Like much of Asian food, a Japanese meal often revolves around a rice or noodle dish with the accompanying meat, fish or vegetables.
A ravenous Time Out picks out ten Japanese restaurants you should try whikle you are in Dubai.
Miyako. Hyatt Regency: On any given night, Miyako hums and throbs to its own agreeable beat. Busy chefs slice fleshy cuts of fish behind an open counter, waitresses scurry between tables ferrying steaming bento boxes, seafood soups and icy fresh sushi bites. It's bustling, but not frenetic. Relaxing, but still stimulating. And being just a stone's throw from the Fish Market ensures that the sashimi slices and sushi appetisers are as fresh as any in the city.
Sumibiya, Radisson SAS Hotel Deira Creek: It's all very well being waited on hand and foot, but there's something special about a DIY dinner and Sumibiya is the expert. Fitted grills at every table let you make like your at an authentic Japanese barbecue joint and cook meat, fish, crustaceans and chicken to your own specifications. Before dipping your toes in the DIY waters, kick the meal off with an order of gyu no marine - a plate of thick Japanese carpaccio served with a house sauce and lettuce.
Kisaku, Al Khaleej Palace Hotel: From the all-embracing menu you and your dining partner are sure to squabble over the expertly sliced shards of salmon, tuna, squid and rolled omelette that lay prone over a bowl of sticky rice for the chirashi don. Try the agedahi tufo, or the asparagus with soya bean sauce, which makes a great starter and end the meal on a high with two scoops of goma ice cream, or the semi-sweet trio of gooey mochi (pummelled rice cakes sprinkled with kinako).
Sakura, Crowne Plaza Dubai: A first look in Sakura provides a pleasingly authentic vista. With dark wood chairs, low lighting and a teppanyaki chef merrily tossing ingredients around the tabletops, you can allow yourself to be transported to Tokyo. Try the miso soup – rich and flavoursome, Some of the curious side orders will complement the sushi dishes and you should consider one of the delicious main courses too.
Tokyo @ The Towers, Jumeirah Emirates Towers: Book to sit ring-side and prepare to be amazed as the man in the tall hat twirls his knives and slices with lightning-quick precision, twirling salt, pepper, dressing and spices, then scooping up and dropping the results directly onto your plate. There are three set menus on offer at Tokyo @ The Towers in the Jumeriah Emirates Towers Boulevard basically meat, seafood or surf and turf, which is the best of both worlds. And finish with a serving of smooth red bean ice cream, with tiny bean pods that just burst in the mouth.
Sushi Sushi, Century Village: The greens, yellows and reds that colour the Century Village restaurant conspire to cause a lively, yet relaxing atmosphere. Sit near the smoothly trundling conveyor belt and admire the sweeping calligraphic characters on the walls. Start with a bowl of warm, salty and wonderfully moist edamame and then move on to the tsukimi soup, which arrives under a plume of steam. The dark broth comes swamped in a jumble of thick udon noodles, red cabbage, carrot, cucumber and spring onion beneath a solitary yolk of freshly cracked egg.
Benihana, Al Bustan Rotana Hotel: It may be one of the world’s most popular Japanese restaurant chains, but Benihana is a long way from the conveyor-belt school of sushi. It’s all about the performing chefs here, in the tradition of the founder Rocky Aoki. And while the dishes might not be the most adventurous or experimental, the restaurant still offers some of the freshest, most reliable sushi, tempura and teppanyaki around.
Shogun, Al Ghurair Centre: This Al Ghurair restaurant seeks to conquer all with its comprehensive spread of Japanese, Thai and Korean dishes, which fill the well-thumbed pages of three separate menus. The Japanese menu offers all the sushi, teppanyaki and tempura you’d expect and the restaurant is stuffed with seating options too – a long fish tank populated by a gang of gulping hammour points you to a dinky little sushi bar, and just around the corner there are tables with steamboat or hotpot facilities, and also a number of private rooms.
Yo Sushi, Various locations: Apart from drink orders, miso soup refills and requests for hot food, the staff don’t have to do that much more than count your plates and take your money. They should be able to rest easy because of the serve ourself conveyor belt which makes up the heart of the restaurant. Try the sashimi and nigiri as well as the good value salads. Fried aubergines and soy sauce, ginger and a squeeze of lemon being particularly tasty.