Top Japanese Restaurants in Shanghai

OK, we have yet to find a replica of our favorite izakaya or Tokyo sushi bar. But we have found authentic California-Japanese, authentic Chinese-Japanese and authentic cheap after-work salaryman Japanese. Anyway, if you’re craving some sushi, a tonkatsu or a bowl of miso soup, here are some excellent choices for you while in Shanghai. Itadakimasu!

  • 01 of 06

    The Ultimate: Nadaman at the Shangri-La Hotel, Pudong

    nadaman Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai
    ••• The gorgeous interior of Nadaman at the Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai. Photo courtesy of Pudong Shangri-La, East Shanghai. All rights reserved.

    Lux surroundings underscore gorgeous food presented beautifully. Pretend you’'re in Tokyo for a night the prices are pretending they'’re in Tokyo too. Expect melt-in-your-mouth sushi, light and crispy tempura and marvelous teppanyaki. The menu is not terribly interesting but it has all the classics that western lovers of Japanese food enjoy.

    • Address: 2F, Tower 2, 33 Fu Cheng Road, Pudong Shangri-La Hotel (Nadaman’'s sushi bar is on the first floor)
    • Kids? Older, well-behaved? Yes. Little and squirmy? Maybe not.
  • 02 of 06

    When there's cream cheese on the menu, you know you'’re in a California-Japanese establishment. Haiku is the most popular (for expats) casual Japanese in the city. Excellent sushi (amazing rolls, try the Moto-roll-ah or the Clayton), great entrees (love the grilled mackerel) and delicious veggies. The service is a little slow so go with the flow. Make sure you’ve got enough Kirin beer to last you the night.

    • Address: 28B Taojiang Road (near Hengshan Road)
    • Kids? No problem.
  • 03 of 06

    Set back off Julu Road, you wouldn't know it’s there unless you did. Walk through a bamboo forest and step inside a gaping warehouse-like space. The sushi is fab, the rest of the menu is a bit avant-garde and Japanese with a Chinese twist. It's definitely an experience.

    • Address: 803 Julu Road, near Fumin Road
    • Kids? Older, well-behaved? Yes. Little and squirmy? Maybe not.
  • 04 of 06

    It doesn't advertise in all the expat magazines so it remains a little unknown to the English speaking universe, but Ninsei is a gem. Their lunch sets are a great value - you have a main dish along with miso soup, rice, pickles, veggies and other treats brought to you in typical Japanese style on a tray with everything nicely separated in wee dishes. It​'s great for kids too, just ask for one of their private rooms and let the kids jump around.

    • Address: 125 Nanchang Road, near Maoming Road
    • Kids? Definitely.
    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Itoya is a chain of Japanese restaurants with outlets all over Shanghai. You can expect: good food, their menu is extensive and if you have a Japanese favorite, it's on there, good value and about three Japanese-shrieking-irrashaimase! waitresses to every customer. It's a favorite of Japanese salarymen so you'll likely see some red-faced sake drinkers watching sumo on the flat screen.

    • 3F, 381 Huaihai Zhong Road, Daily 
    • 6F, Metro City, 1111 Zhaojiabang Road
    • 1F Kerry Center, 1515 Nanjing West Road (near Tongren Road)
    • 24 Ruijin Er Road
    • Kids? Ask for a private room.
  • 06 of 06

    Sun with Aqua is definitely a place to go when you're having a night on the town, you want to be on the Bund, and you’'re in the mood for Japanese. The stunning aquariums are worth a stop in even if just for a drink.

    • Address: 2F, 6 on the Bund, Zhongshan Dong Yi Road
    • Kids? Give it a pass.