Experiences - Australia

Five to Try: Australias Best Izakaya Restaurants

Forget about a bowl of peanuts or a greasy kebab on the way home. In Japan, booze food is elevated to an art form in their izakaya restaurant/bars, where beer, sake and whisky are served with fabulous salty snacks. For a refined take on drinking and dining, visit five of the best izakaya restaurants in Australia.

Izakaya Den, Melbourne

Hidden beneath a men’s clothing boutique on Russell Street, this dark and seductive Melbourne Izakaya Den takes some seeking. But once you’ve found this subterranean lair, you’ll be treated to sharp service, killer cocktails and contemporary Japanese fare. Must-tries include the den fried chicken, golden corn kakiage dumplings, seared tuna tataki and tender grilled ox tongue.

izakaya den melb

Image courtesy: Zomato

Izakaya Chuji, Melbourne

One of Melbourne’s longest-running izakayas, legendary Izakaya Chuji offers an authentic Japanese experience. The best seats in the house are the stools lining the open kitchen, where you can watch the precise, polished chefs slice sushi and sashimi to order, fry up crab korokke (croquettes) and vegetable tempura, or sizzle gyoza dumplings and yakitori skewers. To drink, try a Japanese Hitachino beer, crisp sake or whisky highball.

Izakaya Fujiyama, Sydney

A classic izakaya in Sydney’s Surry Hills, Izakaya Fujiyama promises Japanese-style pub food, with spanking-fresh sushi and sashimi, salted edamame, and finger-licking hot dishes, such as Kenji’s Fried Chicken and steamed pork belly with miso. Sake is the drink du jour, with an impressive selection of aged, unfiltered and unpasteurised rice wines. The fine Japanese whiskies and umeshu (plum wines) are also worth a nudge.

izakaya fujiyama

Image courtesy: Zomato

Izakaya Kotobuki, Brisbane

The sister restaurant to Sushi Kotobuki, this traditional Brisbane izakaya offers authentic Japanese booze food, including plump gyoza dumplings and golden chicken katsu, plus lunchtime specials of rice bowls (donburi) and udon noodle soups. Order a Kikizake set to sample a trio of different sakes.

Izakaya slurry hills

Image courtesy: Zomato

Kumo Izakaya, Brunswick East

This award-winning Victorian Kumo Izakaya is a cool, modern space of bare pine tables and vibrant murals. Akimi Iguchi and Eriko Hamabe’s menu is contemporary, too, with ingenious twists on classic dishes, such as the fried eggplant dengaku with pinenut and walnut miso, soft-shell crab burger, or the braised kakuni pork belly pie. Japanese libations span sake, shochu, whisky, beer and wine.

Kumo Izakaya, Brunswick East

Image courtesy: Zomato

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