Anyone who’s ever been to Japan will know that the Japanese take their food very seriously. Here in Singapore, we’re privileged to have some of the best Japanese restaurants outside of the country, varying from cheap sushi chains and yakitori joints all the way up to the big guns – where money is no object.
It’s in that spirit of pure umami indulgence that we’ve compile a list of the 10 most impressive and premium Japanese dining spots in town. We’re talking a bill of easily $100 to $400 per person for dinner, but you true Japanese food lovers will still find an excuse to check these venues out, because you know it’s going to be sugoi desu ne!
Mikuni translates to “three kingdoms” in Japanese – a fitting name for a large 150-seat Japanese restaurant that doesn’t stop at just amazing sushi. The sizeable menu is separated into three categories, headed by a a trio of veteran chefs determined to redefine traditional Japanese flavours with global experiences.
The Sushi & Sashimi station sees Chef de Cuisine Masa Nakao showcasing the beautiful freshness of his Jou Sashimi (a selection of four seasonal sashimi flown from Tsukiji Market) and extravagant Lobster Maki. From the Teppanyaki counter, seasoned chef Eric Yong sizzles up incredible seasonal seafood as well as a 63°C Slow-cooked Miyazaki Wagyu Short Rib with riveting theatrics and showmanship. From the Robatayaki section, how does some smoky Kurobuta Pork Belly, King Prawn, or Kabocha Pumpkin fresh from the charcoal grill sound? An all-encompassing seasonal Matsutake set menu goes for $230, while teppanyanki and robatayaki lunch sets start from $80.
Mikuni is located at Level 3, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189560, p. +65 6431 6156. Open Mon-Sat 12pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm. Closed Sun.
This hidden joint in the basement of The Forum comes under the helm of award-winning Chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara, who spent seven years as personal chef to Japanese ambassadors in San Francisco and Singapore. Previous known as Kaiseki Yoshiyuki, the rebranded YOSHI is where you’ll find an authentic Kyoto fine dining experience made with the freshest seasonal ingredients. After all, the chef once led the kitchen team at Saitama prefecture’s esteemed Kyoryori Hosoi restaurant. Go for the mouthwatering Sakura Ebi Don ($68) during lunch or opt for one of three themed dinners: Maguro ($158), Uni ($188), and Beef ($178). See our review here.
YOSHI is located at #B1-583, The Forum, Orchard Rd, Singapore 238884, p. +65 8188 0900. Open Mon-Sat 12pm – 2pm, 7pm – 10pm. Closed Sun.
One of the older ‘big boy’ Japanese restaurants in Singapore, Shiraishi at The Ritz is named after the head chef and owner, Shiraishi Shinji. Specialising in Edomae sushi, the catch is flown in from the famed Tsukiji Fish Market each week. Their Lunch Set starts from a wallet-friendly $50 for eight kinds of sushi, and goes up to $130 for a Full Sushi Course with seasonal dishes, special tuna soup, and mixed sashimi. Oh, and if you’re a futomaki fan, make sure you order some as the serving here is utterly delicious.
Shiraishi is located at The Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore, 7 Raffles Avenue, #03-01/02, Singapore 039799, p. +65 6338 3788. Open daily 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm.
Ginza Rokukakutei is one of the only venues in Singapore to offer an elevated kushikatsu experience, making what is traditionally a casual dining affair something much, much more. Fans of tempura will love the array of deep-fried skewered meats and vegetables at this Michelin-quality chain: fresh, tasty without being overly seasoned, and non-greasy. Note that this restaurant only serves two omakase menus: the first at $134 for 20 skewers, and the other at $288, featuring 15 skewers with one glass of champagne and four wines! Read our review here.
Ginza Rokukakutei is located at 331 North Bridge Rd, #01-04 Odeon Towers, Singapore 188720, +65 6266 1077. Open Tue-Fri 2pm – 2.30pm, 5pm – 11pm, Sat-Sun 5pm – 11pm. Closed Mon.
Shinji by Kanesaka
Shinji by Kanesaka is widely considered to be some of the best restaurants (Japanese or not) in the city, and come as offshoots of Chef Shinji’s first restaurant in Ginza. The eponymous restaurant sees exquisite Edomae-style sushi and age-old Japanese dishes executed by a native Japanese team, embodying an dining experience that’s truly authentic. Prices start from $75 for a lunchtime Setsugetsuka Sushi Course Set all the way to a whopping $500 Chef’s Omakase Special – deservedly priced, of course.
Shinji by Kanesaka is located at Carlton Hotel, 76 Bras Basah Rd, Singapore 189558, p.+65 6338 6131 & The St. Regis, 29 Tanglin Rd, Singapore 247911, p. +65 6884 8239. Both open daily 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm.
A meal at Tetsuya Wakada’s Waku Ghin is possibly the biggest dining investment you’ll ever make, but if you have $450 to splash, it’s definitely worth visiting at least once in your life. Dinner guests will enjoys an epic 10-course degustation menu created from exclusive seasonal produce like Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Caviar, and Ohmi Wagyu Steak with Wasabi and Citrus Soy. Then, finish off with dessert in the drawing room with views of Marina Bay. Be sure to check out their exquisite bar, with holds its own when it comes to cocktails and more affordable bar food.
Waku Ghin is located at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, #02-02, 10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018956, +65 6688 8507. Open daily for two seatings, 5.30pm and 8pm.
Housed on the fourth floor of Pan Pacific Hotel, Keyaki offers both traditional tatami-room style dining as well as Western seating, for those keen to try something new. What it is really known for, however, is awesome teppanyaki cooked live in front of you. Don’t expect a meal here to be cheap, but for real meat-lovers, you get immaculate cuts supplemented by fresh produce and an assortment of seasonal sashimi and sukiyaki. For the best of each, the Kiri Kaiseki ($200, includes grilled lobster and wagyu beef) should leave you satisfied. See our review here.
Keyaki is located at Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Blvd, Marina Square, Singapore 039595, p. +65 6826 8240. Open daily 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm.
Behind the hinoki wood counter of his intimate restaurant, Head Chef Ryosuke Harada puts in meticulous effort into the dishes he serves, from simpler pieces of otoro sushi to time-intensive cooked items like stewed tuna tendon and fish liver pate. Most, if not all the ingredients used are fresh off the plane from Japan, and their sake list largely features small batch craft breweries like Sumikawa and Mitobe. The Omakase-only Dinner starts from $130 and goes up to $300.
Sushi Mitsuya is located at 60 Tras St, Singapore 078999, p. +65 6438 2608. Open Mon-Sat 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 9.30pm. Closed Sun.
The meat-heads around Singapore will already know Fat Cow well. Importing its beef from some of Japan’s finest farms, this is one place in Singapore where you know you’ll get a quality cut, whether you like them grilled (Sumibiyaki), cooked in Shabu Shabu, or in Sukiyaki. Of course it’s not just about meat here. The menu consists of other superb selection of sashimi and other Japanese delicacies: you might enjoy the Sliced Bream with Black Truffle ($38) or Scallop Sashimi ($58) off the ‘cold’ menu.
Fat Cow is located at Camden Medical Centre #01-01/02, 1 Orchard Boulevard, Singapore 248649, +65 6735 0308. Open Sun-Thu 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm, Fri-Sat 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm.
Far removed from the madness of Orchard Road, you’ll find Ki-Sho along Scotts one of those old colonial black and white mansions along Scotts Road. But it’s not just the facade that’s impressive: the interior is fully equipped with a stylish sake room, two upper deck dining rooms, and a kappo-style sushi bar. Dining here is quite the grand affair as Chef Hamamoto, a former student at Kyoto’s top culinary academy, brings out the best ingredients of the season. Creations include the Hokkaido Uni, Caviar, and Seasonal Vegetables (pictured above) covered with refreshing dashi jelly, available as part of several omakase menus from $150.
Ki-Sho is located at 29 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228224, p. +65 6733 5251. Open Mon-Fri 12pm – 2pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm, Sat 6.30pm – 10.30pm. Closed Sun.
Top Image: Mikuni