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Feb 6, 2009 06:17 AM

Japanese dinner in Singapore

What are the best places for Japanese food in Singapore? Have had lunch in Aoki and thought the sashimi was as fresh as in Japan but wonder if dinner could break the bank? Others that i've tried are: Tatsuya (Orchard), Keyaki (Pan pac) and the Ritz Carlton Japanese rest which is highly acclaimed but I've not had a spectacular meal there, didn't think the lunch bento was particularly special nor the mixed sashimi at the counter at night. I like Inagiku at IFC in HK.

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  1. It depends on what type of Japanese food you like. If you are willing to splurge, then you can try Nogawa at Le Meridien, Aoki at Shaw and Shiraishi at Ritz Carlton. Not sure about yours, but they can definitely break my bank. If you sit at the sushi counter infront of Nogawa-san, Aoki-san, Shiraishi-san for dinner, be prepare to pay S$300-500++ per person. Nogawa-san is the pioneer and godfather of high end Japanese food in Singapopre; he combines sushi+kaiseki combination to attract wealthy Singaporeans who are willing to pay top money for his type of cuisine. Shiraishi-san, Aoki-san, Ronnie-san (Tatsuya at Goodwood Hotel), Yoshida-san (Sushi Yoshida) were all his disciples before they branch out on their own, so they follow his style as well. No, their sashimi or sushi are not as good as the high end in Tokyo but their prices are much more expensive.

    Here are some other more reasonable-price choices depending on the type you want:

    Yakitori: Kazue at Cuppage Plaza #04-05. Need booking, very full all the time.

    Izakaya: Hanashizuku at Cuppage Plaza #02-01.

    Shabu Shabu: Shabu-hana at 14 Mohammad Sultan Rd #01-01.

    Ramen: Marutama at The Central #03-90.

    Kaiseki : Goto at 14 Ann Siang Rd #01-01. The chef used to be the main chef at the Japanese embassy here. Dinner is very expensive too.

    Okinawa: Nirai-Kanai at Liang Court #B1-01/02 or Mimigar at Gallery Hotel #01-08.

    Unagi: Chikuyotei at Ngee Ann City #04-28.

    Tonkatsu: Tonkichi at Ngee Ann City #04-04.

    Kushiage: Sibon at Amara Sanctuary Sentosa (expensive too, be prepare to pay $200 per person).

    Sushi : Tatsuya at Goodwood Park Hotel. (sit infront of Sasaki-san at the counter)

    French food Japanese style with Japanese ingredients by Japanese chef: Shibaken at Gallery Hotel #02-02A.

    Japanese pasta: Waraku at The Central #03-89.

    Japanese style western food: Ma Maison at The Central #03-96.

    6 Replies
    1. re: FourSeasons

      Great list, FourSeasons-san! Really looking forward to coming back to Singapore for some "real" Japanese food - last night, had Californian-style sushi at Ozumo. Like all other Japanese restaurants in SF I've tried so far, Ozumo's cuisine is "Californicated": huge norimaki-like rolls filled with softshell crabs, avocado, cream cheese, mayo, tempura crispy bits, chilli flakes, etc, etc. But Japanese cuisine is supposedly known for its simplicity & purity of flavors!

      BTW, I preferred the tonkatsu served at Tonkichi's branch in Shaw House/Isetan - seems to taste a bit different from those at its Ngee Ann sibling.

      1. re: klyeoh

        I had sushi only once in SF. Same experience as yours. Never tried the Tonkichi at Shaw.

        Just want to add another Japanese steak house + pasta onto the list: Angus Steak House at Ngee Ann #04-25. And Robatayaki: Inakaya at Orcharde Parade Hotel (quite expensive too, about S$200 per person).

        Some past reviews on Chowhound on Japanese restaurants here in Singapore:
        Shabu-hana :

      2. re: FourSeasons

        Thanks for the comprehensive list, FourSeasons! Will print it out and take it with me. Nice to see a ramen place recommended. I find that most Jap restaurants outside of japan tend to serve either udon or soba and it's hard to get a decent ramen (which is not from an instant pack).
        Is the Tatsuya at Goodwood park at all related to the Tatsuya at Park Hotel Orchard hotel (next door to Paragon)?

        1. re: KLfoodie

          Hi KLffodie:

          If you are a fan of ramen, maybe you can consider Sapporo Ramen Miharu at G floor Gallery Hotel. I have never been there but a few friends raved about it. As you can see from the above list, Gallery Hotel has quite a few Japanese restaurants. There is another upmarket yakitori restaurant Torisho Taka by Aoki on the 2nd floor, just next to Shibaken.

          Tatsuya has just recently moved to Goodwood Park Hotel from its previous location at Park Hotel Orchard.

          1. re: FourSeasons

            I agree with this one. This is the best Ramen outside of Japan

            1. re: cakelover36

              i think menya shinchan does a mean ramen too.. they have the jiro style ramen there called sinjiro..

      3. tried nogawa 2 times, and a recent visit reconfirmed that their fishes and scallops can be quite good(might be diff from ur view), their letdowns are their prawn( those kind of small prawns at cze char stall, i dun think any sushi shop does kuruma ebi here?), the rice(i think almost every high end sushi restaurants in singapore fail at this, their rice cant hold properly, quite loose, not firm), the anago(soft bones in it), and the tamagoyaki.. always had lunch at japanese sushi places.. nv had sushi at tatsuya thou.. also to note, shiraishi is the only place that prepares tamagoyaki in the same stye as those in top end sushi restaurants in japan, which is NOT the atsuyaki tamagoyaki... but im not sure abt the quality of the tamagoyaki, since i only had it once and i thought it was no good...

        i tot it had more value than dinner.. be sure to choose the correct sushi menu at nogawa, he has 3 sushi set lunches, the special sushi set(which i think is not great , but has alot of normal fishes) , another 2 sets can be found in another section of the menu , namely sushi set misaki and iso.. if i remeber correctly misaki is the higher grade 1 at $35.. i think this set is quite seasonal, i had a fresh octopus sushi, chutoro , kanpachi , scallops, ikura, anago.. and a some maki(total of around 8 sushi).. maybe their tuna is not as good as those in high end sushi restaurants in tokyo.. maybe 2 notches down? but i believe not many people can tell the difference between quality toro and a lesser quality toro.. i have had sinewy toro in aoki...

        fourseasons : out of topic abit... i was suprised when saito san told me that aoki was very famous in japan before he came to singapore... , and i think saito's aji(the seasoning made in marvellous), kuruma ebi is better than mizutani's, because saito's prawn had the prawn cake,brains or wadever the artery clogging stuff near the head.., but saito's tamagoyaki didnt quite make the pass for me..

        10 Replies
        1. re: Lucil

          also tenshin at regent hotel.. tempura place.. which i thought was very similar to the michelin tempura places in tokyo... but i think japan has much better vegetables...

          1. re: Lucil

            Hi Lucil:

            Yes, I forgot to include Tenshin at Regent Hotel for Tempura but none of the Japanese restaurant in Singapore is comparable to the Michelin standard in Tokyo.

            Coming back to Sushi subject, I am actually less familiar with the top end Sushi scene in Singapore. I have stopped going to Nogawa ever since they moved out of Crown Prince Hotel (like 10 years ago???). I went to Shiraishi once many years ago, was very disappointed (though I was not served by Shirishi-san himself) so never went back there again. I went to Aoki twice but was served by the Singaporean sushi chef but thought it was just ridiculously expensive. That was also many years ago. I tried to book a counter seat in front of Aoki-san 3 weeks ago but it was full, so it seem business is good without much impact from this recession, or probably still enjoying the CNY effect then. So for the last few years, I have been just going back to Tatsuya (which has now moved to Goodwood Park Hotel), sit at the sushi counter and served by Sasaki-san. Most Singaporeans go to these places for pseudo-kaiseki meal but I just focus on sushi itself. There is no kurama ebi here but the ebi Sasaki-san served is quite good (of course, not as good as Mizutani and Saitou), rice is good, most of the stuffs Sasaki-san served would be ok to good, but then if I start to order on my own, the quality would dramatically fall off, so in the end, it is better to rely on Sasaki's judgement. And yes, agree with you that there is no good tamagoyaki here in the same standard that you have in Mizutani, not even close.

            I think I will try to book a counter with Aoki-san again soon. I will let you know what I think...

            1. re: FourSeasons

              Just tried Aoki; the sushi there is actually pretty good, better than my expectation, still not in the same league as the Michelin standard in Tokyo but certainly one of the best I have outside of Japan. But you have to insist to be served by Aoki-san, and forget about the standard menu, ask Aoki-san what is fresh and request him to prepare for you. The downside is it is very expensive (20-30% more expensive than Tatsuya). Out of the 15 sushi I had, I was slightly disappointed with 4-5 of them but the rest were good. Surprise that Kuruma-ebi is available here, I have to say it is quite delicious as well.

              1. re: FourSeasons

                nice.. did u only have sushi?? was it lunch or dinner?? how much was the bill?? was the toro sinewy??

                1. re: Lucil

                  Started with tako sashimi, then about 14-15 sushi, tamagoyaki (thumb down), hamaguri clear soup. Total damage: around $270-280 per person range (include GST+service). Aoki's toro-s are very good, he aged them for 12 days. I will say the best toro I have outside of Japan.

                  1. re: FourSeasons

                    fourseasons , OT here.. u might wan to try 京味 on ur next visit tokyo. .. apparently i havent even seen 1 bad review(all reviews were near to full marks) on this one ... this is a kaiseki restaurant, and it is not featured in the michelin guide yet ..

                    wow i found another taiwanese article claiming that they rejected 3 stars from michelin..
                    if i knew this, maybe i will not miss it on my last trip!

                    1. re: Lucil

                      is a pretty bad review, so you must not have been looking very hard.

                      tabelog reviews are not always accurate, so ymmv, but this would apply to both good and bad reviews.

                      1. re: prasantrin

                        u must have been really free to spot the bad review.. anyway that guy has a pretty amusing review system.

                        6 reviews, none above the 3/6 stars in tabelog rating.. and this includes sant pau, losier, joel robuchon.

                        1. re: Lucil


                          It's on the first page of reviews, not even half-way down the page. FWIW, there's another review that's isn't "near to full marks" a few spots above it.

                          Perhaps the guy is just more discriminating than others. From what I read, nothing he/she said was arbitrary. Did you read it, by chance? Or are you just looking at the stars (in which case you'd have noticed tabelog only has a 5-star system)?

                      2. re: Lucil

                        This is off-topic on this Board but yes, I know about the high rating of 京味 at Tabelog. It has been on my radar screen. On the 料理 category, I have also tried La Bombance, Hirosaku, Koju and Ryugin that are highly rated there too and they are all excellent. You will never get anything like that in Singapore. There is another restaurant called Kadowaki that rejected a Michelin listing on the first edition but changed its mind and rewarded with 2 stars on the second edition. I post it on Japan Board and prasantrin kindly wrote a reply. You may want to read it here: . Thanks also for the Taiwanese article. He seem to be a humble man based on his comment on Michelin.