by Rochelle Friedman
Had I simply stayed home and written last night, this Top 5 column might’ve opened with a tribute to the glorious wonders of spring. I could have said something incredibly meaningful about purpose and passion, nature and nurture. I could have worked in colourful details in which babies and balloons and Ferris wheels figured prominently.
But instead of hanging at home and catching up on my work, I ventured out to a Sushi restaurant where there was an ambience of surprise and discovery – mystery and interest. The taste of Asia and its culture. Communal eating, sitting together and sharing many different dishes as well as flavours and textures. It’s about spicy, savoury, sweet and sour. Offering Japanese sushi, Chinese dim sum, Thai as well as stir fries, grills, tempura and many other specialties from Thailand and Vietnam.
Now, I don’t like to blow my own horn, but I do possess two almost uncanny abilities: 1.) To pick out a ripe mango. I’m not great with pineapples, but my mango selection skills are truly a gift. 2.) To pick out the best sushi restaurants in Joburg. My selection below will blow you away.
Tears, sweat and blistering taste buds have gone into this “little adventure” of mine. I’ve gained knowledge, wisdom, and strength and let’s not forget the additional centimetres to my waist.
1.) Willoughby and Co (Hyde Park)
Tel: 011 325 5107
Address: Jan Smuts Avenue, Hyde Park Shopping Centre, Hyde Park, Johannesburg
Cuisine: Seafood, Grills, Sushi, Mediterranean
Ambience: Hip & Happening, Comfy & Casual
Average main course: R100
Pick out fish from the chilled cabinets and have it cooked in a variety of ways, or choose the reliably good sushi, prawns and calamari from the à la carte menu. Popular with the ‘ladies who lunch’ in this glitzy mall.
2.) Yamato Japanese Restaurant (Illovo)
Tel: 011 268 0511/2
Address: Oxford Manor, 196 Oxford Road, Illovo, Sandton, 2196
Cuisine: Sushi, Japanese
Ambience: Authentic Culture, Contemporary Cool
Average main course: R80
Yamato is about more than just Sushi and Sashimi. You’ll find a full range of fine meals, including various soups, salads, a range of Japanese-style meat dishes, and of course a wide variety of some of the most flavoursome noodles. Also be sure to check out the deserts – their Green Tea Ice Cream is a particularly refreshing way to end your meal.
3.) Bite (Greenside)
Tel: 011 486 0449
Address: 137 Greenway Street, Greenside
Cuisine: Asian, Sushi, Japanese
Average main course: R68
Stylishly fresh and clean look. Try the seared tuna on wasabi mash and salsa verde, or the line fish steamed in lemongrass, garlic and herbs. Also on the menu is a variety of excitingly different but delicious new desserts and freshly squeezed juices, as well as champagne by the glass and an extensive wine list.
My personal favourite: Scottish salmon teriyaki – seared Scottish salmon, topped with grilled pear served to your preference with sautéed vegetables of the season in teriyaki sauce
4.) Oyo (Bedfordview)
Tel: 011 6153600
Address: Bedford Square, Piazza level, Shop F10, Kirby Rd, Bedfordview
Cuisine: Asian, Tapas, Sushi
Average main course: R80
Oyo is fresh mixture of elegant design and cuisine – the Eastern approach of “shared cuisine” has been introduced with the incorporation of “tapas” style dining, along with plated meals, in an effort to offer guests a full spectrum of taste sensations, while transporting them into a world of Asian escapism.”
5.) Orient (Melrose Arch)
Tel: 011 684 1616
Address: 4 The High Street, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg
Cuisine: Seafood, Grills, Sushi, Contemporary, Asian, Chinese, Indian, Thai
Average main course: R100
This restaurant is a virtuoso of oriental cuisine in Joburg – expect style, aesthetics and ambrosial good taste. The extensive menu makes it difficult to decide between all the best in Asian fusion. Choose from dim sum, sushi or chicken satay if you’re looking for something light; for mains there’s salmon marinated on lemongrass skewers served on chilli linguine.
And… 6.) Yes, there is a secret 6th that I’ve kept in my pocket. This restaurant is my all time favourite. My all time special place to be on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I believe I may just be financing the owner’s child through varsity with the amount of times I visit this gem. Hokkaido on Grant Ave (Norwood).
Their incredible R130 eat-as-much-as-you-can Sushi special rounds me in every time! The ingredients are fresh, it is presented nicely and the proprietors are friendly.
Hokkaido Japanese Restaurant is exceptional value for money and the food is always delicious!
Tel: 011 11 728 3868
Address: 40A Grant Avenue, Norwood
Cuisine: Japanese, Seafood, Grills, Sushi, Contemporary, Chinese
Average main course: R60
There are so many more sushi restaurants around the city (too many to mention) – please feel free to tell us what your favourite (or least favourite) sushi restaurants are in the comments section below. Maybe you’ve had different experiences at the ones we have listed above – let us know!