The 20 Best Japanese Restaurants In Melbourne For 2024
— Updated on 5 March 2024

The 20 Best Japanese Restaurants In Melbourne For 2024

— Updated on 5 March 2024
Boss Hunting
Boss Hunting

Outside of the Continent itself, is there any nation with a stronger grasp on Asia’s diverse panoply of culinary cultures than Australia? There’s plenty of evidence that the best Asian food outside of Asia can be found down under.

Perhaps that’s most evident when looking at the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.

Below, in no particular order, we’ve pulled together 20 of our favourite Japanese restaurants in the Victorian capital. Itadakimasu.

RELATED: All The Must-Drink Japanese Whisky Brands In 2024

The Best Japanese Restaurants Melbourne Has To Offer

Yugen Dining, South Yarra

Nestled in a Kondo-esque underground space in South Yarra, Yugen Dining offers a captivating take on East Asian flavours — one that goes well beyond conventional Japanese cuisine.

The menu of this relatively new Japanese restaurant celebrates seasonal seafood and boldly flavoured proteins (with the latter category habitually prepared over a roaring open fire).

For the ultimate experience, opt for the eponymous ‘Yugen Omakase’ ($285): limited to six diners per sitting, with reservations released on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re unable to snag a spot at the coveted mezzanine sushi bar, a la carte options here are no slouch: the fried barramundi and wood-grilled duck leg are worth the price of admission.

Minamishima, Richmond

minamishima Best Japanese Restaurants Melbourne

The highly-prized king of Melbourne’s rich Japanese scene hasn’t lost a step after all these years. Minamishima, which opened in 2014, is now considered Australia’s finest sushi-ya and is best known for a 15-course omakase that’s typically booked out months in advance.

Supernormal, Melbourne CBD

Best Japanese Restaurants Melbourne

Andrew McConnell has many beloved restaurants in Melbourne. But it’s Supernormal that’s still one of his fascinating venues.

Aside from big Japanese flavours, there are many influences borrowed from major cities like Shanghai, Seoul and Hong Kong, leaving behind the typical fresh sashimi for dishes that express the team’s creative flair.

Izakaya Den, Melbourne CBD

izakaya den Best Japanese Restaurants Melbourne

Few Japanese dining institutions in Melbourne are as beloved and consistent as Izakaya Den. If you want great gyoza, you come straight to Russell Street and dip straight into that moody, atmospheric space. Order up some grilled octopus and agedashi tofu to start with, and there’s also a vegan menu that should keep the more intolerant amongst us satisfied.

Kisumé, Melbourne CBD

kisume melbourne Best Japanese Restaurants Melbourne

Kisume has multiple dining experiences, all tied together with the kind of classy, muted minimalism that perfectly communicates the no-fuss approach to fine food and even finer wine. The exquisite 18-course Chef’s Table experience is the heart of this offering, ever-evolving but always laser-focused on expressing Japanese perfection by way of the freshest Australian seafood available.

Kenzan, Melbourne CBD

kenzan Best Japanese Restaurants Melbourne

Kenzan is the elder statesman of Melbourne’s Japanese restaurants, and after four decades remains one of the most coveted culinary experiences in the city. In fact, without Kenzan, many of the other restaurants on this list simply wouldn’t exist. Koichi Minamishima got his start here, as did Shigeo Yoshihara (of Tempura Hajime) and Kentaro Usami (who is best known for his work at Kappo and Izakaya Den).

Tempura Hajime, South Melbourne

tempura hajime Best Japanese Restaurants Melbourne

Tiny, with barely enough room for its 12-diner cap, Tempura Hajime mirrors the kind of hidden gem you’d find if you were to veer off the neon-washed main streets of Dotonbori in Osaka. Except you’re in South Melbourne, frantically looking around Park Street to find this modest, award-winning eatery.

Ishizuka, Melbourne CBD

ishizuka Best Japanese Restaurants Melbourne

Like many of Tokyo’s greatest kaiseki restaurants, Ishizuka is hidden in a Bourke Street basement, near-impossible to find, save from a discreet keypad from which you dial in before being granted access to the lift. And like those Tokyo restaurants, Ishizuka’s philosophy is guided by a “holistic dining experience” that demands nothing short of perfection.

Cibi, Collingwood

cibi melbourne

Located in an airy, light-flooded Collingwood warehouse, Cibi is the city’s go-to for simple Japanese-style breakfasts. The space doubles as a concept store, run by husband and wife Meg and Zenta Tanaka and has been a beloved part of Melbourne’s dining scene for more than a decade. The concept has proven so successful, in fact, that the Tanaka’s were able to expand Cibi to Tokyo’s Sendagi district, where it has since seen a similar level of acclaim.

Kazuki’s, Carlton


Uprooted from the foothills of Daylesford, Kazuki’s has moved its celebrated tasting menu and opened up in Carlton near North Melbourne. Not that the regional location stopped city-dwellers from packing the place each day of the week, given the restaurant’s high-quality produce and meditative pace. 

Nobu, Southbank

nobu melbourne
Credit: Nobu, Instagram

The Nobu legacy is one of legend; pioneering and unimpeachable when it comes to shaping the global appetite for contemporary Japanese cuisine. At its core, the renowned brand is built on the idea of Nikkei, which is the unique cross-section of Peruvian and Japanese flavours that inspired founder Nobu Matsuhisa in the mid-90s. Melbourne is a successful extension of that rich legacy, highlighting Nobu’s signature strengths with local Victorian produce.

Yakikami, South Yarra

This Japanese barbecue restaurant in South Yarra is all about high-grade Kobe beef and a large range of yakitori. But there’s also a private dining room where a premium omakase menu is on show from head chef Hirozaku Sasaki, paired with micro-brewed sake imported from Japan.

Sushi On, Kew

South Korean-born chef JangYong Hyun cut his teeth at Komeyui and Kisume before branding out on his own. Now, he commands this tight eight-seat omakase diner with one sitting per night and 23 courses that change regularly.

As any omakase regular would know, these intimate and small-format dining experiences represent the pinnacle of Japanese dining. And Sushi On does it so well, framed by a clean interior and velvet-backed bar stools that are spaced neatly around the blond timber bar.

Aoi Tsuki, South Yarra

This 12-seat omakase in South Yarra is run by Tei Gim and Jun Pak, who first started the concept by offering upscale takeaway sushi during Melbourne’s lockdowns. From humble beginnings comes one of the best 20-course sets you’ll find in Melbourne, offered across two sittings per day with signatures like blowtorched Wagyu with shaved foie gras and bluefin tuna chu-toro.

Komeyui, South Melbourne

Komeyui has been around for many years, but only recently did the modern omakase restaurant start to look the part. Gone are the blond timbers and pops of colour, switched out for sleek concrete finishes, slate floor tiles and midnight black furniture.

It’s an appropriately stylish space for Komeyui’s signature luxury experience, while the separate 80-seat dining room offers an equally excellent a la carte menu with dishes like Wagyu tataki with egg yolk cured in soy sauce.  

Kura, Brunswick East

You’re coming to Kura for one thing and one thing only. That is, the yakitori and other skewered items. Every single part of the chicken, from the skin to heat to the liver, is used to create Melbourne’s finest yakitori selection, best taken with the varied selection of Sake handpicked to cut through the richness of the eat-skewer. 

Future Future, Richmond

While I’ve found the hyper-colourful fit-out at Future Future a bit too garish for my tastes, I can’t really fault the food. Dishes are playful and veer towards bastardised Japanese, but even the riskier of concepts can be successful sometimes. The food is excellent and dishes like miso Wagyu sirloin and a stacked okonomiyaki invariably hit the spot. 

Tokyo Tina, Richmond

It mightn’t be the most typical recommendation in a list of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne, but Tokyo Tina remains one of the more popular Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne for good reason.

The same team behind Saigon Sally and Hanoi Hannah turn their modern approach to Japanese flavours in this former bong shop on Chapel Street. 

Tokyo Tina looks like a novelty but it’s most certainly serious about showcasing how adaptable Japanese flavours are, often bringing in tastes from other cuisines like Korean and Mexican to help punch things up with a bit of personality. 

Chiaki, Collingwood

Cafe by day, izakaya by night. Chiaki successfully satisfies the best of both worlds when it comes to casual Japanese dining. Head along when the sun is up and you’ll enter a cosy, minimal space that rips you from Collingwood and places you gently on the backstreets of Tokyo.

Head along when the sun goes down and it’s an entirely different story. Chiaki shifts into a high-energy izakaya at night, serving up Japanese comfort food classics done very well.

Yakimono, Melbourne CBD

Another neon-drenched eatery from indefatigable restauranteur Andrew McConnell, Yakimono’s tagline is “Japanese inspired food over fire” — an important distinction, given the mélange of East Asian influences running throughout the skewer and snack-heavy menu.

Conveniently located down the ‘Paris’ end of Collins Street (in the same precinct as Society Restaurant), Yakimono even offers its own take on the notorious bottomless brunch: a $66 package, including 90 minutes of free-flowing beverages, dubbed “Sib & Setto”.

How Boss Hunting Chose Melbourne’s Best Japanese Restaurants

Although the Boss Hunting office is based in Sydney, between the whole editorial team (around half a dozen of us) we’re lucky enough to visit Melbourne numerous times per year.

Whether it’s for industry events or personal visits, that gives us ample opportunity to try out new restaurants — including those with a strong focus on Japanese cuisine.

For more on how we put lists like these together please read our editorial policy.

Did you find this list helpful? Check out some of our other Melbourne dining content.

Subscribe to B.H. Magazine

Boss Hunting


Share the article