The round-up: From sashimi to donburi – here are Brisbane’s best Japanese restaurants
Yoko | Brisbane's best Japanese restaurants
Hôntô | Brisbane's best Japanese restaurants
Sake Restaurant and Bar | Brisbane's best Japanese restaurants
Hikari | Brisbane's best Japanese restaurants
Shunsai | Brisbane's best Japanese restaurants
Bird's Nest Yakitori | Brisbane's best Japanese restaurants
Sono | Brisbane's best Japanese restaurants
The round-up: From sashimi to donburi – here are Brisbane’s best Japanese restaurants
The round-up: From sashimi to donburi – here are Brisbane’s best Japanese restaurants
The round-up: From sashimi to donburi – here are Brisbane’s best Japanese restaurants
The round-up: From sashimi to donburi – here are Brisbane’s best Japanese restaurants
The round-up: From sashimi to donburi – here are Brisbane’s best Japanese restaurants

The round-up: From sashimi to donburi – here are Brisbane’s best Japanese restaurants

Apologies to any culinary aesthetes reading this, but we feel like a bit of clarification in order – there is so much more to Japanese cuisine than sushi and ramen noodles. The depth of Japanese cuisine is incredibly large, and sometimes it is hard to get a grasp on the diversity without jumping on a plane bound to Tokyo and beyond. It’s not a completely lost cause for Japanese cuisine in Brisbane, however. There are numerous eateries delivering delicious Japanese fare comparable to the real deal. We’ve assembled a list of some of the best.

TakashiYa, South Bank: Chef Takashi Nami has spent decades honing his skills as a sushi chef. After working in numerous kitchens across Brisbane’s dining scene the culinary wizard opened TakashiYa  at the base of South Bank’s Emporium Hotel in 2021 – a restaurant and bar offering diners an incredible taste of Japanese cuisine. The venue is divided into two sections. One is a 24-seater casual bar area, where guests can perch and nibble on items like negitoro cones, oyster shooters and slow-cooked wagyu brisket curry. At the back is TakashiYa’s omakase room, where chef Takashi skilfully prepares and serves a multi-course feast including spanner crab-infused tamagoyaki, West Australian scampi and uni nigiri, flame-torched aburi Hokkaido scallop nori hand rolls, and Kagoshima A5 wagyu and foie gras aburi nigiri that is coated in truffle flakes for an extra boost of umami.

Sushi Room, Fortitude Valley: The STK Group’s third dining concept inside The Calile Hotel (alongside Hellenika and SK Steak & Oyster), sees the hospo heavyweights apply its signature elevated sensibilities to Japanese cuisine. Ex-Kiyomi sous chef Shimpei Raikuni displays his mastery from behind a 9.3-m solid Japanese Hinoki timber sushi bar, delicately portioning Hiramasa kingfish, Tasmanian uni and New Zealand alfonsino, available alongside more substantial plates of caviar toro toro sushi, tempura lobster and Kagoshima sirloin yakimono. The jewel in Sushi Room’s crown is the 18-course two-hour omakase, which is the pinnacle experience for anyone looking to try some of the best sushi, sashimi and nigiri in town.

Yoko, Brisbane City: This Japanese-inspired bar and eatery from acclaimed restaurateur Jonathan Barthelmess (Greca) takes cues from the lively izakayas of Japan, but delivers this atmosphere with a distinct retro-futurist aesthetic. The flavour profiles lean towards acidic, ponzu and citrus-based tones, rather than heavier mayo-doused morsels, with a menu encompassing Hiramasa kingfish with sesame and cucumber, scallops with yuzu kosho and silken tofu, pork katsu steamed buns, calamari with yuzukosho, fried pork-chop tonkatsu, teriyaki fish collar, wagyu porterhouse on the bone and pork kakuni bossam.

Hôntô, Fortitude Valley: Although finding Hôntô in its tucked-away position in the heart of The Valley might be a little bit of a challenge at first, it’s well worth the search. This restaurant specialises in cutting-edge Japanese cuisine, prepped and served within one of the most jaw-dropping interiors you’re likely to see in Brisbane. Eats include the likes of grilled Hokkaido scallops with nori butter and bonito flakes, Moreton Bay bug katsu sandos, shiitake and vegetable dumplings with kombu dashi, and smoked chicken with soybean and cultured-cream puree, burnt butter and black garlic.

Komeyui, Spring Hill: Though a relative newcomer in Brisbane, Komeyui boasts an established reputation in Melbourne, where it was founded in Port Melbourne in 2011 (where it operated until it relocated to South Melbourne in 2020). The Brisbane operation continues Komeyui’s effort to blend art and food, serving Japanese cuisine melded with a hint of multicultural flair. The seasonally shifting offering consists of three main components – an a la carte menu, a ten-course omakase service and a ten-course kaiseki menu. Komeyui’s excellent selection of sashimi and nigiri is made from seafood sourced from Victoria and Tasmania, as well as premium tuna from Japan. Phenomenal a la carte options include wagyu tataki, deep-fried shrimp with smoked-garlic salt, black cod marinated for three days in Kyoto miso, and slow-cooked pork belly with a soy sauce glaze.

Soba Shimbashi, Sunnybank: If you’re seeking a restaurant with a specialty, you must try Soba Shimbashi. This restaurant specialises in soba, noodles that are made from organic Tasmanian buckwheat and Australian wheat flour. These hand-crafted strands come served chilled with cold dipping broth, warm with tempura prawn, whiting and vegetables, or as part of a soup with slow-cooked chicken breast, mixed mushroom, fried tofu skin, choy sum and wakame seaweed. Other menu items include, but aren’t limited to, wasabi-flavoured diced raw octopus, agedashi tofu, takoyaki and chicken karaage.

Shunsai, East Brisbane: Shunsai Restaurant focuses on Japanese-style fine dining, offering an intimate experience with dishes made with fresh, locally sourced and in-season ingredients. Specialising in kaiseki in particular, chef Shun Mori delivers a degustation-style collection of small dishes, intricately assembled to highlight flavour, colour and seasonality.

Bird’s Nest Yakitori & Bar, West End and Fortitude Valley: For the unfamiliar, yakitori is a Japanese style of grilled chicken skewers. A staple of Japanese izakaya menus and street-food hubs, yakitori skewers are typically cooked over a charcoal fire, a technique also employed at Bird’s Nest Yakitori. Both locations cook its succulent morsels over special Binchoutan (or white charcoal) grills, serving up the likes of traditional chicken meatballs, Willi Willi Creek pork belly, chicken hearts, vegetables and more.

Fumiki’s Sushi Kappo, Robertson: Fumiki’s Sushi Kappo is an eight-seat Kyoto-style omakase restaurant that celebrates Queensland seafood and local produce via an ever-evolving menu. Head chef Fumiki Hayashi is putting his skills on show across an offering that could tally anywhere between 15 to 18 courses, starting with a procession of cold and warm dishes, followed by a number of artfully prepared sushi, a soup course and then dessert to finish.

Bishamon Japanese Restaurant, Spring Hill: Spring Hill’s Bishamon is a family-owned restaurant that serves up some seriously stellar dishes designed to be shared with friends. Wagyu beef tataki, pan-fried pork dumplings, okonomi rolls, tempura fish cakes, grilled salmon fillets with soy and butter sauce, and thick udon noodle soups will be enough to fill, but the rest of the menu will have you coming back again and again.

Hikari, Teneriffe: A relative newcomer to Brisbane’s dining scene, Hikari has wasted no time in building a reputation for its izakaya-style eats and casual-cool atmosphere. Traditional Japanese options a slight tweaking to break the mould slightly while making the food approachable for all. Must-try options include the hiramasa kingfish with yuzu soy, fresh jalapeno and truffle oil, deep-fried soft-shell crab salad with shrimp chips, donburi rice bowls, Hiroshima-style okonomu-yakisoba and katsu sandos.

Shizen Japanese Cuisine, Camp Hill: Located in the site previously home to Martha Street Kitchen, Shizen Japanese Cuisine serves a broad array of Japanese eats. Devour plates of beef tataki, sharable portions of aburi salmon, tempura bento boxes, wagyu rump donrui and much, much more.

Oishii Sushi Bar, Sunnybank: Sunnybank’s go-to for phenomenal Japanese eats boasts an extensive menu, so it’s best to start small and work your way up. Garlic butter scallops, pickled seaweed salads and tori karaage are great starting points, and from there we suggest working your way through the likes of spicy scallop sashimi, cone-shaped temaki sushi, Japanese-style fried rice wrapped in omelette and tempura udon.

KatsuCo, Sherwood and North Lakes: Versatility is undoubtedly one of the cuisine’s greatest strengths. Sushi, sashimi, ramen, yakitori, donburi, udon – there’s something for most tastes. Chef Louis Seo has an affinity for katsu, which forms the basis for his casual eatery concept KatsuCo. Louis is taking a non-traditional approach to katsu, with French cooking techniques and ingredients adding a tasty twist to his interpretation while making as much of the menu in house as possible. KatsuCo’s culinary crown jewel is undoubtedly the 350-g pork rib-eye tomahawk katsu, which is aged for six days, brined until tender, coated in panko crumb and lightly fried until golden. The tomahawk is available alongside other specialty items including the cheese katsu (melted mozzarella cheese encased in crispy pork loin), ebi katsu (breaded tiger king prawns with tartare sauce), chicken katsu, tofu katsu and katsu curry.

Hosokawa, Hamilton: The local favourite is a bona fide star of the Japanese cuisine scene in Brisbane, with a menu that casts an eye across several of Japan’s culinary essentials. We hear the miso eggplant, the tuna karaage and the sushi is phenomenal, but with substantial a la carte offering to pick from we encourage you to experiment.

Izakaya Publico, Brisbane City: The signature restaurant at Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre, Izakayo Publico offers an authentic Japanese dining experience using locally sourced produce. As the first restaurant in Australia with a Warayaki Grill, diners can tuck into flavoursome grilled fare like bonito tataki and kushiyaki skewers alongside other Japanese-inspired dishes.

Sono Japanese Restaurant, Hamilton: Japanese fine dining doesn’t get much more fine than Sono. This award-winning concept delivers a multi-faceted dining experience, from casual lunch options, refined dinner settings and a scintillating teppanyaki offering. From sushi and sashimi platters, gyu tataki, skewered wagyu tenderloin, black cod saiko taki and seafood ishiyaki, Sono has incorporated the width and breadth of Japanese cuisine under one roof.

Uncle Don, Rosalie: Donburi, or Japanese rice bowls, is a versatile and comforting staple of Japan’s casual dining scene. Uncle Don in Rosalie is an eatery that looks to elevate the humble dish with modern cooking techniques and house-made ingredients often reserved for more upscale dining experiences. The menu starts with pork katsu sandos, baked cauliflower with miso chickpea cream, Japanese meatballs with potato salad and house-made burnt eggplant dip with lotus chips. As for the drool-worthy donburi, you’ve got options – grilled freshwater eel with scrambled free-range egg, char-grilled chicken with teriyaki butter and charcoal-grilled wagyu dons available.

Tenya, Brisbane City: Located in Brisbane Quarter’s podium-level dining hub, Tenya is a restaurant that traverses the gastronomic versatility of modern Japanese cuisine. Folks moseying in for lunch can choose from a range of hearty donburi and ramen dishes, but the menu expands at dinner with the likes of kobachi (small bowls of snacks and side dishes), crispy tempura morsels like Pacific Bay oysters and soft-shell crab, sashimi feasts (including omakase-level ‘best cut’ platters), a sensational sushi and nigiri banquet, or a sizzling series of hot plates like seared A5 Kagoshima wagyu and chargrilled teriyaki Maryland.

Taro’s Ramen, various locations: Ramen bars are a staple of quick and casual Japanese dining, and Taro’s Ramen is one of the best proponents of nourishing noodle-laden broth in Brisbane. Across his four locations, Taro has painstakingly perfected his core range of ramen, including classic tonkotsu, shoyu, shio and tsukemen. Beyond the ramen, Taro also dishes out the likes of chicken karaage, spicy cold tofu, homemade gyoza, curries, chicken schnitzel sandwiches and more. Want more ramen? We don’t blame you. Click here to check out our list of Brisbane’s best ramen joints.

Shimo Yakiniku, Milton: Yakiniku in Japanese refers to, in a broad sense, grilled meat cuisine – specifically cooking bite-sized meat. Commonly described as Japanese barbecue, yakiniku is one of the most popular national dishes of Japan. Shimo Yakinuku is one of the best spots to get a taste of Japanese barbecue in Brisbane, with numerous grills allowing guests to cook and devour morsels such as premium wagyu with a marble score of nine, Berkshire pork jowl, octopus, chicken and vegetables. An a la carte menu features sashimi platters, sansho pepper chicken wings, Japanese beef tartare and yuzu sorbet.

Mizu, Teneriffe: Fresh local produce is transformed into delightful contemporary Japanese bites at Teneriffe’s Mizu, exemplified across its bountiful lunch and dinner menus. We love the sound of Mizu’s bento and teishoku sets, but if we have the urge to splurge then you can see us tucking into the likes of deep-fried panko-crumbed pork fillet, crab and soba salad, yellowfin tuna steaks and unagi rolls.

Ku-O Japanese Restaurant, Sunnybank and Ku-O at the Gabba, Woolloongabba: When your concept is so red-hot that you expand to other suburbs, it’s a sure sign that you’re onto something good (and delicious). Ku-O does not compromise on quality, freshness or authenticity when it comes to Japanese fare – the wagyu katsu is an absolute game-changer and the dessert menu is definitely worth saving room for.

Honourable mentionsYuzu & Co in Milton, Okuman Karaage & Ramen Bar in South Brisbane, Mobo Japanese Restaurant in Kangaroo Point, Nonda in Newstead, Osaka Japanese Dining Bar in Ashgrove, Hatori Karaage in Camp Hill, Shinbashi Yakiniku in Underwood and Wagaya in Fortitude Valley.

Have a suggestion that you think we’ve missed? Let us know about your favourite Japanese restaurant at [email protected].

The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.


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