For many, Japanese cuisine contains the best of everything.
Whether you are looking for intricate food and delicate presentation of hearty bowls that pack a spicy punch, or mild, perfectly balanced curry, you’re guaranteed to find what you’re looking for on a Japanese menu.
Melbourne is a city that is renowned for its culinary excellence. Luckily, it’s sushi chefs are a prime example of this city’s dedication to crafting the very best food in the whole of Australia.
From sushi dishes, izakaya, gyoza and sake bars, Melburnians are spoiled for choice and can be transported to the streets of Tokyo in an instant.
There are many fine dining Japanese venues and equally as many cheaper options. Neither kind of eatery sacrifices the quality of their produce.
Japanese culture is renowned for its discipline and careful presentation and this is reflected in every single dish.
You will be hard pressed to find a cuisine that combines such differing and varied combinations of flavours. And this is one of the things what makes this cuisine so popular.
Fortunately, Melbourne has a wide range of Japanese restaurants for you to choose from to get your fix of Japanese food. So read on to find out about the 15 best Japanese restaurants in the city.
We open our look at the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne with a high-concept gem.
If you are after a luxurious Japanese experience then Ishizuka is the spot for you. The fancy food matches the equally refined ambience and with a menu that alternates seasonally, you’ll never get bored of this restaurant. Their revolving dishes boast eleven different options.
But be warned. They only serve a maximum of sixteen diners every night. So make sure that you book well in advance to enjoy this special experience.
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The chef at Minamishima has over 30 years of expertise and as you would expect, the food at this restaurant is of the highest standard.
The sashimi is prepared with the utmost respect and care. To acknowledge how special it is, you get to try it one piece at a time. That way you are sure to fully appreciate the attention to detail.
This is definitely one of (if not the best) sushi spots in the whole city. And that’s why it makes our list of the Best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.
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This spot is renowned for it’s brilliant gyoza. The interior boasts a slender wooden bar and an open grill, creating the perfect ambience to tuck in to these Japanese treats.
They serve traditional dishes like tofu and grilled octopus, alongside an extensive vegan menu that boasts a range of vegan sushi. You should definitely book ahead if you’re planning on visiting on a weekend as this is a hugely popular spot (for a good reason!)
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This restaurant’s name translates as ‘a pure obsession with beauty’. When you see the wonderful dishes on offer within this jaw-dropping venue, you’ll fully understand why.
The waiters and chefs know everything that there is to know about sushi and will be able to guide you through their menu with ease.
There’s a Chablis Bar/Omakase on the top floor which makes this the perfect spot for gatherings of friends, family and work colleagues. And if you really want to impress, try the exclusive 12 Person Chef’s Table, where you have a front row seat to the drama of the kitchen. It’s a pretty special experience.
Is the relaxed dining of Yum Cha more to your liking? See our guide to the Best Yum Cha Restaurants in Melbourne.
If you are a fan of perfected grilled options, then this is the spot for you. It has only recently opened and was founded by Chris Lucas who spent many years working in Japan and sampling the delicacies of Japanese Izakaya bars.
The restaurant is stylish and the food reflects this. There is also an outdoor terrace that overlooks the fashion district. Dine here and you will not be disappointed.
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Although not exclusively Japanese, we still had to put Supernormal amongst our best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.
This is home to the most famous lobster roll in the whole city. And rightly so, in my opinion! That said, their whole snapper with burnt butter sauce is also definitely one to recommend.
If you are looking for exquisite flavours and traditional dishes, then this is the spot for you.
The menu alternates regularly but is helpfully designed for sharing, making this the perfect spot to teach your date how to use the correct utensils.
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At this popular Japanese spot, you can indulge in seasoned wagyu beef tartare and fresh-out-of-the-sea salads. Their char-grilled king prawns are always succulent and come with a wonderfully tasty yakitori sauce.
Their rooftop bar is perfect for date nights and gatherings of friends. And as this spot is located on the busy Brunswick Street, it is also the perfect way to start off (or end) a good night out.
This restaurant is perfect for a lunchtime visit as they offer two alternate set menus (one for lunch and one for dinner). These menus boast a range of options including grilled skewer dishes, katsu dishes, pork belly and fresh sashimi.
Their authentic drinks are also not to be missed and you should definitely try the toasted sesame whiskey – it’s a warming delight.
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Sushi, sashimi and bento dishes are the favoured choices at Niku Ou. However, you must try the wagyu beef that is served here, especially the Kobe beef as it is the only spot in the whole country that serves it.
If you are feeling like spending a lot of money, then give their $225 gold leaf beef sandwich a try. Yes. we are serious!
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Teppanaki Inn has to be on our rundown of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne. This restaurant was the first teppanyaki restaurant to open in the whole of Australia and their gorgeous open grill cooks only the finest food. Feed your stomach, and your senses, and tuck into the mouth-watering delicacies on offer here.
Reservations are a must on a weekend as this has become an incredibly popular spot. Here, you are guaranteed to be served grilled meat like you have never experienced before. The restaurant’s popularity speaks for itself.
Teppanyaki may have been the first restaurants of its type in Australia, but not there are many more. Here are our Best Places for Teppanyaki in Melbourne.
This is one of the best restaurants in the whole of Melbourne. Surprisingly, it is also one of the most inexpensive, considering the high standard of food served. Here you can have a delightful (and cheap) chicken katsu curry delivered in no time at all.
This is the best spot for busy students and bankers alike. Go and sit on the state library lawn and tuck into one of their wholesome bento boxes in the lunchtime sun. You won’t regret it.
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The food at this restaurant is based on the Japanese ‘Omotenashi’ tradition. This tradition places emphasis on intuitive hospitality and as such, they serve wholesome food with a friendly smile. At Kazuki’s you will never be harangued by the waiters.
They offer a gorgeous set menu and also a seasonally alternating à la carte menu. With so many options, you’re bound to find something you like.
For the best ramen in Melbourne, hit up this spot. Their chicken ramen is an essential try and for vegetarians, there is also a delicious veggie soba option that comes complete with sautéed tomatoes and pan fried mushrooms.
Luckily, finding this restaurant is easy. Just follow your senses and breathe in the smell of fresh ramen. Alternatively, look out for the endless line of people heading towards this restaurant!
Head down to Gogyo for their much-loved miso ramen. Or perhaps try a surprisingly spicy dish like their Spicy Goma Q. This is a punchy concoction of pickled cucumber spiked with chilli and Sichuan pepper. For us, it’s a must-try.
You’re guaranteed to be in good hands as this spot is owned by the renowned ramen-experts IPPUDO.
Love some heat in your food? See our guide to the Best Sichuan Food in Melbourne.
This place has to be on our list of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.
That’s because Shujinko is your number one 24hour ramen dealer. Amazingly, doesn’t matter what time of the day or night, if you are feeling like a delicious bowl of ramen, you’ll be able to slurp away until your heart’s content at this spot.
Try their flavoursome pork broth made with grilled pork belly. Or if you’re a chilli lover, then definitely order their Black Ramen to become a black belt in fiery spices.
If you are hanging in the Northside of Melbourne, then DenDeke is the restaurant for you. The rock ’n’ roll interior is fascinating and works as the perfect backdrop to the intricate and moreish food on offer here.
We highly recommend their soft shell crab tempura. And the DenDeke karaage is also a winner. Why not try one of their fabulous sakes to wash down your food? Fortunately, the bar staff are always more than happy to offer recommendations as to which sake matches which dish. With help like this, you will want to come back time and time again.
To conclude, we predict that eating Japanese food in Melbourne will be an experience that more than exceeds your expectations.
This city is renowned for its culinary expertise for a reason. The skill, passion and the natural talent of Australia’s chefs combined with exquisite, traditional Japanese recipes makes these dining rooms some of the best restaurants in Australia.
Whether you want a hearty bowl of ramen made from the freshest locally sourced produce or to chow down in a generous portion of katsu curry, Melbourne has it. Perhaps, you feel like lighter bites such as hand-crafted gyoza and sensational sushi dishes? Don’t worry. In Melbourne, you will find authentic, Japanese food to satisfy any craving.