Should you be fortunate enough to live in (or be visiting) Sydney when a craving for Japanese cuisine comes over you, then the only stumbling block will be the sheer enormity of choice that awaits you.
Sydney has an abundance of quality Japanese restaurants, at every price point and in virtually every suburb.
The freshness and excellence of the local seafood, combined with the pre-pandemic explosion of Australian tourists visiting Japan, only fuelled what has long been a thriving Sydney Japanese food scene.
So whether you’re seeking ramen, sashimi, tempura, teriyaki, yakitori, wagyu or any other classic dish, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our take on the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney. Whether you want somewhere authentic or fusion, modern or traditional, inexpensive or sweat-inducingly pricey – the Harbour City has them all.
Below is a list that covers vegan, vegetarian, meat-heavy, and gluten-free options. And yes. There are venues for the more adventurous as well as the traditionalists.
We’ve made our list comprehensive enough to give choice, but small enough not to overwhelm. All you have to do is read, book and eat.
Locations: Sydney City: Level 2, The Galleries, 500 George Street / Tel: (02) 9262 7677 & Bondi Junction: 171-173 Oxford St / Tel: (02)9369 3980
With restaurants in the Sydney CBD (the flagship) and also in Bondi Junction, Ichi-Ban Boshi has prepared authentic Japanese cuisine for Sydneysiders for over 20 years.
Using carefully selected Australian ingredients, Ichi-Ban Boshi’s delicacies are all freshly handmade, with noodles prepared daily.
Our Top Tip? Don’t miss the popular Tonkotsu (pork broth). They only make 30 portions of this magical elixir per day. Go early, if possible.
Their signature ramen soup is also found in their curry. Their dedication to hand-making their stock makes Ichi-Ban Boshi’s flavours extremely recognisable and leaves you wanting more.
The menu serves fresh meat and fish but has a wide range of vegan and vegetarian alternatives for dishes such as ramen, udon, and a variety of entrees.
Location: 529 Kent Street, Sydney CBD / Tel: (02) 9267 2900
In the heart of Sydney’s CBD is Tetsuya’s. This shrine to sublime Japanese food with a French twist is run by Tetsuya Wakuda – a chef recognised as a true master of his craft.
For a true fine dining experience, Tetsuya’s legendary degustation menu takes some beating. It is unique, and based upon Wakuda’s philosophy of enhancing traditional Japanese seasonal flavours (and natural ingredients), with classic French techniques.
What emerges are dishes that have evolved to absolute culinary perfection.
Each dish is accompanied by the sommelier’s recommended wine, and all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the delicacies presented to you.
There’s a choice between either a 5 or 8-course degustation. Favourites including salmon, oyster, and wagyu grace this luxurious menu.
Having been fortunate enough to dine here, I can confirm that Tetsuya’s signature dish of Confit of Tasmanian Ocean Trout is sublime.
Tetsuya’s is not only, without doubt, one of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney, it is a world-class Japanese restaurant with food to revival any establishment across the globe.
Book early, understand that it is not cheap and then count down the days. It is spectacular.
Editor’s Update: Tetsuya’s will close it’s days on Kent Street in August 2023, as the site is scheduled to be redeveloped. However, fret not. Tetsuya’s is looking for a new home and we’ll let you know as soon as we have information on where that will be.
Location: 481 Darling St, Balmain 2041 / Tel: (02) 9555 6510 / 0413 280 859
In complete contrast to the fine-dining opulence of Tetsuya’s is this little gem of a find in the trendy inner-west suburb of Balmain.
This is a small, intimate and unpretentious little restaurant. It’s very cosy, cute in a Sailor Moon kind of way, reasonably priced, and a well-kept secret that the good people of Balmain have kept to themselves for too long (over a decade in this location).
Of course the teriyaki is excellent, but so is everything on the small menu. Specials are highlighted on a blackboard, and there is a warmth to the ambiance of the uncluttered interior.
I ordered the Agedashi Nasu (deep fried eggplant with dashi-based sauce), with a main of Misobata Kingfish and Isobe Calamari (salt & peper calamari). Simply cooked, elegantly plated and delicious.
If you find yourself in Melbourne, check out these Japanese restaurants.
Location: 141 York St, Sydney, NSW 2000 Ph: (02) 9283 2990
Aiming to only serve fresh, authentically Japanese dishes, Nazimi transports you to Japan with its traditional decor and fresh produce.
With hearty lunch options and classic main and sushi menus, Nazimi is perfect for any time of the day. What’s more, vegan and vegetarian options make it accessible for everyone to dine without missing out.
The relaxing atmosphere is what draws you to Nazimi, along with the delicious green tea and sesame ice creams to round off your meal and provide a much needed sweet treat.
Give it a try. We feel it’s one of the top Japanese restaurants in Sydney.
Location: The Galeries, 500 Geroge St, Sydney, NSW 2000 Ph: (02) 9264 9917
Providing affordable, good-quality sushi, Sushi Hotaru serves an extremely wide selection – from hand rolls to nigiri to gunkan. If you wish you can order from touch screen pads that are easy to use. Alternatively, pick your dinner as it amble past on the conveyor belt.
Vegan and vegetarian options are clearly labeled, and there are an array of meats and fish to choose from. There is most certainly something for everyone to enjoy.
Fancy having a crack at making sushi yourself? Start with our easy Tuna Sushi Recipe
And if you want to make really neat, professional-looking sushi rolls, why not buy one of these easy-to use Sushi Making Kits? They are great fun to use with the family (or friends) for an interactive dining experience.
Location: The Galeries, Level 1/500 Geroger St, Sydney, NSW 2000 Ph: (02) 8072 8212 For further locations, see the website.
YAYOI not only serves traditional Japanese dishes, but provides you with a perfect balance of meat, vegetables, and fish for the ultimate dining experience.
Using only quality meat and fish, YAYOI’s specialty Teishoko meals really stand out from the crowd for their variety of eel, pork, and chicken dishes. YAYOI are proud to exclusively use Huon salmon in their dishes, which is ethically sourced and of the highest quality.
A variety of Japanese saké, plum wines, and green teas are just some of the drinks options.
YAYOI provides everything for a great night out.
Location: 275 Australia St, Newtown, NSW 2042 Ph: (02) 9519 2465
As a fully vegan Japanese restaurant, Lonely Mouth changes the game.
Lonely Mouth clearly details all of the ingredients used in their recipes, and all of their snacks are made in-house. By concentrating on serving traditional Japanese ramen, Lonely Mouth has perfected this tasty, substantial dish.
Using a combination of vegan meat and vegetable options, Lonely Mouth caters to meat-eaters, vegans who don’t like fake meat, and vegans who miss real meat, widening people’s perceptions of both veganism and Japanese food.
Editor’s Note: Sadly we have heard that Lonely Mouth is closed. We will let you know when we know more.
For more excellent Vegetarian Restaurants in Sydney, see here.
Location: 246-248 Military Rd, Neutral Bay, NSW 2089 Ph: (02) 9904 3011
The North of Sydney is home to Jugemu & Shimbashi. This restaurant is particularly interesting as it is split into two- the modern teppanyaki specialist Jugemu and the traditional soba expert Shimbashi.
The extensive menu caters to meat eaters, pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans. Even better, you can order from both menus from whichever side you choose to sit on.
And whichever side you choose to sit on is totally up to you, as you choose upon arrival.
The electrifying Jugemu provides a busier atmosphere, whilst Shimbashi has a calming ambience. However, both offer a unique dining experience.
This is one of many great Restaurants in North Sydney. For further recommendations, click here.
Location: 222 Military Rd, Neutral Bay, NSW 2089 Ph: (02) 9908 1950
Komaru offers traditional set and box menus that come with your choice of meat, fish, or a vegetarian option, alongside rice, salad, and miso.
As well as sushi and sashimi, Komaru has weekly specials which keep the menu interesting and vibrant. This also allows you to experience different flavours and exciting delicacies.
Komaru also sells powders for home use, allowing you to take the taste of Japan away with you.
One of our favourite Japanese eateries in Australia is Kadota Restaurant in Daylesford.
Location: Shop 4/48 Yeo St, Neutral Bay, NSW 2089 Ph: (02) 9953 283
We are in Neutral Bay again for the next of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney.
Tobikiri has an extensive menu for an authentic Japanese experience, ranging from sushi, sashimi, bento boxes, tempura, to gyoza.
With vegan and vegetarian options and a wide range of sake and wines, Tobikiri is perfect for lunch, dinner, or a snack.
The homely decor is very welcoming, and the seats at the bar provide a warm welcome to lone diners who can chat to bar staff if they want.
Love gyoza and all kinds of dumplings? Then see our guide to the best dumplings in Sydney
Location: Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo, NSW 2000 Ph: (02) 8871 7171
Nobu’s high-class dining room has elements of traditional Japanese decor. It is a luxurious space, perfect for a memorable dining experience featuring some mouth watering dishes.
Of course, apart from amazing food, the Japanese are renowned for their incredible blades. For a range of Japanese Knives to suit all tastes and budget, click here.
The menu provides a clear section dedicated to a solely vegetarian menu. However, if this isn’t to your taste, there’s also an impressive list of sushi sections, hot dishes and sides, and a wide variety of local seafood and meat.
Known around the world, Nobu stays true to their fine dining tradition. Everything is of the highest quality, including making their wines, cocktails, and sake list.
Wondering where to go for the Best Cocktail Bars in Sydney? See our recommendations.
Location: 145 Devonshire St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 Ph: (02) 9699 8977
Combining jazz and sushi is Jazushi, Sydney’s very own piece of New York. The dimmed lights of the dining area give Jazushi a calming jazz club vibe with a menu guaranteed to please customers.
With plenty of vegan options and an extensive selection of Japanese soft drinks, wine, whiskey, and saké, there is plenty to feed your fancy.
There is a live music schedule so you can enjoy your meal whilst experiencing a particular artist you’d like to hear. It’s a point of difference that makes Jazushi worth a visit.
The menu features both raw and cooked favourites. We love the playful take on a well-known fast food – the JFC. This is the venues Jazushi Fried Chicken with Soy Mayo. Yum!
Looking for more JFC-type dishes? Here’s our guide to the Best Fried Chicken and Wings in Sydney
Location: 126 Liverpool St, Sydney, NSW 2000
The warming comfort of a bowl of ramen is not only good for your head but your heart too.
Yasaka Ramen offers a wide selection of ramens for customers to choose from, allowing you to choose your own spice level to your liking and fully enjoy your dish.
It also has lots of sides to choose from and doesn’t only serve ramen as their name suggests. Popular sides of bao buns and gyoza will accompany you on your cozy journey of warmth and calm.
Using selected Australian meats and vegetables in their broths, Yasaka Ramen brings a local twist to a Japanese classic.
Location: 462 Cleveland St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 Ph: (02) 8960 3131
RK San Contemporary Japanese Restaurant puts a modern twist on classic Japanese dishes.
Using locally sourced ingredients, RK San envisions interesting dishes, as shown by their ‘Cigar of the day’ dish which consists of salmon rolled in a pastry shell and decorated to resemble a cigar.
These kinds of dishes set this restaurant apart from any other, making the dining experience like no other.
With pink sushi and flower-shaped fish, RK San’s innovative designs are mind-blowing and taste just as delicious.
If you love the flavours of the Mediterranean, see our guide to the Best Greek Restaurants in Sydney.
Location: 38-52 Waterloo St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 Ph: (02) 9698 2797
Serving fresh fish nigiri, baby rolls, and a variety of hot dishes consisting of tofu and eggplant for vegans and tuna and teriyaki beef on the grill, Izakaya Fujiyama serves great samples of traditional cuisine.
There’s an extensive selection of cold and hot dishes, making Izakaya Fujiyama a great choice all year round. With happy hour every day excluding weekends, this restaurant is perfect for enjoying some of your favourite dishes, whether that be from the kitchen or the bar.
On the hunt for a tipple with a view? These are our favourite Rooftop Bars in Sydney
Location: 12 Argyle St, The Rocks, NSW 2000 Ph: (02) 9259 5656 For further locations, see website
We’re closing our look at the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney with the excellent contemporary establishment, Sake.
Saké’s section of ‘new classics’ really gives a modern twist on traditional dishes, and the à la carte menu offers lots of gluten-free and vegan options too. The seafood is proudly MSC-certified and handled by expert chefs so that you can enjoy your dishes to the full.
The menu is packed with flavoursome traditional ingredients such as salmon and chicken, keeping your tastebuds intrigued and wanting more.
The seating is perfect for any occasion, with the restaurant offering private or communal dining, as well as bar tables. Combine this with superb service and divine food and you have a great night out.
Location: Palmer & Co., Entry Via, 17-19 Bridge St, Bridge Ln, Sydney, NSW 2000 Ph: (02) 9241 1991
Is this the coolest Japanese izakaya-style dining spot in Sydney? Well, if not the hippest, it’s certainly up there.
Based on the intimate restaurants of beautiful Kyoto, this fashionable eatery isn’t easy to find. But once we’re in, you’ll be glad you perserved.
What to eat? Well, we’re suckers for the Corn Ribs, Smoked Chilli Miso & Togarashi ($18). Then there’s the most original Spring Rolls ($12) we’ve eaten in a long while. The ones at Kid Kyoto have Lamb, Kimchi, Bone Marrow & Mozzarella and come with a Spicy Mayo. Amazing!
From the bigger dishes, the Eggplant Dengaku with Smoked Yoghurt & Hazelnut Gomasio ($26) is a vegetarian’s dream. Meanwhile, for the meat-eaters, the Crispy Skin Chicken with Garlic Soy Vinegar ($36) is a must-try.
And this and some fab cocktails too. Yep. Kid Kyoto is definitely one of the hottest Japanese restaurants in Sydney.