There’s little not to love about Japan, especially its food. Whether you find solace at the bottom of a bowl of tonkotsu ramen, or in between thick, fresh slices of sashimi, our fierce love for Japanese food remains undisputed. While we are still rendered unable to travel, many of our local eateries feature good, honest Japanese produce and stay true to the recipes back home in Japan. Here are 10 authentic Japanese restaurants to give you a taste of Tokyo, Osaka and all the very best of The Land of the Rising Sun.
1. Sumire Yakitori House
Boasting over a hundred outlets in Japan, Sumire Yakitori House is an established eatery that serves up sticks of yakitori and other Japanese restaurant favourites. Their space at Bugis Junction marks the brand’s first overseas venture.
For first-time patrons, the Sumire Gozen (S$17.90) is a great way to get acquainted with the restaurant’s offerings. Here, you get a piping hot bowl of tori ramen, a trio of the Sumire signature skewers, salmon sashimi, chawanmushi, and Japanese pickles to boot. There’s an impressive variety of menu items, making this the perfect venue to curb all your Japanese cravings at once.
At Chojiro, sushi is the name of the game. They are playfully served on a conveyor belt because it’s always more fun to see portions of sushi racing toward you. The options at Chojiro are jaw-dropping as well, with over 60 types of sushi to choose from.
Of course, there’s also rice bowls, grilled seafood, and tempura available to diners in this 47-seater space at Capital Square. Order the Kiyomizu set (S$15.99) if you can’t decide, and you’ll get your sushi fix with an array of tuna, salmon, and squid nigiri options.
It’s impossible to discuss Japanese restaurant fare without mentioning ramen. If you’re looking for an authentic bowl of slurp-worthy noodles, Nantsuttei is for you. Expect deep, rich pork broths brimming with flavour and firm ramen noodles to whet your appetite.
The kicker? A slathering of black roasted garlic oil to make the bowls at Nantsuttei all the more complex and delicious. Now you know where to head to whenever that ramen craving strikes.
If soup is what you’re hankering, Torikin has got you covered. Here, the star of the show is their mizutaki. For the uninitiated, mizutaki is a Japanese restaurant hotpot dish originating from Hakata.
Torikin’s version consists of a chicken and collagen broth that proves to be utterly rich, flavourful, and oh-so-comforting. On the plus side, collagen is also great for your skin! Whether you’re a skincare aficionado or simply a passionate foodie, this eatery in UE Square is perfect for you.
5. Seiwaa Okonomiyaki & Teppanyaki Restaurant
Another Japanese restaurant classic is okonomiyaki. Yet, it’s difficult to find an authentic version of the iconic pancake dish outside of Japan. Thankfully, we have Seiwaa Okonomiyaki & Teppanyaki Restaurant, where you can grill your very own okonomiyaki.
The options here are thoroughly unique as well, with locally-inspired iterations like the Sambal Okonomiyaki (S$20), which comprises a mix of diced squid and succulent shrimp atop a bed of fresh cabbage. If you’re looking for a taste of Osaka, come to Seiwaa and try your hand at this grill-it-yourself affair.
6. Izakaya SHUN
Izakaya SHUN is a sister Japanese restaurant of the established Kappo Shunsui which resides just next door. This 28-seater space serves up a fines selection of small plates that promise the freshest and tastiest ingredients that Japan has to offer. Expect options like Smoked Octopus (S$7) and the Charcoal Grilled Eel and Cucumber With Soy Sauce Vinegar (S$12). I reckon you’d be spoilt for choice with Izakaya SHUN’s delicious offerings.
7. Himawari Japanese Restaurant
For all things charcoal-grilled, come to Himawari, where Master Chef Yoichi Nakaoka serves up robatayaki (fireside-cooking) and an array of other authentic Japanese restaurant dishes. Look forward to delightful grilled options like the Iberico Pork Bone Loin (S$20) and Salmon Belly Shioyaki (S$18).
If meat isn’t your thing, Himawari has also got you covered with a selection of flame-grilled vegetables and mushrooms like the Shishito Peppers (S$8) and Shiitake Mushrooms (S$10).
Located along Robertson Walk, Orihara is a purveyor of premium boutique sake. This intimate bar provides a wide selection of Japan-imported alcoholic spirits. You’d be hard-pressed to find these rare sake offerings elsewhere.
Come down to Orihara for a unique sake tasting, and pair it with some great yakitori options from Shirokane Tori-Tama. It’s a faultless recipe for a great night out, making this Japanese restaurant a splendid hangout spot for friends and family alike.
As with all the iconic facets of Japanese cuisine, one mustn’t miss out on wagyu. We’re talking about some of the most expensive and luxurious cuts of beef, and Aburiya knows it. Here, the yakiniku experience is elevated with highly exclusive cuts of meat that are source directly from Japan.
There are A5 wagyu options that come decked out in all their glorious streaks of marbling. Handling meat like this isn’t an everyday affair, and I’m certain that all the beef aficionados would find themselves in paradise at Aburiya.
79 Boat Quay, Singapore 049867
+65 6532 0365
Mon to Sat: 6pm – 11pm
Sun: 6pm – 10.30pm
60 Robertson Quay, The Quayside, #01-03, Singapore 238252
+65 6735 4862
Mon to Sat: 6pm – 11pm
Sun: 6pm – 10.30pm
SUKIYA is Japan’s largest gyudon chain, with close to 30 years of history under its belt. Its long-standing presence can only mean they are doing something right by their beef bowls, and that’s precisely what we can look forward to at their restaurant in Suntec City.
Diners at this Japanese restaurant franchise can expect a plethora of meat and rice options. Of course, it would be a crime to not discuss their bestseller—the Gyudon (S$4.20 for S, S$4.90 for M, S$6.70 for L, S$8.80 for XL). This is the restaurant’s moneymaker, which comes empowered with tender beef slices and onions simmered in their secret recipe sauce, all atop a bed of warm Japanese white rice.
Apart from gyudon, there are a plethora of other options available at SUKIYA, ranging from chicken yakitori bowls to grilled unagi (eel). You can go to town with giant bowls of rice and meats here, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to do so.