10 Japanese Restaurants in Makati That Should Be on Your Favorites List
Get everything from the freshest sushi to...tripe sashimi?
(SPOT.ph) Makati City is a broad spectrum, running from the clean-cut high-rise buildings to the grittier hidden nooks and alleys. It’s no wonder then that when it comes to Japanese cuisine, this city is home to restaurants that cover a pretty wide range, too. Whether you’re in the mood for fresh sushi and sashimi, sizzling yakitori, or an elegant kaiseki dinner, here are all the must-try Japanese restaurants Makati plays home to.
The newest Ooma branch at Salcedo Village is also the smallest so far, but this tiny sushi bar packs a punch, from cool interiors that channel the Tsukiji Fish Market to over-the-top sushi. Ooma Sushi Bar keeps its menu focused on aburi—torched nigiri sushi—and maki, with new rolls like the Salcedo branch-exclusive Spicy Tuna Taco Maki, the newest taco-maki with tender tuna, togarashi, and wasabi aioli, and the Kimchi Prawn and Enoki Aburi Maki, a scene-stealer featuring a tall pile of crispy fried prawns.
Ooma Sushi Bar is at 136 Paseo Heights, Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
Despite its hard-to-find location (Pro tip: It’s right behind Tambai!), Ebi 10 is never empty, with more potential diners always milling around, hoping to score one of the limited seats. The buzz is for good reason: This tempura bar has the best ebi tempura in the Metro—currently ranked number one on SPOT.ph’s top 10 list for their airy, buttery batter and jumbo shrimp that remains firm and tender. But ebi isn’t the only thing this hole-in-the-wall has going for them. Create your own tempura basket from their plethora of options, from deep-fried uni to the lip-smacking, sweet-savory Beef and Mango.
Ebi 10 is at Tambai Alley, 5779 Felipe Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
If you’re tired of routine, give your life a dose of unpredictability at Kyo-to. The elegantly minimalist Japanese restaurant offers a kaiseki dinner by Chef Ryohei Kawamoto. For the uninitiated, a kaiseki is a multi-course dinner with a menu that changes depending on seasonal produce and elements. You never quite know what you’re getting on your next visit, though it will always be a five- to seven course meal that begins with a clean appetizer and ends with a sweet dessert. The magic of a kaiseki lies in putting your complete trust—and meal—at the chef’s hands. Lucky for you, with Chef Ryohei’s skill and mastery of century-old techniques, you won’t ever be disappointed.
Kyo-to is at G/F 199 C. Palanca Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Salcedo Market regulars have long been acquainted with IKOMAI & TOCHI, but whether or not you’re new to their Nagoya-inspired cuisine, their corner at Salcedo Village is worth a visit. IKOMAI & TOCHI became famous at the weekend market for their Japanese street food, like their chicken karaage from the recipe of Head Chef Hide Saeki’s father, so there’s no question those are must-tries. But for something a little off-the-norm, have the Ikomai Taco. This tasty mashup trades the traditional Mexican tortilla for a deep-fried nori, which is then filled with cucumber, radish, salmon roe, microgreens, and your choice from tuna, salmon or shrimp.
IKOMAI & TOCHI is at G/F ACI Group Building, 147 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
No list of Japanese restaurants in Makati is complete without mentioning this cult-favorite ramen house. From the owners of the equally popular Ramen Yushoken in Alabang, Mendokoro Ramenba keeps its menu concise, offering only ramen, with just a few side dishes. Since it opened in 2014, they’ve proven that they don’t really need to offer anything else. For one, their Miso Tonkotsu rightfully earned the top spot of SPOT.ph’s top 10 miso ramen list, with noodles that are the perfect balance between firmness and chewiness, a broth that flaunts a seamless blend of creamy tonkotsu and tangy-savory-and-spicy miso, and a generous helping of smoky pork chunks, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and spring onions. With the bar only providing seats for 25 people, and lots of diners snaking around the area waiting to get in, you’ll want to get here super early.
Mendokoro Ramenba is at Shop 18, V Corporate Center, Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
It’s only apt that they’re named after Japan’s famous fish market, as Tsukiji offers some of the freshest sashimi and sushi in the Metro. Chef Toshiro Okajima only uses maguro, hamachi, unagi, salmon, and more that’s been flown in directly from their namesake market, so everything is tender with that natural oceanic sweetness. Coming in with a group? Order a sushi boat—not only does it look gorgeous, but you also get to have a little bit of everything.
Tsukiji is at 3/F Milky Way Building, 900 Arnaiz Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City.
After the success of their first Philippine branch at Bonifacio Global City, this udon joint recently opened a second branch at Glorietta 4. Udon is undoubtedly the star here—have their signature Beef Ontama Bukkake Udon with house-made thick and firm noodles, and marinated beef strips brimming with sweet-savory flavor from sweet onions, soy sauce, and dashi. The rice bowls are also more than satisfying—the gyudon strips reappear in the best-selling Gyudon Rice, with pickled ginger adding a refreshing, tangy contrast.
Marugame Udon is at 3/F Glorietta 4, Glorietta Complex, Ayala Center, Makati City.
After news of Mile Long’s closure broke back in 2017, many also worried for the fate of nearby Little Tokyo. While Little Tokyo is still running busy as ever, you shouldn’t wait for another round of closure rumors to visit the many traditional Japanese eateries in the area. Arguably one of the most famous is Izakaya Kikufuji. The place channels an old-school eatery in Japan, and the Japanese expats that regularly dine here should clue you in that Izakaya Kikufuji is as authentic as it get. Feast on their sukiyaki, good for around six people, plus mounds of velvety sashimi and fresh sushi. Or drop by at night, and munch on sizzling yakitori with shots of Japanese whiskey, in true izakaya fashion.
Izakaya Kikufuji is at Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.
Another Japanese restaurant from the folks behind Ramen Yushoken and Mendokoro Ramenba, Kazunori is a three-in-one Japanese concept, with a café, the main dining area, and a sushi bar that is located within a car showroom. It may seem odd—though some may argue that the cars on display add a regal vibe to the place—but the food is just as excellent as in any other traditional Japanese restaurant. Though don’t just take our word for it: Have the Karai Zaru Soba, or cold buckwheat noodles served with a delightful spicy dipping sauce, or the Saito Special, an off-menu dish piled high with uni, otoro (fatty tuna), ikura (red caviar), and chutoro (medium fatty tuna), and you might just find yourself entering this car-showroom portal of deliciousness again and again.
Kazunori is at G/F Mazda Makati Building, 2301 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City.
Yokohama Meat Kitchen
At first glance, Yokohama Meat Kitchen is not that different from your usual grill-it-yourself places. The beef they offer is unquestionably top-notch—have the marinated beef ribs, which turn succulent and tender when grilled just right, or the thinly sliced, melt-in-your-mouth sukiyaki cut. But—and this is where they start to diverge from the norm—the more peculiar items on the menu are also worth a try. The Shiro Senmai Sashimi or tripe sashimi is unquestionably unlike any sashimi you’ve had before, but let it touch the grill to give it a smoky char, then douse it with the accompanying citrusy sauce, and open your palate to a whole new world of taste and texture.
Yokohama Meat Kitchen is at 16 Jupiter corner Antares Street, Bel-Air, Makati City.