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Exotic Japanese Culinary Adventures at Seattle Eateries



Sometimes, the urge to have Japanese food strikes, and nothing satisfies until you get it. When that happens, count on 10Best to point you in the direction of Seattle's best Japanese restaurants. We understand the desire to have a great meal, and we work hard to bring you the top places to eat in Seattle. We vet restaurants carefully for quality, and when we recommend popular eateries like Wasabi Bistro or tell you that Toyoda Sushi gets good reader feedback, you can believe it. We'll make sure you get - and eat - what's best. Thanks to Seattle's large Asian community, this is an especially easy city in which to find authentic Japanese food crafted with care, using only the finest techniques and the freshest ingredients. Sushi aficionados and newbies alike will delight in the city's options for to-die-for rolls. But that's not where the deliciousness stops; diners also enjoy miso soup, fresh noodle dishes and an array of options that showcase the city's local seafood scene. Japanese restaurants also typically feature serene and simple decors, marked by bamboo plants, beautiful artwork and lovely hanging lanterns. Find Japanese gems in the eclectic International District, student-filled University District, funky Fremont, bustling Ballard and beyond. 


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Upscale crowds applaud this lovely restaurant for a sushi bar that delivers maki and sashimi fashioned from the day's freshest catches. In addition, cooked items and luscious omakase meals are available for diners who crave something besides sushi. Nishino's subdued atmosphere provides a perfect environment for enjoying a relaxing dinner, whether it's in the colorful dining room or on the peaceful outdoor patio. Located steps from the Arboretum, this restaurant has been delighting diners since 1995. Nishino features hand-picked wine from around the world, focusing on wines from the Pacific Northwest. The sake selection spotlights the distinctive flavors and regional characteristics of Japan's traditional beverage.

Recommended for Japanese because: Nishino offers upscale Japanese dining in a classy, art-filled space. Diners enjoy a patio and extensive wine list.

Corinne's expert tip: Nishino is a perfect place to dine after a day of wandering the wealth of Seattle's Arboretum!

Read more about Nishino →


Toyoda Sushi


It's hard to keep great places secreted away, and Toyoda's reputation has, for better or worse, become public knowledge. Better for business, yes, but worse for relaxed dining, as you can tell by the crowds that descend on the small eatery. Still, the food is a wonderful treat. Sushi is fresh and well-presented, and the nigiri is particularly good. Gyoza, the Japanese version of potstickers, are also celebrated by patrons, who munch them eagerly. Geoduck clams continue the seafood theme, along with black cod broiled with sake paste and other seafood entrees. The ambience is laid-back and friendly, bolstered by the charm and ready smiles of Mr. Toyoda and his wife.

Recommended for Japanese because: Toyoda Sushi offers an unexpected gem in Lake City. Here, diners find an intimate, family-run restaurant that serves delicious Japanese dishes.

Corinne's expert tip: This small place fills up quickly, so arrive early!

Read more about Toyoda Sushi →


Chiso Restaurant


A distinctly contemporary scene of exposed ductwork and sleek concrete walls sets the stage for one Fremont's more exceptional dining options. The restaurant prides itself on using seasonal and local ingredients as well as traditional fish from Japan. Well-dressed young professionals and hip college kids who frequent Chiso heap high praise on owner-chef Taichi Kitamura's skilled renditions of sushi – yellowtail, scallop, octopus and eel in particular. Thrown in for good measure are a number of vegetarian dishes and a selection of sakes. Those who arrive thirsty will also delight in the list of innovate cocktails. Reservations not accepted on Friday or Saturday evenings.

Recommended for Japanese because: Chiso Restaurant appeals to a diverse crowd, thanks to delicious sushi options and a cozy setting. Enjoy innovative cocktails too!

Corinne's expert tip: Happy hour takes place every day from 4 to 6 pm and features wonderful options from food and drink menus.

Read more about Chiso Restaurant →


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Queen Anne
Shiki Japanese


Chef Ken Yamamoto is the only chef in the state of Washington licensed to sell fugu, the potentially deadly (if not prepared correctly) Japanese blowfish. Whether you opt for this rare delicacy or one of the other carefully created entrees, you're assured of Ken's masterful hand in the exquisite textures and flavors on your plate. Choose from appetizers like kaki fry (deep-fried oysters) or gyoza, and main dishes like black cod with tempura, eel donburi, and salmon teriyaki. Shiki's sushi has a loyal following; sample toro nigiri, made with fatty tuna, or a crunchy shrimp tempura roll. The restaurant has been serving the Queen Anne and Seattle community since 2001.

Recommended for Japanese because: Shiki Japanese draws daredevil diners to its Queen Anne space. Enjoy delicacy dishes prepared by a master chef.

Corinne's expert tip: If you're an adventurous eater, this is the place for you! Shiki Japanese is the place to try the potentially deadly (if not prepared properly) Japanese blowfish called fugu.

Read more about Shiki Japanese →


Wasabi Bistro


Adopting a distinctly modern attitude toward Japanese cuisine, Wasabi Bistro has taken Belltown, and Seattle, by storm. Come for terrific happy hour specials on sake and sushi from 4pm to 6pm daily and 9pm to 1am Sunday through Thursday. The Japanese wine can be had for under $4, and maki options like an indulgent Seattle Tempura Roll (salmon, avocado, and cream cheese, fried) are a steal at half price. Traditional Japanese entrees are updated and given new life, including standards like tempura and yakisoba. This restaurant has wowed diners since it's opening in the summer of 2000; come find out what the talk is all about!

Recommended for Japanese because: Wasabi Bistro offers a Japanese fusion menu in the heart of Belltown. Come for traditional ingredients presented in a modern style.

Corinne's expert tip: Check out the all-night happy hour Monday through Thursday in the Wasabi Bar.

Read more about Wasabi Bistro →


Dragonfish Asian Café


Serving excellent Pan-Asian cuisine from breakfast until late-night, this eatery happily accommodates a host of patrons in the Paramount Hotel. Skillfully prepared dishes incorporate the signature flavors of the entire East Asian region to Seattle, representing the cuisines of China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Needless to say, the menu offers a wide variety of imaginative selections. Sushi roll lunch boxes, lemon chicken and Chinese sausage fried rice are among the most popular choices. Servers are knowledgeable and friendly, bartenders are proficient, and prices are reasonable. Check out deals from a Happy Hour that happens to daily or Sake Cinema Sundays.

Recommended for Japanese because: Skillfully prepared dishes incorporate the signature flavors of China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

Corinne's expert tip: Check out deals from a daily Happy Hour or Sake Cinema Sundays.

Read more about Dragonfish Asian Café →




This is a prime spot for enjoying delicious food and a buzzing scene in Ballard. The venue prides itself on serving "top quality sushi, an innovative Izakaya menu, premium sakes and creative cocktails." This venue serves starters like miso soup, Goma Salad, edamame and ginger kabocha squash soup. Fresh sushi rolls range from the traditional to the exotic. Specialty rolls include the "Zig Zag" (spicy snow crab, soft shell crab, avocado and cream cheese) and the "Green Sea Monster" (jalapenos, seaweed salad, green onions and chopped tomatoes). Sakes include Gekkeikan Hat Sake and Hakutusuru House Sake, and cocktails include the Momo Iced Tea (sweet tea vodka, peach vodka, iced tea) and the Shiku Sunrise (Barcardi Limon, splash of Chambord, Malibu, and Peach Schnapps). Happy hours take place Mondays through Fridays 4:30 to 6:30pm and Fridays and Saturdays 11 pm to midnight plus Saturdays and Sundays midnight to 6 pm.

Recommended for Japanese because: Shiku Sushi is a happening Ballard venue for delightful rolls traditional and zany. The starters are equally impressive, though!

Corinne's expert tip: Check out the restaurant's daily happy hour specials!

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Moshi Moshi Sushi


Diners at this Ballard venue find fresh fish selections at the sushi bar, tempting cocktail creations to complement the extensive list of food and a unique LED Sakura "tree" from Japan. Maki sushi rolls range from the more traditional (rainbow roll, eel avocado) to the Moshi Moshi 2.0 (jam-packed with ingredients like snow crab, scallops, mayo, cucumber, shiso, scallops and more). Choose from over 25 specialty cocktails to complement sushi selections, a wide array of Japanese and domestic beers (including Maritime Islander and Sapporo on draft) and an equally impressive sake program. The dinner menu delights omnivores and vegetarians alike, with options ranging from Yakitori Chicken to Vegetable Udon.

Recommended for Japanese because: Moshi Moshi boasts an alluring decor and traditional Japanese sushi menu. The sake list is impressive too!

Corinne's expert tip: Check out twice-daily happy hour deals on food and drink.

Read more about Moshi Moshi Sushi →


Shiro's Sushi


The straightforward decor at this popular restaurant allows taste buds to focus on the culinary adventure. Among the loyal patrons are sports celebrities, business people and local sushi-lovers. They come for the terrific food and also for the special treats available at the sushi bar. Before enjoying the tempura and sashimi choices, enjoy appetizers like the Poke Belltown (tuna with Shiro's signature spicy sauce) and Tako-su (octopus in ponzu or miso vinaigrette).

Recommended for Japanese because: Shiro's Sushi is a Belltown gem in which the sushi reigns, but other options wow, too.

Corinne's expert tip: Reservations can be made by phone only, and no reservations are available for the sushi counter.

Read more about Shiro's Sushi →


Adana
Photo courtesy of Adana/Gruman Public Relations


Chef Shota Nakajima recently closed Capitol Hill's Naka Kaiseki in order to open in its stunning space Adana (meaning "nickname"), a brand-new concept highlighting Shota's beautiful Japanese fare. Diners can enjoy his simple, clean and flavorful dishes thanks to rotating three-course menus (with three selections per course for a set price of $37 per person, plus tax and gratuity). Shota says, "Adana's food will be more like what my family cooks at home, but still focused on highlighting seasonal ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. Guests will experience authentic Japanese cuisine but with multiple choices to curate their own tasting menu." Guests also enjoy à la carte-priced desserts as well as delicious bar food and beverages focused on Japanese whiskeys and spirits from barman extraordinaire Dustin Haarstad.

Recommended for Japanese because: Chef Shota Nakajima welcomes Capitol Hill diners to Adana, a beautiful space in which to enjoy delectable Japanese fare (made with Northwest ingredients).

Local Expert tip: Take advantage of the brand-new venue's opening menu, which proves an amazing and delicious deal (three courses for $37).

Read more about Adana →


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Meet Corinne Whiting

Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's...  More About Corinne

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