The Nine Best Japanese Restaurants in Austin
We pick our favorite spots for sushi, ramen, hibachi, and more
By The Food Staff,
9:00AM, Tue. May 8, 2018
There's no need to fly half-way around the world to get yourself some decent Udon noodles. We at the Chronicle have compiled a list of Japanese restaurants here in Austin to satisfy your cravings without the pains of international travel. Check out more suggestions from all over the culinary map on our First Plates page.
Otoko1603 S. Congress
There’s no chef in town like Yoshi. The manic Kyoto-born punk rocker is obsessed with ingredients, transforming fish flown directly from Tokyo and obscure don’t-call-them-weeds from HausBar Farms into an intimate 12-seat kaiseki experience that tastes like nothing else in town.
Kemuri Tatsu-Ya2713 E. Second
This Texan izakaya concept from ramen gurus Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto marries barbecue-inspired Asian dishes with a wide variety of beer, sake, shochu, Japanese whiskey, and inventive cocktails. Start with playful snacks – like their take on a Hot Pocket and chili cheese takoyaki – before moving on to yakitori, kushiyaki, and a menu of smoked items (order the BBQ Boat to try a selection of proteins). Be sure to save room for brisket ramen – around these parts, it’s considered dessert.
Uchiko4200 N. Lamar #140
Like the classic little black dress, Uchiko has become a mainstay on the Austin dining scene. From the economical social hour to a date-night splurge with a shellfish allergy, there’s something for everyone at this beloved modern, innovative Japanese restaurant. The menu is in a league of its own: Not even Bon Appétit can nail that not-so-secret crispy brussels sprouts recipe.
Ramen Tatsu-Ya1234 S. Lamar
Opened by two former DJs in 2012, Ramen Tatsu-ya has since been named one of the best ramen joints in the entire damn country. Belly up to a warming bowl of tonkotsu broth filled with hand-cut fresh noodles, a wedge of pork, a shoyu egg, and a spicy butter bomb, and you’ll understand how they got Austin into this fetish.
Loro2115 S. Lamar
Oh, look who it is (again)! Restaurant rookies Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin have combined forces to bring us a Texas-Asian smokehouse. Flavor explosions like Malaysian chicken bo ssam, Thai green curry sausage, and smoked beef brisket with chili gastrique and Thai herbs will have you wondering when someone is finally going to notice these guys’ mad skills. (They’ve also created a fantastic patio, by the way.)
Don Japanese Kitchen2716½ Guadalupe
This newly minted brick-and-mortar is a shining light of umami in a storm of frat-star hangouts and chains. Rice bowls topped with all types of proteins and endless add-ons like veggie croquettes make the trip to the Drag worth more than its weight in panko.
Komé5301 Airport #100
Irasshaimase! The customary Japanese welcome greeting – announced in unison by the staff for each new guest – embodies the casual but chic comfort of this wonderful (and recently revamped/expanded) restaurant. Their insanely fresh sushi and sashimi plates are arguably the best lunch deals in town, and now that there’s a full bar, we plan to renew our wedding vows. Try the sunshine roll with fresh mango, Shiso greyhound, and chicken karaage.
Hanabi Sushi9503 Research #500
Hanabi’s sushiya (soon to be rebranded as Haru Sushi) presents the freshest sashimi in the most exquisite platings, especially if you splurge with the omakase. The hotate crudo and the blackened pepper tuna salad with goat cheese are also very smart decisions.
Kyoten Sushiko4600 Mueller Blvd. #1035
If a seafood-craving Goldilocks had broken into Ky¯oten Sushiko, she would have found everything exactly to her liking. From the not-too-flashy decor to phenomenal omakase dinners (reservations only, mind you, Fancy), owner/chef Otto Phan has created a dining experience that’s just right.
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