At 10Best, we're always on the lookout for Edmonton's best restaurants, and while we appreciate places that have a broad culinary range, we can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in a given cuisine. When we're in the mood for Japanese food in Edmonton, we head to Furusato - a reader favorite - or we count on Mikado Restaurant's solid track record and consistently great dishes. You'll find these places - and any of the restaurants on our list - to be fantastic options for Japanese cuisine, and if you're looking to concentrate your efforts, start with the vibrant Downtown area.


Mikado Restaurant

Alberta's first Japanese restaurant, Mikado regularly turns up in first place on the local "Best of..." polls, and it's easy to see why. Bento boxes are wildly popular, with neatly compartmentalized portions of beef shogayaki, chicken yakitori, barbecued shrimp, salmon teriyaki, rice and salad. But the menu includes other traditional options as well as more modern inventions. The signature dish, Ocean Wind, is a fabulous combination of squid, tuna and salmon wrapped around fresh veggies, seared and served with Dragon Sauce; the unusual Sushi Pizza (salmon, onion and seaweed on a grilled rice crust) is a winning creation with legions of fans.

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Kobe's chef and owner Victor Noborio has quite a respectable CV, having worked in various kitchens in Paris and the Japanese consulate in Edmonton. That experience translates well here, where sushi fans are treated to fabulous food in a stylishly spare setting enhanced with decorative screens that envelop each table in its own private little space. The best way to experience the kitchen's talents is to order a combination platter of sushi plus a cooked dish or two, and follow up with green tea ice cream.

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Japanese Village

Thirty years in operation can mean only one thing: this place is good! An Edmonton institution, Japanese Village is a teppan yaki style restaurant, where skilled chefs slice, dice, sling and flip until you've had a beautiful multi-course meal. It's great fun for kids, but even if you don't have any to take along, it's still worth checking out. Along with acrobatically prepared beef, chicken and seafood, you can enjoy traditional sushi and sashimi, or even a hamburger (yikes!) if you so desire – there's something for everyone.

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In addition to fantastic food, a delightful ambience complete with Japanese artwork, paper screens, and kimono-clad servers has allowed Yokozuna to flourish in a city where sushi bars seem to be on every corner. The menu is vast, and everything is excellent, but you'd do well to start with tempura. Perfectly battered and lightly fried, vegetables retain a toothsome crunch, while meats and seafood remain tender and juicy. Sushi, maki and temaki are supremely fresh and gorgeous; udon noodle bowls are comforting and flavorful. And if you're new to Japanese cuisine, try a bento box, which offers a lovely array of cooked dishes and sushi so you can sample several tastes and textures.

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Ideal for a special occasion or a date, Kyoto's upscale dining room is beautifully decorated; for more intimate gatherings there are also four tatami rooms. Of course, for a close up view of the chefs in action, there's no better place to sit than at the sushi bar. Throughout the restaurant, service is refreshingly friendly, speedy and helpful, putting even novice sushi eaters at ease. The illustrated menu includes plenty of variety – a lovely rainbow roll, maki, sashimi and nigiri. But if you prefer the cooked variety of Japanese cuisine, try pork-stuffed gyoza or chicken teriyaki, both of which earn raves from devoted fans.

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EastBound Bistro & Bar

If you adore sushi but your dining companion can't stomach it, Eastbound is the perfect choice. Although it started out as a Japanese eatery, with a few fusion dishes, today the menu is more wide-ranging and appeals to a broader demographic. The sushi and Japanese dishes are still first rate, and the sake bar is impressive by any standard. Additional options range from American bar favorites like chicken wings, nachos and ribs, to Italian pastas and risottos.

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Sushi Wasabi

Another strip mall restaurant that has more than overcome its uninspiring location, Sushi Wasabi does a brisk take-out business, but they also have a little space reserved for dine-in customers. Fantastic service is notable for its attention to detail – hot towels to wash your hands, beer served in chilled mugs – and despite the place's diminutive size, the menu variety is every bit as good as the larger places. Choose from favorites such as traditional sushi, maki, cone-style rolls, bento boxes, gyoza, and chicken teriyaki. Due to its size and popularity, tables fill up fast, especially on weekends, so plan accordingly!

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Tokyo Noodle Shop & Sushi Bar

Quick, casual and affordable, Tokyo Noodle Shop is great if you're pressed for time, but wonderful for a more leisurely dinner as well. The menu is vast: superb sushi of every type (including vegetarian options), yakitori, soups, tempura meats, seafood and veggies, and awesome ramen noodles. A fun place to go with a gaggle of friends – that way you sample a wide variety of sushi, sashimi and cooked dishes.

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Furusato was a pioneer on Edmonton's now thriving sushi scene. It's small but comfortable, and except for the tables and chairs and a couple of Westernized sushi rolls, it's about as authentic as it gets. You'll find a full range of sushi and sashimi, presented in authentic Japanese style with respectful attention to appearance and aroma as well as taste. Finish up with the green tea ice cream – you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Zen Shabu-Shabu Sushi & Grill Restaurant

Along with fab sushi, Zen offers shabu shabu, the Japanese hot pot dish where diners cook their own meats in hot broth. The best deal is to order the all-you-can-eat special, which includes sushi, sashimi, edamame, miso soup, gyoza, tempura – basically, whatever you could want. It's an undisputed bargain! The restaurant has numerous tatami rooms too, so your meal can be a bit more intimate and private than in a big dining room.

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