The best Japanese restaurants in Rome: the ten addresses to know about

The best Japanese restaurants in Rome: the ten addresses to know about

The best Japanese restaurants in Rome. The capital’s streets are now filled with red lanterns that mark the entrance to the izakaya, the traditional Japanese eateries. But eating in true Japanese style isn’t easy. Do you go for all-you-can-eat or a typical Japanese restaurant? Sticky rice with a little surimi, sushi or ramen? We have decided to bring you a list of the best traditional Japanese restaurants in Rome, so read on for our top ten.

The best Japanese restaurants in Rome

OSTIENSE

Akira Ramen Bar

Akira ramen bar, Roma

Akira Ramen Bar, via Ostiense. Seating up to 45 people in a restaurant with stylishly minimal decor, the name says it all: Ramen Bar Akira prepares the original lekei ramen from a base of pork marrow and futomen, a type of handmade wheat noodle. The dish is served in the traditional style, after having been cooked for 10 hours. Other than the traditional Black Shoyu Tonkotsu (12) and its many variations (11.50 to 14) that are available, there’s also vegetarian ramen with cabbage broth, miso and seasonal vegetables (12). If you don’t fancy ramen there’s the Yakimeshi, a rice with pork, leek, egg and lard (7.50), the Kakuni, a smoked pork stew with soy sauce (5), the Dashimaki, omelette with gratings of fish (5) and many desserts, such as dorayaki that’s served with mochi ice cream (3.50) to green tea tirimisù (5). You can also take part in a ramen-making workshop for 20 euros – the dates are posted online on their website and Facebook page. It’s possible to take away from both Akira’s restaurants, in via Ostiense 73 and piazza Bologna 8, which opened in June.

Akira Ramen bar, via Ostiense 73, Rome, Tel.: 06.89344773. Open every day from 12.30pm to 2.30pm and from 7pm to 10.30pm. Website and Facebook

HISTORIC CENTRE

Hamasei

Hamasei, Roma

Hamasei Roma, via delle Mercede. Hamasei was first opened in 1974 as the sister restaurant to Kaiseki Hisagoan in Tokyo. An institution for Japanese food lovers, it even received a mention in the Michelin guide. The eatery serves four different lunch menus which all cost 15 euros, ranging from the Sushi Lunch which includes pickled vegetables, mixed sushi and fruit to the Yakizakana Lunch, where instead of sushi there’s grilled fish accompanied by white rice. Other than sushi (which you can order as a mixed plate or from a selection from the menu), for meat lovers the restaurant also serves yakiniku, strips of salted beef with sauce and soy shoots (14). While the Tsubaki menu requires booking in advance, it’s a a gastronomic delight – we highly recommend the consommé, amberjack fish, sea bass or lobster carpaccio (100). It’a possible to take away.

Roma Hamasei, Via della Mercede 35. Tel.: 06.6792134. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 12pm to 2.30pm and from 7.15pm to 10.45pm. Website 

SAN GIOVANNI

Hayashi Sushi

Hayashi, Roma

Hayashi Sushi, Via Faleria. Opened 7 years ago, this restaurant is a staple in San Giovanni for lovers of high quality Japanese cuisine. The restaurant is decorated in fusion style, seating 50 on the tatami flooring, and there’s an open bar where you can see the sushi being made as well as an outdoor area. You can order mixed sushi plates or from the menu. Among the dishes available there’s the Hayashi boat with 55 pieces of sashimi, nigiri, maki and uramaki (55), the choice of uramaki takes up two pages of the menu: from the classic salmon and avocado (8) to unagi maki wrapped around grilled eel (14). There’s also raw fish available, such as tuna, tempura, fish eggs and mango (16). There’s a large choice of starters, from classic chirashi (15), a bowl of white rice with sashimi, to buckwheat noodles (9), and ramen. For the main courses there’s grilled teppanyaki aubergine with prawns (12), steak (14) and a mixed plate of fried prawns and vegetables served in a basket (15). As for the desserts, we recommend tasting the mochi ice lollies – there are also mango, green tea and black sesame flavours. To cleanse the palette, order an umeshu soda: prune liquor on the rocks with seasonal fruit (8). It’s possible to take away.

Hayashi Sushi, Via Faleria 36. Tel.: 06.7000906. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 12pm to 3pm and from 6.30pm to midnight. Website and Instagram

MONTI

Hasekura

Hasekura, Roma

Hasekura, via dei Serpenti. The Monti neighbourhood has been home to this authentic and traditionally furnished Japanese restaurant since 1994. It has been mentioned in the Michelin guide for its cuisine, ambience and fairly priced menu. The chef Ito Kimiji has created recipes based on high quality ingredients which results in very tasty food. For starters there’s the raw octopus (19), crab croquettes (10) and fried oysters (20), the latter also reappearing in an uramaki version (16). A mixed plate of sushi is served on a small (14 pieces for 26) or large (24 pieces for 42) tray, but it’s also possible to order off the menu. There are then the raw fish options, such as salmon with chilli and avocado (17) and tuna with a spicy Layu sauce (20). If you fancy something hot, try the scallops in butter and soy (18), the Katsudon, a breaded pork cutlet with eggs and white rice (15) and the Shogayaki, a pork escalope with soy and ginger sauce (14). To finish, you must try the chef’s Daifuku Mochi, a rice pudding with sweet bean jam. It’s possible to take away.

Hasekura, Via dei Serpenti 27. Tel.: 06.483648. Open Monday to Saturday, from 12.30pm to 2.30pm and from 7.15pm to 10.45pm. Website and Facebook.

SAN LORENZO

KIKO Sushi Bar

Kiko sushi bar, Roma

KIKO Sushi Bar, Piazzale del Verano. KIKO sushi bar was established in the heart of the San Lorenzo district by the chef Kikuchi Atsufumi, who is also behind restaurants Sushi-Ko, Kenko and Hasekura. The restaurant can seat 45, and you can either sit at the bar, at a table or in a reserved area. Minimal and elegant, its the detail that makes this place excellent, from the simple salads to the fried delicacies. Such as the Sakana Tempura with salmon, sea bass and scallops with green tea salt (20). However, it’s the sushi that’s the real star of the show here. On the main menu you can choose a variety of fish (from salmon to sea urchin) and then you can choose between nigiri, sashimi, makimono or temaki (3-11). For those who are a little indecisive you can also order a mixed plate, such as l’Aoi, 28 pieces of sushi, makimono and uramaki with a Azuki bean jam (6). There’s also a lunch menu (18.50) and a tasting menu (from 43 to 47). It’s possible to take away.

Kiko sushi bar, Piazzale del Verano 90-91, Tel.: 06.94849822. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 1pm to 2.30pm and from 8pm to 11pm. Website and Facebook.

OSTIENSE

MaMa-Ya Ramen

MaMa-Ya, Roma

MaMa-Ya, Via Ostiense. Mama-Ya: a small and friendly local, here you can try alternatives to the classic ramen thanks to award-winning chef Kotaro Noda. He has created a dish that’s prepared without adding sodium glutamate, emulsifiers or additives. To understand what we’re going on about, order a MaMa-Ya ramen, which is made from a base of chicken stock with fresh noodles, chicken, poached eggs, black seaweed and fresh onion (13). Even more unusual is the Gyukotsu ramen, made with bee stock, pork stew, bittersweet ginger and yuzukoshu, a type of noodle made with chilli and yuzu rind and juice (a Japanese fruit somewhere between a mandarin and a lime) (14). The dishes are adorned with an array of gourmet toppings, from eggs marinated in soy sauce to pancetta, marinated chicken and salted vegetables (1,2). The onigiri are also worth trying, which are filled with caramelized kombu seaweed, or even salted prunes (2). To finish we recommend a cheese-cake made with seasonal fruit, from caki to apples from Fuji (5). It’s possible to take away.

MaMa-Ya Ramen, Via Ostiense 166 A, Rome, Tel.: 393.8123386. Open every day from 12.30pm to 3pm and from 7.30pm to 11.30pm. Closed Tuesdays. Website and Facebook.

INFERNETTO

Sui Generis

Sui Generis, Roma

Sui Generis, via Bassani. This small eatery was born from the chef’s aim to combine creative cuisine with traditional cooking. At lunchtime you can eat from 4 different menus which each cost 15 euros, ranging from your choice of ramen to gyoza or even to okonomiyaki (a sweet and sour pancake) and takoyaki (fried meatballs). Then, obviously, there’s sushi: nigiri (2 pieces for 4 euros) is made with the fish of the day, such as turbot or prawns. The homosaki (6 pieces for 4 euros) can come with ikura (salmon eggs) served on a slab of rose salt, or the inarizushi (2 pieces for 3 euros) – a type of sushi made with rice made of fried tofu – comes with scallops. As for the sashimi, we love the rainbow array of shellfish. For starters, try the yaiudon with vegetables (10), the yakisoba (8), the classic ramen (12) and the Sui Generis: noodles in a duck broth with duck meat, marinated eggs, sprouts and onion (14). To finish it all off try a green tea ice cream served with Azuki jam (5). Booking is recommended (even via WhatsApp!). It’s possible to take away.

Sui Generis, Via Bassani 13. Tel. 346.4970604. Open every day from 12pm to 2pm and from 8pm to 11pm. Closed on Wednesdays. Website and Facebook

OSTIENSE

Sushisen

Sushisen, Roma

Sushisen, via Giulietti. Serving fine Japanese cuisine for 14 years (with a certificate from the Japanese Restaurants Organisation), Sushisen, in the Ostiense district, recreates traditional recipes. Run by the sake sommelier Kunihiro Este, the restaurant has two rooms, one which is more formal that seats 44 and one which caters for quick meals. The menu includes a page entitled ‘Chef’s Specials’ which are only available in the evenings, and which recommend dishes such as yuzu matcha torifu sashimi – a sea bass and scallop sashimi with rock salt, truffle, yuzu and green tea (20). There’s a huge selection of uramaki, such as ones filled with tempura prawns, Savoy cabbage, ginger, hazelnuts and pistachios with touches of seared salmon sashimi (18) or with avocado, raspberries and red fruits (14). You can order sushi from the menu (from 4 euros for sea bass to 7 euros for eel) or choose a mixed plate, such as the Love Boat that serves two people and includes sushi and sashimi on bittersweet vegetables with a a fillet of chicken and tempura (55). For those that feel like a hot meal, there’s takoyaki with octopus, ginger and green onion (6.50), salted mackerel fillets (9.50), or tuna parcels stuffed with crab and cherry tomatoes (15). To finish, try the green tea profiteroles with chocolate shavings (7).

Sushisen, Via Giuseppe Giulietti 21 A, Rome. Tel.: 06.5756945. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 12.30pm to 2.30pm and from 7.30pm to 11pm.  Website and Facebook

PRENESTINA

Waraku

Waraku, Roma

Waraku, via Prenestina. This Japanese eatery run by Maurizio di Stefano and Miwako has a more ramen-focused menu – from the chicken ramen to the ‘special’ with coconut and sesame, to vegetarian versions (12-13 euros). But Waraku does serve other classic dishes, such as the udon noodles with ‘sweet cream and four levels of spiciness’ (12), the classic soba (10) or with green tea and gyoza (Japanese dumplings) with celery or wasabi (6). It’s also possible to taste okonomiyaki, a sort of crepe made with corn served with meat and Savoy cabbage, served with a sweet and sour sauce (10). All the desserts are green tea infused – there’s cheese-cake, tirimusù and ice cream (4).

Waraku, via Prenestina 321 A, Roma. Tel.: 06.21702358. Open from Wednesday to Sunday 12.30pm to 2.30pm and 8pm to 10.30pm.Tuesdays from 8pm to 10.30pm. Website and Facebook

CENTRAL

Zuma

Zuma, Roma

Zuma, via della Fontanella di Borghese. This trendy Japanese restaurant (found in cities like Miami, Dubai, New York and Hong Kong) has chosen Palazzo Fendi for it’s Italian debut restaurant. Having opened in April 2016, Zuma is furnished with hot, vibrant colours, tohiki ceramic tiles and Thai wooden tables. The menu is a mix of cold dishes, salads, dishes cooked on the robata (a type of Japanese grill), sushi and sashimi. You must try the fried calamari with lime and green chilli (8 euros), king prawns with yuzu pepper (39 euros), monkfish tempura with yuzu pepper (16 euros) and one (or more) of the 20 sake available. At lunchtime there is the option of two cheaper menus: Ebisu (28 euros per person) for two starters and a main dish and Ebisu Express (21 euros) with miso soup and a main course. The real bonus is the terrace (open from 5pm until late) with a view over the Fuksas dome, where the cocktail bar is centre stage and Stefano D’Ippolito’s creations accompany the restaurant’s many dishes (on the smaller à la carte menu).

Zuma, Via della Fontanella di Borghese 48, Rome. Open every day from 12pm to 3pm and from 7pm to 11pm. Tel. 0699266622. Website Facebook

Traduzione a cura di Corinna Parker

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