21 authentic Japanese food places that are not chains to get you into the Nihon spirit

by Vera and Christabel Tan

So perhaps you’ve already seen our lists of omakase and yakiniku restaurants and probably loved ’em, which is why you’re back for more. I’ve got you, bestie β€” this time, we’ve rounded up 21 places for authentic Japanese food for those gearing up to jet off as soon as possible, as well as to tide those who are waiting it out through this season.

Keria Authentic Japanese Restaurant

Photo: @fuudum/instagram

Keria Authentic Japanese Restaurant is one of the OGs located in Cuppage Plaza, which many Japanese cuisine buffs will know by now, and is home to some of Singapore’s best-hidden gems.

Photos: @beleatsalot/instagram, Keria Japanese Restaurant/facebook

Immerse yourselves in the casual izakaya-style setting and chow down on the must-order Mentaiko Spaghetti (one of my personal favourite dishes of all time), Uni Ikura Kani Kamameshi and Coffee Jelly.

It’s also one of the rare places in Singapore you can get shirako, or fish sperm, if you’re up to challenge yourself a little.

Reservations can be made by contacting +65 6733 0654.

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πŸ“ 5 Koek Rd, Cuppage Plaza, #B1-28, Singapore 228796
πŸ•’ 6pm–10.30pm (Daily)

Orihara Shoten

Photo: @hapyiz/instagram

Wholly Japanese-owned, Orihara Shoten boasts a quaint, nostalgic shopfront that’s reminiscent of traditional Japanese bars. Here, you can get premium boutique sake β€œJisake” and other exclusive Japanese alcohols and spirits that are hard to reach outside of Japan.

Photo: @oriharashouten/facebook

An evening of imbibing is not complete without the sake bar’s signature oden and yakitori — say kanpai!

Reservations can be made by contacting +65 6836 5710.

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πŸ“ 11 Unity Street #01-01/02, Robertson Walk, Singapore 237995
πŸ•’ 6pm–12am (Mon to Wed, Sun), 6pm–1.30am (Thu to Sat)

Shinzo Japanese Cuisine

Photo: @shinzosingapore/facebook

Shinzo’s menu is designed for budgets of all sizes, featuring various curated sets named after quintessential Japanese ingredients, like the Tempura (S$48), Chirashi (S$68), and Wagyu (S$68), as well as omakase sets like Take (S$138). But there’s one thing that’s constant β€” the standard is always consistently good.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 17 Carpenter St, Singapore 059906
πŸ•’ 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

Aburiya

Photo: @foodforthecam/instagran

Those looking for quality wagyu beef have come to the right place because Aburiya can be considered the authority in Singapore where premium cuts of beef are concerned. Sourced from a myriad of farmers across Japan, the cuts here are curated and hand-picked to a tee.

Photo: @aburiyasg/instagram

Indulge in wagyu platters starting from as low as S$30, or opt for the a la carte offerings like Gyutoro Don (S$18).

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 60 Robertson Quay, #01-03 The Quayside, Singapore 238252
πŸ•’ 6pm–11.30pm (Mon to Sat), 6pm–10.30pm (Sun)

πŸ“ 79 Boat Quay, Singapore 049867
πŸ•’ 6pm–11pm (Daily)

ShinnSato Japanese Cuisine

Photo: @theblurqueen/instagram

Backed by resounding reviews, ShinnSato Japanese Cuisine offers an authentic taste of Okinawa in an unpretentious setting so you’re promised a great time with even better fare. Wash down your order of Okinawa Soba (S$16.80) and Bittergourd Pork with a glass of whisky, sake, sochu or awamori.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 150 Orchard Road, Orchard Plaza, 03-52/53/54, Singapore 238841
πŸ•’ 5pm–10.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

Aoki Restaurant

Photo: @sin___mm/instagram

As part of the Les Amis group, the precedent is already set for Aoki Restaurant‘s standards to be through the roof. Helmed by chef owner Kunio Aoki, this 36-seat restaurant offers an exquisite fine dining experience in Japanese haute cuisine.

Prices for lunch and the popular dinner omakase start at S$48++ and S$230++ per person respectively.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 1 Scotts Rd, #01-19, Singapore 228208
πŸ•’ 11.45am–3.pm (Mon to Tue, Fri), 1pm–3pm (Wed & Sat), 6.30pm–10.30pm (Fri to Wed), 7pm–11pm (Thurs), Closed on Sun

Izakaya Nijumaru

Photo: @izakayanijumaruSg/facebook

This cosy izakaya setting at Izakaya Nijumaru can be attributed to the fact that they’re a family-owned restaurant serving hearty bentos and yakitori since 1987. Get an authentic taste of Japan, knock back some wallet-friendly sake, and look out for their daily lunch specials that refresh every week.

Photo: @nublet/instagram

The Nijumaru Bento (S$23), consisting of sashimi, tempura, saba fish, and braised pork, is a classic. Alternatively, go for the homely Nikku Jaga (S$8.80) or Kanin Zosui (S$7.80), Japanese-style porridge.

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πŸ“ 5 Koek Rd, #02-10/12 Cuppage Plaza, Singapore 228796
πŸ•’ 12pm–2.30pm, 6pm–9.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

Hanashizuku Japanese Cuisine

Photo: @jncomingforfood/instagram

You’re in good hands when you dine with the folks at Hanashizuku Japanese Cuisine β€” get great quality izakaya-style fare at reasonable prices in the heart of Japanese food greats.

The set lunches will get you the most bang for your bang — think assorted sushi, California maki, assorted tempura, salad, chawanmushi, miso soup, and fruit for just S$28++.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 5 Koek Rd, #02-01, Cuppage Plaza, Singapore 228796
πŸ•’ 11.45am–2.30pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm (Mon to Fri), 5.30pm–10.30pm (Sat & Sun)

Oishii Ristorante

Photo: @karhingc via @oishiiristorantesg/instagram

Oishii Ristorante marries Italian and Japanese cuisine, presenting a menu filled with small bites, sharing platters, pizza, pasta, and donburi. Highlights include the Salmon Tartare (S$20), Iberico Secreto Don (S$32), and Truffle Mushroom & Seaweed Rigatoni (S$20).

Photo: @oishiiristorantesg/instagram

At S$48 per pax for lunch and S$53 or S$88 per pax for dinner, the seasonal Omakase option is also worth every single penny.

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πŸ“ 182 Cecil St, #01-05 Frasers Tower, Singapore 069547
πŸ•’ 11.30am–2.30pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

Seiwaa Okonomiyaki & Teppanyaki Restaurant

Photo: @seiwa orca_food_voyage/instagram, @adeanaeatsdinner/instagram

Seiwaa Okonomiyaki & Teppanyaki Restaurant is your dependable go-to for when those okonomiyaki cravings hit, and is meant to be eaten straight from the grill so that your meal is still pipping hot as you enjoy it.

You can also put your culinary skills to the test by taking a swing at DIY Takoyaki — a fun activity for friends and family.

Reservations can be made by contacting +65 6291 6084 or +65 8828 8931 (Whatsapp).

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πŸ“ 72 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209400
πŸ•’ 11am–3pm, 5pm–11pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

Kappo Shunsui

Photo: @madhanrui/instagram

Tucked behind a secret entrance, you probably might not even realise Kappo Shunsui‘s existence unless you’re actually looking for it. The two-time awardee of the Michelin Plate Singapore is best known for its immersive, multi-sensory omakase experiences

Go all out and splurge on the signature Premium Omakase Course (S$480++), a theatrical wagyu, truffle, and uni-filled extravaganza.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 17 Hongkong St, #01-01, Singapore 059660
πŸ•’ 11.30am–2.30, 7pm–11pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

Izakaya Hikari

Photo: Izakaya Hikari/facebook

If you’re here for a good time and not necessarily a fancy one, the homely Izakaya Hikari in Fortune Centre lets you wind down over the most authentic, hearty, no-frills fare. First-timers should head straight for the Salmon Mentaiko Donburi (S$17.90) and Yakimono Set (S$22.90), which features grilled skewers like Tori Momo (chicken thigh) and Tsukune.

Reservations can be made by contacting +65 8921 3779.

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πŸ“ 190 Middle Road, Fortune Centre, #03-01, 188979
πŸ•’ 12pm–2.30pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm (Mon to Fri), 5pm–10.30pm (Sat), Closed on Sun

Mochi Mochi Cafe

Photo: @samlivestoeat/instagram

Run by a Japanese couple, Mochi Mochi Cafe is an unassuming cafe-bistro is tucked away in NEWest. You can find hearty and healthy bento meals from a pocket-friendly S$11, like the Tori-Tsukune (S$12) and Tori-Namban Set (S$12). Takeaway and delivery orders (for a picnic, perhaps) can also be placed by contacting +65 9862 9102.

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πŸ“ 1 West Coast Dr, #01-103 NEWest, Singapore 128020
πŸ•’ 11.30am–2.30pm, 5.30pm–8.30pm (Daily)

Shinjuku Restaurant

Photo: @kongluiintheworld/instagram

With 35 years of heritage under their belt, it doesn’t get more authentic than a place that’s literally named after one of Tokyo’s most popular regions. Shinjuku Restaurant‘s menu boasts a diverse selection of sashimi, grilled meats, deep-fried dishes, noodles, rice, and desserts, that you can even enjoy in S$12.50 lunch sets.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 5 Koek Rd, #01-01/02 Cuppage Plaza, Singapore 228796
πŸ•’ 11.45am–2.30pm, 5.45pm–11pm (Daily)

Chikuyotei Japanese Restaurant

Photo: @chikuyoteisingapore.facebook

Even though Chikuyotei Japanese Restaurant specialises in Tokyo-style unagi, it also offers the quintessential Japanese fare like tempura and sashimi. The fine-dining chain was also the first unagi restaurant in Japan to receive a Michelin star, so you can totally place your bets on their Unagi Course Take (S$198).

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 207 River Valley Rd, #01-61 UE Square River Wing, Singapore 238275
πŸ•’ 12pm–2.30pm, 6pm–10.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

Sushi Ayumu by Masa Ishibashi

Photo: @sushiayumusg/instagram

As Chef Masa’s second outpost outside of Tokyo, Sushi Ayumu is an ode to his years of expertise, and a demonstration of his experience as the executive chef of Ginza Sushi Ichi Tokyo, Jakarta, Bangkok and Singapore.

Experience the best of Japan’s four seasons as you embark on exquisite omakase experiences with prices starting from S$198.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 333A Orchard Road #04-16 Mandarin Gallery, 238897
πŸ•’ 12pm–3pm, 6.30pm–10.30pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

Kyoaji Dining

Photo: @KyoajiSG/facebook, @zoiachowtime/instagram

Kyoaji Dining serves up both bento sets and omakase menus that promise to satiate diners while at the same time offering a good variety so you’ll get to have a taste of a little bit of everything.

The lunch sets are particularly value-for-money, so you’ll get to feast on thick and fresh sashimi without bursting a hole in your wallet.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 111 Somerset Road, 02-05/06, Singapore 238164
πŸ•’ 11.30am–3pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm (Daily)

Shinji by Kanesaka

Photo: @i mypcnfoodie/instagram

Backed by a long list of accolades, Shinji by Kanesaka first obtained a Michelin star in 2019, and has a reputation for offering some of the best omakase in Singapore. The premium quality omakase menus range across different budgets and offerings, with prices starting at S$100 for Hana (Carlton Hotel only).

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 29 Tanglin Road, St Regis Hotel, Singapore 247911
πŸ•’ 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

πŸ“ 76 Bras Basah Road, Carlton Hotel, Singapore 189558
πŸ•’ 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun

Kappou

Photo: @KappouJapanesesushitapasbar/facebook

Kappouis helmed by Chef Aeron Choo, one of Singapore’s youngest female chefs, who is also the first Singaporean to graduate from the prestigious Japan Sushi Instructors Association in Tokyo, Japan.

With an interior made to look like a contemporary speakeasy, the restaurant’s menu is a curated Dinner Omakase (from S$298) that marries traditional Japanese techniques with a touch of modernity.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 18 Robinson Road, #03-01, Singapore 048547 
πŸ•’ 7pm–10.30pm (Tue to Sat), Closed on Mon & Sun

Shoukouwa Restaurant

Photos: @shoukouwa/instagram

Here’s another Michelin-approved entry on the list. Shoukouwa Restaurant has retained its two Michelin stars this year and for good reason β€” fare that’s unparalleled and premium. Using the freshest seafood flown daily from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market, the omakase menus here feature edomae sushi at its finest.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 1 Fullerton Road, #02-02A, One Fullerton, Singapore 049213
πŸ•’ 12.30pm–3pm (Tue to Sat), 6pm–10.30pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon & Sun Lunch

Hashida

Photos: @omakasoon/instagram, @deanomsaurus/instagram

Hashida by celebrity chef Kenjiro ‘Hatch’ Hashida takes you on a gastronomic journey with fresh, high-quality ingredients that have been carefully sourced and curated, transformed into inventive creations served omakase-style. This is one authentic Japanese dining experience worth splurging on — the raving reviews can attest to that.

Reservations can be made here.

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πŸ“ 77 Amoy St, #01-01, Singapore 069896
πŸ•’ 7pm–10.30pm (Tue), 12pm–3pm, 7pm–10.30pm (Wed to Sun)

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