MANILA, Philippines – The meticulous preparation and precise flavors of Japanese cuisine maybe worlds apart from our local dishes, but Filipinos love it anyway. Thankfully, when it comes to good Japanese restaurants, Manila is spoilt for choice. From katsu places to time-tested restaurants, here are the best Japanese joints to head to when you have a hankering for sushi, ramen, tempura, or other favorites from the land of the rising sun.
Asakusa: Home of Tempura
The name says it all. If tempura is your thing, this is where you can find it – in any iteration you can think of. From the classic prawn tempura, to kani, fish, and even shitake mushrooms and scallops, you’ll certainly get your golden, deep-fried fix here.
Asakusa: Home of Tempura
Ayala Malls Vertis North, Mindanao Avenue, Quezon City
Chef Bruce Ricketts’ take on casual Japanese dining, Ooma’s dishes manage to taste both clean and comforting, with Chef Bruce’s signature creative flair. Try Ooma’s sushi, which comes in every flavor you can dream of, the delicate salmon tataki, or, if you really need a treat, the Hanger steak, which is covered in sauteed mushrooms, potato crisps, and white truffle oil.
3rd level, SM Mega Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong
Known for their ebi tempura and rib-eye steak, Kimpura has been around for decades. If you like your Japanese food to be easy and uncomplicated, but still delicious, this is the place to go. The restaurant is especially good for families, though reservations are recommended because its branches are always busy.
Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati
The place may always be packed, and service may be slow, but there’s a reason why people keep coming back to one of the busiest restaurants in Makati’s Little Tokyo. From gyoza, to gyudon, to spicy sashimi, and a generous selection of sake to wash it all down, this restaurant will send your tastebuds right to Japan.
Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati
The interiors alone will make you feel like you’ve teleported to Japan, but wait ’til you taste the food. There’s a dish for any appetite: katsu curry for the especially hungry, chirashi for seafood lovers, spicy tuna for those who want something light, but with a punch, and ebi tempura for pretty much anyone.
1030 Antonio Arnaiz avenue, Makati
Recent years have seen a katsu hype in the Philippines, and for obvious reasons: most katsu places serve their sets with unlimited salad, soup, and rice – which is one of the quickest ways to Filipinos’ hearts (and bellies). Of course, out of all the katsu restaurants in Manila, Saboten is among the best. The restaurant, imported from Shinjuku in Tokyo, serves all kinds of deep-fried panko goodness: tender chicken, juicy pork loin, and fresh shrimp.
Ground floor, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
A go-to for Japanese since the 80s, this tiny restaurant on a corner of Kamagong st. in Makati has since expanded to serve several branches. Still, its menu continues to serve the usual Japanese fare such as chicken teriyaki, sukiyaki, and ebi tempura.
Kamagong cor Sampaloc street, San Antonio Village, Makati
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