What to order in a Japanese restaurant

The general lack of knowledge about Japanese food is curious. If we ask around us, many believe that in Japan only raw fish is eaten when its cuisine is varied and there is much more than sushi, sashimi, and other preparations.

What to order in a Japanese restaurant

There are a few dishes that are characteristic of Japanese restaurants and that in general, you can find in any establishment of this type. It must be said that in addition to the classic sushi restaurants and fish-based dishes, in Japanese restaurants you can enjoy one of the tastiest and famous meats in the world for its quality, the Wagyu beef like Kobe.

The grilled preparations, their classic soups such as miso, Japanese tortillas, and their original desserts as well as other elaborations that we will talk about are a good proof of the gastronomic richness of the Japanese that we will detail below.

A) Snacks and starters


It is the usual way to start. If in many Spanish restaurants they put us a plate of olives while all the diners arrive or while we have a drink and think about what to choose from the menu, in Japanese restaurants it is customary to serve a plate of edamame, soy pods that are eaten raw while they arrive The rest of the dishes.


Among the most delicious snacks to consume in a Japanese restaurant are gyozas, a kind of dumplings stuffed with vegetables, meat or seafood, which can be steamed, grilled or fried like ours, and that always like to All diners.

Wakame and sesame seaweed salad

It is a delicious starter and also a good accompaniment to other dishes of Japanese cuisine. Its delicious and intense flavor, its beautiful green color and its crunchy texture is for me something essential that I always recommend asking those who do not know this delight. Here you can see how to prepare the wakame and sesame salad.

B) Dishes with rice

Rice is so important in Japanese cuisine that it gives its name to one of its most famous dishes, sushi, which means vinegar rice. Sushi is not raw fish, but rice with other ingredients, including fish, of course, which can be presented in numerous formats.

Maki rolls

The simplest sushi is the classic maki, roll into or maki roll, consisting of a nori seaweed covered with rice prepared for sushi and accompanied by vegetables and fish. If the roll is wrapped leaving the rice on the outside, it is what they call uramaki or California roll, also being a delicious dish.

Other varieties of sushi

In addition, there are many other varieties of sushi, such as nigiris, gunkan, temakis or onigiri, which we talked about a long time ago in this other post about varieties of sushi and that are sure to be on the menu of your favorite Japanese restaurant. Encourage yourself to try these other preparations that will surely surprise you pleasantly.

C) Other Fish Dishes

The fish and rice are the two most important ingredients of Japanese cuisine and are therefore present in many of his preparations as we suggest below.


The sashimi is the most common way to take lots of thin slices of the tastiest parts of the fish. It can be made with many ingredients such as salmon, bluefin tuna, lemon fish, and other varieties of fish. Here you can see how to prepare it, including a trick to make it perfect.

Fish tataki

Tataki is very common in Japanese cuisine. They consist of a fish cut – they are also made with meat – in the form of an ingot that is cooked on the plate until its exterior is marked, leaving the interior uncooked. It is a delicious way to enjoy fresh fish, which you can learn to do with this simple recipe for tuna tataki with Ponzu sauce.

D) Soups, broths

The dashi broth made with kombu seaweed and dehydrated tuna flakes or katsuobushi and miso soup is perhaps the basis of many of the usual soups and broths in Japanese restaurants such as the one in the picture. Do not stop asking because they are really delightful.

E) Ramen, noodles, and shabu-shabu

Although restaurants specializing in ramen are usually specific to this type of product, there are many Japanese restaurants of the general type that include them in their menu. If you feel like trying this preparation, do not forget to read this post by my partner Liliana in which she tells us why it has become so popular and the most common types of this dish.

Pasta dishes are also very important in Japanese gastronomic culture. The different varieties of pasta such as Udon noodles and other varieties of noodles are perfect for a single and complete dish since they include in addition to the pasta many vegetables and proteins. Here you have a good recipe of Minute.

F) Meats

Both the meat of poultry and that of other animals is common in the letters of Japanese restaurants, being their most common preparations those prepared on the plate or tepanyaki, such as tataki, or those made in a pot by cooking them with other ingredients such as in the case of Shabu-shabu. The shabu is a variation on the Chinese hot pot, consisting of a pot of broth in which the different ingredients are cooking, such as vegetables, seafood, meat, and fish are cooked and accompanied by sauces are made. The meats are usually cut into very thin slices rolled as if they were rolls.

The steaks cooked on teppanyaki or grilled are perfect to end a visit to a Japanese restaurant. They are small portions similar to the steaks that are cooked with strong fire being very juicy.

G) Other Japanese dishes

In addition to all of the above, there are many more delicious Japanese dishes to order when you visit a restaurant of this type. Among others,

  • Japanese omelet
  • Okonomiyaki or dough of different grilled ingredients
  • Nattō or fermented soybeans
  • Tsukemono, the Japanese pickles
  • Katsu, the Japanese fritters such as the image tonkatsu
  • Special dishes on the occasion of Tsukimi

H) Japanese desserts

For me, it is here that Japanese cuisine has more pending development, since, although there are a few possible desserts in all the menus, most are too sweet and cloying for me. One of the classics is mochi, a bollito made with rice and with varied flavors such as azuki or sweet bean paste. If you are not sweet desserts, my choice is usually to choose Japanese tea and enjoy all its liturgy.

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