Ten Essential Places in Dallas to Get a Japanese Food Fix

It’s no secret that Dallasites have a penchant for Japanese food–and so much so, that you can find a good sushi spot in nearly every neighborhood. But the city’s Japanese cuisine scene goes well beyond sushi.

Undoubtedly one of the hottest spots in the city right now is Uchi, a super-sleek restaurant by James Beard award-winning chef Tyson Cole. The menu runs the gamut from elegantly presented platters of sushi and sashimi to innovative specialties like oak-grilled escolar with citrus marmalade.

There’s also Nikkei, a stunning uptown spot showcasing luscious Japanese-Peruvian fare and seriously sophisticated cocktails.  

Craving noodles? The head to Wabi House, a modern izakaya-style Japanese restaurant that focuses on exceptional ramen and share plates like chicken karaage and crispy pork ears.

As to Dallas’ very best Japanese joint? It’s a big call. But local Japanophiles swear by Tei-An and for good reason: The Arts District restaurant has consistently earned a five-star rating by restaurant critics since it opened a decade ago. In fact, Tei-An’s owner and chef, Teiichi Sakurai, is responsible for spawning some of the city’s other Japanese hits, including Teppo Yakitori and Tei Tei Robata Bar.

And these don’t even scratch the surface of what’s on offer. Grab your chopsticks and dig in to the other places where you can enjoy sushi, sashimi, ramen and so much more.


Ten Ramen
Photo courtesy of Ten Ramen Facebook

Miniscule in size, massive in quality, this Tokyo-inspired ramen shack has taken Dallas by storm with its stellar bowls of silky smooth, slurp-able soup noodles. Located in the Sylvan Thirty complex, Ten Ramen (Ten, meaning heaven in Japanese) is the brainchild of James Beard nominated chef Teiichi Sakurai, who also owns the popular Tei-An restaurant in the Dallas Arts District. So it's little wonder that the place was creating quite the buzz before it even opened up in 2015. The menu, which is displayed on a large blackboard, offers three ramen choices, plus a weekly special and a few rice bowls thrown in for good measure. Expect to find shoyu, tonkotsu and mazemen (dry ramen with pork jowl) as well as innovative options such as venison chili ramen and even gumbo ramen. For a bit more oomph, you can have it topped with things like pork belly and poached eggs. There's a serious downside, though--it's standing room only. A small price to pay when you're getting the real deal.

Wa Kubota
Photo courtesy of Wa Kubota

Sensational sushi? Check. Terrific tempura? Check. Char-grilled specialties like ishiyaki-style Japanese Wagyu and miso marinated halibut? Check and check. Welcome to Wa Kubota, a handsome new arrival on DFW's Japanese food scene that's been hitting all the right notes with locals. Under the guidance of chef Masato Yasaki from Osaka, the menu features all the above plus a slew of other traditional Japanese fare, ranging from tuna yamakake (raw tuna mixed with grated Japanese yam) to chicken tatsuta and abalone steak. As for the drinks, there's everything from Japanese whiskey, beer and wine to a serious selection of sake and shochu. Keep an eye out for daily specials, and don't miss the matcha mont blanc pastry for dessert.

ZEN Sushi
Photo courtesy of Manny Rodriguez

A simple, yet upscale ambiance creates a perfect backdrop for some of the most imaginative Japanese cuisine in the city. You'll find much of the action taking place at the end of the sushi bar where owner and sushi chef Michelle Carpenter faultlessly crafts creations ranging from inari sushi with fried eel and shiso to panko crusted eggplant medallions topped with tuna and avocado. Do try the sake-seaweed steamed lobster, it's one of the restaurant's most requested items and it comes with a special soy butter that's simply sensational. Want to have the royal treatment? Splurge on one of Carpenter's ten course Omakase tasting dinners--it's quite a show. Just be sure to reserve it at least 24 hours in advance.

Wabi House
Photo courtesy of Wabi House Facebook

Finding ramen in Dallas is hardly difficult, but finding seriously slurpable soup noodles that will knock your socks off isn't always so simple. Enter Wabi House, a sleek, wood-lined izakaya-style spot that's been taking the city by storm ever since it opened on lower Greenville in 2015. Among the choice offerings are five different ramens that range from spicy miso and dry garlic to tsukemen (a dipping ramen) and an intense, pork broth packed tonkotsu with chashu, soft egg, mushrooms, butter corn, scallions and black garlic oil. They also make a killer mushroom broth-based version that packs just as big of a punch as its pork-enriched counterparts. Equally good are non-ramen options like fried shiitake mushrooms dressed up with bone marrow butter and karaage– fried chicken served up with spicy aioli and salty-sweet watermelon. Wash it all down with some sake, or better yet, go for one of the craft cocktails. We like the Greenville Escape with vodka, lime, mint, soda and honeydew puree.

Nikkei Dallas
Photo courtesy of Nikkei Dallas

Recently creating some serious buzz is Nikkei, a new 4,000- square-foot Uptown stunner, named for the Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine inspired by Japanese immigrants who settled in Peru in the late 1800s. That means, diners can expect to find an array of eye-catching offerings– ranging from truffled Hamachi to Texas Wagyu tartare and Malbec-braised octopus. And of course, also expect to see a wide and varied assortment of sushi and sashimi. Pair it all up with one of the sophisticated sips. Don't skip dessert—the matcha tea chocolate molten cake is a must. Did we mention the rooftop terrace? Don't miss that either.

Niwa Japanese BBQ
Photo courtesy of Niwa Japanese BBQ

For those who want to venture beyond sushi, behold Niwa, a super-slick yakiniku spot where diners cook up raw, bite-sized pieces of marinated proteins and veggies over grills built right into their tables. Pork belly, chicken, sausage, rib eye and Wagyu—it's all there, as well as cod, calamari and shrimp. You want intestines? Tongue? Beef belly? They've got that too. The drinks list is as impressive as the food (think, Japanese beer, sake, tea and inventive cocktails). Don't feel like cooking? There are also ready-to-eat items, ranging from chicken karaage (crunchy crisp-fried pieces of chicken) to ramen and Hamachi crudo. Desserts are no slouch either. Don't leave without trying the coffee jelly, folks say it's insanely delicious.

Teppo Yakitori and Sushi Bar
Photo courtesy of Joey Stewart Photography

Dallas has almost as many sushi restaurants as it does Tex-Mex ones, but not many live up to, and in this case, exceed expectations like this pocket-sized sushi-paradise does. And with its sleek decor and prominent sushi counter, Teppo would fit just as comfortably in a Tokyo suburb as it does on lowest Greenville. The chef, Tomoaki "Tommy" Nishigaya, not only sources excellent quality fish and seafood, he also possesses the skill in bringing out its best flavors. Soy marinated, torched toro is a regular crowd-pleaser, while Spanish mackerel, sea urchin and Kumamoto oysters are showcased as well. Not-to-be missed is the miso-marinated foie gras with toasted chopped pecan. But save room for the yakitori, there's everything from char-grilled chicken, duck and quail to beef, pork and offal.

Tei Tei Robata Bar
Photo courtesy of Tei Tei Robata Bar

This Henderson Avenue Japanese joint, tucked in behind a Zen garden, has a reputation larger than its compact-sized digs. Which makes scoring a table difficult without a booking. But if you're lucky there may be a spare stool at the bar where you can watch the robata masters grilling up everything from whole branzino to Washu steak and Iwashi sardines. Along with charcoal and hot rock cooking, Tei Tei serves up a slew of raw options, most of which is shipped in daily from Japan. Be sure to give the saké list a proper look too, there are around 20 well-curated options to choose from.

Uchi Dallas
Photo courtesy of Erica Wilkins

The hype surrounding James Beard award-winning chef Tyson Cole's Austin-based sushi paradise hasn't diminished in the least since it landed in Dallas the summer of 2015. And as such, getting a reservation here can be a challenge. Fortunately, the restaurant does try to keep around 40% of its tables available to walk-ins. But make no mistake, the place lives up to its stellar reputation and it's not just the sushi that's creating a stir among area foodies. Other highlights include akami crudo with pickled ramps, pumpkin seeds and iberico lardo; farm duck with matsutake mushrooms and persimmon and 72-hour braised Wagyu beef short ribs with fresno chilis and chicharrons. Be sure to save room for the fried milk dessert, it's nothing short of a revelation.

Tei-An Soba House and Sushi
Photo courtesy of Ilene Jacobs

Getting a table at this Dallas Arts District hot spot has been a challenge ever since it opened in 2008. Understandably so, as Tei-An is considered to be one of the best restaurants in Dallas. And its chef/owner, Teiichi Sakurai, has been a James Beard nominee several years in a row. The restaurant's elegant and serene setting bodes well for Sakurai's array of imaginative dishes. Along with a selection of exceptional sushi and sashimi, the menu features a host of specialties, including crab and uni risotto and shungiku (edible chrysanthemums) tempura. Be sure to try one of the soba dishes, it's the restaurant's specialty.


Meet Ilene Jacobs

As a perpetual wanderer, foodie freak and wannabe chef, Ilene is always on the lookout for the best places to see, eat, drink and sleep. When she's not writing about the latest happenings in...  More About Ilene