The Best Omakase Restaurants in Melbourne

Updated 2 months ago

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Japanese cuisine is underpinned by a deep respect for ingredients. That philosophy really comes to life in omakase. The high-end meal involves up to 20 bite-sized courses, all served by an expert chef to a handful of diners. While Melburnians have long embraced Japanese cuisine, omakase has been harder to find. It was certainly scarce back in 2007, when Nobu and Tempura Hajime opened. But a new wave of diners is changing that, offering both omakase and kaiseki (a similar multi-course meal with a fixed menu). In Australia the terms are often used interchangeably – hence why we’ve included both formats here. Whichever one you shoot for, expect a luxury meal with a price tag to match. In our books, it’s an experience worth forking out (and booking ahead) for. Here are the best places to splash out in Melbourne, curated by Broadsheet’s expert food and drink editors.

  • The hushed, reverent atmosphere here is well suited to owner-chef Koichi Minamishima's awe-inspiring knife skills. He works with both local seafood and fish flown direct from Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo to produce his peerless sushi. Settle in at the long bar to experience his 15-course omakase, which includes high-quality sushi nigiri along with seasonal small plates of seafood and Wagyu beef. This is the best Japanese restaurant in Melbourne.

  • In true omakase style, there’s no menu or à la carte options at Aoi Tsuki – so no two seatings are ever the same. Instead, owner-chefs Tei Gim and Jun Pak will bounce off of you to create a one-off dining experience, which is guaranteed to be lively. Settle in at one of its 12 seats and enjoy 20 or more individualised courses, each served with a generous helping of the chefs’ playful banter. Expect plenty of top-quality seafood, with dishes that might profile high-quality squid, sea urchin, King George whiting and bluefin tuna.

  • Akaiito is full of brooding black marble and dark granite flooring, which are tied together with a grand and luminous red thread installation. Book a seat at its omakase bar, where the meals can change for every booking. Past standouts have included miso soup with clams, robata-grilled marron with kombu butter and tempura scampi with scampi caviar. Plus, there's sake served in handmade cups and whisky-spiked cocktails.

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  • Fittingly named "the chef’s table", Kisumé’s 12-seat omakase offering showcases the expertise of its master chef. Ascend to the top floor for its 20-course menu, which might range from sushi nigiri made with high-quality seafood to premium Wagyu beef, with canelés and sorbet for dessert.

  • A great hulking piece of stone runs the length of the sushi countertop at Komeyui. It’s reserved for those ordering the 10-course sushi-focused omakase, which is available at lunch or dinner. The rotating menu might include sous vide toothfish, sake-steamed abalone and Wagyu beef, as well as a dedicated nigiri course with 10 types of sushi atop perfectly-sweetened rice. Plus, you can tack on a sake and wine pairing if you’re going all out.

  • Japanese dining in Melbourne doesn’t get more intimate than this. Matsu has four seats and is only open for a few sittings each week. If you can get a spot at the table, you can enjoy its multi-course kaiseki – a traditional Japanese meal format consisting of intricate seasonal dishes. Co-owner and chef Hansol Lee prepares and serves each course, which might include rock lobster tempura, duck fish, otoro (tuna belly) and top-quality blowtorched Wagyu. And he might even send you home with an onigiri for the next day.

  • At this eight-seat omakase diner, chef JangYong Hyun (ex-Kisumé) will take you through 23 ever-changing courses, most of which you can eat in one bite. Relax into a velvet-backed bar stool as Hyun serves up to 18 kinds of fish with varying flavours and textures. He’ll start you off with an oyster before running the rest of the show with sushi nigiri – which might feature sea urchin, King George whiting and air-dried salmon. And finish with palate-cleansing desserts like sorbet or granita.

  • Follow a nondescript entrance under an office building in South Melbourne to find the city’s best tempura restaurant. The 12-seat dining room has a circular seating arrangement, around which you can watch chef Shigeo Yoshihara batter and fry high-quality seafood and veg. That might include tempura-fried scallops, John Dory or uni (sea urchin). To drink, there’s sake, tea, Japanese craft beers and shots of umeshu with soda.

  • This luxe Japanese barbeque restaurant offers three dining experiences across a yakitori bar, general dining area and private 10-seat dining room. Retreat to the latter for its Wagyu-centric omakase, where chefs charcoal high-grade beef over red-hot Josper grills right before your eyes. The charcoal-powered oven retains the meat’s juiciness while dialling up the umami. Plus, your 12-plus course meal is accompanied by micro-brewed sakes imported from Japan.

  • Head underground in a dramatic, glass-walled elevator to find this subterranean omakase experience. Book one of just six seats at the below-ground omakase bar for its elaborate set menu, led by head chef Alex Yu. Surrounded by textural stone walls and six-metre-high ceilings, you’ll enjoy extravagant dishes like high-quality sashimi and top-of-the-line Wagyu.

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  • From a group behind Michelin-starred restaurants, Warabi is a high-end omakase experience at Melbourne’s W Hotel. Take a seat at the counter to experience nine theatrical courses that celebrate kappo (“to cut and cook” in Japanese) cuisine. Dishes might include tamago with uni (sea urchin), saltwater eel, black truffle and wasabi-spiked dashi, or decadent Wagyu and foie gras katsu – all expertly paired with sake from across Japan. For a more intimate evening, you can also book the private eight-seat dining room

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  • The Melbourne outpost for the globally-renowned restaurant chain delivers an omakase experience unlike any on this list. Across seven signature courses, Peruvian flavours are expertly combined with Japanese cuisine in dishes such as tuna belly with jalapeno and black cod with miso. There’s also a dedicated vegetarian offering – a rarity for this style of dining.

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  • At this elegant 16-seat Japanese fine diner, which is inside a giant paper lantern in a Bourke Street basement, you'll find one of the best kaiseki – a traditional degustation-style multi-course meal – experiences in town.

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  • Run by a passionate French Australian, this 12-seat omakase restaurant is open for just two sittings a day. Book in for a simple chirashi bowl, or an 11-course lunch featuring dishes like dry-aged kingfish sashimi with roasted spring onion oil and Hokkaido scallops with burnt orange gel.

  • Book well in advance for this 10-seat omakase spot, which breaks all the right rules of Japanese cuisine. The nigiri-focused menu mixes in Italian and Malaysian flavours, and includes a rare omakase cocktail pairing.

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