Japanese cuisine is a traditional craft which celebrates the innate flavours and textures of its ingredients. Using a base of staples like rice and noodles and emphasising seasonal produce, popular Japanese dishes have become loved all around the world.
Here in Australia, there are a number of restaurants specialising in authentic Japanese cuisine and this guide takes a bow at the best in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.
A family owned Japanese restaurant in Brighton, the Fujiyama specialises in freshly prepared sushi, salads and rice and noodle dishes. Dining options include teppanyaki tables where your meal is prepared before your eyes and a private tatami room (a traditional Japanese style room).
A traditional izakaya-style restaurant (combination restaurant and bar) with locations in both the CBD and South Melbourne, Izakaya Chuji features izakaya-style sushi bar counters where you can watch as your Japanese sushi chef expertly prepares cut style sushi and sashimi. Friendly staff and a lively atmosphere make this a popular choice for lovers of Japanese cuisine.
A more contemporary izakaya restaurant in Lygon Street Brunswick that serves tapas style share plates. It has an art-deco, warehouse style decor with a relaxed casual atmosphere and a choice of dining options including communal tables, booths, bar seating, tables for two and a private dining room. Add award-winning Japanese cuisine and a big range of sake, wine and Japanese craft beers, and you have the perfect cultural dining experience.
Opposite Melbourne's Flinders Street Station, Miyako specialises in authentic teppanyaki and traditional Japanese cuisine. They are well known for their quality sushi and sashimi made with fresh local produce and their wide range of authentic Japanese dishes. Dine a la carte or in their teppanyaki section and enjoy the perfect complement to your meal from an exclusive range of aged Australian and Japanese sakes.
A Japanese street food restaurant in Chapel Street, Windsor, Mr Miyagi has a relaxed bar-style atmosphere and rustic décor featuring polished cement floors, exposed brick walls and private booths at the rear. They have an excellent cocktail and wine list and offer a choice of a la carte or set menu options. And in the words of their website; "Traditional conventions with a side of experimentation? Mr. M have good chef for that!".
This is a modern version of a traditional Japanese pub. Straight from the back streets of Tokyo, this izakaya (pub) in Smith Street Collingwood is lively, casual and friendly, with graffiti artwork on the walls and lots of exposed brick and recycled timber. With a big menu of Asian, Japanese and tapas-style dishes, as well as an outdoor dining option, Pabu offers a unique insight into the Japanese gastro-pub culture.
A unique fusion restaurant in Robina on the Gold Coast, Cocotte Dining uses fresh local produce to create original cuisine featuring European, French, Japanese and Modern Australian dishes. Their specialty is a unique Japanese/French cuisine that combines the two styles to create amazing new dishes and their culinary expertise has won them several awards and seen them named among the Top 10 Japanese restaurants in Queensland.
A highly awarded Japanese restaurant at Eagle Street Pier in Brisbane, Saké Restaurant & Bar is a chic dining space overlooking the Brisbane River. It features a dynamic and continually evolving menu and an extensive range of sake, cocktails and wines and is equipped to cater for every dining need, with a choice of sushi bar, traditional Japanese sunken tables, a communal banquet area and five private dining rooms.
Ten (the Japanese word for heaven) offers impeccable formal dining and a heavenly choice of dishes from a la carte to elaborate set menus. Located in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast, it features an opulent interior with separate areas for teppanyaki, sushi and private dining, and whichever style you opt for, you'll be treated to a feast of quality ingredients prepared with precision and artfully arranged in the Japanese style.
This is Japanese with a Californian twist like you've never had before. Kobe Jones is located on King Street Wharf at Darling Harbour, where you'll enjoy great food, attentive service and stunning harbour views. Kobe Jones also operates The Rocks Teppanyaki in Cumberland Street, a sophisticated dining experience with five private teppanyaki rooms and Wharf Teppanyaki in Lime Street, with a giant teppan table for up to 46 people and 12 cooking stations.
Under the InterContinental Hotel in Double Bay, Sake is a stylish Japanese venue with a range of enticing dining options including a sushi counter and a traditional open plan Japanese robata charcoal grill, custom-built for the restaurant. Their other location, Saké Restaurant & Bar in the Rocks is a sleek designer space with four private dining rooms, a communal dining area, traditional sunken tables and a sushi bar.
Zushi is a fun and relaxed neighbourhood Japanese restaurant on the waterfront at Barangaroo, Sydney's new dining precinct. They offer delicious food, friendly service and a range of dining options including tapas style dining, takeaway, catering and dinner de livery. They have an exciting list of cocktails plus sake, beer and wines to match your meal and vegans, vegetarians gluten-free and coeliacs can all be catered for. Zushi's other locations are in Victoria Street Darlinghurst and Crown Street Surry Hills.
Sorenzo offers a modern interpretation of Japanese cuisine, providing a breath of fresh air by incorporating Western flavours into traditional Japanese dishes. Their Darling Harbour restaurant provides fine dining with stunning waterfront and city views, while Sorenzo in Westfield Shopping Centre provides a convenient and relaxing haven for lovers of Japanese cuisine.
If you've got a friend or loved one who enjoys a good ramen, a plate of sushi or some fresh sashimi, why not surprise them with a Good Food Gift Card? They'll be spoilt for choice in where they can spend it, with all of these Japanese restaurants around Australia accepting the card.