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Japanese sushi dishes served beside each other.
Omakase at Hiroki.
Hiroki

Top Japanese Dining Experiences in Philly

Omakase and Izakaya tasting experiences, lively spots serving plentiful bites with karaoke, and intimate cafes offering fantastic fusion are just a glimpse of Philly’s vibrant Japanese dining scene

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Omakase at Hiroki.
| Hiroki

In Philadelphia, there’s no shortage of vibrant Japanese dining experiences. From award winning chefs crafting phenomenal omakase and izakaya tastings to intimate cafes blending traditional preparations with international flavors, dining here will reshape your understanding of Japanese cuisine, revealing its depth, appeal and cultural influence.

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Tampopo

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For over two decades, Tampopo has brought a combination of Japanese and Korean dishes under one roof with a menu that includes traditional and specialty dishes. Visit here to dive into a variety of rice bowls, bento boxes, and noodle soups (made with ramen and udon).

Color-changing dining booths and a rotating conveyor belt of bites might seem futuristic, but at Pod Restaurant, they’re the norm, making dining as surprising as it is satisfying. The menu bursts with a fantastic fusion of Japanese fare and cocktails, featuring items like lobster roll bao buns, tuna nachos, and wasabi fried rice, ensuring diners always have something fun to delve into and taste. Whether you drop by for lunch, dinner, or happy hour (which always offers deals on snacks, sushi, and cocktails), you are guaranteed an exciting time as you dine.

Fuji Mountain

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Fuji Mountain in Rittenhouse Square is a treasure trove of yummy sushi rolls, creative cocktails, and an assortment of shumai, gyoza, and other hot and cold appetizers. As an added bonus, the second level of the restaurants offers private rooms to rent for karaoke, making it an excellent choice for celebrations with larger groups..

Umai Umai

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Ideal for an intimate meal, Fairmount’s Umai Umai presents a fusion of traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine and sushi. Be prepared to be impressed by the international influence showcased in many of its dishes like the oyster and sea urchin shooters, shrimp shumai with champagne saffron, and specialty  the traffic light sushi roll (made with soft shell crab, avocado, and red yuzu).

Since 2009, self-taught chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka has been crafting dishes that embody Japanese tradition at his Rittenhouse Square restaurant. The menu offers an array of a la carte items, including smaller bites such as lettuce wraps, tempuras, and steamed or pan-seared dumplings, as well as larger entrees like the miso-marinated black cod saikyoyaki. The menu also features a variety of sushi options made with the freshest internationally-sourced fish.

Double Knot

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Restaurateur Michael Schulson is at the helm of some of the most popular restaurants in the city, and his Japanese fusion and sushi restaurant Double Knot is one of them. Diners can mix and match a variety of makis, handrolls or robatayaki (Japanese-style meat, vegetable, and seafood skewers cooked over an open flame). They can also dive into scrumptious small and large plates like the edamame dumplings, Japanese fried chicken, or lobster fried rice. Whether dining alone or with friends, opting for the $68 chefs tasting (which allows for a selection of 10 menu items) is a great introduction to the array of options available.

Kichi Omakase

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This new edition in Midtown Village has garnered a reputation for having one of the most affordable omakase experiences in the city. For $95, diners can enjoy 15 courses of specialty nigiri and it’s even BYOB.

Yakitori Boy

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Philly’s favorite karaoke bar doubles as a Japanese restaurant serving up izakaya-style plates and cocktails. Stop by to sing your heart out while you eat a broad selection of yakitori (grilled meat, vegetable, or seafood skewers), crunchy shrimp and vegetable tempuras, sushi, and Japanese chicken or pork curry bowls.

Morimoto

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Chef Masharu Morimoto and restaurateur Stephen Starr collaborated to open Morimoto in 2001, and it continues to receive acclaim today. Dining here is nothing short of luxury, featuring a wide selection of dishes that effortlessly blend Japanese and Western cultures. Its omakase experience ($150 per person) is extraordinary with options to add on either a sake or cocktail pairing, and offers an opportunity to sample  its expansive menu of hot and cold appetizers, entrees, and sushi and sashimi.

Royal Izakaya

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Securing a seat at this intimate walk-in only spot may require proper planning, but it is absolutely worth the effort. But never fret, tucked almost secretly within the restaurant eager diners can reserve a seat to enjoy its exceptional 17-course omakase experience. The $300 per person price more than lives up to the hype, as each dish is masterfully prepared by James Beard award-nominated chef and owner Jesse Ito. With only 8 exclusive seats prepaid reservations for this experience can be made for parties of two and four.

Tuna Bar

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At this sophisticated Japanese raw bar, chef Kenneth Sze creates flavorful dishes that are as gorgeous as the restaurant itself. Diners can expect a refined dining experience from beginning to end as they enjoy a mix of raw bar favorites (such as the east or west coast oysters and shrimp cocktail), delightful hot and cold appetizers (such as the creamy rock shrimp and tuna crudo), and inventive bowls (such as the mai fried rice made with asian sausage, shrimp, and a fried egg).

A spread of Japanese dishes on a dining table.
Dinner at Tuna Bar.
Tuna Bar

Chef Hiroki Fujiyama’s immersive 6-course omakase experience is worth the price tag. At $155 (with the option to add a sake pairing per course) diners are taken on a journey of 21 bites inclusive of exquisite preparations of meat, sushi, and desserts. Reservations here are a must with seating options available Wednesday through Monday.

Izakaya Fishtown

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For an authentic izakaya and omakase experience reminiscent of those found in Japan, visit Izakaya by Yanaga in Fishtown. The four-course okonomi tasting option blends “choose your own adventure” and chef’s recommendations, allowing diners to select from a variety of small plates, makis, and ramen. Its exclusive 90-minute omakase experience (known as the Sushi Suite) includes 17 courses and is guided by a private chef. Reservations for either experience are highly recommended and can be made via the restaurant’s website.

Tampopo

For over two decades, Tampopo has brought a combination of Japanese and Korean dishes under one roof with a menu that includes traditional and specialty dishes. Visit here to dive into a variety of rice bowls, bento boxes, and noodle soups (made with ramen and udon).

Pod

Color-changing dining booths and a rotating conveyor belt of bites might seem futuristic, but at Pod Restaurant, they’re the norm, making dining as surprising as it is satisfying. The menu bursts with a fantastic fusion of Japanese fare and cocktails, featuring items like lobster roll bao buns, tuna nachos, and wasabi fried rice, ensuring diners always have something fun to delve into and taste. Whether you drop by for lunch, dinner, or happy hour (which always offers deals on snacks, sushi, and cocktails), you are guaranteed an exciting time as you dine.

Fuji Mountain

Fuji Mountain in Rittenhouse Square is a treasure trove of yummy sushi rolls, creative cocktails, and an assortment of shumai, gyoza, and other hot and cold appetizers. As an added bonus, the second level of the restaurants offers private rooms to rent for karaoke, making it an excellent choice for celebrations with larger groups..

Umai Umai

Ideal for an intimate meal, Fairmount’s Umai Umai presents a fusion of traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine and sushi. Be prepared to be impressed by the international influence showcased in many of its dishes like the oyster and sea urchin shooters, shrimp shumai with champagne saffron, and specialty  the traffic light sushi roll (made with soft shell crab, avocado, and red yuzu).

Zama

Since 2009, self-taught chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka has been crafting dishes that embody Japanese tradition at his Rittenhouse Square restaurant. The menu offers an array of a la carte items, including smaller bites such as lettuce wraps, tempuras, and steamed or pan-seared dumplings, as well as larger entrees like the miso-marinated black cod saikyoyaki. The menu also features a variety of sushi options made with the freshest internationally-sourced fish.

Double Knot

Restaurateur Michael Schulson is at the helm of some of the most popular restaurants in the city, and his Japanese fusion and sushi restaurant Double Knot is one of them. Diners can mix and match a variety of makis, handrolls or robatayaki (Japanese-style meat, vegetable, and seafood skewers cooked over an open flame). They can also dive into scrumptious small and large plates like the edamame dumplings, Japanese fried chicken, or lobster fried rice. Whether dining alone or with friends, opting for the $68 chefs tasting (which allows for a selection of 10 menu items) is a great introduction to the array of options available.

Kichi Omakase

This new edition in Midtown Village has garnered a reputation for having one of the most affordable omakase experiences in the city. For $95, diners can enjoy 15 courses of specialty nigiri and it’s even BYOB.

Yakitori Boy

Philly’s favorite karaoke bar doubles as a Japanese restaurant serving up izakaya-style plates and cocktails. Stop by to sing your heart out while you eat a broad selection of yakitori (grilled meat, vegetable, or seafood skewers), crunchy shrimp and vegetable tempuras, sushi, and Japanese chicken or pork curry bowls.

Morimoto

Chef Masharu Morimoto and restaurateur Stephen Starr collaborated to open Morimoto in 2001, and it continues to receive acclaim today. Dining here is nothing short of luxury, featuring a wide selection of dishes that effortlessly blend Japanese and Western cultures. Its omakase experience ($150 per person) is extraordinary with options to add on either a sake or cocktail pairing, and offers an opportunity to sample  its expansive menu of hot and cold appetizers, entrees, and sushi and sashimi.

Royal Izakaya

Securing a seat at this intimate walk-in only spot may require proper planning, but it is absolutely worth the effort. But never fret, tucked almost secretly within the restaurant eager diners can reserve a seat to enjoy its exceptional 17-course omakase experience. The $300 per person price more than lives up to the hype, as each dish is masterfully prepared by James Beard award-nominated chef and owner Jesse Ito. With only 8 exclusive seats prepaid reservations for this experience can be made for parties of two and four.

Tuna Bar

At this sophisticated Japanese raw bar, chef Kenneth Sze creates flavorful dishes that are as gorgeous as the restaurant itself. Diners can expect a refined dining experience from beginning to end as they enjoy a mix of raw bar favorites (such as the east or west coast oysters and shrimp cocktail), delightful hot and cold appetizers (such as the creamy rock shrimp and tuna crudo), and inventive bowls (such as the mai fried rice made with asian sausage, shrimp, and a fried egg).

A spread of Japanese dishes on a dining table.
Dinner at Tuna Bar.
Tuna Bar

Hiroki

Chef Hiroki Fujiyama’s immersive 6-course omakase experience is worth the price tag. At $155 (with the option to add a sake pairing per course) diners are taken on a journey of 21 bites inclusive of exquisite preparations of meat, sushi, and desserts. Reservations here are a must with seating options available Wednesday through Monday.

Izakaya Fishtown

For an authentic izakaya and omakase experience reminiscent of those found in Japan, visit Izakaya by Yanaga in Fishtown. The four-course okonomi tasting option blends “choose your own adventure” and chef’s recommendations, allowing diners to select from a variety of small plates, makis, and ramen. Its exclusive 90-minute omakase experience (known as the Sushi Suite) includes 17 courses and is guided by a private chef. Reservations for either experience are highly recommended and can be made via the restaurant’s website.

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