Bahrain's constantly growing preference for Japanese fare is reaching epic proportions as more fine-diners are on the hunt for the best gastronomic chow on the island than ever before. When the Japanese cravings kick in, where can you find the best authentic Japanese cuisine?
From the freshest sushi to the most succulent Kobe beef, we've put together our personal choice of where we think you can get your best Japanese fix. Chopsticks at the ready and itadakimasu!
Now here is a firm favorite with the island's fine-dining crowd! Mirai's reputation as the trendiest new-age Japanese eatery in Bahrain continues to grow and grow thanks to their sophisticated food offering and in-vogue design. It's small and cozy, with an edgy downstairs main dining area and a very hip lounge area and bar located upstairs.
The menu is an ever-changing interpretation of Japanese favorites fused with a touch of the Mediterranean, borrowing something from the Nobu dining experience and accompanying it with its own unique fusion dishes. Our top choices are the succulent black cod and salmon tepaniaki, both of which hit the sweet spot between authentic Japanese and new-age gastronomy. If you want to hit up this joint then make sure to book ahead, as Mirai has a large regular crowd that fill up this relatively small venue on most nights.
Small and unpretentious, the Kei has been serving up delicious Japanese cuisine for over 30 years now! The tiny eatery has a great Tokyo feel to it, with petit booths and some hidden private rooms tucked away in the most unsuspecting of places. While many of Bahrain's newer Japanese restaurants pull in a crowd with their contemporary take on this popular cuisine, the Kei's menu is quite traditional, making it a popular choice with the island's expatriate Japanese community and others who are on the hunt for an authentic taste of this delicious cuisine.
The seriously good chow has resulted in plenty of recognition over the years, with a long list of special mentions and awards being attributed to this long-timer of Bahrain's fine-dining scene, the most recent of which was Best Japanese Restaurant in the 2014 Time Out Restaurant Awards.
Michael Sang-Kyu Lee has been making waves with his latest culinary gem for some time now! The three floor establishment contains a great outdoor roof bar area that usually has a bustling atmosphere after dark. Although it's now been open for a couple years, Meisei's menu that focuses on modern trans-Asian cuisine with a central concept based in Japanese tastes while flirting with elements of Chinese and Korean influences has proved a consistent hit with Bahrain fine-diners.
This eatery embodies the philosophy of wabi-sabi, a concept that is rooted in the appreciation of the beauty and fragility of transience. The restaurant itself 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.
Our love for Monsoon is strong, and with over a decade of booked out weekends behind it, it seems like they're definitely doing something right. There are few places in Bahrain that can rival the atmosphere here; the exterior's orange walled Balinese fortress vibe is only a taste of the Asian grandeur that awaits within. Thick wood carvings, stone plaques, angry deity statues and an intricate water design that weaves through the whole venue make it all pretty special.
The Pan-Asian themed menu really does have something for everyone, offerings a combination of Japanese, Thai, Singaporean, Malaysian and Vietnamese dishes, as well as some of the most spectacular sushi in the 338 area. Whatever you order you know it's going to be a mishmash of zingy flavors, fragrant aromas and spicy textures that convey a real sense of Far Eastern food. 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.
This mini Japan at the Gulf Hotel is another restaurant that has a great reputation for amazing food served in a delightful ambiance; low ceilings, smokey wood walls, soft lighting and Kimono draped hostesses, not to mention the fantastic wadaika drum at the entrance, all combine to make for a unique setting. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to choose from for seating; try out the teppanyaki counter for some dramatic food prep (read fire. Lots of fire), a private room with tatami flooring for, sunken tables and shoji dividers, the sushi bar or even the main dining area.
Headed up by Chef Kevin de Guzman, who received his culinary training from the Japanese foodie mastermind Naotaka Tokohisa, the food is pretty gastronomical! Sato's menu combines Thai, Chinese and Japanese cuisines with a dishes packed full of Far Eastern flavors. This is the place to book at if you're feeling like an awesome foodie adventure set in a little slice of zen heaven.
RE Asian Cuisine
While not strictly Japanese, the contemporary Asian food offering at this 50th floor eatery at the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay is just too good not to include in our list! The dining experience is one of the edgiest the island has to offer, the design is chic and trendy and, the cuisine is pretty damn divine. Michelin-starred chef and celebrity restaurateur Wolfgang Puck was the man responsible for the initial concept of this joint, and Executive Chef Brian Becher has carried the place from its initial success to being close to the top of Bahrain's best fine-dining restaurants.
It really is heard to pick favorites here, but if we were pressed then it would be a toss up between the pan seared wagyu beef pot sticks dressed up with chilli oil, cilantro and black vinegar, and the succulent miso-honey marinated black cod accompanied by a good helping of sweet bean-sesame dressing. The interior is elegant without trying too hard to be so; simple art-deco style and a healthy layout make for a serene experience, which is enhanced by the 50th floor views of the Bahrain skyline.