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.
Location: Basement Level, b01/139 Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 8594 0895
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.
If you love the slurp and comfort of noodles, see our recommendations for the Best Places for Ramen in Sydney.
Location: 4 Lord St, Richmond, VIC 3121 Ph: (03) 9429 5180
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.
At Minamishima, food prep is an art form and your meal is created in front of you. It’s a detail that adds another dimension to your dining experience.
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.
Australia is blessed with some incredible fish and shellfish. Check our recommendations for the Best Seafood Restaurants in Melbourne.
Location: Hero Apartments, BASEMENT/118 Russell St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: 0476 208 573
Some of the candidates for our best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne specialise in a particular area of Japanese cuisine. Such is the case with Izakaya Den.
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!)
Do you love the comfort only a plate of dumplings can bring? Read our suggestions for the Best Dumplings in Melbourne.
Location: 175 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9671 4444
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.
Update: Kisume was announced as Japanese Restaurant of the Year 2022 at the RCA Awards for Excellence.
Is the relaxed dining of Yum Cha more to your liking? See our guide to the Best Yum Cha Restaurants in Melbourne.
Location: Crown Melbourne, Crown Riverwalk, Crown Melbourne, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank, VIC 30006 Ph: (03) 9292 5777
You can’t really talk about contemporary Japanese cuisine and not mention the international powerhouse that is the Nobu Restaurant group.
Founded by hugely influential Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, his chain now has venues all across the globe. In fact, Australia alone has 3 outlets – Nobu Sydney, Nobu Perth and Nobu Melbourne – all located within Crown Casino complexes.
If you watch MasterChef Australia, you’ll be more than familiar with the Hibachi. This is a Japanese barbecue grill for indoor cooking which imparts a wonderful smoky flavour to food. For more information and prices, see here.
Why the phenomenal success?
Well, Nobu fuses superb service, fine dining polish and exquisite dishes which marry the best of traditional Japanese food with a sprinkling of South American flare. And the result is honestly hard to resist.
Stunning plates such as the Seafood Ceviche ($24) showcase all that is great about this most balanced of flavour/technique combinations. And then there’s the legendary Black Cod Miso ($65). Here, opaque lobes of perfectly cooked Cod carry the perfume of a divine Miso, Mirin & Sake marinade. It’s a must-have dish for a reason.
Add to this an impeccable Wine list and effortlessly sophisticated ambience and it’s easy to see why Nobu is one of the outstanding Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.
Nobu Melbourne is part on the Southbank Crown Melbourne complex. And for more on the Best Restaurants in Southbank Melbourne, see here.
Location: 80 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 8616 7900
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.
Our current food obsession here at Eatability is Korean-style spicy chicken. Click here for our suggestions for the Best Korean BBQ Restaurants in Melbourne.
Location: 80 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9650 8688
Although not exclusively Japanese, we still had to put Supernormal amongst our best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.
Andrew McConnell’s temple to pan-Asian fare continues to be one of the most sought-after bookings in town because…well…it’s simply sensational.
This is home to the most famous lobster roll in the whole city. And rightly so, in my opinion. There have been many subsequent imitators, but none quite capture the alchemy of that buttery brioche and sweet, succulent New England lobster. It’s right up there on Eatability’s Death Row Meal short-list!.
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.
If Japanese food and more in combination works for you, see our guide to the Best Asian Fusion Restaurants in Melbourne.
Location: 127 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC 3965 Ph: (03) 9417 4127
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.
Location: 2 Exhibition St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9989 3575
Robata Melbourne is all about the char. Yep this eatery serves plenty of chargrilled delicacies, just as they serve in izakaya across Japan.
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.
For a detailed review of Robata Japanese Grill & Bar, see here.
Their authentic drinks are also not to be missed and you should definitely try the toasted sesame whiskey – it’s a warming delight.
Update: Robata has just announced their Nonbei Sunday. This is a bottomless brunch, with the drinks list including their yummy Yuzu Spritz and Kirin Beer, amongst others. As far as the food goes, the menu ticks off their Maki Sushi Rolls, Chicken Thigh Yakitori and more.
Take a look at some of our favourite Cafes in Melbourne.
Location: The Paramount, Shop9/10 108 Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 954 7178
Sushi, sashimi and bento dishes are the favoured choices at Niku Ou Japanese Chargrill Restaurant. 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!
You can’t go wrong with a slice of pizza. Well, not if you get it from one of our Best Pizza Places in Melbourne.
Location: 182 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9650 9432
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.
Location: Unit 2/1 Bank St, South Melbourne, VIC 3205
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.
Sometimes, only a burger will do! Here are our most highly-rated Burger Restaurants in Melbourne.
Location: 121 Lygon St, Carlton, VIC 3053 Ph: (03) 9349 2223
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.
Location: QV Melbourne, Shop 18 Artemis Ln, 300 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9654 9057
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!
The Japanese are famous for their knives and rightly so. This beautiful Professional Damascus Chef’s Knife is both ergonomic and razor sharp
Location: 413 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Ph: (03) 9417 7474
Part of the same stable as IPPUDO in the QV shopping Centre mentioned above, this is another reliable temple to charms of ramen.
So if you’re craving noodles, 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. It’s another winner amongst our top Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.
Love some heat in your food? See our guide to the Best Sichuan Food in Melbourne.
Locations: 225 Russell St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9654 0989 & 235 Springvale Rd, Glen Waverley, VIC 3150 & Shop 13/276 Flinders St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9654 0705
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.
And if you find yourself looking for Japanese food in Bendigo, check out the Harpoon Social Club. It does an awesome Yuzu Pork Ramen. You can read all about it here.
Location: 113 High St, Preston, VIC 3072 Ph: (03) 7013 2699
If you are hanging in the Northside of Melbourne, then DenDeke Japanese Bar & Dining 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.
Do you like to follow a plant-based diet? These are our Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Melbourne.
Location: Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre, t20/70 Middleborough Rd, Burwood East, VIC 3151 Ph: (03) 9077 1229
This busy Japanese eatery is perched on the corner of the ‘Eat Street’ at the new, sustainably designed and built Brickworks Brickworks shopping centre.
Their extensive menu includes breaks away from some of the traditional labelling usually found in Japanese restaurants. Instead, at Ichiro Izakaya you’ll find Hot and Cold Tapas. The former features winners such as crispy Gyoza (Pork/Veggie) and Okonomiyaki, the latter a light, flavoursome Beef Tataki and even more delicate King Fish Carpaccio.
Then there’s a Hot Pot & Skewers section, Chirashi & Sashimi and, for Thursday Dinner and on the Weekend, Sushi Taco & Nigiri. And we’ve got to say that we are particular fans of the Softshell Crab Nori Taco.
However, at this neat dining spot, the real stars of the show are the Set Menus, which come beautifully presented in multi-compartmented wooden trays. The experience is like eating from a jewellery box of filled with your favourite pieces.
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Location: 11 Burwood Hwy, Burwood, VIC 3125 Ph: (03) 8529 5749
LiHO Shokudo might only be a small suburban Japanese cafe and bar, but it packs a mighty punch with its food, drinks and service.
A shokudo is a casual style of Japanese restaurant in that’s exactly what this local gem is.
The A La Carte menu is light on the sushi joint stand-bys, but features plenty of other favourites like Chicken Karaage, Wagyu Tataki and Chicken Teriyaki.
However, where it really comes into its own is its fantastic Feed Me menu. For the princely some of only $45pp, the friendly team at LiHo Shokudo will take you on a 6 course tour of their best of the best. And it’s all delicious.
This place already has a strong neighbourhood following, so if you want to dine here, book ahead. There’s limited seating in the cosy, intimate dining rooms and when the Chicken Katsu Curry is as good as it is here, you might have to fight a local for a spot at one of the tables!
Location: Askew House, 364 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: 0455 481 624
Generous portions and fabulous authentic and contemporary Japanese dishes make this cosy little restaurant a popular spot with those in the know. So popular, in fact, that you may have to queue to get in as they don’t take bookings. But don’t worry. You shouldn’t have to wait outside for long and the food is well worth it once you get inside.
Although known for its Sukiyaki (Hot Pot), everything is fresh, delicious and beautifully prepared. From the Takoyaki – deep-fried octopus balls with Japanese mayo, teriyaki sauce and dried bonita – to the Tempura Prawn Udon. And whilst it might be a more unusual choice, give the Cheese Tonkatsu – mozzarella-topped pork fillet slices. It gets rave reviews time and time again.
If you adore tapas and the flavours of Spain, read our piece on MoVida Next Door
Japanese food in Melbourne will delight you with its flavours, variety of choice, and for dishes that have been lovingly prepared and beautifully presented by world-class chefs.
There is a restaurant or eatery for every budget and every dietary preference.
This city is renowned for its culinary expertise for a reason – it abounds with talented chefs, inventive minds, fine produce and fresh ingredients.
Whether you seek a hearty bowl of ramen made from the freshest locally sourced produce, or wish to chow down in a generous portion of katsu curry, Melbourne will have you covered.
Perhaps, you want a lighter bite, such as hand-crafted gyoza or fresh sushi? Or simply wish to savour a few slices of tender sashimi?
Don’t worry: In Melbourne, you will your choice of authentic, delightful Japanese cuisine.