There’s a Japanese restaurant overload happening in Hong Kong and we can’t help but take notice. An unusually high number of new Japanese restaurants have opened up in HK this year alone. So saddle up to the sushi bar, order your favourite sashimi and toast a cup of sake to the chef, because these restaurants are offering a broader take on the usual fare. We’ve highlighted what they have to offer and what makes them unique, so check out our guide below…
We had the pleasure of eating lunch at HAKU and were wowed by Executive Chef Agustin Balbi’s creative take on traditional Japanese food. Originally from Argentina, Balbi trained in Japan (he speaks fluent Japanese!) and has incorporated European flavours into the Asian dishes. Each place setting comes with an introductory story about the gorgeous china plates. Presentation is stellar and creative. Stand out dishes were the Japanese Tomatoes, Kamasu and Bellotta Ham ($148), the Kagoshima Wagyu, Eringi and Baby Kabu ($488) and a fresh peach dessert that we could not get enough of.
HAKU, Shop OT G04B, Ground Floor, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 2115 9965, www.facebook.com/hakuhongkong
Although we don’t have to endure its famous five-hour queue (as it has in Japan!), this Michelin-starred ramen eatery is still one you have to wait for. Serving up just enough until the restaurant’s broth (brewed for nine hours!) runs out, people get here early to get a seat at its small counter. Sassy tried and tasted, the broth is exceptionally tasty (with absolutely no MSG!), and because it has been brewed for so long, each bowl is delicious and full of flavour. Treat yourself to the custom-brewed Shoyu Soba and Shio Soba (made with truffle).
Price: Dishes starts at $98
Tsuta, Shop 2, G/F, V Point, 18 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 3188 2639, www.facebook.com/TsutaHongKong
Newly opened in the Elements mall, this Hokkaido and yakiniku cuisine restaurant is known for Mirai beef sourced from the owner’s farm, Oakleaf Farm, which raises cattle just to provide beef just for the restaurant. The TST spot is the flagship’s first outside Japan.
Price: sides range from $58, mains range from $128 to $420 (for the assorted Mirai beef yakiniku platter for two).
Yakiniku Kagura, Shop 1086, 1/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 2682 3913, www.facebook.com/kagurahk
Ready to enjoy a private dining experience right on the seafront with fresh fish brought in straight from Japan? Then Reiki is for you. Featuring a mix of sashimi platters (salmon, prawn and octopus at just $78), sushi (starting at $38) and cooked options (for the less adventurous). The fresh fish is brought in daily and served on a bed of ice. The presentation is incredible as well, and there is no better place to enjoy sea food than right on the water and the smell of the ocean wafting in.
Price: Sushi from $38+, private dining for 23-30 from $350 per head
Reiki, Address; Tai Hong St, Sai Wan Ho, Hong Kong, 2493 5333
Offering a variety of Japanese cuisine, it has everything from all-time classics such as sushi, sashimi and teppanyaki, to more traditional Japanese styles such as teishoku (set meal), donburi (rice bowl) and robatayaki (Japanese barbecue). Dive into Ana Sushis’ intricate menu, which is the product of a 11-year exploration in Japanese cuisine. Signature dishes include Hida Beef Sushi on Shrimp Cracker ($238 for 3), Chicken Wing Stuffed with Foie Gras ($68) and Ox Tongue with Bean Paste Sauce ($88). Can’t decide? Trust the chefs and let them decide: Matsuba Crab & Sea Urchin Rice in Stone Pot ($168).
Price: Dishes start at $58
Ana Sushi, Shop 1027, 1/F, YOHO Mall I, 9 Yuen Lung Street, Yuen Long, New Territories, Hong Kong, 2353 5515
Drink in sweeping views of the city while you enjoy Japanese fare at Tsukada Nojo. This lively spot specialises in the unique Japanese Izakaya, using chicken as its base ingredient (ideal for any meat-lover!). Originating from Nichinan City in Kyushu, the Izakaya franchise made its name serving its signature Bijin Nabe ($320). Not for the faint-hearted, the dish consists of a thick ‘golden collagen’ chicken stock that is made by stewing chicken bones for more than eight hours, cooling it into a pudding-like gelatine and serving it with vegetables, chicken and handmade chicken meatballs. For the less adventurous, go for alternative, healthier options, such as Eel & Cream Cheese Rice-Paper Roll ($48), Japanese Omelette ($58), and Grilled Free-range Salted Chicken ($180) sourced from Tsujada’s own free-range chicken farm!
Price: Dishes from $58, $348 for the Afternoon tea set.
Tsukada Nojo, Shop OTE 202, Level 2, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Kowloon, 2467 0777, www.facebook.com/TSUKADA.NOJO.HongKong
Stuck in a sushi rut? Sushi Masataka offers an authentic dining experience with a Japanese omakase concept headed by Chef Masa Fujisawa. Directly translating into, “I’ll leave it up to you,” avoid the headache of selecting from a menu and allow Chef Masa to deliver a specially designed sushi meal made from fresh seasonal catches from Japan. Enjoy a night of experimental fine dining, venture out of your comfort zone and finish it off with a sample off Masataka’s extensive sake list.
Price: Dependent on orders
Sushi Masataka, Shop 2, G/F, The Oakhill, 18 Wood Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong, 2574 1333, sushimasataka.com
With only 10 seats available at a time and only two servings every evening, Umi redefines omakase offering a more intimate and interactive experience. Dive into the tasting menu consisting of 16 (16!) courses. Menu items change weekly to ensure that whatever is in season is served. The fish is also freshly caught and imported straight from Japan.
Price: $1,588 per person
Umi on Hollywood Road, Shop 3, G/F, 159-163 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, 2956 3177, www.lecomptoir.hk/umi
Promising an authentic Japanese robata experience (with a good view!), this restaurant specialises in robatayaki, a method similar to barbecue where skewers of food are slow-cooked and made-to-order on the grill. To drink, complement the dishes with one of its speciality sakes. Additionally, Akikan Robatayaki offers a selection of sashimi and sushi that are freshly flown in daily.
Price: Prices range from $800-$1000
Akikan Robatayaki, 27, 28/F Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 2562 3123, www.akikan-global.com
Led by Executive Chef Masaki Nishioka, Matsunichi can be found in between Kai Tak and Kowloon Bay. Serving tempura, teppanyaki, sushi and sashimi fresh off the counter, this elegant restaurant uses seasonal ingredients and presents them using contemporary twists. There are also three private dining rooms featuring tempura and teppanyaki cooking stations helmed by Japanese speciality chefs.
Price: Set lunch from $280 and set dinner from $1380
Matsunichi, Level 2, Goldin Financial Global Centre, 17 Kai Cheung Road, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong, 3188 2760, www.matsunichi.com.hk
Revamped in a new location, guests at Kaiseki Den by Saotome can tuck into a 10-course menu featuring luxury ingredients such as black and white truffle, caviar and French Challans duck – all prepared using Japanese home-cooking techniques. This exclusive 1-Michelin Starred Japanese restaurant specialises in exquisite Kaiseki cuisine.
Price: Think fine dining
Kaiseki Den by Saotome, 32-38 Cross Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, Wan Chai, 2851 2820, www.facebook.com/kaisekidenbysaotome
Takumi’s newly reinvented identity calls for a unique one-Michelin starred dining experience that blends French culinary traditions with Japanese ingredients. Headed by Japanese-born Chef Mori, who also happens to have a heavy dominated culinary background, the eastern and western fusion menu features flavours that are not commonly found in the already multi-cultural HK. Only serving 12 diners in one sitting, Takumi promises an intimate dining atmosphere, allowing diners to fully enjoy the menus’ seasonal dishes that are mainly sourced from Japan, France and Europe.
Price: Six-course tasting menu $2680
Takumi by Daisuke Mori, Shop 1, G/F, The Oakhill, 16 Wood Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong, 2574 1299, takumibymori.com
Opening this month at Ocean Terminal in Harbour City, this Japanese resto will feature washoku dishes with a view. Featuring four sections: omakase, tempura, skewer and cocktail, it will serve up contemporary and traditional dishes as well.
ANA TEN, Shop OTE 304, Level 3, Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong 2701 9881, www.facebook.com/anatenhk
Thank you to Lorria Sahmet and Carrie Johnson for their contributions to this article.