Although Thai cuisine might be the favourite with Bangkokians, Japanese comes a very close second so there’s a plethora of Japanese restaurants in the city, with enclaves dedicated to the food in both Silom and Sukhumvit. Add to this the number of Japanese expats who are based here and the quality needs to meet the standard of those who usually dine in Tokyo and Osaka.
Here’s our list of the five best Japanese restaurants in Bangkok, from fine-dining to casual and authentic.
This international brand created a buzz when it opened at the St Regis, and thanks to its style and exquisite food remains one of the best Japanese restaurants in Bangkok. Presentation and creating more unusual dishes is the Zuma way, and it’s somewhere you’ll want to try to whole range, from their unusual sushi options such as the chunky dynamite spider roll to the robatayaki, which includes Hokkaido scallops topped with grated apples and lamb chops marinated in miso and served with pickled onions. The cocktails create a taste of Japan too, with our favourite being the rose-tinted Rubabu, the slightly sour flavour of the rhubarb sake being lifted by tangy fresh passion fruit and syrup. Zuma also does an excellent business lunch menu.
St. Regis Bangkok, Ratchadamri Rd., Bangkok, +66 2 2524707
Currently the only restaurant in Bangkok to serve Japanese food in the traditional robata style, where the chef and food are central to the visual experience, with a range of meat and fish and vegetable delicacies being grilled at the centre of a u-shaped table. It’s a real performance and feels very genuine, from the food being delivered on flat paddle shaped boards and orders being shouted in a sing song manner.
The majority of dishes available here are imported from Japan: king crab legs, wagyu beef, asparagus, ginko nuts, rock fish and lamb. There are no prices on display and the bill is served with traditional melon and tea. The space here is small, with two cooking stations and room for less than 40 diners. It’s popular with Japanese expats, so we recommend booking ahead, especially at weekends.
46/10 Sukhumvit Soi 49, Bangkok, +66 2 662 4237
Located on the 53rd and 54th floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel, Taihei has live teppanyaki cooking stations, a sushi bar and private rooms for up to twelve which are fitted with tatami mats. Add to this the impressive view and Taihei is dressed to impress. The fish for the sushi and sashimi is imported every two days from Japan and alongside the tuna and kingfish you will find rarer cuts such as otoro, sawara and barracuda.
Portions are generous and the freshness is impressive, in fact some of the carefully rolled sushi required two mouthfuls rather than the pre-requisite one. From the teppanyaki we recommend the Australian Kobe beef served in a sauce of brandy, sake, garlic and soy sauce that just melts in your mouth.
21/100 South Sathon Road, Sathon, Bangkok 10120, Bangkok, 10120, +66 2 679 1200
If you want a real taste of Japan, then heading to Daimasu transports you to the wonderful world of yakiniku, where you can enjoy a genuine barbeque experience in the most charming surroundings in Bangkok. This isn’t fine dining, but a casual meal where you get your hands dirty. Downstairs the tables and chairs are made from crates, but we prefer the cosy four-person booths on the second floor with barbeques at the centre of each one.
There’s a long menu here, including imported beef as well as tongue or stomach, and traditional black pig. Get plenty of sides too: edamame, fresh tuna with wasabi, deep fried tofu and broccoli with spicy cod roe mayo. Drinking is as important as eating at Daimasu, so make the most of the many different types of sakes and cocktails.
Daimasu, 9/3 Soi Tan Tawan., Surawong Rd. Bangkok, +66 2 6341477
The pressure is on for excellent food at Okura Hotel, Japan’s premier luxury hotel brand. Thankfully they deliver. Yamazato is very close in cuisine to the original in Amsterdam, which has held a Michelin star for over ten years, although often a hint of spice or fish sauce helps make the flavours more Thai. All the ingredients are flown in fresh from Tokyo, and the chef is originally from Japan as well.
The restaurant is split, with a teppanyaki station separate from the main dining room and a sushi counter where the sashimi and rolls are created to order. The highlight is the fine-dining Kaiseki set which includes delights such as grilled swordfish with lotus root and teriyaki, a sashimi platter that includes amberjack and tuna belly and tempura of shrimp with aubergine and peppers.
The Okura Prestige Bangkok, 57 Wireless Rd. Bangkok, +66 2 6879000