Whether it’s fancy omakase or a cheap slurpy ramen bite, these restaurants bring the best of Nippon right in the heart of Bangkok. Vote for the restaurants that deserve the title of Time Out Bangkok Love Award for The Best Japanese Restaurant.
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Located in the heart of metropolitan Bangkok, Fillets features contemporary yet comforting Edo era-inspired interiors. Randy Nopprapa (chef and business partner), a protege of world-renowned Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, has over a decade’s experience heading some of the best sushi restaurants in Washington D.C. Opt for the omakase course (starts at B4,500), where Chef Randy uses various techniques and balances out flavors to create a wholesome chef’s-table dining experience. Not too keen on raw fish? Fillets offers a great selection of local dry-aged beef along with well-composed signature dishes.
One of the two Michelin-affiliated sushi restaurants in Thailand, Ginza Sushi Ichi offers a dining experience that comes with a hefty price tag. Under the tutelage of much-revered head chef Masakazu Ishibashi, the sushi chefs at this outpost have paid their dues at the one-Michelin-star mother branch in Tokyo. Paying up to B10,000 for an omakase (sushi chef’s table) meal may seem ridiculous at first, but take these into consideration: they fly in freshly caught ingredients on a daily basis and are on a chummy basis with chef Ishibashi, who comes to Bangkok once every quarter. If you think about it, you are paying for a Michelin-starred meal without having to fly all the way to Tokyo.
Dimly lit to attain the most romantic ambience possible, In The Mood for Love is inspired by the Wong Kar Wai movie of the same name. The menu consists of fusion rolls such as the C4 Signature Roll, an east-meets-west treat that combines unagi (eel) and mozzarella. Those craving a more fulfilling sushi experience can head over to the bar and ask for the special omakase set, which features the fresh imports of the day.
Situated at the heart of Thonglor, Kaze Fresh’s clean Japanese-meets-Scandinavian interiors highlights warm wood tones, marble walls and a high ceiling. The menu features traditional Edo-Mae sushi, signature rolls that marry bold textures and flavors, sumptuous donburi, and well-executed staples such as crispy tempura moriawase and the flavorful saikyo miso salmon. Check out its Facebook page for updates on menu specials and budget-friendly promotions.
The interiors of Kom-Ba-Wa, F&B entrepreneur Frederic Mayer’s first Japanese-themed restaurant, are a playful balance of romance and class. The menu follows the same path, dishing out traditional Edo-mae sushi and mouthwatering signatures such as black cod miso gyoza and 60-day-aged Tajima wagyu steak. Executive chef Goro Takatsu started off his career perfecting the subtle art of traditional kaiseki in Japan before taking his expertise to Spain and the Americas, where he expanded his culinary repertoire working in many high-end restaurants. If you seek a uniquely stimulating Japanese dining experience, Kom-Ba-Wa certainly hits the spot.
The (long) story of one of the world’s most famous Japanese chefs, Masaharu Morimoto, starts with a baseball injury the Iron Chef sustained while trying to play the sport professionally. This career-ending mishap derailed his dreams of making it to the Major Leagues, but it did pave the way for another dream job, that of a sushi chef, which turned out to be the most fortuitous change. Fast forward to today, Masaharu Morimoto is one of the most successful Japanese chefs in the world, with namesake restaurants in Philadelphia, New York and—now—Bangkok.
Cutting his teeth in his late teens at some of the best sushi restaurants in Tokyo, Masato Shimizu became the youngest chef in New York City to earn a Michelin star back when he was head chef at raw fish temple, Jewel Bako. After relocating to Bangkok with his half-Thai, half-Japanese wife last year, Chef Masato opened his eponymous ten-seater, which serves up to only 20 guests in two seating periods. A 20-course omakase dinner empties the pockets at B4000 (a lot cheaper than Ginza Sushi Ichi), but you may need to reserve a few months ahead due to the long waiting list. This makes Sushi Masato the hottest omakase restaurant in Bangkok.
Sushi Mori (translates directly as “sushi wood”) seems like a calm culinary oasis amidst the ever-busy Sathorn-Narathiwas intersection. The menu features plates of oversized sushi such as the Engawa Twist, a scrumptious set featuring torch-grilled engawa (the skirt of a flatfish), sea urchin roe, and diced otoro (premium fatty tuna). There is also an array of traditional Edo-mae sushi, fusion rolls and donburi (rice bowls with toppings. Make sure to leave some space for the Snaffles Cheesecake, a flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth treat from Hokkaido.
Imported fresh from Tsukiji Fish Market, marbled Otoro, the most desired part of tuna is served here at Yamazato along with Chutoro, Akami and the other fresh seafood. Authentic Japanese dishes are also available as alternatives that are as enjoyable and appealing just like the melt-in-your-mouth sashimi.
Taking its cue from the sushi bars in New York, Zuru features clean contemporary decor befitting wholesome family meals. The menu, likewise, features flavorful combinations such as hamachi unikura (yellow tail and sea urchin roe) and tenmi uni sushi (specially selected lean tuna meat and sea urchin roe). The result: small explosive bites that will leave you wanting for more. For a hearty sashimi experience, order the Platinum Chirashi or, if you’re a fan of Japanese eel, the Unagi Hijiki Mushi.