Ten of the Best Japanese Restaurants in Melbourne
Melbourne spoils the tourists when it comes to food. The city has some of the finest eateries offering delectable cuisines from across the globe. It is never hard to find a good restaurant and the food of your choice in Melbourne. Japanese cuisine is no exception! If you are in Australia and relishing the grandeur of this metropolitan city, you will be surprised to find world-class Japanese bistros in every nook and cranny. Thanks to the Japanese chefs, their inter-continental movement has flourished the culinary culture in Melbourne bestowing the city with a variety of tastes and flavours besides bringing with them sizzling passion and rich traditions. Here are our top picks of the best Japanese eateries in Melbourne if you have got a hankering for sashimi, sushi, sake, or katsu.
Stationed on the calm residential streets of Richmond, Minamishima is owned and run by Koichi Minamishima – or we should name him “the sushi master”. The restaurant that can be ranked as extortionate one started attracting visitors not long after it was opened. Because of the magical Japanese concoctions of Minamishima, the place became famous in no time. The restaurant is a world away from the hubbub and turmoil of the busy life of the city. Inside Minamishima, amid the jaunty music, you will find yourself savouring your taste buds with toro, creamy flounder fin, calamari, scampi, Japanese cockle and what not! With unimpeachable service and classy yet simple décor, Minamishima is a must-try if you want to experience the true Japanese flavour in Melbourne.
4 Lord St, Richmond VIC
(03) 9429 5180
If you are craving for Kaiseki and have a really big budget then you should head straight to Ishizuka. It is one of the extravagant Japanese restaurants with a set menu of 11 unbeatable dishes that change daily and seasonally. The restaurant is a rabbit hole quasi-literally and metaphorically; it’s quite a trial first finding a run-of-the-mill door, then going along a passageway, down a level via a keypad and elevator and then through a second nondescript door. Once you reach inside you will find concrete columns roughly textured to resemble tree trunks with overhanging artificial foliage. A large white fabric lantern the size of a hot air balloon creates a beautiful delirium. Wait, the kicker is: it serves only 16 diners each evening; so if you really wanna dine here, you must reserve your spot weeks ahead. But believe me; it is worth spending the time and money.
basement level b01/139 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC
(03) 8594 0895
Kisumé means “a pure obsession with beauty”. A look at the place will tell you the reason behind the name. The restaurant has three tiers of splendour. The interior is just glorious with trailblazing art, Kisumé wine wall and a Chablis bar. The intricacy of everything from the menu down to the refreshment towels is impressive. The basement houses a kitchen; ground floor a sushi restaurant; and the top bar and omakase space. The raw-fish cuisines of Korean-born sushi master K. S. Moon are all palatable with real taste. You will find pork kimchi gyoza packed with rich flavour and Hapuka dressed in spicy miso extremely delicious among the cooked items. Before digging in Berkshire baby back pork ribs glazed with maple soy, you will find cucumber vinaigrette, perfect palette cleanser. Once inside Kisumé, don’t forget to taste crab dumplings, calamari tentacles in a Vegemite nori purée and mackerel’s fillet.
175 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC
(03) 9671 4888
4. Izakaya Den
Izakaya Den is alluring to the eyes and tongue with its open grill, modish wooden bar, walls lined with small tables and an incredible variety of delectable Japanese tapas-style cuisine. You will find yourself coming back for the grilled octopus, den chicken, tuna tataki, sweet corn kakiage, agedashi tofu and salted edamame, grilled pork belly, knobbly sweet corn balls, kingfish sashimi and the list goes on. If you are planning to dine at Izakaya Den then you must reserve a spot for yourself in advance as the place is quite packed on Friday and Saturday nights.
114 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9654 2977
It seems like entering into an eerie place – you ring a secret doorbell and someone ushers you inside Hihou surreptitiously. Japanese-inspired bites combined with top-grade cocktails is all you would need on a mundane day and that’s what Hihou has. A must-try is their signature Japanese hot dog in a sweet bun served with wasabi mayo and pickled onion. The famous staples at Hihou are the crisp brik pastry cigars filled with fine cubes of tuna sashimi and seasoned with shichimi pepper. Wrapped in nori rolls, the teriyaki-sweet anago (eel) with black rice and a crunch of cucumber is another bite-sized delicacy. You will find duck breast into buckwheat crêpes, bundled slices of pork belly and swordfish sashimi equally palatable. You will fall in love with the cocktails peppered with plum wine, yuzu citrus and grain spirit.
1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC
(03) 9654 5465
6. Tempura Hajime
Walking down the Park Street, you will find a hidden timber door amid the concrete towers. An ecru and blond wood modish den will welcome you upon crossing the low-lit entrance. Hajime’s twelve-seat dining room showcases cleanliness and restraint. If you are a daredevil type, just leave yourself in the hands of the chef and let the omakase excitement begins. Tempura Hajime awaits you in Melbourne in 2020 to please your yearning taste buds with some real tempura.
60 Park St, South Melbourne VIC
(03) 9696 0051
7. Tokyo Tina
If you are craving for something out of the way to satisfy your Japanese nosh, then Tokyo Tina is the right place for you. Brisk crew and toe-tapping beats ensure that your wait at Tokyo Tina is honoured with lots of snack options and instant drink order. The starters come in the form of fluffy bao, pork belly brickette, daikon discs, dishes of Kewpie mayo and yuzu-accented meringue pie. For the main course, you can opt for their hot favourites: Port Lincoln kingfish, open Californian roll with WA spanner crab, whole chicken served with gochujang and coleslaw or finger-licking ramen. Tokyo Tina is busy all the time bustling with people eating and enjoying conversations, so if you plan to visit it sometime, you just have to be patient.
66A Chapel St, Windsor VIC
(03) 9525 2774
It would be surprising for some of you but Kenzan has been serving some of the best mouth-watering and delectable Japanese cuisines long before the sushi hype took the world by storm. It would be an underestimation to call Kenzan an institution and it would be apposite to call it the pioneer of Japanese food in Melbourne. For years, the place is faithfully serving an appetizing menu of Japanese classics, succoured by the best sushi in town. Whether you choose to sit in the carpeted hushed dining area or at the sushi counter, you will have an experience of a lifetime relishing sweet and tender grilled eel, buttery ark clam sushi and lip-smacking slices of fatty bluefin tuna belly. It’s a must-try Japanese eatery while you are in Melbourne.
Collins Place, 45 Collins St, Melbourne VIC
(03) 9654 8933
Komeyui serves Japanese classics with invasive precision and a flick of ingenious knack. This place is welcoming, nifty with delectable omakase and ala-carte menu. A spectrum of Japanese favourites will please your taste buds at the place. You won’t stop digging into beef tataki with fine slices of just scorched wagyu, encrusted with tufts of crunchy potato and soy sauce coated egg yolk. Chu toro sashimi, ox tongue, miso cod, scampi and crème brûlée are some other delicacies that the place offers. With minimal décor and modish interior, excellent service, this place is highly recommended if you are in Melbourne in 2020.
396 Bay St, Port Melbourne VIC
(03) 9646 2296
10. Kumo Izakaya
Kumo Izakaya offers voguish Japanese off-the-cuff dining and pub-style drinking. Space is exquisite; once an old ANZ bank, Kumo Izakaya now lodges in a corner with one side having a large window facing the street which gives the place an airy and spacious look hence named Kumo – the cloud. The interior showcases Japanese art influence. Now, let’s come to the main thing: the food. You will find quite a big menu here: vegetable crisps with nori salt, scallop with spring onion and sesame and pork gyoza, beer-battered yakitori chicken, pork belly skewers with chili mayo, stuffed prunes with sesame butter, duck fillet with cumquat sauce, black sugar-covered salmon, parmesan rice crackers with miso dip and takoyaki. When it comes to drinks, Kumo offers a range of Japanese tipple with a kink
152 Lygon St, Brunswick East VIC
(03) 9388 1505
Melbourne has some of the worth-seeing tourists’ destinations. Besides, the city has huge cultural diversity which has called for culinary diversity. While you roam around, do stopover to savour these best Japanese cuisine.