Reminder: Due to Covid-19, some restaurants have altered their offerings and may be temporarily closed.
Before dining at any restaurant in Dubai, here are some general rules to take note of:
Make a reservation (Duh!) | Gents, no shorts, flip flops, tank tops and the likes (always best to call and confirm before going) | Confirm that the offer/special you are looking to redeem is still available or applicable on your day of preference.
Below are my favorite Japanese restaurants in the city (that I’ve personally tried):
AKIRA BACK ($$$) – Palm Jumeirah (W the Palm)
Adrenaline filled Japanese cuisine packed with Korean flavors! Led by Michelin Star chef Akira Back, each dish seamlessly fuse Japan & Korea’s best ingredients and flavors into each serving. The tuna pizza is my favorite dish by far!
- Batafurai (Ladies Night): Selection of drinks & sharing plates (unlimited) | 250 AED | Sundays, 7-11 PM
NETSU ($$-$$$) – Jumeirah (Mandarin Oriental Hotel)
Vibe: Trendy/Smart Elegant
Netsu is a Japanese Steakhouse from acclaimed Chef Ross Shonhan. Get a first hand seat to Japan’s traditional straw fire cooking, Warayaki. The menu is complemented with various grills, sushi, sashimi platters and other Japanese style dishes. During the “winter” months, request a seat on the large terrace and enjoy alfresco dining in a relaxed poolside setting (the Mandarin Oriental has one of the best pool views in Dubai). Be sure to try the Jonetsu (a refreshing drink crafted with passion fruit, elderflower syrup, pineapple and lime juice), the wagyu nigiri, lobster ceviche and the wagyu gunkan sushi to name a few.
- Omakase: 7 Course set menu | 490 AED PP
TOMO ($$-$$$) – Wafi (Raffles Hotel)
The word “TOMO” is literally translated from Japanese to mean a long time friend. Along with the tasty menu selection, the ambience is what I love the most – floor style (but chic) seating, panoramic views of Dubai’s skyline via the Tatami Terrace, with an elegant & intimate private dining room
- Happy Hour: 50% of house beverages | Everyday, 5-8PM
- Business Lunch: 3 course | 105 AED | Sunday – Thursday
- Friday Set Menu Brunch: Unlimited signature dishes + house beverages | 399 AED | Fridays, 12:30 – 3:30 PM
- Signature Set Menus: Various
ZUMA ($$$) – DIFC
Vibe: Smart Casual
Zuma, a favorite of mine (so much that I live next door to it)! Similar to the NYC, Miami, London & Bangkok locations, the Dubai venue lives up to the name and provides the same quality experience. Dining at Zuma al la carte can be quite expensive – I recommend either joining for the business lunch or brunch.
- Ebisu Business Lunch: 3 courses | 137 AED | Sundays – Thursdays
- Brunch: Food + House Beverages | 625 AED | Fridays & Saturdays
NOBU ($$$) – Palm Jumeirah (Atlantis Hotel)
You can never go wrong with Nobu – they have the best black cod miso dish compared to all other venues. Bold, but accurate statement! Also, the Wagyu Beef Tartare and Wagyu Beef Miso “Anticucho” style are spot on! During the winter, book the terrace!
- Multi Course Tasting Menu: Various
- Brunch: Food & House Beverages | 550 AED | Friday & Saturdays
CLAP ($$-$$$) – DIFC
One of the latest Japanese restaurants to hit the scene, Clap is a delightful experience. The ambiance – sexy! The food – amazing (especially the salmon and wagyu beef tartare crispy rice)! The bar – authentic but innovative with rotating Japanese caricatures. Book one of three magical spaces – the dining room and terrace, the lounge, or the bar, Ongaku. It feels like a night out in Tokyo. This is a good one, trust me!
ROKA ($$-$$$) – Business Bay (Opus Building)
Vibe: Smart Casual
Simple Japanese decor, BUT the food is delightful! The brunch is so worth it – perfect opportunity to sample the signature dishes from the menu, in an unlimited fashion.
- Brunch: Food + House Beverages | 395 AED | Fridays
- Business Lunch: 5 course | 115 AED | Sundays – Thursdays
GONPACHI ($$$) – Al Habtoor City Boulevard
Tokyo’s famous “Kill Bill” restaurant has finally opened its doors in Dubai. Gonpachi was the location of former US President George Bush and former Prime Minister Koizumi’s Izakaya Summit, and even more famously known for its scene in Quentin Tarantino’s 2004 film Kill Bill. As you can imagine, the venue is quite experiential!
DAIKAN RAMEN ($-$$) – Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) Clusters Y
Mom & Pops style venue, no frills when it comes to decor, however this is probably one of the best ramen spots in Dubai!