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Restaurants & Bars

The Best Japanese Restaurants in Dallas

The quality and availability of Japanese cuisine in Dallas-Fort Worth has come a long way since the 1990s.
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Tei An Dallas, TX
Pork ramen from Tei-An. Kevin Marple

Dallas is far from any ocean coast and even farther from Japan—but it boasts what’s probably the best Japanese food scene of any American city between California and New York. The reasons why are interesting: a heavy concentration of Japanese corporate offices, easy airport access to top seafood markets elsewhere, and a long legacy of individual chefs who have set exacting standards.

In 2017, the Morning News wrote about the history of Japanese food in Dallas. One of the first Japanese restaurants, according to the paper, was Royal Tokyo on North Greenville Avenue in 1973. But one of the biggest pioneers of Japanese cuisine in Dallas is Teiichi “Teach” Sakurai, a Japanese-born chef who worked at Royal Tokyo for four years and introduced Dallasites to raw fish and soba noodles. He opened Teppo Yakitori and Sushi Bar in 1995, Tei Tei Robata Bar in 1998, and Tei-An in 2008. He sold Teppo and Tei Tei Robata in 2001. He recruited friends from Japan to join him, including Masayuki Otaka, who now owns and operates Mābo, and Katsutoshi Sakamoto, chef-owner of Tei Tei Robata. Numerous other cooks and chefs learned from Sakurai and his disciples—including a young apprentice from Austin named Tyson Cole, who drove to Teppo on nights off to ask questions and learn from the masters. Cole later founded the chain Uchi.

Now you can find ramen, sushi, sashimi, soba noodles, and bento boxes in almost every nook and cranny of North Texas. Although the last year has seen an explosion in new Japanese options (and we’ve visited them too), most of our favorites are still owned and operated by Japanese Americans. Some of them are very casual and affordable.

Please note that this list is in alphabetical order—not ranked.

Ebesu Robata and Sushi

50 Best Restaurants (2024)

The downtown Plano bistro is known for bento boxes and pressed sushi, but its menu also spans sushi, sashimi, and grilled meats. In 2022 it won a recognition from the James Beard Awards, evidence that its Japanese offerings easily compete with others in Dallas. 1007 East 15th St., Plano.

Ichigoh Ramen Lounge

50 Best Restaurants (2024)

Slurpy egg noodles and hot broth is the specialty at Ichigoh, a ramen spot that was formerly Tanoshii. Whether it’s the milky paitan broth topped with scallions, menma, and a spritz of yuzu juice, or the soup-less ramen bowls, each is hearty and warms you up. 2724 Commerce St.

Want more great ramen? We have a separate best ramen guide featuring five more Japanese-owned businesses that set exceptionally high standards. Feel free to consider all of those spots part of this list, too.

Kaiyo

The more casual spinoff restaurant from chef Jimmy Park (see Shoyo, below) upholds just as high of a standard—but with an a la carte menu of signature sushi rolls and izakaya (tavern) bar snacks. The cooked items are prepared by a veteran of legendary old-school Irving spot Mr Max (see below). This dining room is the space formerly occupied by Teppo, where many of Dallas’ best Japanese cooks got their starts. 2014 Greenville Ave.

Mābo

Masayuki Otaka is one of Dallas’ OG Japanese chefs, best-known for his decades of work at now-closed yakitori spot Teppo on Greenville Avenue. Now, at Mābo, he continues to flex his grilling prowess on a tasting menu that costs $200—plus tax, tip, and drinks. Yes, we’ve been (our full review will publish in July), and yes, it’s a transporting experience that includes sensitively prepared sashimi, luxury touches, and a dining room that is an architectural marvel. 6109 Berkshire Ln., Ste. B

Mr Max

For years, Mr Max has been North Texas’ essential izakaya, serving grilled chicken, crisp takoyaki, and cheap mugs of Japanese beer. If you want to sit at some tables you will need to slip off your shoes. Reservations, by phone only, are a very good idea. 3028 N. Belt Line Rd., Irving

Namo

The tiny sushi bar in the West Village serves handrolls filled with cuts of fresh fish wrapped in delicate seaweed. On one Wednesday each month, omakase seatings feature a menu of small plates and seasonal seafood and vegetables. A smaller version of the omakase is available every day at lunch. 3699 McKinney Ave., Ste. 305.

Niwa Japanese BBQ

A meal here proceeds in two phases: first, the kitchen will cook a series of delightful appetizers. Then you’re in charge. This is a yakiniku experience, with a grill at the center of your table and top-quality meats on the way. On the 29th day of each month, a “Meat Day” special features a bounteous sample platter for $29. 2939 Main St.

Nori Handroll Bar

Dallas’ original handroll bar may still be its best. This long, skinny Deep Ellum space seats every diner at the counter, where you can watch as your rolls are made fresh and handed directly to you. Don’t pause to take pictures: handrolls are meant to be a quick bite, and Nori has several multi-roll combo options that get filling faster than you’d think. 2814 Elm St.

Shoyo

50 Best Restaurants (2024)

You’ll find a stunning omakase menu at Shoyo in Lower Greenville, thanks to Nobu alumnus Jimmy Park and master chef Shin Kondo. The tasting menu is unexpected, experimental, and unlike any other Japanese cuisine in Dallas. The appetizers nearly steal the show—nearly. 1916 Greenville Ave.

Sushi Robata

Far North Dallas’ best-kept secret is this little spot, where the regulars are in little hurry to tell the rest of Dallas just how good Sushi Robata is. Sushi Robata serves a little bit of everything—sushi, ramen, grilled items, dumplings—but it is all good, across the board. Not all generalists are this accomplished. 4727 Frankford Rd., Ste. 313

Tatsu Dallas

50 Best Restaurants (2024)

When Tatsu Dallas joined the dining scene, it quickly became one of the city’s most desired reservations, and for good reason. Chef Tatsuya Sekiguchi’s sushi bar inside the Continental Gin Building is a serene space with only 10 seats for omakase. One experience could be more than 18 courses of carefully sliced fish, perfectly cooked rice, and traditional Japanese hospitality. 3309 Elm St., Ste. 120.

Tei-An

50 Best Restaurants (2024)

Sakurai’s Japanese influence lives on in Tei-An, one of the best restaurants in Dallas and the country. Established as a soba noodle house in 2008, the restaurant in One Arts Plaza also serves omakase and daily seafood specials. 1722 Routh St.

Tei Tei Robata Bar

50 Best Restaurants (2024)

Another consistent 50 Best winner, this restaurant has been serving delicious Japanese-style grilled meats since 1998. Other menu items include fresh octopus and smelt, along with daily specials that include sushi samplers and more. Tei Tei has a more traditional feel than Tei-An; try to sit at the bar to watch the action. 2906 N. Henderson Ave.

But Wait, There’s More!

Some quick honorable mentions: Newcomer Pearl offers delightful appetizers and deluxe rolls, Teriyaki 4 U is a casual gem in Carrollton, Moriya Shokudo is on our best ramen list but also makes a great curry katsu, the Sandoitchi sandwich pop-up now has a regular home at the Joule downtown (menu on Instagram), Sushi Sake and Masami are celebrated spots in Richardson, and Fort Worth has a destination Japanese restaurant worth the drive by itself at Hatsuyuki Handroll Bar.

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