Best-of Guides Chicago

Best Japanese Restaurants in Chicago

11 Restaurants
Go out for Japanese food in Chicago and you're spoiled for choice. Okonomiyaki? You got it. Sushi at wallet-friendly and blow-out prices? Check. Warming udon for Chicago's cold months? Of course.
Updated on 16 September 2022
1829 W. Chicago Ave., 60622 Chicago
$$$ · Japanese

Make your way to this urban enclave—replete with a cherished counter and soaring skylights—for impressive sushi, small plates, and specialty Japanese cocktails. Kick things off with a spicy tako maguro maki filled with octopus, tuna, eel sauce, and chili oil; or marinated tuna-wrapped zuke maguro kani. 

2638 N. Lincoln Ave., 60614 Chicago
$$$ · Japanese

Sequestered inside a rather plain and dimly lit space, a bar up front gives way to this more contemporary and bright dining room. The latter is a hit among locals and tourists looking to get all dressed-up for a night out on the town. The menu has a handful of small plates, including delicacies like juicy chicken meatball skewers with a pepper-soy glaze, but the main attraction is their wide variety of sushi.

950 W. Lake St., 60607 Chicago
$$ · Japanese

Gaijin is Paul Virant's love letter to okonomiyaki. Okonomi in Japanese means "what you like” and accordingly guests here are encouraged to choose their own course. The room resembles a veritable izakaya, with an okonomiyaki griddle dominating the space—and conversation. Brass accents, exposed brick, and concrete floors add a dash of rusticity to this otherwise premium den.

820 W. Lake St., 60607 Chicago
$$$ · Japanese

An impressive selection of imported whiskies is listed on a retro-style departure board here, while a private dining room upstairs is styled to resemble a mid-century corporate boardroom. Consistently packed, this impeccably designed space boasts numerous kitchens churning out a range of dishes—think chicken oysters grilled to perfection and beef tsukune sliders in a bao.

738 W. Randolph St., 60661 Chicago
$$$$ · Japanese

A fresh perspective on classic Japanese cuisine awaits at KŌMO. This unique carte, from chef Macku Chan, unites traditional Japanese flavors with bold accents. Behold the savory chawanmushi with sweet pear "sauce" and kanpachi sashimi kicked up a notch with jalapeño. A flight of deliciously embellished bluefin (akami, chutoro, and toro) may then be sealed by such sweet eats as braised Asian pear with fried banana.

731 W. Lake St., 60661 Chicago
$$$$ · Japanese

Veteran chef B.K. Park has spun out this inspiring shrine to omakase. Mako is a hot ticket, with just 22 seats from which to savor the smartly considered omakase. Throughout the evening, the chef and itamae showcase their style through unique adornments, like sudachi juice and sesame-pepper soy. 

Omakase Yume
651 W. Washington Blvd., 60661 Chicago
$$$$ · Japanese

Savor the chef's unfaltering focus on Japanese cuisine by way of deep-fried nasu hirame; Edo-style sushi featuring madai, akami, and chutoro; as well as slices of Wagyu beef atop sushi rice. Other delicacies like torigai (heart clam), correctly aged sayori, or grilled misoyaki flaunt a thorough study in product sourcing, fresh flavors, and delectable textures. 

TenGoku Aburiya
651 W. Washington Blvd., 60661 Chicago
$$$ · Japanese

TenGoku is a take on izakaya food by the talented chef Sangtae Park. In Japan it's most rare to land upon a restaurant that serves it all, but this team certainly bucks that trend. Of course, it helps that the informal space was conceived solely with pub grub in mind. From tako yaki (octopus fritters with unagi-teriyaki sauce) and assorted maki, to a bowl of heartwarming udon and maze soba with ground pork, fish flakes, and egg, this kitchen delivers to your heart's content.

630 W. Lake St., 60661 Chicago
$$$$ · Japanese

Julia Momosé is the creative force behind this hip corner haven. The name depicts a woodworking technique, and its serene surrounds feature a deluge of natural light. Japanese potato salad with pickled rainbow carrots and smoked ham is a strong opener; while tonkatsu sando with Berkshire pork and buttered shokupan is hearty and substantial. 

Jinsei Motto
564 W. Randolph St., 60661 Chicago
$$$$ · Asian

This lovely little jewel sits on a corner of Clinton Street, within the splendid CH Distillery. A meal here is basically one delicious bite after another—think Massachusetts oysters with yukari ponzu; silky Japanese snapper; and Threeline grunt with rice and seaweed. The fish on offer changes seasonally, but in our experience, shima-aji garnished with mitsuba left a lasting impression.

Hinoki Sushiko
1465 W. Willow St., 60642 Chicago
$$$$ · Japanese

Located over on the "Elston Industrial Corridor" is this spot with two distinct experiences. The first floor izakaya caters to those in the mood for some sips (think terrific cocktails) and snacks (Wagyu sliders, anyone?). Upstairs, the spotlight is on the chef preparing an omakase feast—from Ora King salmon, poached shrimp, and Tasmanian ocean trout, to madai, hamachi, and kanpachi.