Japanese restaurants in Philly; everyone has their favorite! But most Philadelphians are experienced with cheese steaks not real Japanese food. Can you say teriyaki? Most Philadelphian Sushi restaurants get fantastic ratings on yelp and the other restaurant review portals that will remain nameless, yet almost all of them are sub-par or marginal at best. Service is traditionally good all around the City of Brotherly love, when it comes to Japanese waiters and waitresses. They usually are very respectful and extra attentive compared to what we Americans diner lovers are used to. The atmospheres in most full service Japanese restaurants can often be quite exotic to non-Japanese Philadelphians and Philly’s tourists so it’s easy to understand why customers rave about a restaurant whose food is just okay. Perhaps they are being influenced by the romantic setting, soft music or humbling hospitality and strong Saki! Now if you are looking for who is serving the best miso soup or California sushi rolls in Philly, then Google Yelp reviews but if you want to know where the real Japanese Philadelphians bring their native Japanese visitors to impress them, read on.
Morimoto at 723 Chestnut Street is the best place to go if you are in Center City Philadelphia. The atmosphere is quite jovial, even gets loud on some occasions, which ads charm since most Japanese restaurants take pride in staying low key and dramatically mellow. I highly recommend the Kobe Beef and succulent Lobster seared to perfection. For newbies, they have a few multi course tasting meals that are deliciously accompanied by fantastic arrays of sauces to break you in properly. For the more cultivated try the ever tender Pork Belly with Porridge which melts in your mouth. Wasabi encrusted Salmon and spicy mayo smothered King Crab legs served on the half shell are two delicious staples on the menu. Did I mention Chef Morimoto was an ‘Iron Chef’!
If you are looking to hang out with friends or get together with a few couples at a really friendly staffed,
fun place to have some casual drinks and enjoy great original appetizers then Yakitori Boy located at 211
N 11th street at the edge of Chinatown is the definitely the place! Start out in their comfortable mini sports bar enjoying the always potent and delicious Saki Bomb drinks or a tall cold beer while noshing on a la carte, yakitori skewers stuffed with assorted meets and veggies. Baseball fans will want to try the yummy, Jimmy Rollins spicy tuna and shrimp tempura sushi roll topped with lobster salad named after the famous Philadelphia Phillies lead-off batter and terrific second baseman. The grilled corn is a taste favorite of the locals as are the delicious Brussels Sprouts and bacon wrapped quail egg. I’ve also been told the Takoyaki, deep fired octopus balls, are all the rage. Definitely later, you may wish to move upstairs to one of the dimly lit karaoke rooms complete with plenty of laser lights and usually hosting a good mix of tourists and locals. The prices are nice and the food and service is always top notch.
Fuji Mountain at 2030 Chestnut Street is a low key local favorite for sushi and sashimi. Their pork or teriyaki chicken katsu is quite tasty. You won’t want to miss out on the Wasabi Shumai Pork Dumplings or the my favorite, their Dynamite Mussels!