2016 pretty much changed what little we used to know about Japanese food. Gone are the days when all we knew about the cuisine revolved around sushi, sashimi, ramen and donburi. Now, we have okonomiyaki, teishoku meals, and even Japan’s number one cheese tart here in the Philippines!
For this rundown, we bring you the ten best-rated Japanese restaurants of 2016 based on looloo reviews! Did your favorites from the Land of the Rising Sun make it to the list? Read on and find out!
10. Nadai Fujisoba
Without a doubt, ramen is one of our most favorites things about Japanese cuisine. In fact, it’s become such a huge hit that ramen shops have opened left and right through the years. But if you’re craving for a noodle dish that’s different from the usual bowl of ramen, Nadai Fujisoba has what you’re looking for. Opened in Shibuya back in 1966, Nadai Fujisoba is known for serving udon and soba dishes.
If you’re wondering what exactly these two are, udon is a type of thick noodles made from wheat flour that is usually served in a noodle soup while soba is the opposite, thin noodles made from buckwheat flour that you can serve either cold or hot.
Nadai Fujisoba serves different kinds of soba and udon dishes, including mori (cold noodles served in a flat basket), hiyashi (cold noodles that are separated from the broth, which you have to pour yourself), and even those with tempura!
Nadai Fujisoba has branches all over the metro.
You probably haven’t heard of the term teishoku but trust us, it’s something you’re very familiar with. Teishoku actually refers to the style of dining that involves set meals, which usually includes the main dish, soup, rice, and sides like vegetables. This is what Yayoi has been serving to foodies in the metro ever since it first opened last September.
But the teishoku isn’t the only thing that Yayoi brings to the Philippines. Yayoi also lets us experience the well-renowned Japanese efficiency by providing each table with an iPad, which diners can use to browse the menu and place their orders. Yayoi also guarantees that you’ll get your food in less than 15 minutes!
Yayoi is located at 3/F Mega B, SM Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong.
Another Japanese dish that local foodies are now very familiar with is the tonkatsu. Maisen, which first opened in Tokyo in 1965, is one of the two restaurants in this list that specializes in this breaded, deep fried pork cutlet classic!
If there’s anything that we love most about katsu restaurants here in the Philippines, it’s the inclusion of unlimited sides! Maisen is no different, providing unlimited rice, cabbage, pickles, miso soup, and fruits.
But if you’re the type who can make do without the eat-all-you-can add-ons, try the Katsumabushi Set, which is composed of bite-sized katsu topped on rice and nori, onsen tamago, and dashi stock.
Maisen has branches at Greenbelt 5, SM City North EDSA, SM Megamall, and Shangri-La at The Fort.
The second tonkatsu restaurant on the list, Yabu has developed a strong following among breaded pork cutlet-loving Filipinos since 2011 when the debut of its first restaurant in SM Megamall. Aside from pork katsu sets, Yabu also offers chicken and seafood katsu!
Looking for some added flavor to the usual katsu? Yabu has miso katsu sets as well as curry katsu sets! If you happen to believe that there’s no such thing as too much cheese (even with curry), order the Menchi Katsu Curry and enjoy the combination of these two flavors!
Yabu has branches all over the metro.
6. Izakaya Nihonbashitei
You usually won’t find Pasay Road in Makati foodie destination lists but this whole stretch near both Greenbelt and Glorietta is where you’ll find one of the gems of authentic Japanese cuisines in the metro, Izakaya Nihonbashitei. In fact, you’ll find a branch on both ends of Pasay Road!
Izakaya Nihonbashitei’s extensive menu will surely send Japanese food lovers to cloud nine in an instant. Want to know just how extensive this menu is? It has different kinds of sushi (nigiri, makimono, and oshizushi, which also known as pressed sushi), sashimi, donburi, ramen, soba, and udon. Aside from those, Nihonbashitei also serves curry, onigiri, ippin ryori (small dishes that are usually paired with alcoholic drinks), and kushiyaki (grilled meat and vegetables on skewers). Heaven!
Izakaya Nihonbashitei has two branches along Pasay Road, Makati, as well as branches in Adriatico and Pedro Gil, Malate, Manila.
5. Genki Sushi
Colorful plates, bullet train, Astro Boy-shaped serving trays, and a number of sushi and sashimi options that will make it so hard to choose and so easy to splurge. This is Genki Sushi in a nutshell. Highlighting the quick and efficient service that the Japanese are known for, there’s no need to call a server to view the menu, place your order, or even to ask for the bill. All of those you can do on the iPad that’s available in each table!
If you’re finding it too difficult to pick which sushi to order, here are some recommendations from looloo app users! In her looloo review, Clarissa P. says that she and her friends loved the “insanely good” and “melt in your mouth” Seared Salmon Black Pepper so much that they ended up having a total of four orders! On the other hand, Raisa Z. says in her review that the Seared Scallops with Pollock Roe is simply “the booomb!!!”
Genki Sushi is located at 2/F Bonifacio Stopover, 31st Street corner Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, at G/F Phase 2, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, and at 2/F Ayala Malls The 30th, Meralco Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig.
For many Japanese food-loving Filipinos, Makati’s Little Tokyo is like heaven on earth. Not only are there a number of options to choose from, you can also cross order from other restaurants inside Little Tokyo so you don’t miss out on all the deliciousness the place has to offer.
A favorite among eat-all-you-can type of eaters, Umareshi-Ya lets you eat as many wagyu cubes, scallops, pork slices, and other seafood as you can! The catch? You have to grill everything within 45 minutes! Aside from that, you also get unlimited rice, salad, and soup! So if you’re looking to stuff yourself until you’re too full to move, head to Umareshi-Ya! But take note, this promo is only available from Mondays to Wednesdays from 5PM-11PM!
Umareshi-Ya is located at Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati.
Sure, we all know what a pancake is. But have you ever had it the Japanese way? Lucky for us, we now have Dohtonbori here in the Philippines, which is popular for its okonomiyaki, a savory type of pancake with noodles, meat, seafood, vegetables, and other ingredients mixed into it!
At Dohtonbori, your okonomiyaki is prepared on the grill right in front of you! Some types of okonomiyaki require that the ingredients are mixed together before they’re grilled but others require a different kind of preparation! The Hiroshima Yaki, for example, is made up of ingredients that are added to the grill in sequence and cooking them as is.
There’s even pizza on the menu and they’re all cooked right before your eyes as well! A favorite among the looloo app users is the Quatro Formaggi, which is served with a caramel sauces that balances the richness and saltiness of the four cheeses.
Dohtonbori has branches in Greenhills, SM North EDSA, and SM Mall of Asia.
2. Izakaya Kikufuji
Another restaurant you’ll find in the Little Tokyo, Izakaya Kikufuji is probably one of the most most popular restaurants in the complex. Known for its sushi and sashimi selections, foodies love Izakaya Kikufuji so much that it’s been included in five of the twelve monthly rundowns of the ten most popular restaurants in the metro for 2016.
Tuna lovers will surely enjoy the Tekka Don, also a favorite among looloo app users. In her looloo review, Yina M. says that the tuna is “red and fresh,” adding that she also loves the wasabi that comes with it! Can’t quite decide which sashimi to go for? Izakaya Kikufuji offers a set that has five different kinds of sashimi in it! You’re in for a treat if the uni is available!
Izakaya Kikufuji is located at Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati.
Considering how OOMA made a grand total of seven appearances on our monthly top ten restaurants in the metro for 2016, it’s no surprise that OOMA has topped the year-end rundown as the best Japanese restaurant! Now three branches strong, there’s absolutely no excuse for you to miss out on it if you haven’t tried OOMA yet!
OOMA is popular among foodies for its aburi makis, which are torched on top (aburi means “to burn” in Japanese) and comes in different varieties. There’s uni ebi tamago, scallop and tuna, oyster, and even steak! Speaking of steak, one of OOMA’s best sellers is the Hanger Steak! Served with sauteed mushrooms, white truffle oil, sweet potato mash, crispy baby potatoes, herb aioli, and ponzu butter, this is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!
OOMA has branches in SM Megamall Center, Bonifacio High Street Central, and Rockwell Center.