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 even a curry that leaves your stomach feeling fulfilled, you’re guaranteed to find what you’re looking for by sampling Japanese delicacies.
Melbourne is a city that is renowned for its culinary excellence and 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, you will be spoiled for choice and transported to the streets of Tokyo in an instant.
There are many fine dining Japanese venues and equally as many cheaper options and neither negate the quality of their produce or make it dependent on the price.
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 what makes this delicacy arguably the best in the world.
Luckily, 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.
If you are after a luxurious Japanese experience then Ishizuka is the spot for you. The fancy food matches the equally elite ambience and with a menu that alternates seasonally, you’ll never get bored of this restaurant.
Their revolving dishes boast eleven different options but they only serve a maximum of sixteen diners every night! So make sure that you book well in advance to enjoy this special experience.
The chef at Minamishima has over 30 years of expertise and thus, the food at this restaurant is of the highest standard.
The sashimi is prepared with intricate excellence and you get to try it one piece at a time, ensuring that you can fully appreciate the finite details. This is definitely one of (if not the best) sushi spots in the whole city.
This spot is renowned for it’s brilliant Gyozo. 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!)
This restaurant’s name translates as ‘a pure obsession with beauty’ and 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 also a bar/omakase on the top floor which makes this the perfect spot for gatherings of friends, family and work colleagues.
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 also. There is also an outdoor terrace that overlooks the fashion district. You will not be disappointed!
This is home to the most infamous lobster roll in the whole city. 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! Their whole snapper with burnt butter sauce is definitely one to recommend also!
At this popular Japanese spot, you’ll be able to drown in seasoned wagyu beef tartare and fresh-out-of-the-sea salads. Their char grilled king prawns are thoroughly enjoyable 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 to leave feeling as warm as you deserve to!
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 definitely try their $225 gold leaf beef sandwich. I guarantee you that it is worth every bit of your paycheque!
This restaurant is the first teppanyaki restaurant to have opened in the whole of Australia and their gorgeous open grill cooks only the finest food. Indulge your senses and tuck into the drool-inspiring delicacies on offer here.
Reservations are a must on a weekend as this has become an incredibly popular spot. You are guaranteed to be served grilled meat like you have never experienced before and it’s popularity speaks for itself.
This is one of the best restaurants in the whole of Melbourne and it is one of the most inexpensive when considering the high standard of food that you are served! You can have a delightful 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!
The food at this restaurant is based on the Japanese ‘Omotenashi’ tradition. This tradition places emphasis on intuitive hospitality and as such, you are guaranteed to be served wholesome food with a friendly smile without being harangued by the waiters!
They offer a gorgeous set menu and also a seasonally alternating à la carte menu so you’re guaranteed to have your curiosity sufficed as well as your desire for more!
For the best ramen in Melbourne, hit up this spot! Their chicken ramen is an essential try and for those vegetarians, there is also a delicious veggie soba option that comes complete with sautéed tomatoes and pan fried mushrooms.
You’ll easily be able to find this restaurant, just follow your senses and breathe in the smell of fresh ramen (or the endless line of people who are heading towards this restaurant!)
Head down to Gogyo for their favoured miso ramen or a spicy dish that will leave you feeling more than satisfied like their karaoke-men bowl. You’re guaranteed to be in good hands as this spot is owned by the aforementioned ramen-experts IPPUDO.
Shujinko is your number one 24hour ramen dealer! It 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 try their Black Ramen to become a black belt in kicking spices!
If you are visiting or living in the Northside of Melbourne, then DenDeke is a renowned restaurant for you. The rock ’n’ roll interior is fascinating and works as the perfect backdrop to the intricate and delightful food on offer here.
Their soft shell crab tempura is highly recommended along with the DenDeke karaage. Try one of their wholesome sakes to wash down your food with joy.
The bar staff will also be more than happy to offer recommendations as to which sake matches which dish. You will be coming back time and time again!
To conclude, eating Japanese food in Melbourne is guaranteed to be an experience that more than exceeds your expectations.
This city is renowned for its culinary expertise for a reason and this excellence and the natural talent of Australia’s chefs combined with the exquisite, traditional Japanese recipes makes these venues some of the best restaurants in Australia.
Whether you are seeking a hearty bowl of ramen made from the freshest locally sourced produce or you are looking to chow down in a generous portion of katsu curry or you are looking for lighter bites like hand crafted gyoza and sensational sushi dishes, you will definitely find what you are looking for to satisfy your craving for authentic, Japanese food in the streets of Melbourne.