From sushi served on bullet train-like trays on conveyor belts to the rising popularity of aburi sushi and maki, Manila has become an exciting scene for this famous Japanese favorite. What better proof of that than this list of the ten best-rated sushi restaurants for the first half of 2016 according to the looloo reviewers!
Some of the sushi restaurants making an appearance on this list include one that shares the name of the famous fish market in Japan, one that is best known for its tasting menu, and two that are found in a quaint little Japanese heaven called Little Tokyo.
Which restaurant do you think bagged the top spot? Read on and find out!
10. Izakaya Kikufuji
The first of two restaurants found in Little Tokyo that made it to the list, Izakaya Kikufuji, is so popular among Japanese food lovers that it’s actually recommended that you book a reservation first when you plan to dine in! If not, you’ll have to bring a lot of patience with you because Izakaya Kikufuji is always packed with customers and it might take a while before you can snag a table. But the wait, no matter how long or short, is worth it.
Izakaya is actually a Japanese term for a drinking establishment and in Izakaya Kikufuji, you’ll find a wide array of drinks to go with your choice of meal or bar chow. But its variety of drinks isn’t the only thing that keeps customers coming back for more.
Izakaya Kikufuji’s sushi and sashimi offerings have been a constant hit among diners ever since this restaurant opened. Add a little heat to your experience and order the Spicy Salmon Sushi or the Spicy Tuna Maki, which come as highly recommended by looloo reviews. In her looloo review, Maia T. raves about the “more authentic and legit” taste of her Spicy Tuna Maki. Another favorite is the Chirashi Don, which is a generous bowl of the freshest sashimi that will surely make your mouth water.
Izakaya Kikufuji is located at 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Little Tokyo, Makati.
The Milky Way Building along Pasay Road in Makati is one of the many foodie havens here in the metro. Tsukiji, one of the restaurants you’ll find in this building, is a restaurant and sushi bar that has been declared as Manila’s Best Japanese Restaurant by the 2014 Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Awards.
At the helm of Tsukiji since 1989 is Chef Toshiro Okajima, who dishes out the freshest sushi and sashimi for diners every single day. His experience working at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan has given him a great understanding and appreciation for seafood, which we we all have the privilege of tasting through his food.
Tsukiji has an extensive sushi menu that you can choose from. Try the Hontoro sushi or sashimi. Jacy Mae L. calls the Hontoro (fatty tuna belly) the “king of all sashimi” in her looloo review. When choosing becomes easier said than done, order the Tsukiji Special Sashimi instead and have seven kinds of sashimi to feast on!
Tsukiji is located at 3/F Milky Way Building, 900 Pasay Road, Makati City.
Foodies have been raving about the food in OOMA ever since it first opened its doors in July 2015. It was quickly hailed as another success for Chef Bruce Ricketts (who happens to have two other restaurants that made it on this list). While it’s no doubt that the Hanger Steak is one of OOMA’s best sellers, it’s delicious maki offerings are also a hit among foodies who come to OOMA’s two branches.
There’s the Soft Shell Crab Taco-Maki, whose crab meat and aligue mayo go together perfectly, according to Pia R.’s looloo review. For salmon lovers out there, Steffhanie S. says that the combination of the cream cheese from the Salmon Skin Aburi Maki and the wasabi is “so addicting.” The Hamachi Maki, which is made up of hamachi, ceviche dressing, pickled vegetables, shiso, and unagi sauce has been deemed “the best” by April H. in her looloo review.
They all sound so good, don’t they? As looloo app user Jonathan Y. says, “Oomagoodness indeed.”
OOMA is located 3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas, Mandaluyong, and at Edades Tower and Garden Villas, Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati.
7. Izakaya Nihonbashitei
Another izakaya on the list, what started as a Pasay Road staple has now expanded to include branches in Malate and Tomas Morato. Izakaya Nihonbashitei serves up straightforward, classic sushi and sashimi that go well with drinks, as part of a full meal, or even on their own.
There is one particular sushi that foodies rave about in Izakaya Nihonbashitei: their Spicy Toro Maki. Kathryna D. even calls it the “Michael Jordan of Nihonbashitei” in her looloo review. Making up this customer favorite are six large pieces of sushi that you might have difficulty eating in one bite because of their huge size. The level of heat it has won’t turn off those hesitant to try it while the crunchy tempura topping is like icing on a very delicious cake.
Another well-recommended item you can try on the menu is the Sashimi Goten Mori, which includes five types of sashimi including tuna, mackerel, salmon, squid, and uni.
Izakaya Nihonbashitei has branches in Pasay Road, Makati, Malate, Manila, and Tomas Morato, Quezon City.
6. Seryna Japanese Restaurant
That Seryna has a ton of Japanese nationals eating there every single day can only mean that this restaurant is as authentic as it can get.
Serving delicious Japanese staples since 2005, Seryna has been one of the go-to places when sushi and sashimi cravings hit.
It may seem so simple but the salmon sashimi is one of the highly-recommended items on Seryna’s menu. Migs C.’s looloo review says it tastes like “it was just taken fresh out of the water… and I mean it in the best way possible!” Seryna’s Chirashi Sushi is another recommended option to try. Kim L.’s looloo review says it’s the closest ones to those served in Tsukiji Market!
Seryna Japanese Restaurant is located at 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Little Tokyo, Makati.
5. Tsumura Sushi Bar and Restaurant
Located in an office building in Salcedo Village, Makati, Tsumura Sushi Bar and Restaurant is not always easy to spot when you’re in the area. But when you do find it and decide to give it a try, you’re in for a treat at Salcedo’s very own sushi heaven. A bit on the pricier side, reviewers don’t mind the cost as they continue to receive 5 star ratings.
Tsumura’s extensive menu can be quite overwhelming at first but if you’re really not sure what to go for, the classics are always the sure fire bet. Those who can’t leave any Japanese restaurant without devouring some salmon sushi will surely be thrilled to know that Alfred C.’s looloo review says that Tsumura’s salmon sashimi is the best in town. If you’re a fan of mixed sushi or sashimi, try the Chirashi Sushi or the Sashimi Moriawase (sashimi platter).
Tsumura Sushi Bar and Restaurant is located at 2/F 88 Corporate Center, Sedeño Street corner Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati.
4. Sensei Sushi Bar
Those who live down south of the metro need not go anywhere far for their sushi fix. Sensei Sushi Bar is another neighborhood restaurant located in the popular foodie destination, Aguirre Avenue. Owned by Chef Bruce Ricketts, you can expect to eat food made from the freshest ingredients that you might not see ever again. Sensei Sushi likes to change its menu every two or three days so it’s all the more reason to head to Parañaque and catch their latest offerings.
The Tuna and Scallop Dynamite maki is recommended by many looloo users! It’s a very apt name because Bea P. calls it an “explosion of flavor in your mouth” in her looloo review. For those who want to stick to a classic but with a different twist, try the Cali Roll with Prawn Popcorn!
Sensei Sushi Bar is located at 268 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque.
3. Mecha Uma
Credited by many as the restaurant that skyrocketed Chef Bruce Ricketts to culinary fame, Mecha Uma is heavy on the experience and understanding of food. While they do serve a la carte dishes in this small yet cozy restaurant, the most coveted offering it has is Chef Ricketts’ tasting menu. Served omakase-style, what you get will depends on what Chef Ricketts and his team cook up for the day. Rest assured, the ingredients used are the freshest in the metro.
In his looloo review, Erika C. talks about the sashimi course she had and how Chef Ricketts asked them to follow his instructions as they ate their sashimi course, explaining each piece of fish that’s on their plates. Between the Japanese Halibut, Sea Bream (tai), Winter Hamachi (buri), and Blue Fin Tuna Belly (toro), she says the toro was so good she and her group “wished all four pieces were just toro!”
Mecha Uma is located at G/F RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center, 25th Street corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Hotels are most commonly known for their buffet options and Makati Shangri-La is no exception to that. While many foodies troop to Circles Event Café to fill their stomachs with delicious, well-curated food, Inagiku has been know to be the place to head to for delicious Japanese cuisine when in Makati Shangri-La. Their a la carte offerings are extensive and even include a set lunch menu and a vegetarian menu.
But if you find it difficult to miss out on eating unlimited food, Inagiku still has you covered. Served only on Saturdays and Sundays, the Utage Buffet at Inagiku is for anyone who’s looking to spend more than an hour feasting on Japanese food.
Inagiku is located 2/F Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati.
1. Minami Saki by Astoria
Landing in at number one as this mid-year’s best-rated sushi restaurant is Minami Saki by Astoria. Currently holding a 4.9 rating (out of the perfect score of 5) in the looloo app as of writing, Minaki Saki is helmed by Chef Kimito Katagiri, who is also at the helm of Inagiku.
As soon as you enter Minami Saki’s minimalist, sakura-inspired interiors, you know you’re in for an authentic Japanese treat. If you’re looking for a sushi feast, make sure to try the Aburi Sushi, which you can order a la carte, or a set with five kinds of fish: salmon, tuna, hamachi, lapu-lapu, and unagi. Sushi or maki that’s done aburi style is partially torched at the top and is meant to taste slightly charred so don’t let that surprise you. Madeleine A. calls it “a visual pleasure” in her looloo review while Julie J. says “every bite was bursting in flavor.”
If you’re ordering it a la carte, make sure to get either the Sake (salmon) or Maguro (tuna). Or why not get both! ChiChi T. says in her looloo review that ordering for is pretty much “a done deal.”
Minami Saki by Astoria is located at Astoria Plaza, 15 Escriva Drive, Pasig.