Japanese food is a beautiful thing. It has always had an exotic flair and can be quite alluring, especially on an occasion or when dining out. While there are plenty of places in Colombo that you can grab a warm bowl of ramen, katsudon, teriyaki and sushi, here is a list of places that we think are good - in no particular order.
Kobe is a restaurant in Water’s Edge that is dedicated to Japanese food. If you are looking for authentic Japanese fare while in the area, this is a place you can drop by. Their service is superb and the ambience is charming with dimmed out lighting and comfy chairs which is just perfect for a fancy night out. If you are dining as a group, they can accommodate you in a more traditional way - in a separate seating section. You have plenty of variety to choose from, and their Chicken Katsu Don was fabulous with perfectly cooked rice accompanying crumbled chicken and an egg on top.
Chef Tyro, as the name suggests, is a venture by Chef Tyronne Perera, who handles EDO Japanese Restaurant as well. While it's not straight-up Japanese, they add a good Sri Lankan twist to the Japanese food options. Their Shoyu Ramen was simply delightful with a well-balanced flavour to it. On top of this, what’s not to love about good food and views of Colombo city skyline, right?
Tsukiji Uoichi is a branch of an actual restaurant from Tokyo, and they don't look to change the status quo, but what they do offer is a wide range of Japanese dishes, with fresh ingredients, at decent prices. Their location at the clock tower of the Independence Arcade is also a plus.
Cafe Japan is a small home restaurant that used to be in Marine Drive but now in Borella. It's run by a Japanese family so the food is very authentic and they've been a go-to place for Japanese expats. The part is that they're actually a quite affordable and great place for a private meal.
YUMI is Taj Samudra's Japanese restaurant. While their menu isn't quite as extensive as others, they certainly know how to make it interesting. We recommend the combination spicy maki which is magical sushi that has tuna, salmon and crab meat.
ZEN is yet another spot that opened up in the latter part of 2014. Its located on Rosmead Place at the Zylan Luxury Hotel. While their service wasn't quite up to scratch on our visit, the food was authentic and tasty.
We think their bento box options are a real value for the money and if you are in the area, there is no reason not to dine in here. From sushi, nigiri, sashimi and their bento, you are not starved for options and their food is up with the better Japanese fare and their live-action station where you can see the chef at work is always a treat. We recall their Pork Katsudon as being a feast in a bowl, served hot-hot.
Kami Maki is an OG name in the Japanese food players in town and their newest spot is on the Ward Place. If you're not setting out to scrutinize every little detail about authenticity, the comfy seating, golden bamboo decor, and the Japanese tunes really set the mood for you to enjoy your Japanese dining experience here. Their Yellowfish Tuna Sashimi was beautifully reddish and fresh and paired with the pleasing presentation, was quite good.
Darshan's Munidasa's culinary fame is well received and Nihonbashi is his gift to the city that is one of the best Japanese restaurants. They have an impressive menu for you to choose from and does a quite authentic, quality take on Japanese food. They do land on the expensive side of things, but you are more than likely to get your money's worth experience.
If you are in CCC and in the mood for Japanese food, EDO is on the 2nd floor and is one of the best Japanese food spots in Colombo. The interior is welcoming and the service is quite impressive. While their prices fall in line on the expensive side of things, you can get a quality dine-in experience here. Their Beef Ramen is quite a hearty bowl filled with warm delicious soup and plenty of beef.
A venture by a Japnese entrepreneur and philanthropist Mr Hiroshi Morisaki, Akihabara resides in WTC. Named after the busy electric district in Tokyo, Akihabara resto serves as a solid spot to satisfy your Japanese food cravings if you are in the area. Their prices are inclusive of taxes where the staff is attentive and prompt, and the ambience is clean and spacious leading to a very positive dining experience. The Sushi Tei Bento we tried was a feast. However, we weren't quite happy about their coffee though.
While they are not limited to just Japanese foods, they whip up some amazing oriental flavours among which is Japanese cuisine. The interior of the place gives off a good ambience and provides a comfy setting too. The dine-in experience is excellent and the service is high quality as expected from the hotel. We thoroughly enjoyed their yakitori which can be well-matched with some nigiri.
If you are craving miso-based ramen for your next meal, this is a good spot. With a massively open and clean kitchen with efficient service, grabbing a hearty bowl of ramen from them is sure to lift your mood up. They have salty, malty and spicy based broth to choose from and their portion sizes are generous too. Aside from that, we came across one of the best fried rice dishes in Colombo during our experience.
You can walk out of here with tummies satisfied with their quality take on Japanese food. If you are dining as a group - say more than five, you can call ahead and reserve space on a separate floor. The place has a quirky ambience and we enjoyed their murals that helped liven up the place. We remember their Ramen in Miso looking good and being delicious and the inclusion of narutomaki was a good touch as well.
This is one of the best spots in the city to grab some contemporary Japanese food and the ambience littered with Japanese decor which makes things even better. The staff is attentive and polite, and the quality of the overall package has impressed us multiple times. We are positive that Kuuraku’s yakitori rank is pretty high up the ladder. Corkage free BYOB here is always a plus.
Sushi Kai does Japanese fare without poking a hole in your wallet and still manages to pull off some amazing flavours. Such as their Okonomiyaki, which was an absolute treat with remarkable execution. While they are not the biggest when it comes to ambience since it’s the same setup as the Kami Maki that was here before them, but its quite alright.
Hamakaze is a relatively small spot that is dedicated to ramen and it's named after a battleship. Their setup is quite simple but comes with efficient service. We suggest their Chicken Paitan Spicy Ramen as it packs a flavour with a twist of Sri Lankan.
Ginza Hohsen gets points for just for the history alone - 30 years and counting. While they moved around a bit here and there, now they've taken residence down Galadari Hotel, and serves as a better place to grab Nihon fare and along with a huge menu. The service is simply superb and the wait staff knows their way around the menu. We absolutely loved their Teriyaki Chicken and the smooth mix of flavours, paired with the brilliantly executed miso soup.
Japanese cuisine is delicious, and it's a treat to devour. And Colombo thankfully has a whole bunch of places that you can enjoy the food from the land of the rising sun.
As always, hope you find this useful the next time you are craving Nihon fare and tell us if we've missed anything. Happy eating!
Post-lockdown high tea seshs in Colombo.
Here's a round-up of Colombo's buffets with what they do best.
සිංහල හෝඩියේ තියන, වැඩිය අවධානයට ලක් නොවෙන, අවුල් කීපයක්…
A list of 15 places for your next day outing.
We tasted every locally brewed and available beer. In the name of science!