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Best Japanese restaurants Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City has more Japanese dining options than you can shake a yakitori skewer at. From ramen to precise sashimi to innovative fusion cuisine, our fair city really has it all. But where is the best Japanese restaurant in Salt Lake City? We’ve got a few picks for you to get stuck into.

1 – Kyoto Japanese Restaurant

Kyoto - tempura shrimp
Kyoto – tempura shrimp

A staple since the 1980s and one of Utah’s first Japanese restaurants is Kyoto, located on the East side of town. Focused on authentic Japanese cuisine, not to mention being housed in a traditionally upholstered Japanese space that’s relaxed and bubbling with atmosphere. The space features private tatami-style booths, a sushi counter and is always busy. Parking can be tight so plan ahead, or arrive early/later to avoid the rush.

One particular specialty at Kyoto Japanese Restaurant are the fabulous tempura shrimp served as part of a complete dinner with salad, soup and rice. They’re the stuff of dreams, epic in both size and terrific crunch. In fact all the traditional comfort food dishes here rock: tonkatsu, sukiyaki, teriyaki, tempura and more.

1080 E 1300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
(801) 487-3525
www.kyotoslc.com

2 – Koyote

Koyote - counter and back booths (Gastronomic SLC)
Koyote – counter and back booths (Gastronomic SLC)

This Marmalade-neighborhood must focuses on ramen. The American shoyu ($14) is my favorite bowl at this Marmalade restaurant. I’m a huge fan of the house-smoked brisket, slow-cooked for hour upon hour before being galvanized in beef tallow. This alone should steal the show but a coy co-star – ajitama – is equally captivating. The soft-boiled eggs are boiled at a specific temperature and time, then peeled, left to marinate for several days. The process renders a dreamy, custard-esque texture. Green onions, scallions, blanched spinach, and fermented bamboo shoots complete the picture.

Oh, the broth? It’s a mere ten-hour creation built upon chicken and pork stock. It’s utterly mesmerizing. From the fractally hypnotic oils that lacquer the surface, through to the soulful, savory depth. The lighter, clear chintan-style broth is my personal favorite, but those who prefer more heft to their bowl won’t be left disappointed. Read my full writeup of Koyote in this story.

551 W 400 N, Salt Lake City, UT 84116
(385) 262-5559
https://koyoteslc.com

3 – Bar Nohm

Strictly speaking, Nohm isn’t a Japanese restaurant, but the influence is strong at this Central 9th spot. and to be clear; for example, the custom-built binchotan charcoal grill that powers a selection of grilled skewers. Read my full in depth preview of Bar Nohm here.

65 W 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 917-3812
nohmslc.com

4 – Sushi Groove

Sushi Groove: Various nigiri
Sushi Groove: Various nigiri

Head on down to the ‘groove and you’ll find a local hangout where on any given night you might find a DJ or live band playing; with the graffiti art walls and contemporary approach to sushi rolls, you’ll have a blast at this hip eatery.

For the best experience, try to score a seat at the sushi counter and pick your chef’s brains on what’s hot despite the vibe. Beneath all the cool veneer the restaurant harbors some killer fresh seafood – that’s always moved quickly due to the $2.50 Tuesdays ($2.50 for two pieces of any nigiri).

2910 Highland Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
(801) 467-7420
www.sushigroove.us

5 – Tanabata Japanese Restaurant

Tanabata Japanese Restaurant - saba shio
Tanabata Japanese Restaurant – saba shio

New for 2023 is this South Salt Lake spot taking over the space once occupied by EJO. Gone is the Korean menu, and in its place, an all-new extensive Japanese offering. The menu at Tanabata offers both a traditional collection of maki, nigiri, and sashimi as well as a broad selection of cooked dishes, from udon to donburi to teriyaki. The prices here are a steal, with entrees running $10-$12.

633 E 3300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
(801) 981-5354
tanabataus.com

6 – Takashi

Takashi - maki sushi. Credit Heather L. King
Takashi – amazing sushi downtown SLC (Heather L. King)

One of the finest sushi shops in the whole state if not up with the best in the country is Takashi. This fact is anything but a well-kept secret, as the nightly crowds will attest to; keep this in mind if heading on down, the restaurant does not take reservations and it’s exceptionally popular. If you arrive later you’ll be added to a wait list and you could wait a while.

Once you’re in Takashi, you’re in for a treat. Whether you sit at the sushi bar and enjoy traditional nigiri and sashimi or take a table and explore some of the contemporary (Beatles-themed) maki sushi rolls – you will be rewarded by some of the most talented sushi chefs in town, handling some of the very finest product.

18 W Market St, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 519-9595

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Takashi/117898704903498

7 – Tsunami

Tsunami - spicy masa roll
Tsunami – spicy masa roll

With locations up and down the Salt Lake valley, Tsunami is beloved by locals for its diverse menu of Japanese classics. After the solid array of small plates and appetizers, you will find donburi, bento boxes, teriyaki dishes, tempura, and much more. It goes without saying there’s an extensive array of nigiri, sashimi, and maki.

1059 E 900 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84105 | (385) 900-0288
7628 S. Union Park Ave, Midvale, UT 84047 | (801) 676-6466
10722 Riverfront Parkway, South Jordan, UT 84095 | (801) 748-1178
tsunamiutah.com

8 – Tosh’s Ramen

Tosh's Ramen Holladay - kurimi black shotu ramen
Tosh’s Ramen Holladay – kurimi black shotu ramen

The Tosh in question here is Toshio Sekikawa, a name you might be familiar with if you followed the Utah dining scene for a decent amount of time. Toshio Sekikawa first got to work in Utah at the now-defunct Mikado. He also spent time launching Park City’s Hapa Grill before turning to Mikado and iNaked Fish. Sekikawa ultimately sold his two namesake operations to different owners. Both restaurants are still usually immediately mentioned when someone asks, “What’s the best ramen in SLC?”. My pick is the Holladay location.

SLC | 1465 S State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84115 | (801) 466-7000
Murray | 1963 E Murray Holladay Rd, Holladay, UT 84117
toshsramen.com

9 – Kaze Sushi

Kaze Sushi - agedashi tofu
Kaze Sushi – agedashi tofu

This downtown Salt Lake City Japanese restaurant is a great all-rounder offering both cooked and raw dishes. There’s a spacious sushi counter, ample table seating, and a good selection of beer, wine, and sake.

65 E Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
(801) 800-6768
kazesushiut.com

Who did we miss?

If you think we’re missing a really great addition to this list, please email us at stuart@gastronomicslc.com – we’d love to hear from you. Let us know who you think should be on this list and why. If you have a really great picture of one of more dishes, please send that too! We’re always excited to check our more businesses!

Maybe also check out

Maybe we can tempt you to something else delicious while you’re here? Check out these other detailed guides, some of the most popular pages on our website:

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