuma has been keeping it beautifully basic since the 90s. Here you’ll find top-shelf takes on the dishes that made you fall in love with Japanese cuisine in the first place. The sushi and sashimi portions are generous, satisfying and eye-pleasing. The Wagyu tri-tip will make you salivate just by thinking about it. People flock to the bento box lunches as well, and with good reason. No matter what you order, expect it to be filling and downright scrumptious.

Saké Restaurant in Sydney | Image: Sake
Saké Restaurant in Sydney | Image: Sake

14. Saké Restaurant

  • Address: 12 Argyle St, The Rocks NSW 2000
  • Hours: Tue 6-9pm, Wed-Thur 12-3pm & 6-9pm, Fri 12-3pm & 5:30-10pm, Sat 12-3pm & 5:30-11pm, Sun 12-3pm & 5-9pm
  • Phone: (02) 9259 5656

If creativity is your thing, then Saké Restaurant at the Rocks is your place. From the stunningly complex kingfish jalapeno with yuzu soy to the wagyu brisket to the popcorn shrimp tempura, it’s all here and it’s all delicious. Make sure you bring a bunch of friends because you’ll want to try every last item on this Sydney Japanese restaurant’s menu.

Best japanese restaurants in sydney lantern by wagaya 1
Lantern By Wagaya | Image: Wagaya

15. Lantern By Wagaya

  • Address: 591 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Hours: Mon-Thur 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun 2pm-2am
  • Phone: (02) 9283 8828

What better way to get your karaoke on than inside these eccentric, modern digs? At Lantern by Wagaya, the atmosphere is as fun as it is eye-catching, with touchscreen menus that look straight out of Japan in both design and content. Slurp down a Pork Miso Hot Pot, then chase it with cold sake and your latest rendition of “Like a Virgin”.

Alternatives to Sydney Japanese

Visited all of Sydney’s best Japanese restaurants and looking for other cool things to do in and around the city? Well, well, well, good thing we’ve got you covered. From dining to coffee, music to other fun things like paintball, here are some of the best things you can do in Sydney: 

There’s so much to do in Sydney we’ve got a whole category dedicated to it! Check it all out here.

Japanese Sydney FAQs

Where can I find affordable Japanese food in Sydney?

There are several affordable Japanese restaurants in Sydney, from takeaway to a la carte. The top-rated cheap Japanese food spots in Sydney include Don Don in Darlinghurst, Mappen in the CBD and Gogyo in Surry Hills.

What are the best Japanese restaurants for fine dining in Sydney?

Toko, Azuma, and Wagaya are some of the best for Japanese fine dining in Sydney.

Where can I find sake in Sydney?

You can have sake and other drinks at Izakaya Fujiyama, Lantern by Wagaya and Cho Cho San in Sydney.