Only a truly dedicated foodie destination can do justice to the super-fresh, perfectly prepared creations that typify Japanese cuisine - and Parramatta steps up to the challenge with flair. The sheer passion that local chefs and restaurateurs bring to eating out means that the area's restaurants deliver some delightfully innovative dishes. We've uncovered five Japanese haunts you should try...
Great for Japanese curry
Not far from Eat Street, tucked away at the end of the open-air Roxy Arcade, is the delightful Sumo Sushi. It's as full of character and colour as it is full of delicious morsels of fresh food. Don’t believe the name – there is so much more than just sushi here. It’s a prime place to try Japanese curry (there are seven types on offer) and even the healthy Korean specialty of Bibimbap. All of these dishes come in at under $10 for lunch, with the exception of hot stone Bibimbap. Delicious mixed bento boxes and a spicy Japanese version of butter chicken are highly recommended, and the very cool, urban-style postered décor makes for a place to linger and enjoy the atmosphere.
71 George St Parramatta 2150; 0439 917 775; Open weekdays 10:00am to 4:00pm.
Fine dining and comfort food combined
The students of the University of Western Sydney – and anyone else who loves great food – can enjoy Mikazuki Japanese restaurant on the ground floor of the university itself, right on Macquarie Street. The menu runs the full course between super-fresh and saucy. Start with lightly flavoured oysters and crab and avocado ‘Mikazuki fire balls’, or spicy sashimi tacos (pictured below). Mains are generously sized and include baked Hokkaido-style scallop tobanyaki hotpot to delicate, but deluxe, sashimi platters of all sizes. Don’t miss the list of rich pork tonkotsu ramen soups – good for both the body and the soul.
169 Macquarie St Parramatta 2150; Open Monday to Saturday 11.30am to 3.00pm & 5.30pm to 9.30pm, Sunday 11:30am - 3:00pm & 5:30pm - 10:00pm; Visit the Mikazuki Japanese website.
The local favourite
Japanese cuisine is incredibly diverse, going way beyond fish and rice. Sometimes however, it’s the classics that you need and Kanzo Fresh Sushi Seasons on George Street in the Parramatta CBD have perfected the classics, with lines out the door on weekdays a testament to it's popularity. Recently renovated, Kanzo is predominately a take-away venture with a small dining area. If you manage to snag one of the outdoor dining tables, settle in for a brilliantly coloured and well-priced bento box, delicious donburi, high quality sashimi (see image below) or a udon noodle soup.
6/55 George Street Parramatta 2150; Open daily 11:00am - 9:00pm; Visit the Kanzo Fresh Sushi Seasons website.
Dinner and a show
The not-so-gentle art of Japanese Teppanyaki is as fun to watch as it is delicious to eat. Outgoing chefs keen to show off their skills make a meal at Kyoto Teppanyaki a fun and interactive experience. From throwing around fried rice (how are your catching skills?) to juggling ingredients and getting plenty of flame up on the hotplate. You’ll find this vibrant red and gold restaurant in Carlingford, less than 15 minutes’ drive from the Parramatta CBD, and it welcomes groups, families and anyone who loves this delicious cuisine.
Carlingford Village Shopping Centre, B2/372 Pennant Hills Rd Carlingford 2118; The restaurant has two seating times, 6:00pm to 8:00pm and 8:00pm to 10:30pm; Visit the Kyoto Teppanyaki Japanese Restaurant website.
In Japan, an izakaya is a cosy little wind-down at the end of a busy day, akin to a gastropub or neighbourhood bar with great food to enjoy alongside a drink or two. Ginza Izakaya, new to the Meriton dining precinct near the river, does a fabulous job of replicating that cosiness. With timber walls inside and river views outside, and a menu that includes Japanese favourites including special sushi rolls, char-grilled yakitori meat skewers and flavourful marinated fish dishes. We recommend the grilled Alaskan crab with housemade ponzu sauce.
330 Church Street Parramatta 2150; Open daily 11:30am to 3:00pm and 5:30pm to 9:00pm;
Visit the Ginza Izakaya website.
Do you know your katsu from your karaage and have a Japanese recommendation of your own? Tell us about it here.