The 15 Best Japanese Restaurants in Cape Town

The 15 Best Japanese Restaurants in Cape Town

We’re turning Japanese… from izakaya to kaiseki.

When you’re craving Japanese food and Tokyo is calling, no need to book that flight. The Cape Town restaurant scene is au fait with onigiri, up-to-date with udon, and on the ball with omakase. From buzzy ramen bars and izakayas, no-frills sushi bars with the real deal in sushi rice, and kawaii mochi sweet treats, to impeccable kaiseki menus delivered with fine-dining elegance, you’ll find it somewhere in the Mother City.

We’ve rounded up the most authentic Japanese restaurants in Cape Town. Which are your favourites? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Best Japanese restaurants in Cape Town
Best Japanese restaurants in the Winelands

FYN

Japanese Restaurants Fyn

In the top 100 of the World’s Best Restaurants for the third year running in 2023, Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s restaurant is one of the most exciting epicurean experiences in the city right now. The sophisticated, loft-like space on the fifth floor of an innercity block (read: fantastic views) offers food and décor that is African-inspired, but with an overarching Japanese aesthetic. The multi-course kaiseki-style menu runs the full gamut of flavours and textures (where guinea fowl, springbok and Saldanha oysters meet ponzu, shiitake and daikon), each yielding a hit of flavour so lingering and sublime, you never want it to end. Pescatarian and plant-based menus are available for the lunch seating.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 2pm; 6pm – 8.30pm
Contact 021 286 2733, info@fynrestaurant.com
Where to find it Church Square, 37 Parliament Street, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Nobu

Japanese Restaurants: Nobu

For a Rolls-Royce seafood experience, take a seat at Nobu at One&Only Cape Town. Everything from the sleek, double-volume interiors and swanky backlit bar to the highly skilled chefs and efficient and friendly staff is top-drawer. Gastronomically speaking, the Japanese-Peruvian dishes will send your tastebuds to Osaka and back. Up for a culinary adventure? Go for the omakase (chef’s choice) tasting menu (there are vegan and vegetarian options too) and linger through multiple delectable courses, or take a seat at the sushi counter for signature classics such as the scallop and smelt egg hand roll, the eel and cucumber maki and yellowtail sashimi. Nobu is an impressive destination for a special occasion.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 6pm – 10pm
Contact 021 431 5888, reservations@oneandonlycapetown.com
Where to find it One&Only Cape Town, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Kyoto Garden

Japanese Restaurants: Kyoto Garden
Claire Gunn

This pared-down Japanese eatery in the heart of buzzy Tamboerskloof has long been the go-to spot for top-notch sushi and elevated Japanese cuisine with a contemporary spin. Inside, a Zen-like reprieve from the outside busyiness awaits, with dimly lit low tables, bamboo screens and wooden blinds. US-born owner Scott Wood has a penchant for provenance and is fastidious about unusual ingredients – think farmed abalone, Mozambican conch, eel, sea urchin and Alaskan king crab. And genuine wasabi root, grated on a traditional sharkskin grater in front of you at the table. Other hot faves on the wide-ranging and meticulously executed menu include miso soup with tempura scallops, wagyu beef ramen, and grilled squid with lemon squid ink.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 5.30pm – 11pm
Contact  021 422 2001, booking@kyotogarden.co.za
Where to find it 11 Kloof Nek Road, Gardens
Book through DinePlan

Obi Restaurant

Japanese Restaurants: Obi Restaurant

Co-owned by chef Hatsushiro Muraoka (Papa San of Takumi, Minato and Tokyo fame) and chef Ben Bettendorf, this no-frills eatery on lower Long Street is where you’ll find sushi, ramen and tempura prepared the authentic way. If you’re here for lunch, order the Bento Box (salmon nigiri, tuna nigiri, salmon rose, four prawn California rolls, and four pieces of vegetable tempura, served with tentsuyu dipping sauce, and miso soup). Or try Chirashizushi, one of Obi’s specialities: sushi rice, garnished with sashimi selections and vegetables. The tempura is also some of the best in town – feather-light, with a flaky batter and mouth-watering dipping sauce.
Good to know For dinner, the kaiseki set menu for two is an excellent intro to Obi’s repertoire and finishes off with coconut panna cotta and matcha ice cream.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 2pm; 6pm – 9.30pm
Contact 021 418 4040, info@obirestaurant.co.za
Where to find it 14 Long Street, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Tjing Tjing House

Japanese Restaurants: Tjing Tjing House

Tjing Tjing’s four-in-one emporium is a cornucopia of Japanese food, culture and art that transports you away from the rather grey CBD side street into another reality. On the ground floor Torii is a brightly coloured street-food joint, with Harajuku-inspired decor and an impossibly irresistible electro-indie playlist. Up one flight of steep stairs you’ll find moody Momiji lounge and light and elegant Momiji restaurant, and at the top is vibey Tjing Tjing Rooftop bar.
Torii’s palate-popping extravaganza of umami-drenched tastes and textures ranges from ramen and yakitori (skewers) to rice bowls, tebasaki (chicken wings) and modern versions of classic Japanese confections, such as mochi truffles, mitarashi dango and fluffy Japanese cheesecake with miso caramel. Not to mention their crave-worthy gyoza! This à la carte menu is shared with the lounge and the rooftop bar. Or book at Momiji Restaurant for a sushi-driven omakase set menu celebrating the freshest seasonal produce in contemporary Japanese style.
Good to know Mochi Mochi is the Japanese sweet treat branch of the family, and has now flown the nest to its own spot at Heritage Square.
Opening times Torii (no reservations): Tuesday – Thursday, 4pm – 10pm;
Friday + Saturday, 12pm – 10pm
Rooftop bar (no reservations): Tuesday – Saturday, 4pm – late
Momiji Lounge: Tuesday – Saturday, 4pm – late
Momiji Restaurant (booking essential): Wednesday + Saturday, from 6pm
Contact 021 422 4374, info@tjingtjing.co.za
Address 165 Longmarket Street, Cape Town
Book through DinePlan

Izakaya Matsuri

Japanese Restaurants: Izakaya Matsuri Dinner
Bernard Myburgh

Owned by Tokyo-born and trained chef Arata Koga (formerly Tank and Genki), this cool spot is all about authentic Japanese cuisine in tapas format, super-fresh sushi, good wine and real-deal sake and tea. The indoor-outdoor scene reminds us of a streetside spot in Tokyo. Arata’s “food is art” philosophy is evident in his extensive menu and beautifully plated dishes. The shoyu beef ramen comes highly recommended as do the gyoza and the crispy soft shell crab. And if you’re on a sushi roll, don’t miss the Eel Dragon Roll (eel and cucumber wrapped in sliced avo and topped with eel sauce) – simply divine! The “three kinds of ice cream” (green tea ice, deep fried and wasabi) are also worth a whirl.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11.30am – 10pm
Contact 021 421 4520, matsurigreenpoint@gmail.com
Where to find it 6 The Rockwell, 32 Prestwich Street, Green Point
Enquire Now

Three Wise Monkeys

Japanese Restaurants: Three Wise Monkeys

This izakaya (informal Japanese gastropub) and ramen bar is an after-work and weekend favourite. On most evenings, the narrow eatery bursts at the seams with Atlantic Seaboard locals popping in after a Promenade stroll, colleagues getting together for face-to-face time, and out-of-towners intrigued to see what all the fuss is about. An illustration of Kid Goku from anime TV series Dragon Ball Z hangs above the open kitchen, setting the mood. Grab a seat at the pavement-facing counters to enjoy a steaming bowl of ramen, delicious fresh sushi, yakimono grills, bao buns or poke bowls.
Good to know No reservations. Add your name to the list and wait at the bar for a free table.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 10pm
Contact 021 433 1837, info@threewisemonkeys.co.za
Where to find it La Rhone Building, 77 Regent Street, Sea Point
Enquire Now

How’s Your Oni

Japanese Restaurants: Hows Your Oni

This new hole-in-the-wall Japanese-street-food joint in Gardens is all about the onigiri (the Japanese version of a sandwich). It started out as a stall (by MinChan Kim and Rebecca Aziz) at OZCF market (as many good things do!) and is now a permanent restaurant space. Eleven iterations of onigiri make up the menu, as well as an ippin ryori selection of Japanese-style starters, plus tempura and ramen or udon bowls with a flavourful broth. The simply-decorated restaurant is tiny – 10 seats inside and 10 outside on the patio – but is already heaving!
Opening times Tuesday + Wednesday, 12pm – 4pm
Thursday – Saturday, 12pm – 9pm
Contact 076 734 3132
Where to find it 7 Scott Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Enquire Now

Fujiyama Japanese Restaurant

Japanese Restaurants: Fujiyama Japanese Restaurant

An unassuming gem that is hidden away behind a security gate on Church Street (next to Scala), this traditional, no frills, Japanese restaurant is one that aficionados seek out and keep to themselves. The Japanese owner and chef Fujiwara creates a multiple-course Japanese dining experience in his omakase menus and enjoys chatting and sharing his culture. On the à la carte side, it’s a chance to try authentic sukiyaki or shabu shabu hotpots (for two people to share) and the nabe dishes served in a clay pot. Ramen, soba and udon dishes, and sashimi and sushi prepared using the shime Japanese curing process are some of the highlights, but there is more to explore, including the owner’s homemade plum wine.
Good to know If the security gate is closed, ring the doorbell to be welcomed in.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11am – 10pm
Contact 021 424 2491
Where to find it 77 Church Street, Cape Town

Tomo

Japanese Restaurants: Tomo
Azeemud-Deen Jacobs

Hailing from Manchuria in north-east China, owner David Yan declares that you’ll find some of the best Japanese restaurants in the world in his hometown of Dalian. Here at his delicious Japanese and Asian eatery on the corner of Loop and Shortmarket Streets, he’s put together a strong team, and a mouthwatering menu. With multiple sections and styles of Japanese and Asian cooking, from sushi to robata (Japanese braai) and teriyaki, it’s more than you can possibly sample in one meal – all the more reason to return. You simply have to have the Tomo sashimi (try the saba when it’s available); pan-fried prawn dumplings; and tempura udon noodles, in dashi broth topped with two tempura prawns and kakiage (strips of vegetable tempura) – slurpalicious!
Good to know The fabulous bento boxes give a great overview of the menu. It’s halaal friendly too.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 10pm
Contact 021 422 0635
Where to find it 160 Longmarket Street, Cape Town

Japanese Sushi House

Japanese Restaurants: Japanese Sushi House

A homely 30-seater restaurant in a house tucked behind Sable Square, this is one you’ll only find if you’re in the know. Regulars keep coming back for the Japanese chef’s authentic and fresh sashimi, original-style sushi, tempura, fish hotpot (packed with fresh fish, prawns, fish balls, tofu, pak choi, and Chinese cabbage) and (on request) dumplings and ramen, all done in authentic Japanese style. The set menu gives tastes of all different sections of the menu (good for first timers) or go for a hotpot to share (highly recommended). The warm ochre walls and relaxed ambience feel like you’re invited into a family home, but the food is up there with traditional Japanese restaurants for authenticity.
Good to know Booking is essential. When you book by phone you’re asked for any pre-order requests so they can have the ingredients freshly available.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 6pm – 10pm (dependant on number of bookings made)
Contact 021 552 5813, 072 241 4119
Where to find it 138 Daniell Road, Sanddrift, Century City

Andy’s Sushi Bar

Japanese Restaurants: Andys Sushi Bar

Owned by former Willoughby & Co chef Andy Wang (who went solo back in 2013), this casual, no frills eatery on Sea Point Main Road is all about freshness and quality. Andy’s inventive dishes, prepared in the traditional Japanese way, are so delicious and very affordable. Try the Rainbow Reloaded (rainbow rolls dressed with sweet soya sauce, seven-spice, sesame oil and spring onion) and the Salmon Fire (salmon roses filled with chopped, spicy salmon, dressed with chili mayonnaise and sweet soya sauce). And, if you are not in the mood to venture outdoors, don’t worry – they also do deliveries.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 11am – 9.30pm
Contact 076 578 6322
Where to find it 315 Main Road, Sea Point

Minato Sushi

Japanese Restaurants: Minato Sushi

Pops of colour and an irresistibly instagrammable Japanese streetscape wallpaper mark this out as a vibey younger sibling of the original Minato (on Long Street). Owned by a family who came to South Africa from Hong Kong in the 90s, the convenient location between Bree Street and De Waterkant makes this branch a popular stop for urbanites and international visitors staying in nearby hotels. It majors on fresh and generous sushi (at affordable prices) in a rainbow of seafood, vegetarian and vegan varieties, plus a short menu of miso soup, gyoza, tempura, salads and poke bowls. And there’s a selection of imported Japanese bottled beer for that reminiscent Tokyo feeling.
Good to know Look out for their R99 lunch specials for a sushi platter combo.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 12pm – 9pm
Contact 021 418 4057
Where to find it 71 Waterkant Street, Cape Town
Book Now

Ōku

A minimalist serene space just off Franschhoek’s busy main road, Ōku brings a fine dining aesthetic and experience to Japanese, Thai and south-east Asian cuisines. The superb kaiseki menu comes with wine and sake pairings and runs through sashimi and nigiri to edamame, gyoza, bao bun and udon dishes. Or choose from the shorter four-course menu, everything beautifully presented with impeccable service.
Good to know Yama Asian Eatery just across the courtyard is under the same ownership and ideal for a more casual but still elegant sushi experience.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 2.30pm; 6pm – 9pm
Contact 021 023 4695, reservations@eat-oku.co.za
Where to find it Heritage Square, 9 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek
Book Through DinePlan

Genki Sushi Bar & Japanese Tapas

Japanese Restaurants: Genki Sushi Bar And Japanese Tapas

This cheerful eatery in a treed courtyard, just off Stellenbosch’s buzzy Church Street, does delicious Japanese sushi and tapas, including handmade dumplings and shoyu ramen that keep locals coming back for more. No wonder our Stellenbosch and Winelands chefs regularly rate it as a must-visit! The intimate lantern-lit inside section seats 26 people, but you really want to sit in the outside section (yes, even in winter), under the oaks, rubbing shoulders with diners from the other eateries on the square.
Opening times Monday – Saturday, 11.45am – 3pm; 5pm – 9pm
Contact 021 887 5699
Where to find it De Wet Centre Courtyard, off Church Street, Stellenbosch

Hoseki

Hoseki Delaire Graff

Fresh from a top-to-toe refurbishment, Delaire Graff’s brand-new Hoseki replaces long-standing multi-award-winning Indochine Restaurant. Hōseki (jewel in Japanese) occupies the same light-filled, luxurious space overlooking the Stellenbosch Winelands towards Table Mountain. Envisaged as an elegant Japanese dining experience, with subtle aromatics and a symphony of fresh contemporary flavours, the menu will change with the seasons, with herbs and vegetables sourced from the Estate’s greenhouse and vegetable garden, for an authentic farm-to-table experience honoring Japanese culture and traditions. This new culinary adventure headed up by chef Virgil Kahn promises the same expertise, creativity and finesse that wowed diners at Indochine since it first opened in 2010, but with a brand-new look, flavour and feel.
Opening times Daily, 12pm – 2pm, 6pm – 8pm (last seating)
Contact 021 885 8160, restaurant.bookings@delaire.co.za
Where to find it Delaire Graff Estate, Helshoogte Road (R310), Stellenbosch
Book through DinePlan

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 19 July 2023

Add new comment

4 Responses to “The 15 Best Japanese Restaurants in Cape Town”

  1. Lara

    Check out a brand new little Japanese spot that opened in Hout Bay next to Biw Thai in Victoria mall 🙂

    Reply
  2. Ingrid adams

    I can’t believe you left out Ramen head , wat superior to three wise monkeys when it comes to noodles.

    Reply
  3. Alta de Villiers

    Please send your weekly newsletter to this friend of mine.

    Reply
  4. Catherine K

    Chef Chen sushi should definitely be added to this list.
    Freshest ingredients, tasty sushi combinations – and if you eat in a beautiful view at the sushi bar.
    There’s little if anything negative to say.

    Reply