In a city where residents growing penchant for Japanese fare has resulted in an influx of Asian inspired eateries, competition is fierce. We explore Abu Dhabi’s best Japanese restaurants. From sushi to sashimi, we bring you the best places to enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine.
See and be seen
Famed for having the best black cod in town Zuma is undoubtedly one of the trendiest places to see and be seen. Located at The Galleria Mall on Al Maryah Island Zuma offers spectacular waterfront views. Food is served to share creating an informal yet sophisticated dining experience. The beverage list is extensive and nothing short of a masterpiece. Our favourite dish has to be the gindara no saikyo miso yaki, miso marinated black cod wrapped in hoba leaf. Zuma single handedly made this dish what it is today. Also worth noting is the hamachi usuzukuri pirikara, ninniku gake, sliced yellowtail, green chilli relish, ponzu and pickled garlic and the gunkan no caviar, beef sushi with oscietra caviar. If you are looking for a great Japanese dining experience and want to keep the party going late into the evening Zuma should be your destination of choice.
Zuma Abu Dhabi, 02 401 5900
Located in the stunning Yas Viceroy, Kazu, the hotels Japanese restaurant has recently introduced its Kazu Saturday Brunch. The brunch offers a wide selection of traditional favourites infused with a modern twist. To start guests can enjoy a selection of edamame, rock tempura with creamy mayo and tuna tataki with ponzu sauce. These are all made a la minute ensuring flavourful mouthfuls. A wide selection of fresh carefully crafted sushi and sashimi is available from the buffet, be sure to try the spicy tuna maki, it is divine. The main event consists of crab salad, salmon den miso, chicken teriyaki, beef asparagus and breaded squid all served in a bento box. The salmon de miso is delicious and makes a refreshing change from the usual black cod. If you enjoyed one dish in particular and you want more, don’t be shy just ask. Ensure you leave some room for dessert as the red velvet cupcakes are absolutely delicious. Also worth mentioning is the vast range of original Japanese beverages available at Kazu, trained experts are on hand to recommend the perfect accompaniment to your meal. For those located on Yas Island Kazu should be high on your list of places to visit.
If you are looking for a unique brunch experience, love authentic Japanese cuisine and want to enjoy indoor or outdoor seating head to Kazu.
AED 188* per person, including soft beverages.
AED 298* per person, including house beverages.
Available every Saturday 12.30pm to 4.00pm.
Kazu, 02 656 0600
Located within the Venetian Village, at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, Inakaya presents a distinctive dining experience called robatayaki, a Japanese grilling art that is as much a performance as it is a way of cooking. As you enter the restaurant you immediately feel that you have left Abu Dhabi and arrived in Japan. The team are immaculately presented in kimono and happi coast-style uniforms emphasising the authentic Japanese experience.
Inakaya’s menu is extensive and offers hot dishes, tempura, robata, meat, seafood, sushi, sashimi plus a chef’s special, which regularly varies. Highlights of the menu include the grilled miso marinated black cod, Kobe skewers, crunchy rolls and the mochi ice cream. The Kobe beef is patiently grilled to perfection with theatre and flare by Inakaya’s specially trained seated grill masters. Inakaya’s mochi ice cream is the best mochi ice cream in Abu Dhabi, do not leave Inakaya without trying their cheesecake mochi ice cream, it will revolutionize your perspective on dessert.
If you are looking for alfresco dining in a beautiful waterfront setting with a varied menu Inakaya offers this all and more.
Inakaya, 02 404 1921
KOI Restaurant and Lounge
This low lit restaurant cum bar exudes style and sophistication. KOI offers large comfortable booths and semi-private outdoor seating overlooking the tranquil courtyard of The Collection Saadiyat.
The menu at KOI is condensed and features soups, KOI signature dishes, KOI signature rolls, main dishes sides and dessert. By focusing the menu to a few pages, KOI is able to carefully craft each dish to the highest culinary standard. From the salad menu be sure to try the lobster avocado salad presented with shiitake mushrooms and tofu-lime dressing. This dish is elegantly presented and tastes as splendid as it looks. The avocado adds a wonderful hint of texture to the fresh lobster. This dish is perfect for a sharing starter or as part of a healthy lunch. The lobster tacos are not to be missed, this is the star dish and the one we enjoyed the most. If you want great sushi try KOI’s signature the rok ’n’ roll, soft shell crab spicy tuna, baked crab topped with toro and gold leaves. A dish worth an Instagram post. For those who prefer red meat try the Kobe style filet mignon ‘toban-yaki’ with asparagus and mushroom. Thick cuts of filet mignon beautifully atop of a sweet sauce.
If you are looking for a romantic meal or out as a group KOI offers a selection of great sharing dishes along with a lounge area perfect for a few cheeky beverages.
KOI Restaurant and Lounge, 02 678 3334
The Yatch Club
Although not solely focused on Japanese cuisine The Yatch Club located in the InterContinental Abu Dhabi undoubtedly has the longest standing, most successful sushi night in town. Be sure to book in advance as tables go quick. This restaurant and nightclub holds its weekly unlimited sushi and sashimi night every Tuesday from 7.00pm to 11.30pm. Enjoy unlimited sushi and sashimi with a Taste of the Orient at AED 125* food only, AED 165* with one pot of Japanese grape or house grape and AED 215* with free flow of grape beverages and hops.
The Yatch Club’s Asian tapas style menu is also delicious and features sushi, robata grills and exotic desserts. Dine indoors or outdoors, on the terrace and enjoy spectacular views of InterContinental Abu Dhabi’s private marina.
The Yatch Club, 02 666 6888
Barfly by Buddha Bar
The latest edition to the Venetian Village, at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal dining scene is the renowned Barfly by Buddha Bar. Barfly by Buddha Bar brings an edgy restaurant and supper club concept that aims to create a unique dining venue where food, drinks and music melt in a superlative lifestyle statement. Be sure to try the heritage assorted platters specifically ‘The Barfly’ which offers 30 pieces of assorted sushi and sashimi. Other highlights on the menu include the grilled Canadian whole lobster and classics such as California and Philadelphia rolls.
If you are looking for something unique try the mango foie gras rolls, served with raspberry sauce and truffle oil snow.
Barfly by Buddha Bar, 02 404 1951
Tori No Su
This sleek, modern Japanese restaurant located in Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is one of the most stylish Japanese restaurants in town. The well thought out design offers comfort without losing sight of style. Kaiseki-trained Chef Ando and his team offer a selection of exquisite sushi, beautifully presented and equally as tasty. Keep an eye out for the monthly specials which boast a range of fish hard to find anywhere else in Abu Dhabi.
Tori No Su, 02 811 5666
Located at the Nation Riviera Beach Club, on Abu Dhabi’s iconic Corniche, Catch offers some of the best views of the Arabian Gulf in the city. The stylish décor and coral tones exude a sense of class and refinement. Be sure to try the blow torch dynamite rolls sure to add a sense of excitement to your dining experience.
Catch, 02 611 0909
Stylish and affordable
True to its name Teatro amplifies the charm of the theatre, deep purple curtains hang, intensified by large crystal features and complimented by theatrical artwork. Located in Park Rotana, Teatro’s menu blends East and West. Before you turn the pages of their quirky designed menu we would highly suggest you order the wasabi prawn tempura, roast duck spring rolls with plum hoisin sauce and the yellow tail tartar. The wasabi prawns are some of the largest juiciest prawns we have had the pleasure of enjoying, as for the roast duck spring rolls, well they are the best in the city. Worth highlighting is the yellow tail tartar served in crispy gyoza shells and seasoned with tom yam marinade and guacamole. It’s refreshing to see that finally a chef as taken a creative approach to yellow tail. Teatro also offers a selection of healthy, yet tasty salads for diners wanting to enjoy a guilt free meal. Order the sakura salad, a simple dish serving marinated salmon and tuna drizzled in Japanese vinaigrette full of delicious mouth-watering flavour. For the sushi lovers amongst us be sure to ask for the volcano not part of the menu by a secret favourite in Abu Dhabi these mini towers of sushi goodness will leaving you wanting to return to Teatro before you have even left. Teatro was the most consistent restaurant we visited, every dish was equally as enjoyable, never failing in flavour or presentation.
Teatro, 02 657 3333
In Asia, the colour red symbolizes happiness and good fortune. If you like great sushi, stumbling on Rouge, hidden away in the Hilton Capitol Grand Abu Dhabi, will make you feel quite lucky. Rouge is technically a pan Asian fusion restaurant, but its head chef is well versed in sushi and, if you opt for the sushi platter (16 or 21 pieces), you will not be disappointed by his picks. The selection of signature maki rolls is scant, but they all look quite appetizing, and there is nothing worse than a maki roll menu so long that you are paralysed by choice. Your server will ask if you have any likes or dislikes but, if you don’t, leave your culinary fate in the hands of the chef and you will be rewarded with a fresh, colourful and meticulously plated array of sashimi, nigiri and maki rolls. We particularly like Rouge’s Toro (fatty tuna) sashimi. While this slice is no stranger to any sushi menu in town, an improper cut can leave this fish tasting a bit fishy. Toro is the fatty part of the tuna, found in the belly portion of the fish and in the hands of a skilled sushi chef, the fish melts in your mouth. Make sure you try the sushi at Rouge, but the pan Asian dishes are also not-to-miss if you are craving something cooked.
Rouge, 02 617 0000
One of the original Japanese restaurants in town, Toki is still a firm favourite. Located within the Hilton Abu Dhabi, Toki gets big points for its traditional décor and zashiki seating. The cuisine in Toki has a traditional Japanese focus with rare to find items such as the seafood okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza).
Toki, 02 681 4151
Smoking Doll has two locations in Abu Dhabi one outlet in Nation Towers and the other in Boutik Mall, Al Reem Island. Its vibrant interior is unmissable. Be sure to try the smoking roll a delicious unique sushi roll present in a cloud of smoke. Other highlights on the menu also include the grilled black sea bream, the wide selection of curries like the delectable Thai green curry and the crème brûlée, which is worth a drive to Smoking Doll alone.
Smoking Doll, 600 560 603
One of the many popular dining options available in Beach Rotana, Benihana offers diners a live teppanyaki cooking experience. Be sure to try the Benihana tempura roll which is packed with tuna, salmon, shrimp, eel, spicy mayo and cucumber lightly battered and deep fried served with teriyaki and wasabi cream and the cheesecake gyoza, deep fried cheesecake dumplings served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, absolutely breathtaking.
Benihana, 02 697 9011
Imago Restaurant and Bar
Located in Le Royal Méridien, Imago is one of the best kept secrets in town. If you fancy some great tasting sushi on a Saturday and don’t want to break the bank visit Imago’s unlimited sushi, sashimi and nigiri night from only AED 130* or AED 160* with selected beverages, available from 8.00pm to 11.00pm.
Imago Restaurant and Bar, 02 674 1094
This restaurant, lounge and terrace is located on the 12th floor of Aloft hotel. If you are looking for a few great sushi bites combined with a lively night out Relax@12 is the place for you. Going as a group of friends? Be sure to try the delicious sushi sharing platters.
Relax@12, 02 654 5138
Kahraman at Southern Sun Abu Dhabi is an Arabic restaurant with a twist. Amongst the delicious Arabic delicacies guests are also treated to a sushi counter offering some of the most fresh and delicious sushi and sashimi in Abu Dhabi. Mark your calendars for their Monday sushi nights. From 7.30pm to 11.00pm guests are invited to enjoy unlimited sushi with soft beverages from AED 129* and with Japanese beverages, grapes and hops from AED 199*.
Kahraman, 02 818 4888
Toshi Asian Restaurant
Located in Grand Millennium Al Wahda Toshi offers a selection of Asian, Chinese, Far Eastern, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian and Thai cuisine. Try one of Toshi’s overland culinary journey consisting of 5 yummy courses for only AED 159*.
Toshi Asian Restaurant, 02 495 3921
Offering great views across Yas Marina, Aquarium offers a superb Sunday sushi night. Every Sunday, from 7.00 pm until 11.00 pm guests are invited to enjoy unlimited Sushi for AED 99. If you want to sit outside and enjoy the views be sure to book in advance.
Aquarium, 02 565 0007
Located in The Galleria Mall, Sushi Art is a firm favourite in our casual dining category. Its unpretentious and modern design make it the perfect spot for a quick lunch or a relaxed meal with friends and family. The menu is beautifully designed and we literally had to restrain ourselves from ordering everything from the menu.
The Black Angus beef donburi offers layers of finely seared beef atop of a bed of white fluffy rice and marinated in donburi sauce and topped with salad. The entire dish is terrific and tastes splendid even the rice leaves us impressed. When ordering from the sushi menu be sure to try the salmon tartare tulip. As the name suggests fresh slices of avocado form the outside and the salmon tartare and sits onto of a bed of rice, resembling a colourful tulip. Also from the sushi menu try the delicate Wagyu beef with miso sauce and truffle. We thoroughly enjoyed the blend of flavours and this dish is representative of the type of flare you can expect from Sushi Art. From the rolls section of the menu try the crab avocado, spicy lobster and the volcano. These three show stopping rolls are scrumptious. The quality of the ingredients is evident and will leave you feeling like you have just elevated your sushi game. If you live on Reem Island you can also enjoy Sushi Art in the comfort of your own home through their delivery service. Sushi Art offers diners’ luxurious Japanese cuisine at a reasonable price, this only means one thing, you can order more!
Sushi Art, 800 220
One of the most popular casual dining sushi venues in Abu Dhabi, Sushi Central has become widely recognised and respected in the city. You’ve probably visited Sushi Central at either their Khalidiya Street or Al Mina Road branch. Both are equally as consistent in delivering tasty, reasonably priced sushi. The tom yum soup is delicious and we love the fact that it has just the right amount of spice that makes it enjoyable, without leaving us reaching for our water. Also noteworthy is the variation on the menu, don’t let the name fool you, Sushi Central offers a lot more than just sushi. Their wide selection of hot dishes ranges from BBQ skewers, katsu, teriyaki to one of our favourite dishes, the beef yaki udon noodles, no one in the city does them quite like Sushi Central. Be sure to leave room for dessert as you will not want to miss the mango maki sweet rolls.
Sushi Central, 600 520 007
Located in Marina Square, building 8, lobby level, Reem Island Jojo Sushi menu consists of all the favourites such as sashimi, maki rolls and nigiri to name a few. Jojo Sushi also offer a selection of platters available for large functions.
Jojo Sushi, 02 666 3998
Located in Khalidiya, Mikado Café has a minimalistic yet Japanese themed décor. The tuna foie gras from the sushi menu is very unique and worth exploring. Mikado Café offers more than just sushi. This quaint Japanese bakery has a delicious selection of tempting Japanese breads.
Mikado Café, 02 667 7557
Located in Bawabat Al Sharq Mall, Asia Seven serves a selection of traditional dishes from seven of the most popular Pan-Asian countries in the world, China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar. Try the Vietnamese steamed fish in banana leaf, steamed fish fillet marinated with galangal, lemon grass, fresh lemon juice and coriander root, rolled in a banana leaf, sensational.
Asia Seven, 02 676 5516
Sushi Story, 02 552 4290, must try dish: geisha roll.
Sumo Sushi and Bento, 02 557 0500, must try dish: rock and roll shrimp.
Camacho, Khalidiya branch 02 650 5600, Al Seef Village Mall 02 444 9660, must try dish: Mount Fuji maki roll.
Samurai Japanese Restaurant, Mina Street 02 676 9911, Airport Road, 02 447 0070, must try dish: spicy salmon and tuna roll.
Sho Cho, 02 558 1117, must try dish: crispy aubergine salad.
Sushi Maru, 050 523 2904, must try dish: maguro yukhoe.
Casper & Gambini’s, 02 418 2501, must try dish: C&G roll.