Japanese food isn’t just about sushi (although it’s not not about sushi either!). Brighton’s independent Japanese restaurants show off the full range of this sensational cuisine. From ramen to gyoza and from tofu to wagyu, there’s Japanese food for everyone in Brighton. If you know your dashi from your mirin and your udon from your soba, then we’ve got some great authentic Japanese restaurants that you’ll love. And if you’ve never tried Japanese food before, then this is the place to do it (except if you happen to be going to Japan, of course), and we promise you don’t have to eat any raw fish if you don’t want to!
There’s not just all different types of Japanese food on offer in Brighton. The restaurants themselves range from high-end dining experiences to fast-food cafes, and everything in between. Our list includes one of the very best restaurants in Brighton and a Michelin-guide entrant alongside a no-nonsense ramen bar and a cosy cafe knocking out brilliant rice bowls for eight quid a go. So grab yourself a sake, and read on to find your new favourite Japanese restaurant on the English seaside.
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Our guide to Brighton's best Japanese restaurants
This restaurant is a bit of a classic spot on the corner halfway up Trafalgar Street, at the far end of the North Laine. We know we said it’s not just sushi, but if that is what you’re after, you will not be disappointed by a visit to O’shio, which has a seriously extensive list of sushi and sashimi on the menu. You can get yourself a ramen or a katsu curry here, but this is the place to go if you want real traditional Japanese food, we’re talking bluefin tuna nigiri and a miso soup kind of vibes.
Bincho, as it’s known by locals, is an ‘Izakaya’, roughly translated this means a Japanese tavern. But it’s not just beer, sake and whiskey on offer in this tavern, for Bincho is known for plating up some of the finest Japanese BBQ food you’re likely to find anywhere in the country. In fact, this restaurant was selected as the best in the city in the 2023 Brighton’s Best award. Bincho is a great all-round experience – phenomenal authentic Japanese cuisine, great drinks, and a cool atmosphere. Get yourself down to Preston Street and enjoy.
Goemon Ramen Bar
Head down from Bincho Yakitori towards the sea and you’ll come across Goemon Ramen Bar. This great little restaurant keeps it simple, alongside a few other things (try the takoyaki), they serve really good bowls of ramen. The true sign of how good this place is is the fact that no matter what day of the week it is or what time of day, it always seems to be busy. If it’s ramen you want, you won’t find a better, more authentic bowl of it in Brighton than at Goemon Ramen Bar.
Moshimo is probably the best-known Japanese restaurant in Brighton and another must-visit eatery for all sushi lovers. You can grab a seat by the conveyor belt for that classic sushi experience, or if the weather is nice sit outside and order from the menu. Something that sets Moshimo apart from the crowd is their commitment to sustainability. If a fish is listed as one to avoid by the Marine Conservation Society, then you won’t find it on the menu at Moshimo (they even pioneered the Fishlove campaign which combined naked celebs and fish to fight overfishing). Vegan options are very much to the fore at Moshimo, too, with just as many plant-based options as not, any vegan diners will not be short-changed here.
Kusaki is a relatively new restaurant found in a slightly surprising location. Just off of Preston Circus in the shadow of a tower block is where you’ll find this Michelin Guide-recommended gem. Split into two sections, you can sample the full menu in the ‘Blossom Dining Room’ or take a seat at the Sushi & Cocktail Bar. Whichever you choose, relax and enjoy the beautifully designed interiors alongside the awesome selection of plant-based delights on offer. And if you’re still not convinced, there’s a full-on blossoming tree in the middle of the restaurant, so go just for that!
If you want something to eat that’s quick, easy and Japanese, look no further. Pompoko is a cosy restaurant/cafe that serves up rice bowls and noodles at incredible prices. Pompoko is a super-popular spot right by Brighton Dome. And we mentioned that it’s quick… there are times when you go to Pompoko, order at the counter and by the time you’ve just about sat down and taken your coat off, the food is at your table! So if you’re in a rush, there’s nowhere better to grab some Japanese food in Brighton.
Happy Maki specialises in plant-based, burrito-style maki rolls, developed through more than a decade of serving festival goers up and down the country. What is really special about Happy Maki, however, is their incredible ethical business model, based upon three principles: kindness, transparency, and humility. At Happy Maki, business decisions are dictated not by money, but by the question ‘What would love do?’. So even if the food wasn’t incredible there’d be much worse places to go and eat, but it is incredible, so get down there!
As you will no doubt have realised by now, Brighton is awash with excellent Japanese restaurants. We’ve picked out the best for a wide range of dining demands, from authentic sushi and sashimi to ‘yakitori’ BBQ and moreish bowls of ramen or rice. For high-end dining in authentically Japanese settings, Bincho Yakitori or Kusaki are both great options (if you eat meat, Bincho is your best shout; if you don’t, then you’ll be better off at Kusaki). If you’re after something a little bit lower down on the price scale, then Goemon Ramen Bar is the place to go for (you guessed it!) ramen, and Pompoko is another excellent affordable option in the heart of the city. O’shio is truly authentic Japanese eating. If you’re looking for high-quality sashimi and sushi, this is the place for you. For sensational sushi, both fish and plant-based, one of Brighton’s best-known restaurants, Moshimo, delivers in spades. And finally, if you want to spend your hard-earned cash in a restaurant with impeccable ethics, Happy Maki in the North Laine is a brilliant business that also serves great food.