Fresh, Inventive and Delicious: Las Vegas' 10 Best Japanese Restaurants

Photo courtesy of Barbara Kraft
Photo courtesy of Caesars Palace
By Terrisa Meeks, Las Vegas Local Expert

Las Vegas’ best Japanese restaurants feature fresh seafood that arrives in town just as many visitors do: on an airplane. Some of the world's top sushi chefs call Las Vegas home, giving diners an abundance of delicious options. Some of the world's best sushi restaurants are finding their way to Las Vegas, including celebrity-favorite Nobu, which has its largest and most innovative restaurant inside Caesars Palace.

While the seafood at these restaurants may be extraordinary, their dishes don’t stop at the sushi. Las Vegas is home to some of the world's top teppanyaki restaurants, where the skilled chefs are entertaining and talented, impressing diners with that fancy knife work while creating delicious food.

Several local Japanese restaurants provide guests with authentic experiences, like Raku Grill, the notable eatery in Chinatown that’s a favorite of local chefs and serious food lovers. Chinatown is located just west of the Strip, and its wide assortment of authentic Asian restaurants draws both locals and tourists.

Along with the noteworthy food, many of the Strip’s Japanese restaurants are designed to deliver a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. Their elegant interiors featuring waterfalls, gardens and other beautiful backdrops. Dinner at one of these restaurants is an experience you won’t forget.

For more ideas on where to dine, check out our list of the 10 best Japanese restaurants in Las Vegas.

10. Yonaka Modern Japanese
Photo courtesy of Yonaka Modern Japanese

Since its opening in 2013, Yonaka Modern Japanese has steadily gained attention for its innovative dishes. Yonaka serves their dinner dishes tapas style, using traditional Japanese ingredients incorporated with international flavors and inspirations. The emphasis is on high quality, with most seafood being flown in from Japan. The distinctively different style at Yonaka is seen in dishes like the Spicy Savory Donuts appetizer with tamari braised beef, foie gras caramel, strawberry jam and paprika. Cool and hot plates, plus sushi and sashimi give diners plenty to choose from. Look for innovative dishes like the tea brined ribs, or the fried duck. Dessert is a must at Yonaka. The restaurant's innovative and delectable desserts are not only visually captivating, but also dangerously tasty.

9. Monta Ramen
Photo courtesy of Monta Ramen

Located west of the Strip in Chinatown, Monta Ramen has a devoted following for its distinctive types of ramen. In addition to Shoyu Ramen, which comes with a chicken or vegetable-based broth, Monta serves "Kurume" style Tonkotsu ramen with a broth made from pork bones and imported soy sauce from Japan. This style of ramen is distinguished by its rich pork broth and thin noodles. Miso Ramen, a heartier soup, is prepared with miso and oily pork broth. Basic toppings are green onions, chashu, bamboo shoots and kikurage, and special toppings include roasted pork, nori, nitamago and mustard leaf. Other dishes include fried rice and rice bowls.

8. Osaka Japanese Bistro
Photo courtesy of Osaka Japanese Bistro

Recognized as far abroad as Japan for the quality of its cuisine, family-owned Osaka has been serving local folks since the late 1960s. The quality of the food at Osaka is the reason the restaurant consistently wins the local paper's reader's choice award as one of the best Japanese restaurants. Within the restaurant are three venues: a sushi bar, tatami rooms, and a teppanyaki grill. Choose your section, and then sit down to exotic maki and nigiri, or enjoy chicken or steak from the set-price teppan menu. Osaka strives to offer authentic Japanese fare and currently has exotics usually found only in Japan, such as aoyagi (live surf clams), awabi (live abalone) and sayori (halfbeak). Always popular, the restaurant attracts families and couples alike, and it makes for a terrific late-night destination too.

7. Sushi Roku
Photo courtesy of Sushi Roku

With its striking Strip views and sumptuous sushi selections, it's no wonder sushi fanatics love Sushi Roku. One bite and it's easy to see why Sushi Roku has such a devoted following. Executive Sushi Chef Haruhiko Takeshita selects only the best and freshest fish on a daily basis and presents his special dishes with a secret ingredient brought over from his family-owned Japanese restaurant in Gunma, Japan. Must-tries include the Yellowtail Sashimi with diced chilies and the signature Tuna Jalapeno roll, spicy tuna topped with tuna sashimi and yuzu olive oil. The servers at Sushi Roku are well trained on how to create a customized tasting menu based on guests' preferences, so if you're feeling adventurous, feel free to leave the menu in your server's hands.

6. Sen of Japan
Photo courtesy of Sen of Japan

Winning rave reviews from diners and critics, Sen of Japan is a local favorite that visitors have started to discover. The expertly prepared food is served in tasteful but comfortable surroundings, and its off-the-Strip location helps keep the prices reasonable, although not cheap. The former head chef of Nobu at the Hard Rock, Nakano Hiromi, opened Sen of Japan, and his expertise is obvious in the delectable food. Cold and warm appetizers; sushi and sashimi; grilled, braised, and fried dishes; and tempura give diners a wide selection satisfying options. Sen of Japan may be a little out of the way, but once you arrive you'll be glad you made the drive.

5. Mizumi
Photo courtesy of Barbara Kraft

One of the Strip's most striking restaurants, Mizumi offers guests a taste of "new Japan" courtesy of rising star chef Devin Hashimoto. In addition to sushi and sashimi selections, classic entrees, robatayaki selections prepared over authentic Japanese charcoal grills and teppanyaki offerings, Chef Hashimoto pays homage to Japanese cuisine with unique creations like the Baked Sweet Miso-Marinated Black Cod with cherry blossom pickled baby vegetables, or the Jidori Chicken and Black Truffle Teriyaki with baby corn, yellow wax means, squash and maitake mushrooms. While the menu is sure to delight taste buds, Mizumi's atmosphere is truly magnificent. Whether seated in the main dining room or the theatrical teppanyaki room, there are unimpeded views of a captivating Japanese eco-garden designed to transport guests from the desert to the Far East.

4. Raku Grill
Photo courtesy of Raku

Raku Japanese Charcoal Grill in Las Vegas' Chinatown attracts chefs from all over. It's a popular foodie destination, having been on its fair share of travel and food shows. Some of the menu's stars include pork ear, Iberico pork and homemade tofu. Look for an impressive attention to details at Raku, like the five types of soy sauce or the monthly sake sampler featuring three selections from Japan. Diners will find specialties here that are usually only available in Japan. The food here attracts the most dedicated food lovers with its wide menu of delights, like Steamed Foi Gras Egg Custard, or Kobe beef in several preparations. This Japanese restaurant has expanded, but it's still a small place, so reservations are a must. Plan on a short cab ride from the Strip.

3. Kabuto
Photo courtesy of Kabuto

At its location off the Strip in Las Vegas' Chinatown, Kabuto's speciality is Edomae Sushi, prepared traditionally. This style of sushi originated in the Tokyo area as street food nearly 200 years ago, and has evolved into a refined experience. Small pieces of raw or marinated fish are applied to bite size pieces of vinegar rice, and is more commonly known as nigiri. These masterpieces of fresh fish are designed to be eaten as soon as the sushi master makes it. Since the specialty at Kabuto is nigiri and sashimi style sushi, you won't find sushi rolls like maki or hako. Kabuto's menus includes three types of Omakase courses and a brief a la carte menu that includes an appetizer, sashimi, miso soup, and dessert. Kabuto is just west of the Strip and offers two seatings per night at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

2. Katsuya
Photo courtesy of Katsuya at SLS

Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi worked with design leader Philippe Starck to create Katsuya at the SLS Las Vegas. The superb food at Katsuya has been drawing attention from critics and foodies since its opening and has earned a loyal following. This beautiful space is a feast for the senses and is a perfect complement to the artful and delicious Japanese dishes. Chef Uechi masterfully translates Japanese flavors for the American palate. Guests can enjoy unique rolls and spectacular sushi and sashimi platters, specialty cocktails like the Watermelon Cucumber Mojito, and Wagyu beef and seafood dishes. Other featured dishes include the Lobster & Truffle "Chawan-mushi," Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Wagyu Fried Rice. Social hour at Katsuya's bar happens every evening from 5-7 p.m. and features specially priced signature dishes, sushi, salads, specialty cocktails, sake, well drinks and beer.

1. Nobu Restaurant and Lounge
Photo courtesy of Caesars Palace

The new Nobu at Caesars Palace is Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's largest and most innovative restaurant to date. With more than 325 seats, the restaurant offers a sophisticated yet whimsical experience and features a sushi bar, exclusive private dining area and an impressive selection of dishes including Nobu's signature items, like the Rock Shrimp Tempura and Yellowtail Sashimi with jalapeno and squid "pasta." It also features three teppanyaki tables--a first for Chef Nobu's U.S. restaurants--along with the Las Vegas debut of brick-oven dishes. Guests can experience the essence of Chef Nobu's cuisine with a multi-course Omakase menu spotlighting either Nobu signature items or the chef's daily creations.