Stunning sushi, superb views, authentic service and setup. TOMO ticks all the boxes when it comes to true Japanese dining in Dubai. Bean curds topped with spring onion and ginger, vinegared octopus, thinly sliced cuttlefish, steamed egg custard mixed with shrimp, mushrooms and chicken cubes – the list goes on.
With dishes that aren’t often seen on menus in the city, this is as far away from boxed-up mall sushi as you can get.
Ingredients are imported from Japan weekly, meaning you know you’re getting the freshest produce, too. It’s inventive and it’s delicious. Don’t believe us? Try the rainbow maki – it’s as vibrant for the taste buds as for the eyes.
For the best experience, dine in the authentic Japanese tables. Shed your shoes and sit on the floor. The views across the Dubai skyline are nothing short of spectacular, either.
There are set menus – which will give you the full experience and push you to try dishes you might not usually select – or you can order à la carte.
Compared to some top restaurants, this one isn’t eye-wateringly pricey either.
The word TOMO is literally translated as longtime friend, and that’s exactly what you’d call this restaurant. Unfailingly loyal, always welcoming and the perfect place to relax with your nearest and dearest – and that’s why it’s our Best Japanese Restaurant 2019.
When dining at Zuma expectations are always high. This is a multiple award-winner, and is therefore always packed out. It’s also very expensive, but don’t let that put you off – save up and go. We mean it, if you dine at one Japanese restaurant in the city, let it be this one.
Book in advance, as it could take weeks before you get a table, it’s that popular. But happily, it ticks all the boxes once you’re in.
Winner of this category – as well as Best Brunch – for the second year in a row, the Japanese juggernaut that is Zuma shows no signs of slowing. It’s unfailingly popular and always busy.
Launched in Knightsbridge, London, in 2002, German-born chef Rainer Becker’s brand has gone from strength to strength, with branches from New York to Miami and Rome.
It’s not the prettiest of locations, set in DIFC with views over the main road, but you’ll hardly notice when your attention is fully focused on what’s on your plate.
Don’t miss the beef and green chilli robata skewers, they’re perfectly charred. The sweet potato with teriyaki and sesame is also a hit.
Main courses are sublime. The black cod is an obvious choice, although an excellent one, but we’d suggest the roasted Boston lobster, with shiso ponzu butter. It’s rich, tender, garlicky and moreish, with every bite a complete delight. And that’s what Zuma is, a complete culinary delight.
The bottom line
Award-winning Japanese. Book it, now.
Nobu needs no introduction. This globally renowned brand from Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa is consistently excellent the world over, especially here in Dubai, and you simply must visit. The restaurant at Atlantis the Palm is a hotspot for tourists and residents, and there’s a great bar for a pre-dinner drink, too.
Famous for its black cod, this is one menu item not to be missed. Nobu can be credited for the surge in popularity of the dish, after Hollywood star Robert De Niro tried it, loved it and told the world about it. And you’ll agree with De Niro. The buttery, flaky fish is a pure joy to eat. It’s rich, decadent and every bit as good as the hype.
The jalapeño yellowtail is also another stunner. The citrusy, delicate fish is tangy and light, and the chilli gives a warming kick. All the sushi is worthy of a try and for mains the grilled lobster is meaty and perfectly charred. Shrimp fan? Order up the prawn tempura, which are huge, juicy and not at all greasy – some of the best we’ve tried.
Dishes are also really healthy, as Nobu uses minimal sugar in his cooking, preferring to use the Chinese monk fruit – a zero calorie natural sweetener, so there’s no excuse not try them.
Nobu may be on the expensive end of the scale, but its popular for a reason and you shouldn’t miss it.
The bottom line
World-class Japanese dishes that are a must-try.
Dark lighting, neon colours, pun-tastic signage and a wasabi server with bright green hair. It’s not your regular introduction to a restaurant, but it’s definitely fun.
Housed in the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, there are certainly restaurants within the hotel boasting better (or, frankly any) views, but despite the dark and cavernous feel to the room, Izakaya is bold and funky, and we love the nightclub-esque vibe to the place.
From the tables you can admire the knifework of the skilled sushi chefs in the live kitchen or sit at teppanyaki bar if you prefer.
And there’s a decent-sized menu on offer, with an interesting range of dishes. Dynamite rolls are (unusually) hot and crispy, while salmon avocado maki is smooth and cooling. Both are a hit.
We also love the tasty chicken yakatori, while a sizeable chunk of buttery black cod is rich, decadent and delicious. When it comes to Japanese fare, everything is excellent.
Service, though, is haphazard at best, and for a restaurant of this ilk, we’re expecting better – or at least not having to wait 15 minutes for a menu.
With a few tweaks in that area, this could be a top date-night option thanks to a fun vibe and some super sushi.
The bottom line
Cracking sushi and a wacky vibe.
- 1 of 2