Best Japanese Restaurants in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Best Japanese Restaurants: The Sushi and the Ecstasy

If Hong Kong has a fetish for one particular cuisine, it's Japanese. Why is this so? Well, there are probably more theories than items on a sushi menu, but the main ones go like this: Japanese is sorta like home-grown Cantonese, with its fondness for high quality ingredients and devotion to rice; it's a little more more exotic, and a little bit more expensive, so great for a date, a celebration, or a business lunch or dinner; and – if time presses – you can eat quickly and move on. Nobody ever stays still for long in this town.

As a result of all this, there are more Japanese restaurants in town than you can poke a chopstick at. They range from the extremely formal, such as Nadaman, to almost cheap and definitely cheerful joints that are little more than a few tables, a kitchen and a guy hollering at potential customers on the sidewalk outside. The celebrity side of things is well taken care of by Nobu, which also enjoys a quite splendid harbor view, one of the essentials of Hong Kong dining. And the younger generation is well represented by the likes of Yardbird.

Japanese food fans will find themselves impressed by the authenticity of Hong Kong's Japanese restaurants, which bear favorable comparison with those back in Japan.


Causeway Bay

With sushi and sashimi dishes to rival even the best restaurants in Japan, Sushi Hiro of Hong Kong is one of the top sushi bars in the city. There are three menus and your particular chef on duty will suggest his favorite dishes to get you started. The atmosphere is pleasant yet bustling as waiters and chefs alike tend to the tables and drop off food. While a night at Sushi Hiro can be pricey, there's no better way to spend your money on fresh Japanese cuisine while visiting the Pearl of the Orient. There are several Sushi Hiro branches around town.

Recommended for Japanese because: It's part of a chain of restaurants, but it's a good chain.

Matthew's expert tip: There aren't many tables, so be sure to book a seat well in advance.

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A stylish take on Japanese cuisine, Sushi Kuu finds itself at the top of the food chain in traditionally Asian inspired restaurants. The atmosphere is warm and pleasant and the staff on hand work just as well with patrons just popping in for a snack as they do with groups coming in for a prolonged sit-down dinner. With rave reviews and a repetitively affordable price point, Sushi Kuu is definitely on the short list of sushi joints to visit in Central, Hong Kong. Tempura, rice dishes and grilled meat are some of Sushi Kuu's other tempting options and well worth trying.

Recommended for Japanese because: This restaurant is right in Central, but in a reasonably quite location that's good for taking a break.

Matthew's expert tip: The fusion sushi rolls are as delicious as they are imaginative.

Read more about Sushi Kuu →

Photo courtesy of Unkai

Unkai is a small Japanese chain with locations is several upscale hotels. Spacious and airy, the space is divided into six separate areas; private and open teppan rooms, a sushi and sake bar, private rooms, main dining room and a tatami room - and accented with elements of nature (stone, wood, bamboo). Whether you're craving for sushi or pining for a teppanyaki performance meal, Unkai will satisfy. At lunch, they offer more than 20 different lunch sets, and there's a menu of over 100 sakes to sample. A very worthwhile option in a city that is crammed full of Japanese restaurants.

Recommended for Japanese because: It's authentic, it's tasty, it's convenient and it's fun; that's Unkai.

Ed's expert tip: At the southern end of the "Golden Mile", this is a good spot to drop by and chill with some great food.

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This 160-seat Japanese restaurant, located within the Four Seasons Hotel, is on the higher end scale of dining venues in Hong Kong. They receive shipments of fresh fish from Japanese fisheries daily, so seafood is this restaurant's specialty, but their beef dishes are also top notch with the Sukiyaki Wagu Beef dish being one of the more popular choices. As might be expected in such an upmarket hostelry, prices are commensurate with the excellence of the ingredients, decor and service. However, if you decide to treat yourself, it's worthwhile setting aside a couple of hours or more to truly relish the experience.

Recommended for Japanese because: This is probably not just one of the best Japanese, butone of the best restaurants in Hong Kong.

Matthew's expert tip: Be sure to book in advance; this place is always packed during dinner hours.

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Tsim Sha Tsui

This elegant restaurant is situated almost right on top of Victoria Harbour, and named after one of the best-known suburbs of Kyoto, the heart of Japanese culture. Dishes change seasonally, and the yosenabe is especially well done. The sake bar here is also excellent. Most importantly, this is a Japanese owned hotel, and run on Japanese lines, so as might be expected the Japanese cuisine is top-notch. Expect all your favorite dishes, such as sushi, tempura, teppanyaki and kaiseki. The decor, and this should not come as any surprise, is ultra Japanese with a lot of wood and bamboo elements. Reservations are suggested. MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui East

Recommended for Japanese because: You can't get more Japanese than a Japanese restaurant in a Japanese hotel.

Ed's expert tip: Book one of the six VIP rooms for an extra cultural experience; one is a tatami room with traditional bamboo flooring.

Read more about Sagano →

Located on the 101st floor of the International Commerce Center, Inakaya offers not only great Japanese cuisine, but an amazingly high view of Hong Kong, over one thousand feet below. The menu is quite varied, but seafood is the specialty at this venue. Patrons routinely rave about Inakaya's teppanyaki dish, and their sushi is uniformly delicious. All in all, this restaurant mixed with the view is an experience worth the higher than average price. The selection of sake is outstanding, with many labels that are not available anywhere else in Hong Kong. It's also well worth keeping an eye out for the seasonal hairy crab menus.

Recommended for Japanese because: The location really is quite amazing, and easily matched by what's on the menu.

Matthew's expert tip: Visit this restaurant when fog sets in. Since the restaurant is located so high, the view from the restaurant is like dining above the clouds.

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Tokio Joe
Photo courtesy of Tokio Joe

This contemporary-looking sushi bar is located on Lan Kwai Fong, near some of the city's most hopping nightlife. The menu is quite large and includes sashimi, several types of California rolls, and seaweed soba. For those wanting to dine in a more traditional fashion, Tokio Joe also has seated dining. Lunch and dinner menus are available. Reservations are suggested, especially at dinner. Expect to be rubbing shoulders with a lot of business types who pour into Lan Kwai Fong from Central's office towers. They tend to come in for a quick meal and then retreat to their computers, making this a very busy restaurant. MTR: Central

Recommended for Japanese because: This is Japanese dining not so much with a twist as an edge!

Ed's expert tip: If you are looking for a quiet ruminative meal, steer clear on Friday and Saturday evenings.

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Tsim Sha Tsui

In the throng of Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong, Nadaman, located in both Shangri-la hotels, is often rated as one of the best. Food is not cheap (a meal for two costs US$258 on average) but they come at its freshest and most artistic. Helmed by Chef Kenji Yanagita, the elegant and tranquil space excels at kaiseki cuisine, a traditional Japanese cooking style featuring colorful, seasonal ingredients and delicate, picturesque presentation. The Nadaman Assorted Sashimi Plate is the top choice on the a la carte menu. Nadaman houses separate teppanyaki, sushi and a la carte dining areas as well as private rooms. The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner and practices a non-smoking policy. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Recommended for Japanese because: Superb decor and service are easily matched by the food.

Ed's expert tip: As Nadaman updates the kaiseki menu based on seasonal ingredients, fall is a better season to go as there are more fresh and colorful produces during those months.

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Tai Ping Shan
Photo courtesy of Jason Michael Lang

Yardbird is one of the new breed of Japanese restaurants, a modern izakaya that specializes in yakitori dishes of skewered grilled chicken.The menu, conjured up by Chef Matt Abergel, focuses on all the different parts of a chicken, starting with the neck and ending with the tail, which are grilled over traditional Binchotan charcoal. In addition to yakitori, Yardbird also serves other dishes that incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients. The beverage list is just as exciting, with a collection of intelligently selected sake, shochu, beer, wine, cocktails, and, of course, Japanese Whisky. Vegetarian? Try the fried cauliflower, which comes in a sweet and spicy Kochijan-based sauce, topped with sesame seeds and served with a lime wedge

Recommended for Japanese because: Yardbird is Japanese, but with a modern, fun twist that makes the food all the tastier.

Ed's expert tip: Take a stroll around the streets of Tai Ping Shan, a new entertainment and dining district that's constantly evolving.

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Internationally known chef Nobu Matsuhisa has acclaimed restaurants in world-class cities such as New York City, London, Las Vegas, Miami, Dallas, Milan and Tokyo. Add Hong Kong to the list! Opened at the end of 2006, this outpost is every bit as elegant, sleek and wonderful as its brothers and sisters, and the food is just as fabulous. Sushi and sashimi make up most of the menu, but there are several additional options as well, including steaks, tempura and a host of cooked Japanese dishes. Not to be missed! The restaurant's location overlooking the harbor must make it one of the most amazing Nobus around the world.

Recommended for Japanese because: Nobu is a byword for culinary excellence so be part of the legend.

Ed's expert tip: Book your table before you arrive in the city as it's that popular.

Read more about NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong →