Singaporeans love Japanese food. It doesn’t take a genius to work that one out. The city is a breeding ground for top-quality Japanese restaurants, and you can find well over a hundred excellent places serving stellar sushi, awesome omakase and ridiculously good ramen on virtually every corner. So, how does one narrow down the fabulous from the fluff? That’s where this list comes in. Here, we’ve separated the good from the great. The places where exceptional ingredients are paramount, and where some of the world’s most legendary sushi masters lead the charge. Yes, these truly are the best Japanese restaurants in Singapore.
Once you’ve finished reading this guide, we expect you to be an expert in Japanese dining. You should know your kaiseki from your kappo cuisine, and understand the nuances of different noodles. One of the most popular forms of Japanese dining is omakase, which translates as ‘I’ll leave it up to you’. This popular form of counter dining sees guests hand over the reins to the chef for the evening, putting the onus on them to curate the entire experience, from what you eat to how each dish is served.
However, Singapore’s best Japanese restaurants cover a huge breadth of places, and while there’s certainly a fair few fancy spots in this list, we’ve also made sure to include plenty of casual options too. For reasonably priced fare in a relaxed setting, Omote in Raffles City is a reliable spot that specialises in big flavours and generous portions for modest prices. Elsewhere, we love Torasho Ramen and Charcoal Bar for its decadent ramen bowls and smoky skewers.
Whatever you’re in the mood for, be it a 20-course omakase affair or a steaming bowl of udon, these fantastic Japanese restaurants in Singapore offer something for everyone. Keep on scrolling to discover some truly sublime food.
What: This intimate omakase experience is the brainchild of chef Kenjiro Hashida, who learned his trade from apprenticing under his father and master chef Tokio Hashida at the age of 14. Hashida is the result of years of hard work, and it’s a true marvel. Every course offers layers of precision and fine-tuned technique, while ingredients are all of the highest quality. Although diners find out what’s on the menu on the night, examples of previous dishes include simmered aubergine with charcoal Aburi Bonito fish, tomatoes and sesame sauce, and seawater eel in a kombu seaweed roll with tofu, black fungus, bamboo shoots and scallop paste.
Where: 77 Amoy Street, 069896
Book now: Hashida Singapore
What: Originating in Ginza, Tokyo, this prestigious restaurant now boasts sites in Bangkok and Singapore, although this one in particular is the proud owner of a Michelin star. It serves traditional edomae sushi using the best seasonal seafood and vegetables, and there’s a choice between a sushi taster or an omakase menu. Diners are seated around a bespoke counter made from 300-year-old cypress, while wooden ornaments on the walls are all handmade. It’s an incredible experience from beginning to end.
Where: 320 Orchard Rd, #01-04 Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, 238865
Book now: Ginza Sushi Ichi
What: With two locations in Singapore, one in Raffles City Shopping Centre and the other, its flagship store, at Thomson Plaza, Omote is a reliable all-day dining spot serving affordable Japanese food that delivers on quality. It offers an extensive menu spanning sushi, soups, salads, rice bowls, noodles and more, so there’s something for everyone, and a bowl of spicy udon will give you change from 20 dollars. We recommend ordering a few dishes and sharing them with your friends.
Where: 301 Upper Thomson Road, #03-24A, Thomson Plaza, 574408
Book now: Omote
What: Finding its home at the Shaw Centre, this 36-seat restaurant serves up Japanese haute cuisine in pristine interiors, with Kumiko Zaiku panels, traditional Japanese woodwork and geometric pattered door panels. Chef-owner Kunio Aoki combines traditional ideas with modern techniques to offer the diner something new and, while you can choose your own dishes, your best bet is to let Aoki do the deciding for you with his omakase menu. Examples of dishes include monk fish liver with ponzu sauce, salted cod roe, silver cod teriyaki, deep-fried soft shell crab and a tuna belly and tofu hotpot.
Where: 1 Scotts Road, #01 - 19, 228208
Book now: Aoki
What: Contemporary cocktails and kaiseki dining are the name of the game at this eclectic spot near Chinatown. Dark interiors and purple lighting offer a suitably dramatic setting for diners to indulge in its OTT menu, which is based around the five culinary techniques of Japanese cuisine: grilling, steaming, frying, cutting and simmering. There are three menus available of varying lengths – Sakura, Sumire and Ume – with dishes such as shiso donabe rice with tempura crumbs, chives, Japanese kyuri, cabbage pickles and lobster miso soup. Goho’s drinks program includes an array of award-winning cocktails, wine, sake and whisky.
Where: 53A Duxton Road, Entrance via RAPPU, 089517
Book now: GOHO
What: A restaurant that comes up time and time again in best-lists - and we can see why. Offering Japanese food with Korean accents and global influences, the celebrity chef’s eponymous group of restaurants, Akira Back, now has sites across the globe, from Dubai to the US. The menu at this Singapore site focuses on a variety of hot and cold sharing plates, and includes the likes of tuna pizza with umami aioli, shiso and truffle oil, wagyu tacos and pork belly with apple miso and Korean XO sauce. There’s also a strong selection of signature sushi rolls featuring fillings such as shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, salmon belly and chipotle mayo. Its three-course set lunch menu is a great way to enjoy Akira’s stellar cooking without breaking the bank.
Where: 30 Beach Road, Level B1M, 189763
Book now: Akira Back
What: Ikkagoyo on the buzzy Amoy Street scene is headed up by chef Mitsutaka Sakamoto, a sushi master who trained in some of the world's most prestigious restaurants and has won multiple Michelin stars in his time. This kaseiki restaurant boasts a serene, wood-toned dining room, and focus on quality of ingredients is paramount. There are only tasting menus available, featuring dishes such as golden soup stock, A5 Wagyu, clam caviar and Oigawa eel, while a premium sake and wine list complete the experience.
Where: 115 Amoy Street, #01-04, 069935
Book now: Ikkagoyo
Torasho Ramen and Charcoal Bar
What: Torasho Ramen and Charcoal Bar is the perfect balance between casual and boujie. Sure, you can order truffle wagyu ramen and a miso foie gras rice claypot if you want, but there are lot of affordable items on the menu too, from tasty skewers to classic pork tonkotsu. Don’t miss its lunch and dinner bundles for small groups, which include a little bit of everything.
Where: 32 Tras Street, 078972
Book now: Torasho Ramen and Charcoal Bar
What: Modern Kappo dining, combined with its own confident style and mesmerising views of Singapore, make this a terrific destination for taking guests from overseas. Located on the 51st floor of CapitaSpring, Oumi hinges around an open kitchen where diners can watch the chefs at work. It also follows a nose-to-tail ethos, using as much of the animal as possible, while top-quality ingredients are sourced from Singapore and further afield, including Japan and Australia. Diners can book in for lunch, dinner, brunch or just a drink, with a range of tasting, omakase and a la carte menus available. For a flavour of what to expect, examples of dishes from the a la carte menu include a tempura crepe featuring golden trout roe, avocado, sakura ebi and ao-togarashi yoghurt, and grilled Australian lamb with red garlic sauce, lemon myrtle, lemon balm, calamansi and satsumaim. Don't miss its epic weekend brunch, with options to go bottomless!
Where: 51-01, CapitaSpring, 88 Market Street, 048948
Book now: Oumi
What: Set in a heritage black-and-white bungalow along Scotts Road, Ki-sho impresses with its kappo-style dining room and L-shaped hinoki wood sushi counter, along with two secluded dining rooms on the upper deck. Omakase menus are served for lunch and dinner, with a choice of seven, eight, nine and 11-courses available. Alongside seasonal sashimi, beautifully marbled Toriyama wagyu beef and nicely proportioned nigiri with gracefully attenuated slivers of fish, there's a premium selection of sake and regional drinks to pique your interest.
Where: 29 Scotts Road, 228224
Book now: Ki-Sho
What: Tetsuya Wakuda has the high gloss and fierce precision of an an artist, who in this case marries Japanese and European technique to beautiful effect. Wakuda’s flavours are exquisitely balanced and informed by Europe’s top kitchens, while his presentation is meticulously precise. Take in Spectra, the nightly water fountain show that happens in front of the Marina Bay Sands for added spectacle.
Where: Level 2 Dining, L2-01, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 018956
Book now: Waku Ghin
Ushidoki Wagyu Kaiseki
What: This isn’t just about wagyu beef, this is about Ozaki wagyu from the Miyazaki prefecture in southern Japan, aged for just a little bit longer from cows that have been reared on seaweed and fermented wheat. The result is wagyu that is extra flavoursome - or at least, according to chef Hirohashi Nobuaki. Intimate but warm decor adds to the experience.
Where: 57 Tras Street, #01-01, 078996
Book now: Ushidoki Wagyu Kaiseki
Shinji by Kanesaka
What: Uncompromising, old school attention to detail combined with a swanky, one Michelin star hotel restaurant that finds its inspiration in Tokyo. Edo-style sushi at the counter competes with omakase, no-menu dining are the two key arias and tuna is the pincipal singer. Further harmony arrives courtesy of a setting that pays homage to Japanese art and culture.
Where: Carlton Hotel, 76 Bras Basah Road, 189558
Book now: Shinji by Kanesaka
What: This Japanese reinterpretation of authentic French cuisine mixes the two cultures to great effect. The food is certainly the main event – think scallops with a celeriac and truffle dressing or Zuwai crab with fennel and lobster jelly. The restaurant has also maintained a Michelin star for six consecutive years, with the talented executive chef and owner Kenji Yamanaka responsible for a lot of its successs. Long may it continue, we say.
Where: 333A Orchard Road, #02-37 Mandarin Gallery, 238897
Book now: Beni
Keyaki Japanese Restaurant
What: The freshest of fresh sashimi, teppanyaki, sushi and sukiyaki dextrously prepared and immaculately presented by the most skilled master chefs. There's an extensive menu for lunch and dinner, while weekends are all about bottomless brunching, with guests invited to indulge in the likes of teriyaki cod, California rolls, sashimi, garlic fried rice, washed down with your choice of alcoholic beverage. The restaurant is surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden and koi pond for an extra touch of authenticity.
Where: 7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, 039595
Book now: Keyaki Japanese Restaurant
What: Masaaki Sakashita's new, high end Japanese fine-diner brings freshness, dyanmism and unmiskakable quality to South Beach Avenue. The contemporary setting contrasts with the traditional artistry and presentation of the kitchen, and a a range of omakase menus makes ordering simple. Enjoy whatever's fresh that day from beautifully cut salmon and seared yellowtail sashimi to kawahagi with kawahagi liver served between fish and beautifully textured rice.
Where: 26 Beach Road, #B1-17 South Beach Avenue, 189768
Book now: Masaaki
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