Best Sushi in Melbourne

Updated 2 months ago


Sushi is less a food than it is a highly codified art form. There are dozens of subtle variables in every piece, including the types of rice and vinegar used; the wrapping material; the rolling or stacking method; the variety of fish; and the way it’s cut. It’s no wonder it can take decades to become a sushi master.

These days there’s a handful of these people slicing around Melbourne. Whether you’re into classic tuna nigiri or unagi (eel) rolled-up maki-style, these are the spots to taste their years of devoted practice.

  • Prepare for 15 sublime courses, using seafood flown direct from Tokyo.

  • Rough-hewn stone walls, six-metre ceilings and glowing gold accents set the mood at this high-end Japanese restaurant in a basement. Take the glass-walled lift underground for top-of-the-line Wagyu cooked over charcoal, delicate sashimi and exciting detours into Chinese cuisine.

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  • Owner Hiro Nishikura has 40 years' experience, including 12 months of just washing rice.

  • This experienced kitchen team works exclusively with seafood from Australia and New Zealand.

  • Hard-to-find cuts since 1981.

  • The Japanese chain that's just about conquered the world.

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  • Traditional or fusion? It serves both.

  • Take a seat at the stone counter for a 10-course sushi degustation, or order fish-skin crackling, miso-marinated black cod, and savoury steamed custard topped with foie gras à la carte.

  • Find classic Japanese snacks and party-friendly cocktails at this sprawling izakaya. Across two levels, go for karaage and gyoza alongside natural wines, cocktails made with Japanese whisky and Stomping Ground rice lager on tap.

  • Walk down an unassuming strip of shops to find the suave eight-seat sushi omakase, which takes diners through 23 ever-changing courses. You might start with an oyster, move onto nigiri, and finish the savoury journey with soup.

  • A high-grade sushi bar and an impressive pantry of hard-to-find Japanese groceries. Stop in for fresh sushi, sweet daifuku, noodles, pickling starter packs and more. Or pick up Japanese ceramics, konro barbeques, glassware and knives for your own kitchen.

  • A sushi train bar and grill in Emporium.

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  • An intimate, 12-seat omakase bar, where no two meals are the same. Experience 20 or more individualised courses while being entertained by the chefs' playful banter. Expect top-quality seafood that might be squid, sea urchin, salmon roe, King George whiting or bluefin tuna.

  • Sit at the omakase bar for robata-grilled marron with kombu butter; clam and miso soup; and fried rice amplified with Wagyu, shiitake and cod roe. All in a heritage-listed building full of original bluestone features and brooding black marble.

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  • Only 32 diners a week get into this tiny, four-seat kaiseki restaurant. Secure a booking and you’re in the capable hands of co-owner and chef Hansol Lee, who worked at revered Melbourne restaurant Kenzan. Each night he delivers a delicate, multi-course, seafood-led set menu – and decent banter.

  • Perch at a dedicated yakitori table for succulent chicken skewers, or retreat to the private dining room for an omakase experience where high-end Kobe beef is the star. It’s from the Wagyu Ya and Niku Ou team.

  • 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.

  • It might take you a minute to find the door, hidden inside Hareruya Pantry. But up the discreet staircase lies a beautifully minimalist bar with expertly crafted temaki rolls (cone-shaped hand rolls), and a 50-strong sake list favouring female brewers.