A few skewers of yakitori, a platter of super fresh sushi, a bowl of hot soba - that's where it's at for many of Bahrain's weekday warrior crowd after a long day at the office.
Whether you feel like going all-out on the cultural front or settling for a combination of western seating and Japanese dining, Bahrain has a number of seriously good Japanese restaurants.
Don't forget to follow the ancient table rules of feudal Japan, where the concept of'ichijū-sansai' dictates a meal should consist of one soup and three side dishes!
This medley of Pan Asian cuisines is a regular haunt of ours. The food is exotic and consistently delicious, the architecture has a fantastically authentic Balinese palace vibe and the service has never let us down before. Don't forget to explore your seating options when you arrive, of which there are many! When the weather is good we love to grab a table away from the hustle and bustle at the outdoor outside patio, which features a ornate pond and some great pagodas. The food is all about fresh, zingy flavours combining with fragrant textures and tastes.
With a steady stream of regulars eating here several nights a week, this new wave Japanese restaurant has firmly established itself as one of Bahrain's top contemporary Japanese eateries. It borrows something of the Nobu philosophy but without the snobbishness that usually accompanies these trendy establishments. The menu is impressive, offering a number of unique fusion dishes that hit the spot between authentic Japanese and international tastebuds, and the food presentation is simply amazing. Our favourite spot is the low-seating tatami tables or the sushi bar for maximum cultural saturation.
Don't let the simple menu deceive you; the food here is seriously good! Renowned Michael Sang-Kyu Lee offers a personal interpretation of modern trans-Asian cuisine, with a menu that is centralised on Japanese tastes but also flirts with elements of Korean and Chinese, making for some great fusion dishes. This restaurant is all about the philosophy of wabi-sabi, a concept that is rooted in the appreciation of the beauty and fragility of transience (we still don't know what this means, but the food is awesome!). This place combines some pretty chilled out vibes with unique foodie experiences; the open kitchen, sushi counter and robata grill make for some great eye candy while your tastebuds revel in the delicious food.
Tucked away in the back of the Gulf Hotel, stepping into Sato is just like crossing a portal into another dimension. It's all low ceilings, smokey wood, soft lighting and silk clad staff gliding elegantly from table to table. The zen-like surroundings are enough for Sato to make it into our Top Picks list, but when you throw in their amazing menu this could easily be our favourite eatery on the island! Not sure where to sit? We'd suggest checking out one of the teppanyaki rooms if you're with a group, or if it's just a couple of you then the robatayaki grill area or sushi bar will fit the bill.
The Kei is something of a dark horse when it comes to the Bahrain restaurant scene, having quietly been serving authentic Japanese to diners for over three decades. This place definitely follows the rule that the best Japanese restaurants take up the most tiniest of spaces, and it's easy to get a Tokyo vibe from the petit size of the main dining area and wardrobe sized private dining rooms. This is the spot where Bahrain's Japanese population hit up when they want a taste of the motherland, so brush up on your Japanese and get ready for some seriously good chow.