Best Japanese Restaurants in Shanghai

So it should come as no surprise that there is great Japanese food to be had here. And while countless budget options are available, if you really want a good meal, plan on spending some money. Mediocrity abounds in Tianzifang, but the quaint little noodle house Akurah is one of the few places in the gentrified longtang that’s worth a visit. It specializes in udon, a thick noodle made from wheat flour, and offers it in a variety of styles: soup, stir-fried and then there is our favorite, the zaru udon which is chilled and served over a bamboo basket with a light soy sauce – simple, elegant, delicious.

Spend enough time in Shanghai and you’re bound to consume an all-you-can-eat-teppanyaki. Most of them range from mediocre to downright awful. Gintei, however, is one of the better in town. RMB 180 gets you unlimited helpings of katsu, sushi, stirfry and sashimi, washed down with all the beer and sake you can drink. It’s perhaps not the most memorable dining experience in town (in fact after six sake bombs, you may forget some of it), but it’s a sweet deal.
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Slick, sexy and immensely popular, Haiku by Hatsune might be accused of Californicating their menu with cutesy sushi creations like the ‘Moto-roll-ah’ or the ‘1-1-9 roll’, but the quality is there nonetheless, especially when compared to the countless all-you-can-eat sushi slop buckets in town. Legendary up-market Japanese chain Nadaman has its Shanghai home in the Shangri La, Pudong Hotel. The specialty here is kaiseki, the Japanese equivalent of a multi-course prix fixe menu. Some may find Nadaman’s staunchly traditional style somewhat uninspired, but we say that’s part of the appeal. Expect floppingly fresh fish, flawless presentation, and an ambiance that verges on satori.

Sun with Aqua is everything you’d expect in a Bund restaurant: posh, glamorous and a tad flashy. The ingredients are super fresh and expertly prepared, the sake menu is encyclopedic and the service is spot on. Just be sure to come with a full wallet. This is, after all, the Bund. Don’t let the food court setting fool you, Sushi An is the real deal. Behind the counter, three chefs meticulously mash, slice, twist and roll everything to order. Every request is met with a friendly “hai!”, a smile and a bow.

The menu features a comprehensive list of fresh nigiri and sashimi, and refreshingly gimmick-free makis. It’s all pure and simple. What’s more, this place really isn’t that expensive. Provided you don’t splurge on the toro or their fine sakes, two people can expect to have a filling meal for two for roughly RMB 350 – remember, we’re talking sushi here. The microscopic Sushi Oyama sushi bar is like nothing else in the city. Everything about it, from the gracious Kimono- clad hostess to the mismatched clay sake cups, exudes simple, exquisite elegance.