The best Japanese restaurants in Milan (according to me)
How many times have I been asked which are the best Japanese restaurants ever? So many, for this reason after countless dinners, lunches and tastings I finally decided to create a list of what in my opinion are the best of Japanese restaurants in Milan.
As I have argued for a long time, Milan is a very valid city for what concerns Japanese cuisine and in particular sushi: the level is now really high and therefore it happens not to know how to choose the most suitable place for a really special dinner or simply to experience something authentic and wonderful.
You will notice that for almost all of the restaurants I have indicated, I suggest you book your dinner at the counter: observing the agile hands of the chef at work while preparing your dishes one after the other is an integral part of the experience. Seeing is believing: food tastes different when served right at the counter!
So I hope to help you find the restaurant of your heart, I trust that you will not be disappointed!
Without beating around the bush, Basara goes exclusively for the omakase menu of chef Hirohiko Shimizu to be enjoyed strictly at the counter. If you want to treat yourself to a special dinner, this is the right formula to opt for. There are no uramaki or fusion formulas typical of the à la carte menu that they take, the omakase is not to be missed: very fresh fish (for almost every type the chef turns to a different distributor, to simply offer the best to his customers), category A5 wagyu , foie gras and perfect rice (it is prepared in a separate steamer only for those who opt for tasting).
When you call to book, let them tell you which restaurant the chef is in and ask if you want his omakase menu - Basara restaurants are many and the chef is constantly changing locations, which is why it is good to specify where and under what conditions you want to dine.
Chef Satoshi Hazama has the merit of having brought to Milan the quintessence of kaiseki cuisine, the highest and most refined expression of Japanese cuisine based on rigorous aesthetic standards, skill and deep knowledge of the raw material.
You will be amazed by the attention to detail (starting with the numerous and precious bowls used), by the chef's skill in cutting and cooking the ingredients as well as in the frantic search for the best raw material in our territory (of which I indicate in particular the eel and finely chopped A5 wagyu on a bed of rice).
Haruo Ichikawa is not simply one of the best Japanese chefs that Milan can boast, but an institution, a living legend.
After obtaining a Michelin star for an ethnic restaurant for the first time in Italy, Ichikawa san has opened the restaurant that bears his surname, a destination for delights and innovation in constant respect for raw materials and authentic cuisine.
The à la carte menu offers the unmissable kaisen don, a triumph of freshness that will leave you speechless just looking at it, and the best tempura ever eaten in my life. But to fully immerse yourself in his vision and creativity, it is mandatory to book the omakase menu strictly at the counter: you will be charmed by his skill, care and passion.
To go and return over and over again!
Here is a restaurant that does not put you in front of alternatives: a single tasting menu created by chef Masashi Suzuki in front of your eyes at the counter in a unique setting in Milan.
Tasting this omakase is like taking a journey through history: the cuisine proposed is in fact typical of the final phase of the Edo period, characterized by sophisticated dishes that change daily (all this is offered is seasonal and fresh from the day) and nigiri of a shocking goodness. Last but not least, the ceremonial matcha tea at the end of the meal, an attention that I particularly appreciated.
Osaka restaurant is one of the most traditional, ancient and authentic Japanese restaurants in Milan. Opened in 1999 at the behest of Mrs. Naoko Aoki, it was the first Japanese restaurant ever in the city to offer ramen.
Take a seat at the counter and admire the cut of the fish by the master Ikeda Osamu, followed by the sous chef Takimoto, while you will be pampered by the kind and attentive staff, strictly in kimono.
Here sushi and sashimi are absolutely to try, as well as the optional sukiyaki with wagyu (one of the best ever eaten in my entire life). Do not miss the desserts, decidedly refined.
Japan is not only the home of the world's number one raw fish, but also of the most succulent meat as demonstrated by Yazawa, the best restaurant ever to enjoy grilled wagyu meat directly at the table.
The menu offers one dish better than the other (I can assure you because I have ordered practically everything over time), but if what you want to do is an emotional journey then choose one of the tasting menus and get advice from the sommelier for the wine or sake.
I indicate the very valid lunch menus, but I assure you that it will be impossible to forget a dinner at Yazawa!
Believe me, few chefs have as deep and sophisticated a culture in sushi preparation as chef Yoshinobu Kurio: hidden (but not too much) behind the counter, he speaks little but acts quickly and with precision. Tasting his nigiri is like dreaming.
The menu of the day (strictly handwritten as in Japan - after all this place is called "authentic restaurant") offers a series of unusual fish cuts, so try them all!
Yoshikazu Ninomiya was the first chef to bring the culture of kappo cuisine to Milan, a term that includes a series of parameters concerning the ability to cut and cook the raw material, as well as the intimacy of the space in which you eat and the close contact with the chef. For this reason you have to sit at the counter to admire the movements of Ninomiya san and enjoy the excellent sushi just made.
Do not miss the ramen (simply delicious), the various appetizers, the legendary jubako kaisen special and the omusubi.
The cuisine of chef Masaki Inoguchi is sublime, as is the atmosphere of Sakeya, a real Japanese speakeasy. Let yourself be guided by the advice for choosing the sake that best suits your taste and enjoy a dinner of wagyu, kushiyaki and unagi don. Do not miss all the desserts.