9 of the best Japanese restaurants in Sydney

From sushi and sashimi to ramen and katsu curry, Sydney is full of great Japanese food. Take a visit to The Land of the Rising Sun at some of the city’s best Japanese restaurants.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Dec 14 -
2
min read
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Toko

Where: CBD  

After 15 years in Surry Hills, Sydney icon Toko found a new home on George Street in the CBD in mid-2022. The most popular dishes have remained on the menu, like the Moreton Bay bug tempura, smoked miso king salmon, scampi nigiri with foie gras and kingfish with truffle ponzu. It’s also retained the casual cool atmosphere, with large communal tables, a Robata grill counter and sushi bar, and catchy tunes on repeat. 

Selection of dishes at Toko, Sydney CBD

Selection of dishes at Toko, Sydney CBD - Credit: Steven Woodburn

Sokyo

Where: Pyrmont 

The dark and moody Sokyo is one of Sydney’s most elegant and innovative Japanese restaurants. There’s a dedicated sushi counter serves up the freshest seafood sushi and sashimi, and the rest of the menu features sections dedicated to tempura, meat grilled over the Robata and soups. There are special kids’ menus and even a breakfast buffet, pairing pastry, fruit and eggs with udon, chicken yakitori and smashed avocado spiced up with furikake seasoning. 

Friends enjoying food and drink at Sokyo restaurant, Pyrmont

Friends enjoying food and drink - Sokyo restaurant - Pyrmont

Cho Cho San

Where: Potts Point 

A little slice of Tokyo style in Macleay Street, Cho Cho San is all bright white interiors, with a sleek concrete bar and buzzy atmosphere. It’s the kind of place you can drop in for a drink and a snack (like pickled cucumber, miso eggplant skewers or pork bao buns) or sit down for the full set menu with spicy sesame noodles, prawns in kombu butter, XO crab fried rice, and charcoal chicken with onion and miso. 

Sushi at Cho Cho San, Potts Point

Sushi at Cho Cho San, Potts Point

Chaco Ramen

Where: Darlinghurst and Bondi 

The original Chaco Ramen in Darlinghurst was born from chef Keita Abe’s love of ramen. Today, the simple menu features just seven ramen options from the classic fat soy with chashu pork to the innovative yuzu scallop or chilli coriander chicken. The second outpost opened in Bondi in 2021 and is styled more like a ramen izakaya, serving yakitori (grilled meat skewers), prawn fried rice and dumplings. 

Ramen at Chaco Ramen, Darlinghurst

Chaco Ramen, Darlinghurst 

Bay Nine Omakase

Where: Circular Quay 

The Japanese word ‘omakase’ roughly translates to “I’ll leave it up to you”. In restaurant terms, that means putting your faith in the chef and eating what they serve you. At Bay Nine Omakase, just 10 diners can sit at the Omakase Counter and feast on an ever-changing 11-course menu. Pair it with the sake tasting menu for the full experience. 

Salmon sushi at Bay Nine Omakase, Circular Quay

Bay Nine Omakase, Circular Quay

Rising Sun Workshop

Where: Newtown 

In the back streets of Newtown, motorcycles and ramen make the perfect pairing. Rising Sun Workshop is part communal motorbike workshop and part restaurant, specialising in ramen during the day (there’s even a bacon and egg breakfast ramen) and moving onto dishes like taro gnocchi, sambal barramundi and tamarind pork chop in the evenings. The noises of revving engines and clanging tools make for a surprisingly soothing soundtrack.  

Preparing ramen at Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown

Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown - Credit: andre&dominique

Nikkei Bar & Restaurant

Where: Surry Hills 

It might sound like an unusual combination, but Japanese-Peruvian cuisine – called Nikkei – dates back to the 19th century and is one of the most exciting and innovative cuisines around. Celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa was one of its first champions. Find out what it’s all about at Nikkei in Surry Hills, where dishes like ocean trout tiradito (sashimi), Hokkaido scallop with huacatay butter and sake-steamed Murray cod feature on tapas-style share plates.  

Kurumac

Where: Marrickville 

East-West fusion meets Inner West cool at Kurumac, a laid-back cafe with jazz and hip hop on the speakers. The menu is short; just half a dozen options for breakfast and the same again for lunch. Start the day with Japanese scrambled eggs, a cod roe toastie or congee, then move on to sushi and sashimi, soba salad bowls or their famous ox tongue curry. 

Cod roe toastie at Kurumac, Marrickville

Cod roe toastie at Kurumac, Marrickville

Haco

Where: Surry Hills 

A tiny, 12-seater housed in a concrete cube, Haco dishes up a 20-course, omakase-style set menu – rather theatrically – to guests seated on a centrepiece wraparound counter. Expect plates like fried lotus root with dashi jelly served within a crab to fried soft-yolked quails egg with pops of caviar. The entire experience lasts about three hours, but taking it slow is worth it to truly savour this art-meets-food marathon. 

Seafood dish at Haco, Surry Hills

Haco, Surry Hills

 

 

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