No longer limited to sushi alone, we bring you a hitlist of some of our favorite Japanese restaurants on the occasion of the country’s National Day on February 11th…
Nobu Wilcza 73
Famously co-created by Robert DeNiro, producer Meir Teper, and chef Nobu Matsuhisa, it’s little wonder that this hotel was one of the much-hyped openings of 2020. The on-site restaurant, an exercise in zen-like luxury if ever there was, has also proved a pull with offerings such as wagyu beef tacos, king crab tempura, kushiyaki skewers, not to mention house signatures like black cod with miso and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno.
Haci Polna 30B
You might well ask what okonomiyaki are – to clarify (and simplify), these are Japanese-style pancakes cooked on a teppan griddle. There’s six to choose in Haci, including a real winner with squid. And aside from this, make time for the Takoyaki ‘octopus balls’. Much loved by Warsaw’s Japanese community, it remains something of a whispered little secret – get there now!
Japonka Grzybowska 56
Omakase refers to the Japanese tradition of putting your life in the hands of the chef in front. Given carte blanche by the punter, it falls to head chef Dawid Uszyński to create magic based on intuition and product availability – this he does inside a vibey interior featuring a magenta neon, terrazzo floors and an intricate cat’s cradle of bold red shelving. This place lives in ‘the now’!
Mizu Duchnicka 3
Irresistible, immaculate and imaginative, the sushi is something special. Touting a modern-minimal look, the off-center location in a former factory since requisitioned by ad agencies lends to the sensation of dining somewhere a little under-the-radar. The sets are great value and offer a rounded view of Mizu’s skills.
Art Sushi Nowogrodzka 56
Forget your bog standard miso choices elsewhere, head to Art Sushi to dive into a rich array of soups such as their spicy seafood goulash option or the bouillon with mandu dumplings. As kimchi fanatics, we’re happy to vouch for the pungent kimchi soup.
Sato Gotuje Pawińskiego 24
This commie era pavilion is one of Warsaw’s ethnic treasures with a menu high on bitey Japanese street foods that you gobble with pleasure: choose from joys like grilled mackerel; fried pork chops with Tonkatsu sauce; or their addictive donburi rice bowls.
Edamame Vegan Sushi & Youmiko Vegan Sushi Wilcza 11 & Hoża 62
Sushi without fish sounds insane, but these competing restaurants out-maneuver their more traditional competitors by replacing below-par amphibians with fresh vegetarian produce. Often stunningly creative, we’re stuck when it comes to choosing between this duo of stars.
BBQ Ramen-ya Naruszewicza 29
Looking like something straight out of Kung Fu Panda, this curious wooden shack serves just about the most complex and flavorsome ramen the Insider has had to date. The spicy vege tantanmen us loaded with fermented goodness and offers a great blend of savory peanut essence and enough chili oil to put winter on pause.
Uki Uki Krucza 23/31
How much do locals appreciate Warsaw’s original udon bar? Enough to queue outside the door? That’s right. Dining is a close quarters experience here, but is done so without complaint: that electric pasta maker turns out noodles of such chewy goodness that everyone leaves beaming.
Uki Green Koszykowa 49A
Brought to you by Taira Matsuki, the owner of the outrageously successful Uki Uki, the menu includes alternatives such as kimchi-cheese gyoza dumplings, spiced soy meat and ‘vegan eel’. The real plaudits, however, are reserved for the vegan ramen.
Wakayama Noakowskiego 12
Warsaw’s Japanese restaurants often feel deathly serious in their atmosphere. Wakayama reverse that trend with a casual informality that’s brilliant to lap up. Fun and friendly, the drinks here include a range of sake and a choice of Japanese craft beers such as yuzu lager, red rice ale and espresso stout brewed by Hitachino Nest.
Vegan Ramen Shop Various Locations
That they’ve continued to expand in the face of a pandemic illustrates the demand and quality. Now found in Saska Kępa (a cool venue decorated with ‘levitating shelves’), Mokotów (wall art, bamboo and a giant cat), and Muranów (Street Fighter arcade games and a pink surfboard), their converts claim they serve “the best noodles in the world”.
Kiseki by Alon Chmielna 36A
It’s not just the food that feels perfect, but the design itself. Set inside a glass cube, find pristine interiors decorated with swathes of street art by Swansky, clever lighting and plants and flowers hanging from the ceiling. It’s just beautiful to look at.
Sushi By Alon Grzybowska 58 (Browary Food Hall)
Run by Alon Than, a sushi master who claimed the 2015 World Sushi Champion title at Tokyo’s World Sushi Cup, there can be few more influential sushi gurus working in Poland. Than’s precision and innovation breathes new life into a culinary sector that has at times felt tired and one-dimensional.
Wabu Pl. Europejski 2 (Warsaw Spire)
Sushi becomes a heaven’s gate spiritual experience in Wabu – a blur of beautiful compositions, of silky slithers of fish crowned with expert pinches of this, and little brush strokes of that. That’s all elevated even further by deliciously upscale interiors befitting of the Spire location.
Japonki Krochmalna 61
Serving as a store first and foremost, head here to stock up on fresh tofu, crackers, noodles, fish, Kanji ink brushes and ceramic bits and pieces. And when you’re done, get some sushi to go: using only certified farmed fish as well as short-grain rice fused with Japanese vinegars, such has been the hype, it’s not uncommon to find food running short as the day progresses.
Moya Matcha Oleandrów 6
Set in a minimalistic, meditative space, visit for a wondrously chilled-out journey into the world of matcha. Specializing in organic matcha and leaf teas, there’s also a range of organic products and ceramics to buy, as well as wonderful miso cookies to nibble while engaging in the whole matcha ritual.