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A sushi train with several dishes on it.
Photograph: Creative Commons

The best sushi trains in Melbourne

Hop on board Melbourne's best sushi trains to feast on Japanese dishes including sushi, sashimi and more

Written by
Matilda Knowles
,
Victoria Khroundina
&
Adena Maier
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Sushi trains are the best way to get heaps of sashimi, maki and other Japanese dishes in your belly as quickly as possible. Grab a seat and get ready for a game of targeting the perfect plate as it makes its way down the track and towards your seat.

If you're on a budget, most sushi train restaurants operate on a coloured plate system that helps you keep track of what you've spent on your meal so far. Small serves, artful presentation and the childlike whimsy of being served by a model train: what more could you want? 

Still hungry? Try one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants or check out our guide to the best ramen in Melbourne.

The best sushi trains in Melbourne

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Kew

The newest member of the Chef David family offers an all-you-can-eat hot pot and sushi train in a neon-illuminated locale that looks more like a modern art museum than a restaurant. When you arrive, you’ll walk through a foyer lit up with neon typography and art and pass through a curtain of chains where you’ll be greeted by a staff member. They’ll escort you through a secret door through which a world of high-end Asian fusion cuisine resides. Pair your meal with a glass of wine from their near-exclusively Australian wine menu, a glass of sake or whiskey or a cocktail based on natural environmental phenomena. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Melbourne

Not content with the rail-based food delivery system, the crew from White Mojo have decided to take your sushi experience to the high seas (or at least the low canals) by creating Sushi Boto, a boat-based delivery system. Your nigiri and sashimi are delivered by adorable little boats running along a canal. While you're there you can also drink sake, and for the ravenous, sign up for a ten-step sushi degustation that gets saltier and more savoury with each dish. If you spend over $30 you also get a coin to put into the imported vending machines stocked with Chanel and Tom Ford lipsticks and dining vouchers.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Windsor

Ganbare Kaz on the Windsor end of Chapel Street is set to become your new destination for creative, top-shelf sushi, with low prices and a fitout that will impress the fussiest of hipsters.  No matter where you plonk down along the large bar that curves around the sushi train, you’ll have a good view of the chefs flexing their impressive knife skills. An iPad at each table is used to order drinks and hot food (think izakaya mainstays like gyoza and octopus takoyaki), or a particular kind of sushi that hasn’t yet docked at your station. The plates are your first clue that these guys are detail-orientated. Instead of cheap plastic, here they use polished, hand-painted ceramic versions to plate your little bites. With so many plates whizzing past, how does one choose? Be led by your stomach – it’s all pretty good. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Melbourne

Sakura Kaiten Sushi is low lit, with the white cherry blossom designs against the shiny black walls giving the venue a sleek modern vibe. The space is narrow and almost all of the seating puts you right where you want to be: in front of the sushi train. Any seat gives you a clear view of the kitchen, where you can watch the chefs deftly cut and assemble each dish before placing it on a carriage plate. The grilled snapper with basil nigiri is a standout for its combination of soft fish and tangy seasoning. This is also a great place to take those unfamiliar with sushi trains, as each dish is preceded by a handy label, so you know exactly what you’re eating.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Melbourne

There’s nothing better than a train ride with a view, and that goes for sushi trains too. Located on the fourth floor of the Emporium, Tetsujin’s big floor-to-ceiling windows overlook Caledonian Lane, providing a fresh perspective onto some of the city’s laneways. The décor is light and white, with tiled walls and bright train handles adorning the train in the middle of the restaurant. Tetsujin focuses on doing simplicity well, and this is evident in dishes like the spicy salmon dusted with chilli flakes and the creamy octopus salad wrapped in sweet bean curd. Tetsujin isn’t just a sushi train – it’s also a bar and Japanese barbecue. The bar component means that Tetsujin’s cocktail menu is impressive and inventive. Go for the Mt Fuji Fury, a refreshing mix of grapefruit, orange juice and Nikka whisky.

After a dining hit list?

  • Restaurants

Unless you have the metabolism of a nine-year-old, and the finances of a Kardashian, you never stand a chance against Melbourne's ferocious dining machine. The openings just don't stop and ain't nobody got time to keep on top of what's what. Except us, that is. So behold, our eat-and-destroy list – a guide to Melbourne's 50 best restaurants.

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