The 7 Best Japanese Restaurants in Singapore
Eat & Drink | November 05, 2020
The past few decades have seen the rise of Japanese cuisine overseas, especially here in Singapore. Japanese cuisine entails intricate preparation, and a dish passes Japanese standards only if it uses high-quality and fresh ingredients. This premise sits well with the Singaporean cultured palate, which explains the exponential growth of sushi, ramen, izakaya, and yakitori restaurants in the country.
We have compiled the 7 best Japanese restaurants in Singapore [updated 2020] for when you’re craving a beautifully-plated sushi nigiri but cannot possibly hie off to the Land of the Rising Sun.
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- Award-winning modern Japanese menu: Chef Akira Back’s DOSA in Seoul received one Michelin Star from the 2018 Seoul Michelin Guide in recognition of its menu’s curious take on “Japanese flavors with Korean accents”. The chef has also been hailed “Best Chef in Las Vegas” by Las Vegas Weekly and “Rising Star” by Restaurant Hospitality in 2008. One of his genius masterpieces is the 48 Hrs “Sanchoku” Short Rib (S$50), melty Sanchoku Wagyu beef in braising jus that is just pure decadence.
- Live Omakase with Chef Akira Back: You would want to stay glued to their social media pages for any future announcements of live omakase with Chef Akira Back himself. “Omakase”, loosely translated to “I leave it up to you”, is when the chef lets his creativity run wild, much to the diners’ delight. Slots are limited to only 10 seats, so do not even hesitate.
- Dreamy desserts: Akira Back’s desserts are the kind that you would want to take lots of pictures of, hoping to have it ingrained in your memory. Each plate is a sight to behold, looks almost sacred for you to even think of eating it, but, of course, you have A must-try is the AB Egg (S$20), looks literally like a real egg perched on a nest but it actually is mango passionfruit crème floating on sublime vanilla foam, encased in edible eggshell, sitting on date tea granite.
- Premium fish straight out of Japan’s Tsukiji fish market: Ever wondered how good the quality of fish is at the famed Tsukiji fish market? Take a seat at Mikuni’s live sushi station and find out for yourself. Feel free to pick the fish of your choice or leave it all up to the chef and order Tokujou Sashimi (S$198), a selection of 7 seasonal sashimi handcrafted to Japanese standards.
- Live sushi, teppanyaki and robatayaki: You may opt for traditional seating, but if you want your appetite all worked up by the theatrics of traditional Japanese food preparation, the live stations would be perfect for you.
- Monthly lunch specials and grand tasting menu. The monthly lunch specials and the grand tasting menu are the perfect way to sample the best of what Mikuni is proud to offer. The grand tasting menu (starts at S$245) is a 7-course menu that starts with an appetizer of the freshest seafood, highlights a Wagyu entrée, and finishes off with an indulgent dessert.
- Affordable weekday lunch sets: Take a break from your usual lunch fare and indulge in some weekday decadence. We did say “affordable”, right? Starting at S$19.90 and available from 11:30 to 15:00, Sen of Japan’s weekday lunch sets come with a chef’s appetizer, tempura, salad, miso soup, rice, and dessert.
- Premium selection of maki: Chef Nakano Hiromi has crafted an inspired line of maki, which could very well be a result of fresh ingredients coming together. One of the showstoppers is Mala Maki (S$24), soft-shell crab tempura, cucumber, crab meat, tobiko, flame-seared salmon, and finished off with a spicy mala.
- One of the most extensive sake menus in Singapore: There’s no better accompaniment to a Japanese meal than sake or Japanese rice wine. Sen offers a long list of sake with a sweetness-dryness guide to help you choose the perfect pairing for your meal.
- Rated one of the best sake bars: Shukuu Izakaya takes great pride in this title, so much so that it is right below their name on the website. The owners are actual fully-certified sake sommeliers who have made it their mission to spread love and awareness for the underrated Japanese spirit in this part of the globe. Go for the full izakaya experience by getting sake pairing recommendations. Kanpai!
- More than 90 kinds of tapas-style Japanese goodness: Shukuu’s menu is a testament to the hard work and dedication that the owners and staff put in to deliver a total izakaya. You’ll be delighted to find that the dishes are affordable, too! One of their best-sellers, Kaki No Sakamushi, 3 pieces of sake-cooked oysters, goes for only S$12.
- Sake Sake tasting events: If you’ve ever dreamed of being a sake connoisseur, be on the lookout for Shukuu’s annual Sake Sake tasting events where they showcase a grand number of sake from different parts of Japan for your drinking pleasure, and education, perhaps?
- Live yakitori: While traditional seating is offered, the best yakitori experience starts with witnessing how your orders are prepared—over open flame sizzling from dripping meat fat and juices, so do not hesitate to be seated by the grilling station. Enjoy the delicious simplicity of fine ingredients grilled to perfection, right as your order leaves the grill.
- Bento and lunch set menu: Starting at S$16, Nanbantei’s bento and lunch sets are an excellent choice for when you’re on a tight lunch break and you can’t be bothered to mix and match dishes. Their top bento choice is the Yakitori Bento, Nanbantei’s bestselling yakitori skewers served with vegetables, rice, and dessert of the day.
- Free delivery for orders S$125 and up: Want to stay safe from the crowds? You can enjoy traditional yakitori fare in the safety and comfort of your own dining room. Place your order on their website or via WhatsApp and enjoy free delivery for orders S$125 and above.
- Choice produce and ingredients: The Gyu Bar is particular about every produce and ingredient that goes in and out of the kitchen, sourcing only the highest quality meat, seafood, organic rice and vegetables, and condiments straight from specialist farmers and trusted suppliers.
- Japanese “Omotenashi” culture: Staying true to the Omotenashi spirit of hospitality, The Gyu Bar gives every guest a complimentary cup of sake with every meal. Guests are also invited to choose their own cup from the Sake Glass Wall, wonderfully adding to the restaurant’s sense of commune.
- Chef’s Omakase (S$138): Certainly the best way to take the highest pleasure in The Gyu Bar’s offerings is by entrusting the chef to prepare a 10-course “gastronomical journey”. Just imagine what masterpieces their chef can come up with when their creativity is paired up with purely the best ingredients.
- Lunch and dinner omakase: Starting at S$80, Shinzo offers lunch and dinner omakase sets that highlight their fresh and seasonal produce. It is composed of appetizers, sashimi, a cooked dish, sushi, soup, and dessert.
- Renowned head chef: Shinzo’s head and sushi chef, Chef Patrick Tan, takes the art of making sushi seriously, not in a way that you see him with a stern expression, hunched over mouthwatering fish and seafood, but in they he dedicated more than 39 years of his life to study the art of preparing sushi. He makes it his goal each day to have his diners, whether strangers, friends, or family, share a special bond over sushi and sake.
- Ever-changing seasonal menu: If you fancy yourself as a sushi connoisseur, it is highly advisable for you to visit Shinzo at the start of every season because that’s also when their menu changes to make way for the bountiful produce of the season. This puts freshness at the pinnacle of each dish that makes its way to the dining table.
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