Sydney’s relationship with Japanese cuisine is stronger than most Australian city’s. We have one of the largest Japanese populations in the country, bringing with it a wealth of age-old culinary traditions and techniques passed down from the source.

On top of that, our harbour location gives us the advantage of having a world-class fish market, and the sheer quality of seafood we enjoy is second to none. It’s the reason why Tokyo-grade sashimi is everywhere in Sydney; best experienced at one of the intimate omakase counters dotted around the inner city.

We’ve got ramen, too – bowls and bowls of it. But if you’re after a flashy izakaya brimming with rare sake and whisky; a casual yakitori den for an afterwork snack; or a note-perfect take on Peruvian-tinged Nikkei cuisine, you’ll find it on this list.

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Sokyo

Restaurant

The Star Casino is flush with outstanding restaurants. And though Momofuku Seiobo has sadly left the building, Chase Kojima’s flagship continues to shine. Intricate kaiseki-style dishes and impeccably made sashimi are the focus here, but there’s also an entire section of the menu devoted to skewers cooked over the robata grill.

Level G, The Darling at The Star 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont
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Nobu Sydney

Restaurant

This is the long-awaited Sydney outpost for the beloved Japanese dining empire, and it's brought its signature miso cod along for the ride. Dine on salmon-sashimi tacos and evaporate-in-your-mouth nigiri, knock back "sushi cups" and enjoy some aged sake.

Crown Sydney Level 1/2 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney

Tetsuya’s

Restaurant

When Tetsuya Wakada opened his eponymous restaurant in 1989, its sophisticated service and careful marrying of French and Japanese cuisine changed the game. Today, it’s one of Sydney’s most renowned restaurants, thanks in large part to the signature dish: confit ocean trout with kombu, celery salad and roe. The space itself is just as legendary – a Japanese-style home with a traditional garden in view of the elegant dining room.

529 Kent Street, Sydney

Kuro

Restaurant

This sleek, degustation-only fine diner is about as ambitious as it gets. Inside the heritage-listed space you’ll find a casual eatery, high-end cocktail bar and chef’s table; all pulled together with show-stopping interior design. Pull up a seat beneath the illuminated oak beams for contemporary Japanese dishes executed with precision and flair.

368 Kent Street, Sydney
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Haco

Restaurant

Keita Abe brings Japanese like you've never seen to Surry Hills with his tempura restaurant. Sit around the centrepiece wraparound counter and order from a constantly-shifting menu.

102/21 Alberta Street, Sydney

Chaco Bar

Restaurant

For the sequel to his cosy Crown Street original, Chaco Bar’s Keita Abe wanted to recreate the vibe of a grungy drinking den; the kind of place you’d find in his hometown of Fukuoka, Japan. It’s a little more refined than that, but the yakitori is pitch-perfect, the beer is ice-cold, and the light is low enough to obscure the fact that you’re dining at the Paris end of Potts Point.

186-188 Victoria Street, Potts Point

Cho Cho San

Restaurant

A stylish riff on a classic izakaya. The menu here is anything but traditional, but it balances the equation with inventive signatures such as pillowy pork-katsu steam buns and yuzu brulee. Most importantly, it’s all perfect drinking fare – good thing there’s a lengthy list of Japanese spirits, sake and shochu behind the bar. Seriously good cocktails, too.

73 Macleay Street, Potts Point

Nikkei

Restaurant

A restaurant and bar focusing on the melding of Japanese techniques and flavours with Peruvian produce.

216 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

Kisuke

Restaurant

A meal at this six-seater omakase restaurant is like a culinary mystery tour, where what you eat is left completely to the chef.

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point

Raita Noda

Restaurant

Raita Noda’s intimate self-titled restaurant comprises an open kitchen with just eight seats. Behind it, Noda prepares a daily omakase menu, where the offering hinges entirely on what’s in season. There’s usually a lean towards seafood, but that’s about the most you can expect – along with some impressive knife skills by the chef.

Shop 1 222 Riley Street, Surry Hills

Simulation Senpai

Restaurant

A slick and sleek Japanese eatery by Sokyo's Chase Kojima. It’s serving “a treasure box from the sea”, which highlights the best finds from the markets every day, as well as sashimi and chirashi boxes. And it's open for takeaway.

The Exchange 1 Little Pier Street, Sydney

Juan

Restaurant

The don bowls at this minimal, compact diner are sophisticated versions of the classic comfort dish. But the real signature here is tea. Expect delicate senchas, tannin-heavy oolongs and everything in between, with tasting notes and pairing suggestions to guide your palate. Don’t leave without trying the matcha tiramisu – it’s a standout.

94A Pitt Street, Redfern

Jugemu & Shimbashi

Restaurant

A two-in-one spot specialising in Osaka-style okonomiyaki and handmade soba noodles. It’s one of the only places in Sydney that prepares its soba daily, served with a warm bowl of spiced, umami-rich stock for liberal dipping. Slurp with gusto at one of the tatami booths for the full effect.

246 Military Road, Neutral Bay

Izakaya Fujiyama

Restaurant

The highly detailed list of sake and imported spirits here would put most izakayas under the table. The food? It’s certainly not an afterthought. Hot, cold and raw dishes put an elegant twist on Japanese pub classics, and the best place to try them is at Fujiyama’s sleek centrepiece bar.

38-52 Waterloo Street, Surry Hills

Azuma Japanese

Restaurant

Kimitaka Azuma’s enduring restaurant has stuck around for good reason. Since 1996, it’s upheld a high-standard across the board, with an outstanding sushi and sashimi offering, plus a robust selection of contemporary Japanese mains and bento boxes.

Level 1 Chifley Plaza 2 Chifley Square, Sydney

Tokyo Bird

Bar

When you step inside Tokyo Bird, there’s an immediate sense of fun about the place. Studio Ghibli films are projected on the wall, the staff are bubbly, and the low-lit nooks are all reliably packed. That sense of fun extends to the menu of booze-friendly bites – think karaage, gyoza and charcoal-grilled skewers, washed down with whisky highballs and imported Japanese brews.

Shop 2 226-228 Commonwealth Street (enter via Belmore Lane), Surry Hills