- Food & Booze
Brisbane's best Japanese feeds
There’s so much more to Japanese restaurants in Brisbane than sushi trains and tempura-battered-everything.
Whether it’s saké that you’re after, you’ve got a yearning for yakitori, or you’re going mad for miso, here’s where you can nabe yourself some of the freshest and most innovative cuisine this side of the equator.
Get ready to feed your inner sumo, Brisbane – we know he’s hungry.
HÔNTÔ | FORTITUDE VALLEY
LONgTIME’s sister venue is one to make a beeline for, with hôntô offering a contemporary Australian take on Japanese cuisine, an exceptional wine list, specialised cocktails, and a handpicked selection of Japanese whiskeys. The food, as set out by Tokyo’s Kogi Ohori, is split into four different menus: Raw, Bites, Bigs and Greens. Think everything from wagyu tartare with smoked soy, egg yolk and lotus root chips to roast pork belly with compressed watermelon, kimchi, chilli and ginger. Safe to say that you’ll love hôntô, longtime.
SONO | HAMILTON
After a cheeky skim over Sono’s sushi menu, you’ll never be able to look at food court California rolls the same. If you’re after something light, go for the aburi Tasmanian salmon belly roll, but if you’re after a feast, it’s teppanyaki time, baby! Let Sono’s sensational chefs light up your life with dinner cooked right before your eyes, and save us a slice of duck teriyaki, would you?
YUZU & CO. | NEW FARM
Dining with a friend is all fun and games until you realise that their order is better than yours. Avoid this travesty at Yuzu & Co., thanks to the entire menu being 10/10. You can indulge in the likes of gyoza, sashimi tacos, snapper and kingfish bowls and soft shell crab burgers (and the chicken karaage roll might just change your life). Yu r welcome.
MOTTO MOTTO | CHERMSIDE
Motto Motto translates to ‘more, more,’ and with all the amazing meals this place boasts, you’ll defs be craving another chopstick-ful. Crumbed salmon cold soba, wagyu beef Japanese cloud roll and chicken karaage curry are way up on our to-eat list, with the option to add seaweed salted fries and beer to any curry or roll meal (it’s a yes from us). End on a sweet note with either green tea or marble soft serve!
BIRD’S NEST | Various locations
Bird is the word if you’re after great food to complement average-good conversation (we don’t know what your company is like, and we’re not going to assume). Bird’s Nest’s selection of yakitori (aka their infamous chicken skewers) is prepared in-house daily, with other skewers featuring vego options, pork belly, and wagyu beef sticking it to your expectations. If you’re more of a deep-fried fiend, go the torikawa ponzu (crunchy chicken skin with ponzu, yuzu pepper and shallots). Pretty fly for a restaurant guy.
SAKÉ | EAGLE STREET PIER
With dishes that are just as much to die for as the view of the river, dining at Saké is something you won’t forget in a hurry. The miso-glazed toothfish is a thing of dreams, with pan seared duck breast and agedashi tofu topping off your time. This joint’s name doesn’t deceive, either: Saké’s wine, cocktail and (of course) saké list designed to make your food pop in the best way possible.
MOGA | Rosalie
Wake me up before you Moga. Tuck into an à la carte feast of freshly sliced salmon sashimi and pork spare ribs, or cut to the cheese with an epic camembert katsu coated in Japanese bread crumbs, lightly fried with zucchini and served with a spiced bbq dipping sauce. We’ll forgive you if can’t avoid the sushi train inside, though: the vibe is geisha-riffic, channelling old Kyoto in its design with an artisanal selection of craft sakés and beers. The hard part, of course, is choosing what to get!
MIZU | Teneriffe
BYOh hello, our sweet Mizu. Yes, Teneriffe’s clap-worthy Japanese restaurant is good for BYO wine, as well as for dishing up banging bento boxes for lunch and share-style dining options aplenty for dinner. We’d opt for a cheeky bit of pork gyoza and tempura prawns and avocado coated with saikyo miso sauce, but everything else looks pretty darn on point too. Guess we’ll panic and over-order!
SUSHI & NORI | BOWEN HILLS
These guys are on a sushi roll (sorry, couldn’t resist). If you get a hankering for fresh and delicate sushi, you’d be soy crazy to go past Sushi & Nori. Whether you’re in the mood for a grilled kingfish roll, salmon sashimi or soft shell crab tempura, these guys nail authentic Japanese eats when you seek but lack the funds for a flight to Tokyo.
KABUKI TEPPANYAKI | CBD
Who doesn’t love dinner and a show? We know we do, especially when the show involves the food we’re about to stuff our faces with. Kabuki offers a traditional teppanyaki experience, giving you the chance to watch with amazement as the chef sends your gyoza and Moreton Bay bug flying through the air while you try to suppress your stomach rumbles.
Ku-O | Woolloongabba
The gift of the Gabba is Ku-O – a place where you can donburi your feelings in a bowl of sakana fry curry. A healthy selection of sashimi, sushi and dinner sets will leave you spoilt for choice, with iced and hot milk teas and Ku-O’s famous frappés being the boba on top of a satisfying suburban dining experience.
Toko | Howard Smith Wharves
Here’s one to watch. The Sydney-based izakaya-style restaurant is ready to say konnichiwa to its new Brisbane sister venue, which will join the booming riverside precinct of Howard Smith Wharves some time in October. Toko’s two-storey space will host a bar and restaurant, with a strong focus on sustainable seafood and equally strong fruit-based cocktails. With Greca’s Jonathan Barthemless at the helm of this exciting new eatery, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for Brisbane’s newest slice of Tokyo life!
If all this talk of Asian cuisine has your mind wavering towards something more ramen-based, we’ve got you, fam. Catch our call for Brisbane’s best ramen here.