When we think of Japanese food, the first dish that comes to mind is sushi. What’s great about sushi is that although it’s small, it’s packed with punchy vinegared rice and various toppings. Pair it with ramen or curry rice, and suddenly our stomachs are full in no time.
Because Filipinos are fond of Japanese food, sushi can sometimes be a hit-or-miss. If done wrong, it’s a soggy, collapsible mess but when prepared properly, you’ve got a great food experience in your hands (literally). Here are some restaurants around Manila that can meet your sushi expectations and cravings.
Little Tokyo, Central Bus. Dist. Brgy., 2277 Chino Roces Ave, Makati
Opened in 1995, Izakaya is one of the cornerstones of Makati’s Little Tokyo. Crafted with expertise and made with fresh ingredients, the restaurant’s sushi captures the well-balanced flavors that Japanese cuisine is known for. Have a go at the classics, like the spicy tuna maki and nigiri sushi, and you’ll understand why Izakaya is one of those time-honored restaurants you just have to try.
Takashi Japanese Cuisine
Elizabeth Place Condominium, 332 H. V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Takashi is an all-around, authentic Japanese restaurant that’s got the look and feel of, well, Japan. It’s got the classics (ramen, donburis, and tempura) as well as a number of sushi dishes. The spam musubi and chirashi sushi are crowd favorites, but the Alaskan maki with mangos and goat cheese is an absolute treat.
Araya Ramen and Sushi Bar
107 Dela Rosa Street, Legazpi Village, Makati
Tucked at the corner of a car park in Legazpi Village, Araya Ramen and Sushi Bar is reminiscent of Japan’s hidden ramenyas that serve formidable meals. The tiny space is home to a burst of delicious flavors with sushi served fresh and tender, and best paired with a steaming hot bowl of ramen. Choose from its diverse selection of sushi, including maguro (fresh tuna), kani-kama (crab stick), and ebiko (shrimp egg).
Ta Ke Ho Me Sushi
52 Sergeant Esguerra Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City
We’ve got to admit that good sushi isn’t cheap. The usual plate of six can cost up to P200 and over. However, at Ta Ke Ho Me Sushi, a box of eight costs only P99. Not only are they making sushi affordable, they’re also allowing room for creativity. The original TKMH sushi is the usual roll with smoked salmon and cream cheese but deep fried. If you’re interested for more, we raved about this outrageously affordable and delicious sushi here.
City Of Dreams 1701, Parañaque
Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll immediately feel an air of sophistication. Hide Yamamoto is a restaurant led by award-winning chef Hidemasa Yamamoto, with meals handcrafted by equally experienced chefs. This professionalism shows in their sushi, where they serve all the usuals like spicy tuna roll and California roll but also sushi made with various proteins like salmon, eel and tiger prawn.
9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
One of the best things about sushi is that it’s practically a full meal that looks like a snack. Spinning off this concept of quick bites, Go Bento branded itself as a grab-and-go restaurant for sushi lovers who are too busy working to stay out for lunch. Other than scrumptious and hefty servings of maki rolls, Go Bento also gets plus points for being affordable and accessible.
1030 A Arnaiz Avenue Corner Ponce Street, Makati / 483 Pedro Gil Street, Ermita, Manila
Ask your friendly neighborhood Japanese foodie for a recommendation, and Nihonbashi Tei is sure to pop up. This traditional Japanese stop is perfect for “budgetarians” who wouldn’t want to give up quality for quantity. The generous servings of sushi-miso pairings ensure quintessential Japanese dining, and a guarantee of satisfaction. Its nigiri sushi mori (sushi platter) is a bona fide must-try.
ROKU Sushi + Ramen
Oracle Hotel Building, 317 Katipunan Ave, Quezon City
For many of us, Japanese food is practically comfort food. Roku took this to its advantage, placing a variety of classic and modern sushi on the menu and adding a youthful spin to some of rehashed recipes such as the OMG roll (blow-torched salmon and ebi tempura with aburi sauce) and the Sailboat roll (spicy tuna sushi topped with crispy wontons).
Haru Sushi Bar and Restaurant
21 W Capitol Dr, Kapitolyo, Pasig
Among the gems found in Kapitolyo, Haru Sushi Bar and Restaurant makes you feel right at home with the ambience while transporting you to Japan with the cuisine. The high-quality meals have garnered a large following, so it’s best to call ahead for reservations. Try the tuna-avocado roll and mango-cheese roll for a fruity surprise as well as the aki nigiri moriawase (Haru’s sushi platter) to taste a little bit of everything.
9753 Kamagong Corner Sampaloc Street, San Antonio, Makati City
Another Japanese restaurant that’s left its mark as one of the classic go-to’s for Japanese food in Manila is Suzu Kin. Serving Japanese dishes since the ‘80s, it’s a place that’s garnered loyal customers and proven its stance of authenticity against younger restaurants. There’s a load of sushi to choose from such as the tuna sushi, salmon sushi, and nigiri sushi all under P250.
2 Portwood Street Newport City, Pasay
Of course, a Michelin-starred restaurant deserves its spot on the list. Yamazato is a Japanese fine dining restaurant inside Hotel Okura Manila. Included in its beautifully arranged eight-course meal is an array of sushi, served with fresh and organic ingredients that are only available in season, including uni (sea urchin) sushi, kajiki toro (blue marlin belly) and tairagai (scallop).
Seryna Japanese Restaurant
2277 Chino Roces Ave, Legazpi Village, Makati, 1230 Metro Manila
Another Little Tokyo resident is Seryna, and it’s got that timeless charm of a restaurant that’s garnered its reputation by word of mouth. A definite contender for the best sushi in Manila, Seryna prides itself on premium sushi that’s best paired with its signature tempura. The ebi sushi? Sounds typical, but it’s got the makings of a top-notch Japanese meal.
Ohayo Maki and Ramen Bar
Naval Extension Street, Villa Ortigas, 30 Gilmore Ave, Quezon City
In 2018, we featured Ohayo Maki and Ramen Bar for its creative, non-traditional take on Japanese cuisine. It has created an assortment of sushi you wouldn’t find in most Japanese restaurants. For example, its spicy tuna roll is covered in crushed Jalapeño Cheetos, and the ebi black maki sports a tasty crunch with the addition of fried squid ink crumbs.
Header photo courtesy of Roku Sushi + Ramen
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Writer: THEA TORRES