In Japan, slurping your noodles and finishing every last grain of rice in your bowl is considered excellent dining etiquette.
And here in Manila, we Filipinos have definitely been behaving well on the dining table. We have slurped, chewed, and swallowed our way through the first half of 2015 and made sure that our bowls have been left spotless.
According to looloo reviews, everyone has been getting their fill of Manila sushi, sashimi, and teppanyaki these days, so if you’d like to hop on the bandwagon, here’s a roundup of the top 10 Japanese restaurants in Metro Manila for your dining pleasure!
10. YuujinAverage Rating: 4.28/5.00
Not a lot of people have seen or heard of Yuujin, mostly because of its secluded spot along Wilson street. But for those who are in the know, they probably want to keep this Japanese restaurant as their own little secret. Who wouldn’t want more sushi for themselves, right? For the Yuujin regulars, this unassuming hideout is an affordable way to gorge on authentic Japanese favorites. looloo reviewers have said that after trying their dishes, regular cravings for sushi, sashimi, and maki are likely to ensue. You have been warned!
The clear-cut favorite among ravers is the Crazy Maki. Each roll, packed with shredded crab sticks and ebiko, covered in tempura flakes, and then topped with even more crab sticks, is a delicious mouthful! Other popular recommendations are the Tuna, Salmon & Cheese Roll, the Tenderloin Steak, and the Wakadori Teppan.
Yuujin can be found at 221 Wilson St., Greenhills, San Juan.
9. Ogetsu HimeAverage Rating: 4.07/5.00
With a name that literally means “Goddess of Food,” it’s natural that we have high expectations for Ogetsu Hime. So far, it seems to be living up to its self-given title. Ingredients are flown in all the way from Japan two to three times a week, guaranteeing the freshness of their specialty sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki, and sukiyaki. The Ogetsu crew is also said to be an attentive bunch that’s ready to wow you with excellent service, which is always a plus for looloo reviewers!
On to the menu, the U.S. Rib Eye Sukiyaki is Ogetsu’s claim to fame. Cooked with vegetables and glass noodles in sukiyaki sauce, you can watch in awe as it gets prepared right under your nose. Another big contender for favorite dish is the Matsusaka Wagyu Teppanyaki, one of the finest types of beef in Japan for its high fat-to-meat ratio.
Ogetsu Hime can be found at the fifth floor of SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway cor. 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
8. OmakaseAverage Rating: 4.27/5.00
When this restaurant first entered the spotlight, Filipinos took to their dishes quickly. Maybe we can even say that Omakase is Metro Manila’s pioneer in Japanese food because prior to its opening, there wasn’t a lot of sushi or maki action going on. They have traditional Japanese dishes for those who have more conservative taste buds, but they also have creations that are really out there. But whatever your preference, Omakase seems to be everyone’s go-to Japanese place for days when you just don’t know where to eat.
Omakase goes beyond the usual salmon or tuna sushi. Some of its most daring sushi inventions are the American Dream, which is deep-fried with salmon, kani, and cream cheese; the Crazy Maki, which is spicy tuna and salmon topped with ebiko, scallions, and salmon skin; and the Jurassic Maki, which is ebi tempura, ebiko, salmon skin, and cucumber topped with scallions. Best news is you can get them by the platter!
Omakase has several branches all over the metro.
7. Haru Sushi Bar and RestaurantAverage Rating: 4.18/5.00
Step into Haru and you’d feel like you’ve been transported back to 15th century Japan. The place is filled with all things Japanese, from cherry blossoms dangling from the ceiling to servers dressed head to toe in traditional costumes. Aside from making you feel like you’re in some kind of a Japanese telenovela, the ambiance goes perfectly well with its authentic Japanese food. And according to looloo reviews, Haru serves nothing but the freshest sushi and sashimi at affordable prices.
The Crazy Roll is one of the most popular picks from Haru’s vast menu. Kani, ripe mango, cucumber, hakira flakes, and mayonnaise all rolled into one makes for a very delicious explosion of flavors in the mouth. The Australian Rib Eye Teppanyaki, although pricier than the rest of the dishes, is another well-recommended dish, said to be so tender that it melts in the mouth.
You can find Haru Sushi Bar and Restaurant at 21 West Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig.
6. KimpuraAverage Rating: 4.57/5.00
For the longest time, the main attraction at Kimpura is being able to watch the chefs in action as they cook your meat, seafood, and vegetables in front of you. Your food then gets served to you directly from their misono tables. One drawback though is that you might have to go home smelling like delicious teppanyaki, but it’s a small price to pay for good grub.
Prices may be a little on the steep side but it seems that quality is a major priority over quantity at Kimpura. Over the years, foodies have come to know this place for its fresh ingredients and authentic dishes, the main reason why the crowd has never dwindled. That said, make a quick call and reserve before coming here to dine!
From Kimpura’s Teppanyaki Combination Specials, the U.S. Black Angus Rib Eye Steak and Prawns is quite the popular hit on looloo. The steak is said to be melt-in-your-mouth tender and the prawns big and fresh, best eaten with a mound of steaming hot fried rice.
Kimpura has branches in Greenbelt 5 in Makati, TriNoma in Quezon City, and Greenhills in San Juan.
5. Nanbantei of TokyoAverage Rating: 4.20/5.00
With hefty yakitori platters that are definitely meant for sharing, bringing extra hungry mouths along with you to Nanbantei is highly recommended. Take your officemates on paydays when there’s extra cash to blow on good food or your big barkada on nights you just want to eat your heart out. They have exceptional sake too, so you know it’s going to be a good time. As per looloo reviewers, the friendly and accommodating crew at Nanbantei would be more than happy to welcome you and your company in.
If you’re having a tough time picking out orders, a good bet would be the Best Sellers Platter which is twenty-one sticks of, you guessed it, their best sellers. This includes asparagus wrapped in pork, garlic fried chicken, pork garlic yaki, shiso maki, chicken with leeks, and corn and potato maki. The mystery dipping sauce that everyone sinks their yakitori into is a big hit as well!
Nanbantei of Tokyo can be found at the third floor of Greenbelt 3 in Makati and the upper ground floor of Bonifacio High Street Central in Taguig.
4. Wagyu Japanese BeefAverage Rating: 4.67/5.00
Who would’ve ever thought that a Japanese place serving up Grade A5 Wagyu beef exists in Makati Cinema Square? But it’s there, in all its meaty glory, and the carnivores of Manila are rejoicing. Wagyu Japanese Beef started out as a simple tasting room where you can sample different cuts of their meat but people wanted more, so they expanded into a mini restaurant. As discreet as this beef haven may be, it gets packed very quickly so be sure to make a reservation before showing up!
According to looloo reviews, the Rib Eye Wagyu Beef has caused many to swoon. It is so tender and packs such a flavorful punch that JP G. on his looloo review has even said that if he were to die soon, it would be the last meal he’d eat on Earth. Intense! The Stone Grilled Sirloin, which is perfectly marbled chunks of wagyu, is another must-try. But if you’re still clueless on what cut of beef to get, the Japanese owners, the butcher, and even the knowledgeable waiters will be willing to help you out.
Wagyu Japanese Beef can be found at the ground floor of Sunvar Plaza Bldg., Amorsolo St. cor. Pasay Rd., Makati.
3. YabuAverage Rating: 4.65/5.00
The Katsu craze in Manila has seen the birth of many tonkatsu places in the Metro. But years later, there’s one that has remained at the top of people’s minds and mouths. Yabu is still on everyone’s list of default places to eat because its panko breaded, deep-fried meat and unlimited rice always seem to hit the spot.
This place is usually packed though, so bring along some patience. Despite the throngs of people who come to feast, service and food quality have remained consistent after all this time. Servers are constantly roaming around with big bowls of cabbage and rice, asking if you’d like a refill (which, of course, we always do).
And its Katsudon is still said to be the best in Manila—their Menchi Katsu Curry, Pork Katsu, Salmon Katsu, Rosu, and Tonkatsu Hire are just some of the popular favorites. So whenever you find yourselves asking the very important question “Saan kaya tayo kakain?” keep Yabu in mind because this no-fail restaurant will leave your stomachs satisfied.
Yabu has several branches all over the metro.
2. CoCo IchibanyaAverage Rating: 4.41/5.00
With over 1,400 restaurants under its belt, Coco Ichibanya holds the Guinness World record for the biggest curry restaurant chain in the world. And finally, they’ve made their way to the Philippines, having opened up shop in Capitol Commons at the Estancia Mall earlier this year. Looks like our curry prayers have been answered!
Ingredients for their dishes are flown in fresh from Japan, so you know you’re getting the real deal. And for us Filipinos who love to customize our food, Coco Ichibanya lets you choose the spiciness level of your curry (go for level 5 if you’re daring enough!) as well the toppings you’d want to pair with your meal.
One of their bestsellers is the Cheese Hamburger Steak. Just imagine sinking your teeth into tender beef stuffed with cheese and smothered in velvety curry sauce! Other popular recommendations on looloo are the Pork Cutlet Omelette Curry and the Chicken Cutlet Curry. Don’t forget your toppings! The sausages and the Pari Pari chicken are said to be highly addicting!
CoCo Ichibanya can be found at Estancia, Meralco Ave., Capitol Commons, Pasig.
1. Izakaya KikufujiAverage Rating: 4.39/5.00
Izakaya Kikufuji is Little Tokyo’s precious gem. It may be tucked away in Pasong Tamo and hidden unlike Makati’s more popular food spots, but people always turn to this humble nook for an authentic Japanese experience. Hence, the inevitable battle for seats inside and parking space outside. Alecs R. on her looloo review said that it might pay to be the eager beaver and go exactly at 11 AM, just right when they’re about to open. Sneaky way to beat the long lines!
Once you’ve made it in, you’ll see that everything about Izakaya is unmistakably Japanese, from its simple interiors, down to the sushi chefs in their white hats, coats, and aprons. All it takes is a little imagination to feel like you’re in the very heart of Tokyo.
But the real highlight at Izakaya Kikufuji is their food, and there’s no stopping looloo reviewers from raving about how fresh and delicious their dishes are. The Gyu-kushi, which are sticks of wagyu beef, is an obvious favorite here. Fresh off the grill, they are said to be tender, juicy, and absolutely addicting. The Shake Salmon Sashimi and the Spicy Tuna Sashimi are other well-loved items off their menu. Come here for lunch and you get free iced coffee to cap off the perfect meal.
Izakaya Kikufuji can be found at 2277 Chino Roces Ave., Little Tokyo, Makati.