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Best Japanese

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 8 months ago


Flinders Lane

Price: Med?

Impossible to find without an address and determination, Yu-u is arguably (here's your chance!) the best Japanese in Melbourne. Tres chic, always booked weeks in advance and completely delicious. Beautiful horenso no gomae, sushi and nasu dengaku. tammois



Corrs Lane, Chinatown, off Little Bourke

Price: Reasonably cheap

Yamato isn't in the cheapness league of say, Shanghai Dumpling House, but you can get out of there for $20 for two and have eaten well. The chef changed recently, and subsequently portion sizes got smaller, the agedashi broth got a bit insipid and don't even think about the hot pot, which wasn't that tasty under the old chef either. However, the tempura is still rather good, the nasu dengaku is yummy but too small now and the sushi is always lovely and fresh. tammois

P.S. I actually reckon I'm not going to frequent Yamato much anymore given aforementioned change of chef. Bummer.


Chocolate Buddha

Federation Square

Price: Average

Based on traditional udon and ramen houses in Japan, Paul Mathis has another winning formula in this place. Much of the menu is organic, free range or sustainably farmed meat and produce. Serves are large and come to the table as they're ready - don't wait for everyone to be served or your food may be cold by the time you eat it. The unagi udon is spectacular and the tempura ramen is nothing to sneeze at - but eat the tempura quickly so the batter doesn't go mushy in the broth. The patio here is a fantastic spot for an organic beer at sunset on a hot summer's night in Melbourne. tammois



North Melbourne

Price: Medium to Expensive

Okay, having now returned to Akita after a couple years, I'm afraid I have bad news. The food is unrecognisable as what was once one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants, and skates in with an "if you can be bothered, and don't mind the price." The dear little tempura'd John Dory sushi with a slice of spring onion has been transformed into a fish ball type John Dory in pastry and deep fried. Not very nice. The squid and zucchini dish was nice, but a little bland, and the Sukiyaki was dull. At least the sashimi was beautiful and fresh. So now I find another problem with the naming of pages here on FoodCult (and I'm the one who did it)... this is clearly not "the best" of anything. tammois


Wabi Sabi

Smith St, Collingwood

Price: Medium-ish ($19-24 per main)

From the invitingly cosy, funky decor, to the canned music in the can and Indian music in the dining room, this place is an excellent spot to settle into the cushions and enjoy some lovely Japanese flavours with a twist. We opted to share all our dishes between four, which not only made it more affordable (one entree, one salad and two mains plus rice was plenty), but meant we got to try everything. The "Japanese Old School Mama's Antipasto" included a delicious baby octopus in pepper tree sauce with soybeans, whiting in a to-die-for vinegar and onion dressing, and Sanma fish marinated in a plum soy stock (more to the boys' taste than mine, as it ws one of those quite dense/solid fishy sorts of fish). Then onto the soba noodle salad (superb sesame dressing!), baked salmon with mashed potato & pine nuts on top, covered in a tasty miso paste (incredible salmon and I think the thin layer of mash on top sealed in the moisture or something - delicious!), and the Tofu Dango and vegies (omigod I love lotus root and don't eat nearly enough of it!) - we highly recommend the tofu dango!! Wabi Sabi just has it all going on - great vibe, delectable food, and all right there on one of our favourite Melbourne streetscapes. The only complaint we have is that it's not BYO. tammois




High St, Northcote - opposite Wesley Anne. Ph 9489 6132

Price: Mains are $12 - 18. Sushi for one is $16

This is a fairly new restaurant with a nice feel, friendly service and reasonable prices. The food is good! The sushi is a combination of eel, salmon, prawn, tuna, roe and vege. The chilli, ginger, soy, soba noodle, tofu soup is great too. I also recommend the chicken gyoza. It's not BYO but the wine list is OK. I keep craving the sushi and going back for more so that's a good sign!




45 Collins St, City, (enter through Flinders Ln)

Price: bit pricey

This is institutional Melbourne Japanese. It's good, but it's also one of the reasons I think I need to rename the categories here on foodcult. See, it's not a 'fave', but it's worth writing up. And from what I can tell, there are already a few of those listed here (including some I've reviewed). So let Kenzan be the harbinger of change on foodcult. However, let me say, the food was good. We enjoyed some delectable sashimi (even the white fish was memorable, and the raw prawns sensational), the horenso no goma-ae was excellent (should have ordered more), the pickled vegetables were ordinary (typical?), the gyu teriyaki was unmemorable, the unajyu was too rich with an insipid sauce, and the agedashi tofu suffered a similar fate. In Kenzan's defence, the entire meal was overshadowed by the cerebral burlesque which immediately preceded the meal across the road at 45 Downstairs (The Burlesque Hour). For those who love burlesque but want a challenge, I recommend the show, but won't rush back to Kenzan. tammois


Izakaya Chuji

165 Lonsdale St, City

Price: Medium, but can rack up with enough sake/beer.

A non-descript narrow restaurant with little signage on the outside, Izakaya Chuji has long been one of my favourite places for consistently good Japanese food. In true izakaya style, the menu is skewed towards small dishes with which to accompany the good selection of beers, sake and umeshu on offer. The sushi is fresh, and (a good benchmark by my mind) the wasabi is strong. Stand-outs on the menu include the kaki furai (crumbed fried oysters) and the nasu dengaku (eggplant with miso). billyl

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