My trip to Japan changed a lot of my food habits, and of course, it even spoiled me with choices when it came to having some of the best Sushi, Ramen or Matcha teas but now that I am in Dubai my hunt for the best Japanese food in Dubai continues. I get sudden cravings to eat sushi and miso-glazed seafood and that has made me spend a lot of my money to find a few restaurants in Dubai which deserve a mention.
After years of trying different restaurants, I have finally made a list of places you need to try, the chefs here are talented too and their food is close to perfection, so since I can’t travel to Japan often I can easily head to these few restaurants to satisfy my ultimate Japanese food cravings.
Kayto – This restaurant in Jumeirah Al Naseem is one of my favourite places if I am tempting anything Japanese especially their Miso glazed Eggplant, I once asked the chef for the recipe and he politely gave me a tub full of sauce as the ingredients are quite difficult to source and it’s not an easy sauce to recreate. The slight tinge of pink decor works perfectly well and uplifts the ambience of the place. The view of the iconic Burj Al Arab is wonderful and I cannot complain about the food as I have not had a single mediocre meal here, I have starting to believe it’s impossible for the chef to mess up and I say that since I am a very fussy eater.
Nobu – Back when I shifted to Dubai around seven years back all I knew was Nobu, and I still go there quite often especially with a few tourists who love to see the Atlantis and dine at the famed Nobu. I once had the chance to interview Chef Nobu and it was such a pleasurable experience as he was so kind to share his recipe of the bestselling Miso Cod. Recently Nobu has launched a Friday Brunch and you get tired of eating, there is so much food, but unfortunately, I didn’t feel guilty binging on it all. The food won’t disappoint you but the only sad part is you be addicted to the good Japanese food.
Buddha-Bar – I would like to think this is Grosvenor Houses most popular restaurant as there is always a queue to get in and people trust the chefs to serve them a storm. Its a trendy party place with dramatic decor especially with the enormous Buddha statue. I love their Crispy Rice Tuna and of course, it would be a sin to leave this place without trying the Chocolate Fondant. Make sure you to reserve a table in order to avoid disappointment. There are a couple of Buddha Bar’s around the world so if not Dubai, you can try it in London, Paris or even in New York, they have a long list of branches.
Play – This restaurant in H Hotel is a Dubai grown restaurant, and has flourished since the time it has open. It has a modern menu which curates its menu depending on the regional demand and likeness. I have had the opportunity to visit this place a couple of times and I wasn’t let down. The view of Dubai skyline is beautiful and so is the food. They even have live entertainment a couple of days and have recently introduced a brunch menu too. If you like to please or impress your guests with food, and glamorous decor this is the place to head.
Zuma – Now who doesn’t know Zuma? It has taken Japanese food to new heights and it would be a shame if I didn’t include this on the list. I usually go here on a special occasion be it my birthday or an anniversary and gorge on their extremely delicious dishes. The menu constantly keeps changing and this is one reason for me to keep visiting this place back and again. There have been times when I haven’t been able to reserve a table here so highly recommend you book before you make your way to Zuma. DIFC has plenty of fancy restaurants and this is just one of those.
Karma Kafe – This restaurant in Souk Al Bahar has one of the best views of the Fountain, it is indeed a pleasurable experience to sit here and dine, as well as enjoy the hustle and bustle of the mall happening beneath you. They have great deals going on which always tempts me to book my spot, the food is appealing and the management who owns this restaurant also has a couple of more famous restaurants under them including the popular Asia Asia. Their modern twist on Sushi is something I look forward too, this place is usually crowded because of its commendable location but it’s not difficult to get in. The place is pretty especially the terrace and you can’t complain about the view or the food.
Katsuya – Another restaurant which is quite well known in the West is Katsuya, fortunately for the Dubai peeps we have two Katsuya branches both of which have a very promising location, one being in The Dubai Mall and another one in the glorious Jumeirah Al Naseem. If you are here you should surely try some of their famous sushi, many Hollywood celebs have been seen dining at this popular joint and it’s no surprise as Katsuya has a wonderful vibe and the food too is magnificent.
Akira Back – Another Michelin star chef has opened not one but two restaurants in Dubai but my favourite one of his brands is Akira Back. Situated in the W resort this restaurant is massive and it still manages to easily fill up. His dishes are innovative and have a slightly modern twist to it which seem to work for his concept. I have been here more then a couple of times and had the wonderful opportunity to speak to Chef Akira Back himself, seeing his passion and dedication to cook and serve surely made me appreciate Japanese cuisine a lot more.
Roka – This restaurant has recently opened its door in Dubai and it is the sister property of the famous Zuma. I have had the chance to dine in one of their London restaurants and back in the UK people love the vibe and the food. It seems people in Dubai to are acknowledging the food and enjoy dining in this fancy place. It is located in ME Dubai by Melia which is beautifully designed by the late Zaha Hadid. Roka is the first international chain outside London and I won’t be surprised if they open a few more in the GCC region, it’s doing pretty well for itself especially in this strange times of 2020. Also, advice, save room for desserts, it is worth it!
99 Sushi Bar – It’s just been a month since this restaurant has opened here in Dubai but it was already doing pretty well for itself back in Abu Dhabi. Situated in their the wonderful Address hotel this is one place for people who obsess over Sushi, it’s really good and won’t let you down. My favourite dish here was the Spicy Tuna Tartare and the crunchy tiger prawn tempura, you will love both of these suggestions. I can’t wait for the winter months to start soon so I can make my way back to their terrace and soak in the lovely view of the Burj Khalifa.
Later this year there will be more Japanese restaurants opening up in Dubai, and that is no surprise as the crowd enjoys and savours on most of the Japanese dishes like Ramen, Gyozas or hotpots. Cannot wait to try more exciting places and review it for you guys!