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Feb 17, 2008 02:41 AM

Liverpool or Manchester area authentic/good Japanese food ?

Dear all

Am going to Tokyo in March and have no clue about 'proper' Japanese food, beyond sushi ( and not much of a clue there either ,I 'm sure ). Are there any decent places in Liverpool or Manchester which serve anything approaching authentic Japanese food ?

Thanks for any help you can give and incidentally I very much agree with the posts about Chowhound being a great opportunity for unbiased food discussion outside London - definite lack of options for Lpool/Mcr honest food reviewing at the moment.

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  1. The more contributions we get from outside London, the more new people we will attract in to contribute (if you see what I mean).

    There isnt much in Manchester by way of Japanese and, I suspect, what there is will be pretty westernised. It isn't my "thing", either, but I've had a fun meal at the Teppanyaki in Chinatown (but that's all about the showmanship). I've heard good things about the Samsi on Whitworth Street - but no personal experience I'm afraid.

    Just as an aside, the City Life Guide mentions the Sapporo on LIverpool Road which does sushi - including the "Manchester Roll" - crab and Lancashire cheese. A tad westernised, as I say.


    1. If you were prepared to travel across the Pennines, you can have a surprisingly respectable meal at Wasabi Sabi on London Road, Sheffield. It's not Japanese run or staffed (Chinese and Malaysian) but the food is good and it offers an introduction to various subsets of Japanese cuisine such as sushi, teppanyaki, tempura, noodles, curry, tonkatsu etc. You can even get some decent cold sake there.

      If you research carefully, you should eat in sublime fashion in Tokyo, it's just about my favourite place in the world to eat these days, I'm recently back from my 4th trip to Japan/Tokyo and was eating (and drinking) like a champion, you can find some of my posts on the Japan board and I am planning to post about my latest discoveries in due course.

      2 Replies
      1. re: oonth

        I love Japanese food (am a displaced New Yorker, and there are so many great restaurants there...) But the Northwest offers pretty slim pickings for authentic Japanese food, as harters says... mostly "sushi" places selling totally bogus smoked-salmon and tuna salad rolls.

        I have been to New Samsi in Manchester many times. It's probably the closest you're going to get in the region, and they don't just do sushi. I'd say it's pretty good but not outstanding - and it ain't that cheap either. They have some good lunch deals if you work in the city.

        Sapporo Teppanyaki (there are outlets in Manchester and Liverpool) isn't too bad either. More food-as-theater entertainment than a serious restaurant, as it's all built around watching the chefs perform, but I did have some nice sushi there as well as the grilled teppanyaki stuff. Again, can be pricey.

        There's also a noodle and sushi bar in Manchester worth mentioning: Mai Bai on Princess Street, just across from the town hall. They do fall victim to the westernised sushi trap, but if you ask they can often make rolls with eel and other good things. I'd try to get whatever you have made fresh instead of buying it out of the case and stick with the fish. The noodles aren't bad.

        Yo Sushi should be avoided like the plague.

        1. re: Yankunian

          I know the NYC Japanese food scene very well having lived there 2005 to 2007 and become even more of an addict than I already was :-) I agree that it's a very good scene indeed. If you ever get down to London, check out some of my posts, London sushi/Japanese scene is making positive strides.

          Wasabi Sabi is nowhere near top quality Manhattan or London standard but it really isn't too bad at all and I found myself liking it a lot more than I expected to. Plus on a nice day you get a wonderfully scenic drive across the Pennines :-)

      2. There's a new Japanese restaurant in Liverpool in the business district on Beetham Plaza where Heathcote's is. I've not been there, so can't tell you what it's like, but here's its website If you go, let us know what it's like.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Theresa

          Ooh! Thanks for posting that Theresa. I'll definitely hurry over there and report back.

          Oonth, the place in Sheffield sounds great - If I am ever in the steel city I'll check it out.

          1. re: Yankunian

            So I ate at Etsu a few days ago. It was an unhappy experience. Bad, dried out sushi, horrible salmon teriyaki, soggy tonkatsu, zero atmosphere. It pretty much failed dismally on all fronts. And did I mention it's scandalously overpriced? £14.95 for a poor cut of salmon in tasteless teriyaki sauce, a bowl of white rice and a salad that was no better than a garnish. Avoid at all costs.

            1. re: Yankunian

              Cheers for that depressing tale. Looks like its Sheffield or bust ! Have any of you guys been to Japan? If so, any tips for the novice eater ? - the Japan board looks a bit advanced for the likes of me !

        2. Hi, my wife and I felt compelled to reply to Yankunian's scathing review of Etsu in Liverpool (see above). I lived in Japan for two years, and my wife is Japanese, and we now live in Liverpool. We've been to Etsu more than 20 times and will certainly go back another 20 times. The food is very authentic, prepared under a head chef who has more than 15 years of experience in Osaka restaurants. The food is fresh and very reasonably priced (e.g. £9.95 for sushi or sashimi lunchtime bento, £13 for a large sashimi platter at dinner). The fish options (e.g. teriyaki) have always been very tasty whenever we've had them. Etsu additionally has Asahi beer on draught (quite a rarity in the UK) and a range of sake selection (also very rare), including a very reasonable house sake (£3). We've got nothing but praise for the friendly staff and calm atmosphere. We'd highly recommend Etsu to anyone looking for fresh authentic Japanese food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: japanesefoodlovers

            Seconded. Love Etsu. Along with Tai Pan my current Liverpool faves.

            Mr Pople agrees...