Get your fix of sushi, sashimi, or famous black cod…
Dubai’s Japanese cuisine scene is thriving. From take-out sushi spots to high-end glamorous restaurants, there are plenty of places to get your fix, whether you’re looking for budget or blowout.
For a glamorous evening dinner, check out Aka. The restaurant, with its huge blooms of deep fuchsia floral arrangements, is ultra-Instagrammable. Here you’ll find theatrical sushi displays and delicious starters, but we recommend saving room for the exquisitely cooked Wagyu tenderloin (Dhs350) is served on a smoking charcoal platter with asparagus, plus two mouthwatering dips in teriyaki and spicy beef. Find out what What’s On thought of Aka here.
Aka, The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, daily 4pm to 1am. Tel: (0)4 578 0555. @aka_dubai
This quirky restaurant and bar will have you feeling like you’ve stepped straight into a backstreet in Tokyo. With neon lights and a cool design, you’ll get to try loads of tasty street food like the Wasabi Prawns or Akira Rock Shrimps. They also offer their take on Neapolitan pizza, Tokyo style, and it’s one of the best pizza’s we’ve eaten in Dubai.
Akiba Dori, Building 8, Dubai Design District, Sat to Wed 12pm to 12am, Thurs 12pm to 1am, Fri 12pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 7707949. akibadori.com
Named after the renowned Michelin Star Chef, Akira Back, this swanky new restaurant lives at the equally-swanky W the Palm. The pro snowboarder turned professional chef has devised a menu that fuses together Asian flavours with Korean and American influences, telling Back’s personal story of adventure.
Akira Back, W Dubai The Palm, West Crescent Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 7pm to 11.30am. Tel: (04) 245 5555. marriott.com
Benihana was one of the first Teppanyaki experiences in the city, and hosted one of the first- and most fun – theatrical Teppanyaki nights in Dubai. You can still expect the chefs to put on a show when you dine in these days, and they’ll prepare your choice of seafood, tender meat and fresh vegetables right there in front of you. The legendary restaurant boasts both indoor and outdoor seating, though we’d pick a seat at the Teppanyaki everytime.
Benihana, Amwaj Rotana, The Walk JBR, Sun, Tues, Wed, Thurs 6pm to 12am, Fri & Sat 12pm to 12am, Mon closed. Tel: (04) 428 3089. rotana.com
One of the longest-serving Japanese restaurants in Dubai, Bentoya is known for its brilliant sushi in a no-frills setting. Here you’ll find authentic Japanese dishes and a selection of unique grilled options, including yellowtail, scallops and vinegar mackerel.
Bentoya, Sheikh Zayed Rd, daily 11.30am to 11.30pm. facebook.com/bentoyasheikhzayed
Foodies familiar with the DIFC scene will be in the know about the new ninth floor restaurant called Clap Dubai. In case you missed it, the Japanese restaurant, originally from Beirut, is the latest open-air nightlife venue on everyone’s lips. As the highest spot in DIFC, the windowless space looks out across the glimmering Downtown Dubai, but if you’d prefer a spot further indoors, the view is just as delightful. Find out what What’s On thought of Clap DIFC here.
Clap Dubai, Gate Village 11, DIFC, daily 6pm to 3am. Tel: (0)4 569 3820. claprestaurant.com
This old-school izakaya, in the Millennium Aiport Hotel, is something of a hidden gem. It was founded by an ex-sumo wrestler, and it dishes out classic izakaya bites that pair perfectly with a beer. Think: yakitori skewers, chicken wings and fried karaage chicken.
Fujiya, Millennium Airport Hotel, daily noon to 2am.@fujiya_dubai/
When the decor, menu and design are on song, great restaurants have the ability to transport you. And so it is with Hanami, a seductive Japanese eatery on Palm Jumeirah that whisks you away to the backstreets of Tokyo. It can be found 15th floor of the Andaz Dubai The Palm with amazing views.
Hanami, 15th floor, Andaz Dubai The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Mon to Sat 5pm to 11pm, Fri 12.30pm to 11pm. instagram.com/hanamidxb/
Hoseki is a 9-seater (yes, really) restaurant, on the fourth floor of the Bulgari Hotel, which sets it apart from its competitors in an entirely unique way. There’s no menu either – you’ll have dishes selected for you by Chef Masahiro Sugiyama in a two hour omakase experience (meaning ‘I’ll leave it up to you’). There’s no walk ins, so you’ll need to book in advance to ensure your seat. It’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, with either a Dhs900 menu or Dhs1,400 menu to choose from.
Hōseki, Bulgari Resort Dubai, Jumeira Bay, Dubai, lunch: 1pm from Wednesday to Saturday, dinner: 6pm and 8.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Tel: (04) 777 5307. bulgarihotels.com
Hibachi is set out in a really cool, home kitchen-esque environment with large tables, and an island-style Teppanyaki set up with twelve spots around it so you can be close to the action when your dishes are being created right before your eyes.
Hibachi, Roda Al Bustan Hotel, Dubai, dMon to Fri 3pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 282 0000. facebook.com/HibachiDubai
The chorus of “irasshaimase” from the staff as you walk in to Izakaya will ring bells with anyone who has visited Tokyo: the cool, casual vibe makes this spot good for girls’ nights out or for laid back dinner dates, but the quirky touches mean it’s fun for families too.
Izakaya, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Dubai, 6pm to 12am Mon to Sat, closed on Sundays. Tel: (04) 414 3000. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com
Ikigai, found in Millennium Place Dubai Marina, has just opened its doors, bringing the flavours of Far East Asia to Dubai. The laid-back restaurant and bar concept aims to fuse high quality Japanese street food at lunch and dinner, with an extensive cocktail menu for those chilled after-work vibes. On the menu, guests can expect a varied selection from grilled tiger prawns with Kombu butter to crispy tempura burgers. The mix-and-match sharing plates are designed to be ideal for celebrations and sharing.
Ikigai, Millennium Place Dubai Marina, daily 12pm to 1am. Tel: (0)4 550 8114. ikigaidubai.ae
Forgoing an overly fancy experience, Kinoya welcomes to you a casual neighborhood eatery that’s perfect for a post-work catch up dinner. There’s a dedicated ramen counter, a chefs table, two private dining rooms and a restaurant. On the menu, you’ll find Ramen bowls, chicken, meat fish or vegetable Yakitori as well as Izakaya snacks such as sushi, tempura, kobachi and cute desserts.
Kinoya, The Onyx Tower 2, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, open 12pm to 1am daily. Tel: (04) 548 6776. @kinoya.ae
This famed Tokyo transplant has set up shop in the Oberoi, Business Bay. The Fudo Nippon promotion runs at Kimura-Ya from January 18 to 31, highlighting special dishes such as the A5 wagyu shabushabu (a DIY hotpot of thinly sliced beef), the Fuji sushi set, or the premium wagyu sirloin steak.
Kimura-Ya, The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 444 1455. @kimurayadubai
With it’s luxe location at Dubai Opera, you can bet that Kohantei is high on the sophistication scale. The decor of the restauran is simple yet elegant, leaving your palette to be wowed with the multi-course traditional ‘kaseiki’ menu.
Kohantei, Dubai Opera, Dubai, daily 12pm to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm. Tel: (04) 243 4951. Facebook.com/kohanteidubai
New restaurant Mimi Kakushi transports you to 1920s Osaka, a glamorous homage to the avant-garde oriental era, with a sultry amalgamation of big round leather booths, a large mahogany-esque bar with a cool jazz soundtrack playing in the background. Enjoy sharing plates boasting signature dishes such as sashimi, sushi, tempura and gyoza. For mains try the beautifully tender Kagoshima Wagyu beef. Find out what What’s On thought of Mimi Kakushi here.
Four Seasons Resort Restaurant Village. Daily 6pm to 2am. Tel: (0)43794811. mimikakushi.ae
Expect to have culinary delights prepared, cooked and served right infront of you at Miyako at Hyatta Regency Dubai. It’s divided into three different dining experiences; a live Teppanyaki room, intimate Titami room and the main dining area, which also has a sushi bar too.
Miyako, Hyatt Regency Dubai, Al Khaleej Rd, Dubai, daily 12.30 to 3pm, 6pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 209 6914. facebook.com/MiyakoDubai
This contemporary restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai, holds the worlds fieriest grill in a restaurant ,with a huge Warayaki grill right in the centre (because, where else would you put it?), with flames that burn at 900°C and shoot two metres into the air. Try the Wagyu short rib for a standout dish.
Netsu, Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai, Tues to Sat 6.30pm to 10pm Tel: (04) 7772232. mandarinoriental.com/dubai
Celebrity hotspot Nobu by acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa is famous across the globe for its delicately crafted, elegant dishes that blending traditional Japanese cuisine with Peruvian ingredients. Nobu is well-known for its sushi and melt-in-the-mouth black cod.
Nobu, Atlantis the Palm, Dubai, Sat to Thurs 6pm to 11pm, Fri 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 426 2626. atlantisthepalm.com/nobu
Sumo Sushi & Bento
A family-friendly restaurant that has been in the UAE for 19 years, Sumo Sushi & Bento is the perfect pit-stop for when you’ve worked up a hunger wandering around the mall. It’s great for takeaways too, and you’ll find outlets across Dubai including in JLT, Dubai Media City and Al Garhoud.
Sumo Sushi & Bento, Jumeirah Town Centre, Ground Floor, Jumeirah Town Centre Mall, Jumeirah, Dubai, daily 11am to 12am. sumosushibento.com
TOMO, Raffles Dubai
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TOMO really needs no introduction, as one of the city’s most wow-worthy, and longest standing upscale Japanese restaurants. From its rooftop terrace, you’re privvy to unparalleled views of the Dubai skyline, day or night. Their menu celebrates the very best of Japanese food, and it’s even had a visit from H.H. Sheikh Hamdan.
TOMO, Raffles Hotel, WAFI, Dubai, Sat ro Wed 12.30pm to 12am, Thurs & Fri 12pm to 12am. (04) 357 7888. tomo.ae
More than a decade old and still arguably the most popular spot in the city for Japanese cuisine, at Zuma the menu is as sleek and sophisticated as the decor. The split level space quickly packs out for lunch and dinner and is also a popular spot for classy drinks in the lounge. You’ll want to book ahead several weeks in advance to bag the best table.
Zuma, Al Sa’ada Street, Dubai, Sun to Wed 12pm to 12am, Thurs 12pm to 1am, Fri 12.30pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 425 5660. zumarestaurant.com
Images: Facebook/ supplied