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The 11 Best Omakase in Melbourne

This multi-course Japanese dining experience has surged in popularity over the past few years — with sushi lovers fighting to get a reservation at the exclusive chef's tables.
By Andrew Zuccala and Concrete Playground
December 01, 2023
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By Andrew Zuccala and Concrete Playground
December 01, 2023
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THE 11 BEST OMAKASE IN MELBOURNE

This multi-course Japanese dining experience has surged in popularity over the past few years — with sushi lovers fighting to get a reservation at the exclusive chef's tables.

Omakase is hot right now. And it only seems to be getting more and more popular. Melburnians can't get enough of this high-end Japanese dining experience where guests are served multiple courses of artful, meticulously crafted seafood-centric eats from what is basically their personal chef for an evening.

Sit back and chat with your chef as they plate up 20 or so small dishes (sushi, nigiri, sashimi — and more). And these are chefs who are the elite and total masters of their trade.

Yes, the highly fought-over chefs and the quality of ingredients will make this an expensive dining experience, but it is worth it if you can afford it — and if you you know where to find the best omakase in Melbourne. We've lined up a few of the greatest below, so read through and see which will best suit your next extra luxurious date night or birthday celebration.

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Recommended reads:
The Best Japanese Restaurants in Melbourne
The Best Sushi in Melbourne
The Best Ramen in Melbourne
The Best Restaurants in Melbourne

  • 11
    Shira Nui

    Opened over twenty years ago by chef and owner Hiro Nishikura, Shira Nui is the type of restaurant where looks can be deceiving. The dining room’s design is fairly basic and the menu is laminated — but the food is nothing short of incredible.

    You can come here and order a la carte, but the fairly casual omakase experience is an absolute banger. Not only are each of the courses carefully balanced and made with only the best Aussie produce, but Nishikura is an absolute blast to hang out with — as are the rest of the staff. Compared to many of the other Melbourne omakase spots on this list, Shira Nui is considerably more chill and fun.

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  • 10
    Nobu Melbourne Omakase chefs - one of the best Omakase in Melbourne.

    Nobu at Crown brings Nobu Matsuhisa’s esteemed fusion of traditional Japanese food with South American flavours to our city. Within the two-storey fine-dining labyrinth, you can feast from a bunch of different menus, but its omakase experiences showcase the chefs’ greatest strengths.

    They are on the short side of Melbourne’s omakase offerings, coming in at just seven courses for lunch and dinner. But there are an impressive six different versions, each with slightly different dishes. This includes a lunch special and two vegetarian omakase menus. Simply choose what suits you and your fellow diners and prepare for a wonderful Japanese food journey.

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  • 9
    Sushi On - home to one of the best omakase Melbourne

    Chef Yong Hyun heads up the kitchen at Kew’s Sushi On, bringing his twenty years of experience in Tokyo and his time at Melbourne’s Komeyui and Kisumé to the rolling mat. His philosophy is all about the beauty of balance — with creativity, appearance, consistency, taste, innovation and heritage all given equal footing.

    Yong’s skills are applied to create one of the best omakase in Melbourne. His two versions consist of a 22-course omakase for dinner and a 16-course experience for lunch. The courses change every night, so it’s impossible to know what you’re in for but think scampi with bento butter, sardines with pickled kombu, King George whiting nigiri and Tasmanian oysters.

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  • 8
    Kisume - home to one of the best private dining rooms in Melbourne.

    The simplest way to describe Kisumé may be this: three storeys of considered grandeur. You can go a la carte here but it’s hard to turn down The Chef’s Table multi-course dining experience. For this, you’ll be guided away from the restaurant and into one of the best private dining rooms in Melbourne — the 12-seat Chef’s Table space.

    Here, guests can either book out the whole room themselves or dine with a few strangers, watching on as the omakase chef creates an elaborate multi-course seafood feast — although wagyu and duck often feature as well.

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  • 7
    Akaiito - home to some of Melbourne's best omakase. Also one fo the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne.

    Tucked away in Flinders Lane is one of the most striking dining rooms in all of Melbourne. Think black granite, dim lighting, sleek leather furniture and a dazzling, illuminated red ribbon streaking across the room from the ceiling.

    Unlike some Melbourne omakase joints, Akaiito’s experience includes a more modest five to seven courses of local seafood and top grade wagyu beef. But while there are fewer options, the portions are larger. Plus, it’s one of the only Melbourne omakase restaurants that has an entirely vegetarian option. That’s a big win for those dining with meat-free mates or dates.

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  • 6
    Yakikami - home to the best omakase in Melbourne

    Omakase is typically extremely seafood-forward. But Yakikami — home to some of the best steak in the city — serves up a menu that champions top-quality wagyu beef. For this fine-dining journey, you’ll leave the main dining room and enter the ten-seat Josper Room.

    Here, guests will feast on a 13-course wagyu-centric feast that showcases just how much can be done to beef — especially when you have a Josper grill on site. One of Melbourne’s best omakase, the dishes here are rich, packed with flavour and brimming with clever technique. And as of late, the team has put a few more seafood offerings in the South Yarra omakase. That means you’ll now get a bit of everything at Yakikami.

    Image: Griffin Simm

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  • 5
    Chef Alex Yu carfelly plating dishes at Yugen Dining in Melbourne. Home to some of the best omakase in Melbourne.

    Yugen Dining is a multi-faceted drinking and dining destination with a dramatic aesthetic and an impressive commitment to detail. Downstairs is home to a lofty, open restaurant space and adjacent bar area with soaring ceilings and a majestic chandelier by artist Jennifer Conroy Smith cascading from one corner.

    Meanwhile, the mezzanine above plays host to Yugen’s six-seat omakase bar, where you’ll find the extravagant and playful multi-course experience. Chef Alex Yu will guide guests through an evolving showcase of the finest Aussie and Japanese, tailored specifically for each guest. And if you really want to make a night of it, add the beverage pairings for an additional $185 per person.

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  • 4
    Warabi - omakase in W Melbourne Hotel.

    W Melbourne‘s omakase offering, Warabi, recently entered a new era. The appointment of Chef Hajime Horiguchi, who arrives after an extensive three-year search, signals a strong future for what is already one of Melbourne’s best omakase experiences. Hailing from Kyoto, Horiguchi brings a decorated resume from top-tier Japanese restaurants across Australia and Asia.

    His philosophy? Fresh local produce meets time-honoured Japanese techniques. This manifests in a dynamic menu, changing at the whim of Horiguchi to reflect the top market finds and the narrative of the current season. We also highly recommend either adding on the sake and wine pairing.

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  • 3
    Matsu - kaiseki and omakase restaurant in Footscray, Melbourne.

    Now, Matsu isn’t technically an omakase restaurant, but it wholeheartedly deserves to be on this list. Instead of omakase, the tiny four-seater Footscray restaurant serves up a decadent kaiseki experience.

    While similar to omakase, kaiseki, which originated from Japanese tea ceremonies, has slight differences. If omakase is relaxed, kaiseki is more formal. If omakase is a free-flowing menu with whatever is fresh that day, kaiseki is a predetermined set menu focusing on traditional structures. It’s also less about sushi and more about other regional dishes served up like ornate works of edible art. If you manage to get a table when the monthly bookings are released, you’ll be in for one of the best Melbourne dining experiences around. 

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  • 2
    Aoi Tsuki, South Yarra. Home to some of the best omakase in Melbourne.

    Carving out its own unique offering in Melbourne’s omakase scene is Aoi Tsuki, a pint-sized, 12-seat Japanese restaurant nestled on a busy section of Punt Road — an unlikely location for one of Melbourne’s best fine-dining restaurants.

    Traditional Japanese omakase, this is not. Instead, Head Chefs Tei Gim and Jun Pak twist flavours up with contemporary flair, seeking to serve up spectacular food without pretension. The result is an incredible regularly rotating 20-course omakase menu underpinned by a deep respect for seasonality. And while you’re spending big here, be sure to get the sake pairings. These chefs are not just great cooks, they’re fantastic drinking buddies, too.

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  • 1
    Minamishima - one of the best omakase in Melbourne. And best seafood restaurants in Melbourne.

    When Minamishima first opened in 2016, it didn’t take long for people to notice. After 15 years at the CBD’s Kenzan, sushi master Koichi Minamishima decided to go out on his own, and he almost immediately started making waves in the world of sushi.

    Let’s be clear — this is not a cheap and cheerful night out. But it is sushi as you rarely experience it outside Japan. At Minamishima, standards are high, and perfection is pursued relentlessly — it is Melbourne’s greatest showcase of omakase and one of the very best restaurants in the city.

    Image: Eve Wilson

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Top images: Aoi Tsuki by Griffin Simm

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