Head to the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne for sushi train, bento sets, rare Kobe beef and sake on tap.


If discreet fine dining with dramatic Japanese flair is on your wish list, enter the world of Akaiito. Dark and moody, lit by a rosy ribbon of light overhead, it’s tailor-made for clandestine catch-ups. Take your seat by the show kitchen to watch as the robata chefs and sushi masters prepare your eight-course set menu. From the Wagyu tartare to the robata chargrilled kingfish collar, it’s a gourmet degustation.

A person using chopsticks to put meat into a lettuce wrap


Akaiito's 'younger brother', Ototo is not to be overlooked. The comfortable dining space with booth seating is ideal for big groups of friends. Unlike Akaiito, Ototo presents a more casual vibe. Choose from a selection of Asian-inspired tapas and snacks, sharing plates, or the signature feed me menu.


Never tried Teishoku? Make a beeline to Torissong and right that wrong ASAP. A curated selection of rice, pickles, soup and rotating main is served here on the daily in neat wooden trays. Opt for teriyaki lamb ribs, char-grilled eel and pork katsu. Sides include curry, runny onsen egg, sashimi and more. They even have a cute mini bento for kids under 12. 

A wooden board filled with Japanese food
Torissong (Photo by @SofiaKLevin for What's On)

Mr Ramen San

Hidden in one of Melbourne’s most underrated arcades, Mr Ramen San is a cosy spot serving some of the city’s best ramen. The soup is made in the traditional Kyushu style, with pork bones in white broth. Charsu (roast pork) is char-grilled with peppercorns before serving. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available.


Ride the lift to join Tetsujin’s Tokyo-style train. The bright tiled station takes centre stage, with the darker robata grill to the side. Tempura pumpkin nigiri and lobster inari are around $4, with assorted sashimi from $9. To make your meal complete, order a summery watermelon cocktail from Tetsuijin’s legendary bar. Find it on level 4 of Emporium Melbourne.

A black bowl filled with sashimi at a restaurant and a watermelon cocktail.


The first of its kind in Melbourne, Dohtonbori is a popular export from Japan specializing in okonomiyaki. Plate up fresh cabbage pancakes at the helm of your personal teppanyaki hot plate, then load it with kimchi, lobster, pork belly and more.

Sakedokoro Namara

Sake on tap, whisky highballs and a ‘hallucination cocktail’ made with mushroom infused gin. Sakedokoro Namara is one of many new hidden neighborhood gems you need to discover in North Melbourne. Pair your sake flight (or happy hour tipple) with the chef’s ‘omakase’ box. It’s nine small bites like rolled omelette, scallops, torched unagi and more.

A wooden box filled with small Japanese food dishes.
Sakedokoro (Photo by @SofiaKLevin for What's On)


Now open in massive new digs at Emporium, Calia is all about premium Japanese fusion cuisine. Top eats include crispy roast pork, melt in the mouth Japanese Wagyu and umami fries. Order the matcha lava cake to add a touch of theatre to your meal. Then pop into the retail section for golden truffle salt, Japanese plum wine and gourmet instant noodles.


'Robata' is a centuries-old Japanese grilling technique and that's what the crew here do best. The menu is designed to be shared, so you get to try a little of everything. Order yakitori and kushiyaki skewers cooked on the charcoal grill, and fresh sashimi. Expect fun and casual dining, with neon lights and street signs cascading from the ceiling.

A cocktail, a beer and plates of sushi on a table.

Mugen Ramen

What’s cooler than a tiny robot-themed laneway bar projecting anime from the ceiling? The neighbouring ramen shop with a secret basement bar. Located down Bligh Place off Flinders Lane with essentially no signage, it’s not hard to skip right over Mugen. But it’s worth a detour for their classic ramen and tsukemen (dipping ramen). Order side dishes to share and crack a few bevs downstairs. 

Niku Ou

From their exclusive kobe beef supply to Japanese whiskey ice cream, Niku Ou nails modern contemporary Japanese dining. Strict guidelines are imposed on its deluxe Wagyu, which you can even order as an (extremely high-end) katsu sando. Other delights include foie gras nigiri, fresh sashimi and elevated izakaya side plates.


One of regional Victoria’s celebrated fine-dining restaurants upped sticks to Carlton in late 2018. Visit Kazuki for thoughtful Japanese-fusion dishes in an elegant, minimalist fit-out. The seven-course menu is a flavourful journey of nori crisp whipped cod roe, BBQ ox tongue, mussel crackers and more. Let the experts take the lead on drinks and select matched wines for a super luxe evening.

More high-end Japanese dining


Renowned for its innovative Japanese cuisine, stylish decor and city skyline views.


Yakimono is a high energy Japanese-inspired eating house.


Exquisite sushi and one of the city's finest wine cellars.

Sake Restaurant & Bar

This luxurious dining space at Hamer Hall offers premium Japanese dishes and sake.

Best Japanese cafes


The place for homely Japanese style food and drinks.

Fuumi Fuumi

A Japanese bakery and cafe with lunch specials and freshly baked pastries.

Saint Dreux

Speciality coffee bar offering Japanese-style katsu sando, sponge cakes and pastries.

The Budapest Cafe

A hidden gem of Carlton, inspired by Wes Anderson’s film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Best Japanese desserts

Uncle Tetsu

Takeaway store selling soft and fluffy Japanese-style cheesecakes.


Cafe serving soufflé-style pancakes.

Coppe Pan

Baking fresh four times daily, Coppe Pan has your gourmet sandwich craving covered.

Fresh Air & Pancake Melbourne

A Japanese dessert heaven with soufflé, dorayaki and soft serve.

Last updated on Tue 10 Jan 2023

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