Reviews, pictures, contact and booking details for the best Japanese restaurants in Bahrain (sushi), part of the Time Out Bahrain Restaurant Awards.
Sushi lovers, noodle slurpers and miso soup sippers unite, there’s plenty of Japanese food to go around in this city. So it’s a good thing Time Out has visited each and every restaurant to put them through their paces, assessing factors including quality of food, ambience and service. Popular or relatively unknown, we’ve gone undercover to find out what you’re getting for your money at each venue.
You know a business lunch is good when it’s nabbed our Best Business Lunch award every single year. It’s just pretty hard to beat in terms of setting, quality, variety and value for money. While it’s primarily Japanese in its food offering, there are other more international flavours for fussier diners.
Chef Michael Kyu-Lee is known on the island as something of a mad culinary genius. At Meisei he uses French cooking techniques and combines them with Osaka and Korean flavours and styles to create a rather large menu of unique fusion dishes. Think yuzu jerk chicken quesadillas or bulgogi pizza; kobe dol sot and miso-braised beef short ribs. Everything is as surprising as it is enjoyable, and any meal here is only enhanced by the trendy, three-storey venue, which boasts upstairs and downstairs seating areas, a sushi bar and robata grill. Admittedly, however, service could do with a little finessing and, sometimes, Meisei lacks atmosphere or the influx of guests it deserves. But the food is so good it won’t matter once you’ve settled in. After your meal head to the roof, where you'll find crowds for the regular, and popular, nightlife events.
Sweeping sea views of Manama through floor-to-ceiling windows add a sense of drama and romance to any meal at Imari. Although the menu is decidedly authentic Japanese, the venue is trendy and split into a chic lounge, casual bar and intimate main dining area. The selection is fairly small in comparison to most other Japanese restaurants in Bahrain, but dishes are delicate and delicious. It’s all very affordable, too. This year, the restaurant also debuted on our Best Romantic Restaurant shortlist. The trendy blue and white interiors are ideal for a fun night out, while the stunning vista from the 31st floor is memorable, and the authentic, tasty food completes a great experience.
Who would have thought that some of the island’s very best sushi could be found in a tiny restaurant, tucked award in the unassuming, Manama-based Sheza Tower Hotel? Because it can. Fuji Sushi might be a humble little eatery, but its incredibly fresh food provides big flavours. We also love the casual atmosphere and traditional décor, which wouldn’t look out of place in the heart of Tokyo. It’s the kind of place to grab a quick, mid-week lunch or dinner and catch up with a couple of friends.
Entering into Mirai’s sleek restaurant, you are given the choice of the restaurant downstairs or the cosy, dimly-lit lounge upstairs. Both are intimate spaces and the hustle and bustle of the weekend crowd reminds you that although Mirai is one of the oldest Japanese restaurants on the island it's still one of the most popular. And it’s perfect for groups of friends, looking to catch up over tasty, authentic Japanese cuisine that’s consistently good. It’s a fail-safe option in a competitive category of cuisine. In particular, the sushi options are recommended and the exclusive, exotic Mirai creations will keep you coming back again and again.
Juffair's traditionally decorated eatery Kabuki might not have the wow factor of its Japanese counterparts on the island, but it’s a consistent and safe option for a casual evening out, with great food and a friendly atmosphere. The extensive menu features all the classics – sushi, noodles, teppanyaki – and harder to find dishes, such as Japanese barbecue. Flavours are authentic and mostly spot-on, while servers are attentive. Make sure you end your meal on a high note with the refreshing coconut mochi.
It’s not every day you find a stylish Japanese restaurant with kimono-clad waitresses, traditional floor seating and a sushi bar tucked away in a Juffair-based mall. Kojo, which is also based in Durrat al Bahrain and Zayed Town, is a lesser known island gem, which has been expanding over recent years. And we can see why, as the authentic food is fresh and flavourful, and the venues are sleek without being too over the top. It’s a friendly, welcoming place that will continue tempting its customers back thanks to its unique charm. We particularly recommend chowing down on the unique Durrat Maki and the shrimp yama maki, which are both packed with flavour, and are perfectly portioned.
Cool slabs of concrete and glass, sleek lighting and smooth music greet you as you enter Maki, which is based in the iconic Bahrain World Trade Centre. This non-traditional Japanese restaurant, which started in Kuwait, boasts contemporary twists at every turn. The incredibly extensive (and sometimes bewildering) menu is full of exclusively created dishes featuring unusual and extravagant ingredients and also includes gluten-free versions. From start to finish, it’s clear Maki is aiming to offer a unique, charming experience for Bahrain’s diners and it does so quite well.
From the contemporary décor, stunning city views from the 24th floor and the tempting menu of modern Japanese cuisine, Ruka has clearly been designed to impress. The menu features sushi and robata dishes, teppanyaki and ramen, plus plenty of intriguing creations that seem to have been heavily influenced by the renowned Japanese restaurant Zuma. We recommend the reasonably priced business lunch or in the evening to sample creative mixed beverages and small bites from the bar menu.
From the kimono-clad waitresses that signal your arrival with a bang on a giant, golden gong at the entrance, to the traditional tatami flooring and sunken tables, award-winning Sato is as traditional as it is elegant. The Japanese stalwart has been delivering high standards for decades and is a firm favourite with so many on the island. And it’s no wonder it’s been so popular for so long, as the authentic food and excellent service is consistently impressive.