Ask Singaporeans what their favourite type of cuisine is and half will tell you it’s Japanese. And unlike lacklustre offerings from local restaurants of other types of cuisines (I’m looking at you, Thai Express), there are a ton of restaurants in Singapore that the Japanese themselves love.
The only problem is that good Japanese food here can get quite pricey, costing up to twice as much as the same thing in Japan. I asked my friend, Yasu, a 35-year-old Japanese national and hardcore foodie working right here in Singapore, for some of his favourite restaurants and compiled the following list of good Japanese restaurants that offer great value for money. No need to escape to the toilet when the waitress comes with the bill this time.
1. Ryoshi Sushi Ikeikemaru
While you don’t exactly expect to be given five star treatment or eat the best cuts of sushi at a conveyor belt restaurant, some are better than others. Ryoshi Sushi Ikeikemaru is definitely no Sakae Sushi, and has been declared the best and most authentic conveyor belt sushi restaurant in Singapore by many of its customers, a mix of Singaporeans and Japanese.
Price: Expect to spend about $28 per person on average, unless you go for the $13.60 set lunch. The cheapest sushi plates are a very affordable $1.80.
2. Sanpoutei Ramen
The ramen scene in Singapore is unbelievably competitive, and new joints are sprouting up all the time. While some ramen joints charge over $20 for a single bowl, Sanpoutei is one of the more affordable places. It’s also bursting with Japanese customers during lunch-time, which any foodie knows is a sure sign of quality.
Price: $13.80 for their famous miso-based ramen
3. Hana Japanese Restaurant
Hana hasn’t been open for long, and already it’s making waves for its friendly price point. Nowhere else can you enjoy a 5 course omakase menu for $30. This special menu is available on Monday nights, which makes planning ahead that much more important.
Price: Hana’s Omakase tasting typically costs $120 to $150. And, if you have the Entertainer mobile app, you get to enjoy totally insane buy-one-get-one-free offers for kaiseki, omakase and main menu items. However, do note that the Entertainer deal isn’t applicable with other existing promotions, such as Hana’s 5-course omakase for only $30 on Mondays at dinnertime.
4. Tomi Sushi
Eating sushi at non-conveyor belt restaurants either gets pricey really fast or just plain sucks. Yasu recommends Tomi Sushi for high quality sushi at a reasonable price. While it looks like a casual chain restaurant, the quality is excellent for what you pay.
Price: $20 to $40 per person, set lunches from $20 to $38.
5. Santouka Ramen
While there are many good ramen restaurants in Singapore, Santouka is one of the best and most authentic. And until the end of March this year, it’s also one of the most affordable, save for hawker centre “ramen” . Not only is the food here delicious, but if you turn up anytime from Monday to Thursdays you get to enjoy 1-for-1 bowls of ramen.
Price: $20+ per person, or $10+ per person if you use the 1-for-1 deal on Mondays to Thursdays.
6. En Japanese Dining Bar
En Japanese has been around for more than 10 years. To many people who hang out in the Mohamed Sultan/Robertson Quay area, it’s better known as a place to down sake. What sets them apart is their sashimi deal and their cooked food like yakiniku, which is a highlight.
Price: About $20 to $50 per person. 50% off sushi and sashimi from 6 to 8pm daily at their River Valley outlet. With the Entertainer mobile app, you also get 1-for-1 deals on main menu items, which means you could potentially have a full meal there for $10+!
What are your favourite Japanese restaurants in Singapore? Let us know in the comments!