Japanese cuisine has been popular in Hong Kong for many years, and no wonder given its healthy, balanced approach which appeals to people in Hong Kong. Additionally, Japanese food is seen as high quality and, at the top end, the standards are extremely high, perfect for special occasions. Finally, Japanese culture is generally well-regarded in Hong Kong, and trying Japanese food is a way for people to experience a small part of that culture. The range of restaurants to try are wide, too, from Michelin-starred, traditional Edomae-style sushi at sushi counters (like Sushi Shikon and Sushi Saito) to popular chains (like Sushi Kuu) offering a variety of Japanese dishes, including sushi, tempura, and teppanyaki.
What: This seminal chicken and charcoal izakaya hits all the right notes with its delightful selection of yakitori – from wings to meatballs via deliciously marinated and seasoned thighs. Wash it all down with draught pilsner or on-trend cocktails. Super freshness and zero wastage are other boxes ticked, and the presence of a Michelin star is comforting too.
Where: Shops A and B, Winsome House, 154-158 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan
What: The polished tables of this glamorous, multi-floored hot spot are always in demand not least owing to the patronage of fast-living party-goers and other glitterati who love its high spec design and subtle, flattering lighting. The accessible Japanese izakaya menu with a twist has many star-turns, as in sea bass with yuzu, truffle oil and salmon roe or the ever-popular miso-marinated black cod. A notable garden terrace adds further intrigue. Weekend brunch is an institution.
Where: Landmark Level 5 & 6, 15 Queen's Road, Central
What: Many will know Aqua for its western cuisine, including great pizza and pasta dishes, but the same attention to detail is given to its wide roster of Japanese offerings, from sushi and sashimi to tempura and the likes of black cod and wagyu beef tataki. Window-side tables provide glittering views across Victoria Harbour whatever the occasion.
Where: 17/F, H Zentre,15 Middle Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
What: Sushi Saito restaurant in the Four Seasons offers Asian and Japanese cuisine, not to mention some of the best sushi in Hong Kong. Traditional dishes rub shoulders with sushi prepared in authentic Edomae-style. And unlike other traditional sushi counters, Sushi Saito offers lovely views of the harbour, too.
Where: Four Seasons, 8th Finance Street, Central
What: Arguably the ultimate Japanese foodie experience in Hong Kong, Sushi Shikon, located on the seventh floor of the Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel is the complete cultural package. Fresh ingredients (flown in from Tokyo’s famed Toyosu market), craftsmanship courtesy Sushi Shikon’s master chefs and three Michelin Stars to boot.
Where: Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 15 Queen’s Road, Central
What: This chef-lead, artful sushi counter is where to enjoy superlative edomae-style omakase cuisine at the small intimate counter. There is table seating, too, in a cool, warm-toned setting where a wider range of marinated fish and seafood leave diners marvelling at the deep-flavoured umami and top-notch presentation.
Where: 29 Bridges Street, Sheung Wan
What: Osaka’s food and drinks culture, informed by life experiences from New York, is celebrated at this exciting new Japanese brasserie that hits the nail mark with both its American-style vibe and flavoursome seafood and meaty dishes from an open kitchen. Come the evening it’s a good meeting spot for sake cocktails, crowd-pleasing wine and beer.
Where: 1/F, The Johnston, 74-80 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
What: Its exciting design and brand new location on the fourth floor Rooftop Garden of the IFC mall that afford great views of Victoria Harbour are just several of the reasons for visiting Haku. The kappo cuisine is rooted in Japan but the influences are much wider – think States, Europe and Asia, reflecting the peripatetic outlook of chef Rob Drennan, and dishes like snow crab togarashi or shortrib with yuzo kosho (pepper) from Kyushu. Fun and deliciously immersive.
Where: Shop 4011, Podium Level 4, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central
What: Authentic Edomae-style sushi omakase hits all the right notes for a high end night out, where quality of ingredients and attention to detail is second to none, be it in the form of exquisite tuna, crab and seabass or speciality octopus and abalone. Beautiful presentation and both traditional and unusual seasonal ingredients are both features, too.
Where: Shop G111, The Gateway, Harbour City, 3-27 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
What: Nagamato’s sushi counter, with its soft lighting, sleek lines and stark minimalism, may be traditional in all senses but the food reaches out in a modern way with its exquisite flavours and beautiful presentation. Expect dishes that are informed completely by what’s in season, be it Hokkaido hair crabs in Summer or Japanese Blue Crab in winter. As a result dishes burst with flavour.
Where: 8/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central
What: Locals have quickly taken this exciting, speciality chicken-focused Japanese to their hearts, loving both the buzz and the fact that the cooking is the real thing. Signature yakitori, using highly prized Kuro Satsuma chicken, is their signature dish – tender, tasty, yielding and rich in umami depth. “Comb to claw” skewers and charcoal-grilled tori kappo are other must-haves. A great choice for first-timers and hipsters alike.
Where: Shop 2A, 1/F, Manning House, 38-40 Queen’s Road Central, Central
Swish modern interpretation of Japanese sushi dining, with a large seating area. A well-stocked bar points to the fact that ambience is as important to the owners as the quality and presentation of the food. Expect delights such as Hiroshima oysters cooked with egg Yanagawa style and a lovely version of Hokkien fried rice.
Where: 1/F, M88, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central