One of the most popular cuisines in the world, Japanese food is personified by fresh ingredients tinged with soy and miso. Japanese is served many different ways including raw, grilled and battered, and offers dining for all occasions Whether it be lunch, dinner, date night or group catch up, Japanese food is perfect for any time.
Brisbane’s Japanese dining scene is a lively one with plenty of spots to choose from. We’ve put together a list of our favourites. Including the best of the best, our list spans a range of different spots that showcase the broad delights Japanese cuisine has to offer. So get your chopstick game ready, and start planning your next meal.
A meal sitting at the Shunsai bar is as entertaining as it is delicious. Grab a seat and watch on as chefs whip around preparing their amazing plates before your eyes. The restaurant offers a Washoku menu with an emphasis on bringing out the natural flavours of the ingredients used.
By using the freshest seasonal ingredients, the expert chefs prepare mouth-watering sushi sashimi and tempura courses amongst other dishes to complement the Wahoku experience.There’s a variety of set menus, including an all vegetarian menu, which constantly changes to reflect each new season.
Shunsai offers set menus during lunch and takeaway also. If you want to try something special, book ahead and order the Kaiseki bento box, filled with sashimi, a sizzling, deep fried and grilled dish, rice, soup and dessert and only ten available per day.
Address: 5/45 Wellington Rd, East Brisbane QLD 4169
With outposts in West End, Fortitude Valley and Toowong, Bird’s Nest set itself apart from all other Japanese with its proficiency of the yakitori grill. This is a fun place that takes the quality of its food, but not itself too seriously.
The team here uses fresh and seasonal ingredients to create food with vibrancy and flair. Their yakitori skewers are prepared in-house every day and cooked over white coal to create an amazing smoky flavour along with mayo and crunchy garlic. The skewered meats aren’t the only stars here, with the Bird’s Nest kitchen dishing up incredible vegetarian and gluten free plates like steamed broccoli with garlic soy dressing and street style crispy tofu with egg noodles.
This spot is perfect for a feed with a gang of friends before heading out or a casual date night and does take-away also, for those wanting fun Japanese fare at home.
Hidden away inside Brisbane City’s Hotel Indigo, this new Izakaya brings glamour and fun to Japanese dining. Accessible via the hotel lobby, through speakeasy bar 1603 and down some stairs into the big den-like space where Japanese-inspired delights await.
The dining space has colourful murals on the wall and comfy leather booth seating, creating a chic atmosphere. You can settle into and enjoy Japanese street eats like karaage chicken, gyoza and katsu sandos along with yakitori skewers cooked over a coal grill and all designed to share.
If you’re with a group of friends, it’s well-worth leaving it up to the kitchen for the set menu. Paired with a few of the Japanese-style cocktails on offer, Izakaya Publico makes for a pretty impressive night out.
A list of Brisbane’s best Japanese couldn’t be complete without mention of this legendary ramen bar. Making every single component from scratch, the kitchen sources the best finest produce and uses the best techniques with a constantly evolving recipe in pursuit of being Australia’s best ramen.
The menu focuses on ramen, with several different varieties, which all deliver with a perfectly balanced broth and fresh silken noodles that won’t last long in your bowl. To accompany bowls of ramen, there are plenty of other great Japanese dishes worth getting stuck into including the different gyoza, takoyaki balls and spicy tofu.
Brisbane’s favourite ramen has four spots across Brisbane to get your fix of their delicious slurp-worthy broth. Taro’s offer tackle away and delivery as well as take home packs for DIY ramen fun.
Address: L2/480 Queen St, Brisbane City QLD 4000
On the river at Howard Street Wharves, Yoko Dining brings the experience of Japan’s music bars to Brisbane. With a buzzing atmosphere looking out over the water, delicious food and timber features throughout, this is a comfortable place you can settle into all day and into the night.
Taking advantage of local and seasonal produce, the kitchen creates fresh and refined dishes using the raw bar and hibachi grill. Favourites amongst locals include gyoza, udon, miso-infused eggplant, chicken karaage and sashimi. For those planning something extra special, you can level-up your meal with the Koji roast duck set, which requires booking by 5pm the evening to prepare, but definitely not to disappoint!
Yoko Dining is as ideal a spot for a big group of friends as it is for date night. Check out their sister restaurant Greca, right next door and dishing up some of the best contemporary Greek food in Brisbane.
The team at Teneriffe’s Hikari knows a thing or two about making Japanese accessible to the people of Brisbane. Chefs Joon and Hojin aim to combine the Japanese Izakaya pub experience with traditional Japanese food. With a diverse culinary background as far reaching as Italian and French, the chefs use their skills to create approachable and delectable food whilst still paying respect to traditional Japanese food.
Hikari uses the best quality ingredients it can get their hands on and food is prepared on the spot for the freshest dining experience possible. The evening menu includes sushi, baos, tasting plates and mains to share, as well as donburi bowls, bento boxes and okonomi yakisoba pancakes for a good little lunch fix.
The space is cosy and relaxed with friendly and helpful staff and well worth a visit next time you’re in the Teneriffe area.
Sitting on the corner of Teneriffe’s Macquarie and Kingsholme Streets, Mizu dishes up fare offering a modern fusion of fresh local and imported ingredients. Using traditional Japanese methods, Chef Akio Hosokawa offers up a range of Japanese dishes that pay homage to his native home.
The dish that locals keep coming back here for is the agedashi tofu, a big heaping bowl full of silky tofu, deep fried until crisp and served in a hearty broth. The rest of the menu is equally as impressive, with fresh sashimi and sushi rolls, along with veggie, seafood and meat dishes and traditional salads keeping diners happily fed.
Mizu is open for breakfasts with options including bento boxes and green tea, making it a cleansing way to spend your weekend mornings. Much more than just a restaurant, Mizu encourages the community to embrace the Japanese culture with sake appreciation nights, cooking classes and origami classes for kids big and small.
Down in Fortitude Valley sits this moody Japanese bar, that mixes trad-Japanese food with Modern Japanese in Brisbane. An inconspicuous location, you can find this place through the black door next to Lounge Lovers loading dock.
The kitchen reimagines Japanese cooking by adding contemporary edge to their dishes using the freshest local ingredients. Their interpretation of classic Japanese dishes see them serving the likes of kingfish with mandarin ponzu, burnt strawberry and kombu, tempura king prawn with fermented chilli mayo and avocado, and glazed beef short rib with potato and pickled walnut. This is just a taste of what this place can do, you really need to see the menu to get the refinement in their dishes. With so many good things it may be best ordering some sake and leaving it up to the kitchen with a set menu.
Honto has a minimalist setup, with long communal tables and a dining area lit by the light of the kitchens. The food here is best enjoyed to share, so plan a date or group of friends to come along. It’s worth getting here early to take advantage of the whisky bar, where you can wait for a table with one of the rare and unusual whiskeys and sake they stock.
With a name like Boom Boom Room, this place could be anything, but you know it will definitely be fun. This Izakaya sits right in the heart of Bribane’s CBD and the dining room sets the scene here, with an intimate atmosphere, dim lighting and stylish red velvet seating. As you descend the stairs into the dining area, you are transported to a sleek modern Tokyo-style Izakaya.
The kitchen’s menu takes its influence from the streets of Tokyo and elevates this by using the highest quality local produce. Led by executive chef Jake Nicolson, they dish up authentic sashimi and yakitori dishes alongside tasty sharing portions. The best value here is to get the banquet menu and let the chef look after you with the house favourites and seasonal specials.
This is the kind of izakaya you can settle into for the evening with top shelf sake, Japanese whiskeys and a selection of cocktails, expertly mixed by some of Brisbane’s best bartenders. Drinks are designed to complement the food, so don’t hesitate to ask the expert staff for their recommendation. The restaurant is part of the Gahnem Group, who also have Bisou Bisou, Byblos, Iris and MasterChef winner Donna Chang’s restaurant among their stable, so you know you’re in good hands.
This stalwart of Japanese restaurants in Brisbane has called Brisbane City home since the 80’s and is still going strong today. A gem of a find for those who stumble across it, this place is always busy with regulars and locals in the know. Set in peaceful surroundings, this is high quality Japanese food served in humble and relaxed surroundings.
Very well priced for such high quality food, Oshin delivers traditional Japanese fare served with the freshest of ingredients. Expect generous and thick portions of sushi and sashimi, crisp tempura, tasty Japanese curry and good value set menus.
For a great selection of fresh and delicious food in a comfortable environment, look no further than Oshin.
With so many good options for Japanese, it’s hard to know where to start. From refined and contemporary cuisine to the country’s best ramen, there is something for everyone on our list of the best Japanese the city has to offer. So get some friends together and start planning your next sashimi feast! If you’re visiting Brisbane and looking for accommodation, why not check out Punthill’s Spring Hill apartments conveniently located in the CBD and close by to the best Japanese spots in this list.