Whether you prefer sushi and sashimi or ramen and udon, Seattle has plenty of Japanese restaurants that will satisfy your cravings. Better yet, Seattle is home to some of the best Japanese chefs who have mastered the art of preparing the freshest local and regional fair that this region has to offer. From traditional to modern, the Japanese restaurants that make Seattle a richer place to dine are plentiful. Here are a few standouts that provide a wide range of styles and experiences.

Tsukushinbo (Photo: Jenise Silva)


Tsukushinbo
515 S. Main St.
>Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 467-4004

This gem of a Japanese restaurant can be found tucked away on an unassuming stretch of Main Street in the International District. This popular joint fills up quickly with Tsukushinbo believers at lunch and dinner time. The sushi bar that seats eight and the handful of tables that fill the rest of this restaurant are always packed with happy diners. Tsukushinbo offers daily specials that feature various takes on udon and ramen, but one of the most popular days at the restaurant is Friday, when they bust out the old school TokyoShoy ramen dish that includes gyoza and rice. Sushi and sashimi also shine at Tsukushinbo and if you are looking for a sushi roll you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one among their 17 rolls to satisfy your craving.

Maneki
304 6th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 622-2631
www.manekirestaurant.com

Talk about a classic. Maneki has been serving up some of the best Japanese fare in Seattle for 110 years. Clearly, they are doing something right. Maneki sits behind a modest storefront in the International District, but the food that is prepared here is anything but modest. The specialties on the menu are as delicious as they are extensive. The black cod collar miso competes with the chicken teriyaki and tempura, while the Sansai soba noodles compete with the sizzling pan fried udon noodles. In most competitions there are winners and losers, but in the case of Maneki all of the dishes are winners.

Shiro’s (Photo: Jenise Silva)


Shiro’s
2401 2nd Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 443-9844
shiros.com

The line to get a seat at the sushi bar at Shiro’s starts forming outside this beloved Japanese restaurant about 30 minutes before its “open” sign is switched on. So if you want to dine on some of the freshest sushi in town, make sure to get an early jump on your evening plans or reserve a table in the dining room and head on over to this Belltown mainstay. To catch the action up close, grab a seat at the sushi bar and watch the masters at work as they prepare seafood that focuses on the best that nature provides including salmon, squid, clams and Pacific albacore tuna. You can enjoy the fresh taste of sushi and sashimi or satisfy your cravings for the sea with various offerings from the deep waters nearby including dishes like the Kani-Su (king crab in ponzu) and the Tako-Su (fresh octopus in ponzu or miso vinaigrette). Don’t worry, if you can’t make it early for the first seating Shiro’s serves until 10:30 p.m. every night.

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Naka
1449 E. Pine St.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 294-5230
www.nakaseattle.com

This newcomer has leapt to the top of the many Seattle diner’s bucket lists. Known for its kaiseki menu, diners put themselves in the hands of Chef Shota for a luxurious, fully prepared dining experience. In fact, one customized kaiseki experience is so involved you have to order it one week in advance. If planning is not your thing, Naka also offers up plenty of fare that shows off the skills of Chef Shota including the chicken nyumen noodles braised in dashi and the wagyu tartare tossed in yuzu aioli. If you want to know how braised pork belly tastes after being braised in sharp soy sauce for six hours, Naka has you covered there as well.

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Jenise Silva is a freelance writer in Seattle who has studied culinary, visual and performing arts. She penned the financial planning guide Women & Money, and has been writing about food and the arts for a number of years. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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