We must confess that we cherish this big love for Japan and all its asianess. However, this article isn’t about sushi though, otherwise we’d have to mention two of our favorite japanese Chefs in Portugal: Tomo Kanazawa and Paulo Morais. By the way, we still didn’t recover from Umai restaurant closing in 2014 and we still have to pay a visit to Kanazawa, with enough time to enjoy the experience and our best outfit (yes, there’s a dress code). Instead, we’ll talk about the other side of Japanese flavors sitting on the other sushi fence. So, getting back to business, below you’ll discover more about what we consider to be the most japanese restaurants in Lisbon.
Be ready to find the real meaning of umami
Tasca Kome | The LX Japanese tavern
Yuko Yamamoto is the lady Chef behind Tasca Kome. Before opening it, she used to be dedicated teaching others, in her own house, how to put flavor and authenticity into japanese dishes. Gotta tell you that we visited this restaurant for the first time right after its opening in 2013, but only after massive fails because it was always full (good for them, annoying as hell for us!). But since then, we can’t avoid ordering everytime the same – do you know those signature dishes you can’t run away from? That’s what you’ll find here. With their daily menus at lunch, it’s the only time we let loose and follow their suggestions.
So, like good food control freak inspectors we are – the disease where you find yourself controlling every bits of food that comes to the table – the must order courses are Takoyaki (octopus balls), salmon Zukedon (marinated salmon with sushi rice and ikura / 13,50€), mackerel ceviche japanese style (with miso and ginger / 12,00€) and Kakuni (pork belly with soy and sake sauce / 7,00€).
For dessert, there are two rivals always fighting for our approval: the parmesan cheesecake and the green tea chiffon cake (served with azuki bean paste and green tea ice cream) – both divine! They have other chiffon cake flavors besides green tea. This is the first place we’ve found a similar option to kasutera sponge cake (from Nagasaki region) after Castella do Paulo tea room closing in Terreiro do Paço.
Don’t miss: The excellent matcha cappuccino at the end with the dessert, done the traditional way
Hot tip: Their lunch menu costing 9,50€ per person including miso soup, salad and the fish or meat for main with a rice bowl
Average price: 20,00€ – 25,00€ per person (excluding drinks)
Contact: (+351) 211 340 117
Address: Rua da Madalena, 57, Lisboa
Opened from Wednesday to Sunday (12:00PM to 3:00PM, 7:00PM to 11:00PM) / Closed on Monday and Tuesday
KOPPU – Ramen Concept Food | Ramen, Amen
First things first, who doesn’t love a big bowl of soup full of nutrients, big punch flavors and an endless kick-ass broth? Hello, I’m Ramen!
For starters, we suggest the Gwa Bao Chashu Chicken – the perfectly white fluffy clouds with marinated roasted chicken and tonkotsu sauce. Plus the pork and vegetables Gyozas.
We specifically asked for the Tonkotsu Ramen (pork bone broth) and we weren’t lucky but they were planning to have it soon (maybe they have it now). So, changed direction by going with the Chashu Pork Shoyu Ramen (the main differences from the Tonkotsu are the noodles, pak choi and the pork broth) and Tan Tan Chicken Ramen (chicken broth based).
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Dessert was skipped since it’s definitely a challenge to beat a ramen when it’s good! Our stomachs were way to comfortable for that. Didn’t want to put them in a hard position.
Don’t miss: If you never had Genmaicha tea (green tea combined with roasted brown rice) or colloquially known as popcorn tea (you’ll understand why), this is a brilliant opportunity to do it! Our absolute favorite tea!
Hot tip: The best time is right at 7:00PM until 8:00PM or from 11:00PM onwards. But in case you’re stubborn and decide to go between that timeframe, be ready to wait and hear told you so.
Average price: 15,00€ – 20,00€ per person (excluding drinks)
Contact: (+351) 213 900 043
Address: Rua de Gustavo de Matos Sequeira, 30, Príncipe Real, 1200, Lisboa
Opened from Tuesday to Saturday at 7:00PM until 12:00AM (Friday and Saturday until 1:00AM) / Closed on Sunday and Monday
Miss Jappa | First lady has arrived
Anna Lins is the super woman behind Miss Jappa and we met her for the first time at Umai when she and Paulo Morais were kicking ass together as the power couple they are in the kitchen. So, when she opened this restaurant was immediately included in our must-try list. What we like the most in her approach to food is the unexpected route she takes by redesigning a distinct path between tradition and modernity.
Once you get in, you’ll meet a trendy vibe within a coziness soul. The menu is divided through the following categories: Japanese Junk Food, Old Timers, Atarashi – New Timers, Sushi Bar and Hot. With its big red sign right in the entrance, it’s impossible to miss this restaurant.
In our childhood, there was a game we used to play called Quantos queres (Fortune Teller in english – remember?) and in the Japanese Junk Food section you’ll find a tasty version of it. It has wasabi peas, wonton / shrimp chips and peanuts with miso caramel – go for it to start your meal! In the Atarashi – New Timers and for a bit of fun and alcohol, we recommend the Gunkan Russian Roulette where whoever gets the chili pepper must drink the sake shot – good luck! The Tartar in a Box (tuna and salmon tartar with shrimp chips and sweet chili sauce) is also recommendable.
From the Old Timers, the Gyoza Trio will give you a bit of everything – chicken, shrimp and veggies! From the Hot chapter the Pork collar steamed buns with soy, mirin and ginger sauce accompanied with sautéed mushrooms as well as the sautéed spinach, pumpkin, shitake powder and egg Ramen are absolutely unmissable.
Don’t miss: The black sesame crème brûlée for dessert as well as their lunch menu on weekdays starting at 10,00€ per person including starter, main and drink.
Hot tip: Order a cocktail to go with the food since Mr. Cocktail himself – the one and only Dave Palethorpe – was responsible for putting together all the sake one can handle.
Average price: 18,00€ – 20,00€ per person (excluding drinks)
Contact: (+351) 211 379 763
Address: Praça do Príncipe Real, 5A, Lisboa
Opened from Tuesday to Sunday at 12:30PM until 3:30PM / 7:30PM until 12:00AM (Friday and Saturday from 7:30PM to 1:00AM) / Closed on Monday