Eating Japanese, I Really Think So

Rebecca Varidel
15th Jan 2015

Twenty years ago a cosy corner restaurant at the north end of Bondi Beach started serving Japanese food. In 1995, when that restaurant, RAW BAR first opened, sashimi and sushi were exotic fare for Sydneysiders. Now we see sushi trains everywhere and if you did a spot check on Sydney streets, everyone would know that, for example, sashimi is raw fish.

These days, sashimi platters at RAW BAR start at six pieces and with options at less than fifteen bucks are incredibly keenly priced. You can select just one type of fish, or choose an assortment. Kingfish carpaccio is another light raw fish fresh option for a hot Sydney day - or for any lunch or dinner. But although the restaurant name may hint at it, the menu is not all raw. Go for tempura oysters where the batter keeps the shellfish soft and creamy and just warmed through; the little wave of wasabi mayonnaise and the splash of roe lifted these morsels a little bit higher. RAW BAR eggplant is luscious and popular, as is the yakitori

And you know the go. I'm sure you do. In Japanese cuisine you eat 'rice' dishes - like sushi - last. Rice, to finish as it's filling. Here, we're particularly fond of the popular RAW BAR inside out sushi.

Of course the beverage list does include a selection of sake, but our lunchtime beverage for our summer visit was an ice cold beer. At the outdoor table next to us, two surfers popped a bottle of Veuve. Just wondering? Just a drink at lunch in the middle of the day - with some RAW BAR sushi and sashimi - between the waves of the morning and the afternoon. With Bondi Beach just across the road, could there be a better way to spend a Friday.

Five More:

We're not sure about you, but we get off on eating, and on exploring countries through cuisines, and Japanese is our latest pop for a light and easy date night. So, here's five more venues to get you going.

Sokyo Level G, The Darling The Star/80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont +61 2 9657 9161

Chef Chase Kojima does a contemporary Japanese take with a twist. Put this one on your Japanese eating out bucket list- for dinner in the restaurant or eat at the Sokyo bar. Sokyo also has the only Japanese influenced breakfast in Sydney.


After more than 15 years in its Surry Hills location, Toko will be moving Toko to a new space in Sydney's CBD Spring 2022. Expect the same contemporary approach to Japanese cuisine we've always loved plus some innovative new offerings and an elevated selection of Sake and Japanese whisky.

Casual Izakaya with shared elbow room on communal tables - get in early or be prepared to queue as Toko doesn't take bookings. Generous and delicious portions that are close to traditional, yet a little bit off centre. If you like spirits, this is the place to discover shochu and further your bar education.

Yayoi 2/38-42 Bridge Street, Sydney +61 2 9247 8166

This city north Teishoku restaurant serves Japanese family style trays with lots of steamed rice, miso soup, a main dish, a side dish and other accompaniments. Yayoi also yields two portions kama-pots, where the second course with a dashi broth soup poured over the top.

Saké 12 Argyle Street, The Rocks +61 2 9259 5656

An extensive sushi and sashimi menu is complimented by a broader traditional Japanese menu in an artistic aesthetic including private dining rooms and a bar area. There is even a qualified sake sommelier - and an big sake list - so make that the wine of choice here.

Tetusya's is a Sydney institution and regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world. Chef Tetsuya Wakuda creates a fusion of Japanese French in his Sydney fine diner. His passion is also showcased at Marina Bay Sands Singapore, where his Waku Ghin restaurant is devoted to the finest global ingredients and the dishes are more purest Japanese.

Photos of RAW BAR Bondi Beach by Rebecca Varidel.

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