Due to its high status, Japanese cuisine will never become a fad in Melbourne. In the colder months, noodle soups and ramen are comforting, but in the warmer months, sushi and sashimi are refreshing. Omakase, tempura, yakitori, udon, sake, and more can all be found at these top restaurants in the city.
There is something for everyone in Melbourne’s dining scene, whether you’re searching for a quaint inn-style café or a place to rub elbows with the A-list at one of the city’s many excellent Japanese restaurants.
Top 5 Best Japanese Restaurants In Melbourne
Here are five Japanese restaurants in Melbourne that were well-regarded:
Kisume is a highly acclaimed Japanese restaurant located in the heart of Melbourne. It is known for its sophisticated atmosphere, exceptional service, and high-quality Japanese cuisine. Here are some key features and highlights of Kisume:
- Ambience: Kisume boasts a sleek and modern interior design with a touch of elegance. The restaurant is spread across three levels, each offering a unique dining experience. From the stylish main dining room to the intimate Chablis Bar and the exclusive Kuro Kisume on the top floor, Kisume offers a range of atmospheres to suit different occasions.
- Menu: Kisume’s menu showcases a blend of traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes. They offer a wide selection of sushi and sashimi, prepared with precision and featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients. In addition, Kisume offers an array of small plates, robata-grilled dishes, and Japanese-inspired desserts, all crafted with creativity and attention to detail.
- Omakase: For an extraordinary dining experience, Kisume offers an omakase menu. This option allows guests to entrust the chef to curate a personalized culinary journey, presenting a sequence of carefully selected dishes that highlight the best flavours and techniques of Japanese cuisine.
- Sake and Beverage Selection: Kisume takes pride in its extensive selection of sake, showcasing a variety of styles and regions to suit different palates. The restaurant also offers a well-curated list of wines, cocktails, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages to complement the dining experience.
- Private Dining and Events: Kisume provides private dining options for special occasions, corporate events, or intimate gatherings. Their private spaces offer exclusivity, personalized menus, and attentive service to ensure a memorable dining experience.
Kisume’s commitment to delivering a refined and authentic Japanese dining experience, along with its attention to detail and culinary excellence, has contributed to its reputation as one of Melbourne’s top Japanese restaurants.
Minamishima is a renowned Japanese restaurant located in Melbourne that offers an exceptional omakase dining experience. Here are some key features and highlights of Minamishima:
- Omakase Experience: Minamishima is known for its omakase-style dining, where guests entrust the chef to create a personalized menu. The word “omakase” means “chef’s choice,” and it allows diners to experience a sequence of meticulously prepared dishes using the finest seasonal ingredients. The menu unfolds in front of guests, showcasing the chef’s creativity and culinary skills.
- Sushi Mastery: Minamishima specializes in sushi and showcases the art of Edomae-style sushi, which originated in Tokyo. The sushi master skillfully crafts each piece of sushi with precision and attention to detail, using fresh and premium ingredients sourced locally and internationally. The result is a transcendent sushi experience that highlights the flavours and textures of each ingredient.
- Intimate Setting: The restaurant provides an intimate dining setting with a limited number of seats at the sushi counter. This allows guests to have an up-close view of the chef’s meticulous techniques and to engage in conversations about the food and craftsmanship.
- Traditional Atmosphere: Minamishima’s interior design exudes a traditional Japanese ambience. The serene and minimalist setting enhances the focus on the culinary experience, creating a tranquil environment for guests to savour the food and appreciate the craftsmanship.
- Beverage Pairings: Minamishima offers a thoughtfully curated selection of sake, wine, and other beverages to complement the omakase menu. The sommelier can guide guests in choosing the perfect drink pairings that enhance the flavours of each dish.
- Reservations Required: Due to its popularity and limited seating capacity, reservations are essential at Minamishima. This ensures an exclusive and personalized dining experience for each guest.
Minamishima has garnered critical acclaim for its exceptional sushi craftsmanship, dedication to quality ingredients, and immersive omakase experience it offers. It has established itself as one of Melbourne’s top destinations for fine Japanese dining.
Shoya is a well-regarded Japanese restaurant in Melbourne that offers a diverse menu of traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine. Here are some key features and highlights of Shoya:
- Authentic Japanese Cuisine: Shoya is known for its extensive menu that spans various styles of Japanese cuisine. From sushi and sashimi to tempura, ramen, teppanyaki, and more, the restaurant offers a wide range of traditional dishes prepared with skill and authenticity.
- Sushi Bar: Shoya features a sushi bar where skilled sushi chefs create fresh and flavorful sushi and sashimi. Guests can enjoy a selection of nigiri, rolls, and sashimi, showcasing the quality and precision of Japanese sushi craftsmanship.
- Izakaya-style Dishes: In addition to sushi and sashimi, Shoya also offers an array of small plates and izakaya-style dishes. These include grilled skewers (yakitori), deep-fried dishes (karaage), dumplings (gyoza), and other appetizers that are perfect for sharing and exploring different flavours.
- Ramen: Shoya is known for its delicious and comforting bowls of ramen. Whether you prefer a rich and creamy tonkotsu broth or a flavorful soy-based broth, Shoya’s ramen options are sure to satisfy your cravings.
- Teppanyaki: Shoya features teppanyaki tables where skilled chefs prepare and cook dishes in front of guests. This interactive dining experience is both entertaining and delicious, with a selection of high-quality meats, seafood, and vegetables cooked to perfection on the teppan grill.
- Warm and Inviting Atmosphere: Shoya offers a warm and inviting ambience that reflects the essence of Japanese hospitality. The restaurant’s interior is designed to create a comfortable and relaxed dining environment, whether you’re visiting for a casual meal or a special occasion.
- Private Dining and Functions: Shoya provides private dining options for groups and special events. Whether it’s a corporate gathering, birthday celebration, or family gathering, the restaurant offers private rooms with personalized menus and attentive service.
Shoya has garnered a reputation for its wide-ranging menu, dedication to quality ingredients, and ability to cater to various dining preferences. It is a popular choice among locals and visitors seeking an authentic and satisfying Japanese dining experience in Melbourne.
Kappo is a highly regarded Japanese restaurant in Melbourne that offers a unique kappo-style dining experience. Here are some key features and highlights of Kappo:
- Kappo Dining: Kappo is inspired by the traditional kappo culinary style, which focuses on the chef’s meticulous preparation and presentation of seasonal dishes. In a kappo-style restaurant, the chef engages directly with guests, creating an interactive and personalized dining experience.
- Multi-Course Menu: Kappo offers a multi-course menu that highlights the flavours of Japanese cuisine. Each course is thoughtfully crafted using fresh, seasonal ingredients, showcasing the chef’s skill and creativity. The menu typically includes a variety of small plates, sashimi, grilled dishes, and a main course.
- Seasonal Ingredients: Kappo emphasizes the use of seasonal and locally sourced ingredients to ensure the freshest flavours. The chef curates the menu based on the availability of ingredients, allowing guests to experience the best of what each season has to offer.
- Omotenashi Hospitality: Kappo is known for its attentive and warm hospitality, reflecting the Japanese concept of omotenashi. The staff provides personalized service, guiding guests through the menu and explaining the preparation methods and ingredients used in each dish.
- Counter Seating: At Kappo, guests are typically seated at a counter facing the open kitchen, providing an intimate view of the chef’s culinary techniques and allowing for interaction with the chef. This setup enhances the immersive dining experience and allows guests to appreciate the artistry behind each dish.
- Sake Pairings: To complement the flavours of the cuisine, Kappo offers an extensive selection of sake. The knowledgeable staff can recommend sake pairings that enhance the taste and texture of the dishes, elevating the overall dining experience.
- Intimate Setting: Kappo provides an intimate and cozy atmosphere, creating a serene and relaxed environment for guests to enjoy their meals. The interior design often incorporates traditional Japanese elements, further enhancing the overall ambience.
Kappo’s commitment to the kappo-style dining experience, dedication to using fresh seasonal ingredients, and focus on hospitality contribute to its reputation as one of Melbourne’s top Japanese restaurants. It offers an opportunity for guests to savour authentic Japanese flavours while experiencing the artistry and craftsmanship of the chef.
5. Izakaya Den
Izakaya Den is a popular Japanese restaurant located in Melbourne, known for its vibrant atmosphere and diverse menu of izakaya-style dishes. Here are some key features and highlights of Izakaya Den:
- Izakaya-style Cuisine: Izakaya Den specializes in izakaya-style dining, which is reminiscent of Japanese gastropubs. The menu features a wide array of small plates, sharing dishes, and tapas-style options that are designed to be enjoyed alongside drinks. Izakaya Den offers a modern interpretation of traditional Japanese flavours while incorporating international influences.
- Tapas and Shared Plates: The menu at Izakaya Den encourages sharing and exploration of various flavours. Guests can enjoy a selection of small plates such as gyoza, yakitori skewers, tempura, and sushi rolls. These dishes are ideal for trying a range of flavours and textures in one sitting.
- Creative Cocktails and Sake: Izakaya Den boasts an impressive beverage menu that includes a variety of creative cocktails, sake, Japanese whisky, and other spirits. The bar team crafts unique concoctions that complement the flavours of the food, providing an immersive dining experience.
- Stylish and Energetic Atmosphere: The restaurant’s interior exudes a modern and stylish ambience, with an energetic and bustling atmosphere. The dimly lit space, contemporary decor, and upbeat music contribute to the vibrant vibe of Izakaya Den, making it an ideal spot for a night out with friends or a lively dining experience.
- Late-Night Dining: Izakaya Den is known for its late-night dining option, allowing guests to enjoy a delicious meal and drinks in the late hours. It is a popular destination for those seeking a lively and vibrant dining experience after hours.
- Omakase Experience: For those looking for a unique dining adventure, Izakaya Den offers an omakase menu. This chef’s choice experience allows guests to enjoy a specially curated selection of dishes, showcasing the chef’s creativity and highlighting seasonal ingredients.
- Private Dining and Functions: Izakaya Den provides private dining options for special events, celebrations, and corporate functions. The dedicated event spaces offer tailored menus and attentive service, ensuring a memorable experience for guests.
With its lively atmosphere, diverse menu, and innovative cocktails, Izakaya Den has established itself as a go-to destination for izakaya-style dining in Melbourne. It offers a vibrant and dynamic dining experience that combines traditional Japanese flavours with a contemporary twist.
In conclusion, Melbourne boasts a vibrant dining scene that includes a wide range of exceptional Japanese restaurants. While my knowledge cutoff is in September 2021, some of the top Japanese restaurants in Melbourne at that time included Kisume, Minamishima, Shoya, Kappo, and Izakaya Den.
These establishments have garnered praise for their commitment to authentic Japanese flavours, impeccable culinary craftsmanship, and dedication to providing guests with immersive and memorable dining experiences.
From the elegant ambience of Kisume to the intimate omakase journey at Minamishima, each restaurant offers its own unique appeal and culinary specialties. Shoya stands out for its diverse menu, encompassing everything from sushi and sashimi to ramen and teppanyaki.
Kappo offers an opportunity to indulge in kappo-style dining, where the chef’s artistry takes centre stage, while Izakaya Den offers a vibrant atmosphere and a diverse selection of izakaya-style small plates, ideal for sharing and exploring a variety of flavours.
It is important to note that the restaurant landscape is dynamic, and rankings may have changed since my knowledge cutoff. To ensure the most up-to-date information, it is advisable to check current reviews and ratings.
Whether you seek refined elegance, traditional authenticity, or a lively dining experience, Melbourne’s Japanese restaurants are sure to satisfy your cravings for Japanese cuisine and provide a culinary journey through the flavours of Japan.
For more restaurants in Australia, read about japanese restaurant eastern suburbs.