The United Arab Emirates has a lot to offer in terms of culinary delights, but one can’t help but be drawn to the richness of Japanese cuisine. You could be looking for a classic sushi platter or something a little more experimental like Tokyo-style Neapolitan pizza – trust us, in the UAE, you’ll find it.

To make your life a little easier, we’ve created a breakdown of the best Japanese restaurants in the region. So, let’s take a trip from the heart of Dubai to the calm landscapes of Ras Al Khaimah to get a taste of Japan’s rich cultural heritage.

The Top 5 Japanese Restaurants in the UAE

  1. UMI – Ras Al Khaimah
  2. Benihana Dubai – Dubai
  3. Hōseki – Dubai
  4. TakaHisa Japanese Restaurant – Dubai
  5. Karma Kafé by Buddha-Bar – Ras Al Khaimah

Price range indicator (AED):

  • A – Budget
  • AA – Moderate
  • AAA – Expensive

1. UMI

Location: Vienna St, Al Hamra Village, Ras Al Khaimah

Operating hours: 6 PM – 10:30 PM (Closed on Mondays)

This restaurant boasts an exceptional Japanese dining experience. Located on the first floor of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, UMI provides an intimate and relaxing setting for anyone looking for the finest Asian cuisine. UMI has garnered a reputation for excellent food quality and attentive service which delights visitors.

UMI places great emphasis on using traditional flavors across a wide variety of dishes. If you’re confused about what to eat, we’d highly recommend trying out the Miso Black Cod at UMI – but make sure you leave room for dessert!

Highlights:

  • High-quality food
  • Has a private dining room
  • Offers a happy hour for food

Price range: AAA

2. Benihana Dubai

Location: The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai

Operating hours: 5 PM – 12 AM (MON – THURS), 12 PM – 12 AM (FRI – SUN)

You can’t go wrong with Benihana. This internationally recognized franchise offers one of the best teppanyaki-style dining experiences, delighting guests with culinary showmanship. Skilled chefs prepare dishes with flair, allowing guests to enjoy a variety of grill options like surf n’ turf and tasty desserts like deep-fried banana tempura.

The vibrant atmosphere and delicious food make Benihana a must-visit for Japanese cuisine enthusiasts around downtown Dubai.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, then a tempting and nearby alternative to Benihana is Okku at the Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah.

Highlights:

  • Teppanyaki-style dining with entertaining chef performances
  • Delicious desserts like Japanese cheesecake

Price range: AA – AAA

3. Hōseki

Location: Jumeirah Bay Island, Jumeirah 2, Dubai

Operating hours: 6 PM – 8:30 PM (WEDS); 1 PM – 3 PM and 6 PM – 8:30 PM (THURS – SUN)

If you want to experience Japanese flavors as they’re truly meant to be, Hōseki is your best option. This culinary delight, located on the fourth floor of the Bulgari Resort offers the true meaning of an exclusive dining experience, while embodying authenticity and excellence in its omakase-style cuisine.

The restaurant itself sports a minimalist yet elegant interior, a serene ambiance, and some of the best views of the Dubai Marina. Another bonus is that it’s located just 17 minutes away from the Dubai International Financial Centre, which is why it’s an ideal spot for anyone looking to top off a successful business meeting.

Hōseki is quite popular, so if you struggle to get a booking there, Reif Japanese Kushiyaki in Dubai Hills Mall makes a great alternative.

Highlights:

  • Omakase menu with personalized courses
  • Exclusive seating for nine guests per service
  • Authentic Japanese ingredients flown in from Japan

Price range: AAA

4. TakaHisa Japanese Restaurant

Location: Banyan Tree Dubai, First Floor, Bluewaters Island, Dubai

Operating hours: 12 PM – 2 AM

TakaHisa stands out for offering high-quality sushi and arguably the world’s best wagyu beef, which is why it was recognized as the Best Japanese Restaurant in Dubai by the Michelin Guide in 2023. In 2024, it still strongly defends that title, offering a blend of traditional flavors and exquisite ingredients sourced directly from Japan.

The restaurant’s ambiance also does a good job of ensuring your experience is one to remember.

Highlights:

  • Premium authentic sushi and wagyu beef
  • Personalized omakase courses
  • Skilled chefs like Chef Takashi Namekata and Chef Hisao Ueda

Price range: AA – AAA

5. Karma Kafé by Buddha-Bar

Location: Al Marjan island, Hampton by Hilton Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah

Operating hours: 12 PM – 2 AM

Karma Kafé by Buddha-Bar is a culinary escape offering a diverse selection of Asian cuisine, including Thai, Chinese, and, of course, Japanese. Recent years have seen many praise the restaurant for its delicious food and entertaining atmosphere. It’s a real must-visit for those wanting to enjoy a Pan-Asian spin on Japanese classics.

With a top-notch dining experience and a menu crafted by Head Chef Bishal Moktan, this is easily one of the best restaurants and things to do in Ras Al Khaimah.

Highlights:

  • Fusion of Pan-Asian and international flavors
  • Flawless blend of cuisine and entertainment

Price range: AA – AAA

FAQs

What are the flavor profiles of Japanese cuisine?

Japanese dishes are celebrated for their emphasis on using seasonal ingredients. They typically feature a delicate blend of sweet, salty, sour, and umami (a savory taste). You’ll find ingredients like soy sauce, miso, seaweed, and dashi broth commonly used in Japanese food.

How can I tell if ramen is authentic?

There are plenty of ways to spot fake ramen. Authentic ramen usually features a complex broth, chewy noodles, and traditional toppings like chashu and ajitama. In this sense, it’s best to go for Japanese restaurants with a particular focus on ramen.

How do I choose the best Japanese restaurant in the UAE?

This will depend on which Emirate you’re in or which you plan on visiting. Consider visiting the top-rated Japanese restaurant in every Emirate. This would involve considering factors like the restaurant’s offering, it being a rooftop restaurant, or its proximity to certain landmarks. Lastly, prioritize restaurants that have a chef who’s specifically trained in Japanese cuisine.

Final Thoughts

Although it might be tempting to opt for quick street food after you’ve been exploring the UAE, we highly recommend topping off your day at one of these authentic Japanese restaurants. They offer a gateway to authentic flavors and unique experiences that you won’t want to miss out on!

 

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