Get a true taste of Japan at Dubai's best Japanese restaurants this month
From the finest wagyu to seriously slurpable ramen…
There are more than 270 Japanese restaurants in the UAE, so just how do you zero in on the culinary gold? Fudo Nippon is here to help. It’s a new initiative from the Japan External Trade Organistation (JETRO), designed to shine the spotlight on Dubai’s very best Japanese restaurants and chefs.
Throughout January, Dubai’s finest Japanese restaurants will be showcasing authentic dishes using top-quality Japanese ingredients.
Here’s where you can get a true taste of Japan in Dubai. Use this not just as your guide for Japanese dining in January, but any time the craving for authentic sushi, shabu shabu, or wagyu steaks strikes…
An exercise in Japanese elegance and simplicity, this pint-sized restaurant near Dubai Opera specialises in the finest quality wagyu beef. We were lucky enough to sample the Fudo Nippon menu here this week.
We duck under the curtains at the entrance and slip off our shoes, before taking a seat in the tiny private dining room for four, complete with traditional shoji screens and a sunken table.
In this intimate setting, we’re served an incredible wagyu menu that includes luscious soy-braised beef over rice, tender cubes of just-seared Shihiro wagyu from Hokkaido, and a benchmark-setting wagyu katsu sando, with layer upon layer of tender meat sandwiched between fluffy shokupan bread.
Kohantei, Unit 6 Plaza Level Dubai Opera House, special menu available until January 17. Mon to Sat 12pm to 3.30pm, 6pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 243 4951. @kohantei
This old-school izakaya, in the Millennium Aiport Hotel, is something of a hidden gem. It was founded by an ex-sumo wrestler, and it dishes out classic izakaya bites that pair perfectly with a beer. Think: yakitori skewers, chicken wings and fried karaage chicken.
This month, its special Fudo Nippon dishes include hearty ramen using noodles flown in from Hokkaido, flamed wagyu shushi, and wagyu yaki cyanko (a sumo-worthy mountain off beef and vegetables).
Fujiya, Millennium Airport Hotel, special menu available until January 17, daily noon to 2am.@fujiya_dubai/
This famed Tokyo transplant has set up shop in the Oberoi, Business Bay. The Fudo Nippon promotion runs at Kimura-Ya from January 18 to 31, highlighting special dishes such as the A5 wagyu shabushabu (a DIY hotpot of thinly sliced beef), the Fuji sushi set, or the premium wagyu sirloin steak.
Kimura-Ya, The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 444 1455. @kimurayadubai
One of the longest-serving Japanese restaurants in Dubai, Bentoya is known for its brilliant sushi in a no-frills setting. From January 18 to 31, sample a selection of unique grilled options, including yellowtail, scallops and vinegar mackerel.
Bentoya, Sheikh Zayed Rd, daily 11.30am to 11.30pm. facebook.com/bentoyasheikhzayed
This glam Japanese restaurant in DIFC is known for its sophisticated setting, excellent business lunch, and sensational menu. Head to Zuma to try the yuzu cheesecake, made with Hokkaido cheese and topped with frozen raspberry and black sesame moss.
Zuma, DIFC, daily noon to 4pm, 7pm to midnight. @zuma_dubai
Sakura (Ras Al Khaimah)
A little further afield, visit Sakura in Ras Al Khaimah for the dorayaki dessert, a delightful pancake sandwich with matcha cream.
Sakura, Al Manama, Ras Al Khaimah Rd, Al Kharran, Ras Al Khaimah, Mon to Sat 10am to 9pm. facebook.com/Sakura-Japan-Taste-467611870430620/
Mr Ando from JETRO also recommends the following Japanese restaurants in Dubai.
For top-notch sushi with a view: Tomo, Raffles Dubai, Umm Hurair, @tomodubai
For Kobe beef and gluten-free specialities: Kobeya, Al Wasl Rd, Jumeirah, @kobeya_kitchen
For deeply flavoured ramen: Daikan Ramen, JLT, @daikanramen_dxb
For Japanese ingredients: 1004 Gourmet, The Greens, @1004gourmet; and Summit Trading, summitwebstore.com