Tokyo Deli

Tokyo Deli serves authentic Japanese cuisine set in a chic modern setting. Tasty and healthy Japanese food at reasonable prices are the cornerstones of their restaurants. Salmon sashimi, okonomiyaki and udon noodles are well recommended.

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The Sushi Bar

One of the first Japanese restaurants to stake its claim in Saigon, The eponymously named The Sushi Bar is a master of what it specialises in — authentic Japanese sushi.

First opened in 1999 by Nagoya-born Mr. Nagai Shigemasa, who learnt his trade in kitchens in Osaka, The Sushi Bar started off as a modest outlet on Le Thanh Ton in Saigon’s Little Japan neighbourhood. However, as the restaurant started gaining popularity due to its high-quality sushis, sashimis and set meals, the demand got larger and new outlets were opened.

the sushi bar

As of today, The Sushi Bar is 18 years old and has a total of eight outlets: six in Ho Chi Minh City, one in Binh Duong and even one in Da Nang.

This is a venue that has an extensive menu that includes bentos, rice and noodle dishes and various kinds of sushis, including Sushi Bar originals as well as assorted traditional sushi and sashimi options. If you’re not too sure what you want to get, The Sushi Bar will definitely have something for you.

Ambience

In terms of ambience, The Sushi Bar resembles the Sushi bars you would find in Japan with just the right amount of space to move about and an interior that allows you to feel like you’re in Tokyo or Osaka, and not in Saigon.

It’s also probably one of the few Japanese restaurants where you’ll find a healthy mix of both Japanese expats and entire Vietnamese families at the dining tables.

the sushi bar

It can get pretty crowded on weekdays but you should still be able to have a conversation with the person you’re enjoying your meal with, without having to repeat yourself.

Food

The Sushi Bar is popular for their assorted sushi and sashimi sets. Here you’ll get a nice mix of colours and tastes that’s enough to fill you up for the day. If you want something unique, THE SUSHI BAR original dishes are worth checking out too. The Negi Sake Toro Maki Tempura (deep fried fatty salmon and spring onion rolls) is a pretty interesting choice.

For those who like their sushis rolled, the Ika Shio Kara Gunkan Sushi (salted raw squid gunkan sushi), Hotate Mentaiko Temaki (scallop and cod egg with chili hand roll) and Shako Tobi Mayo Temaki (mantis shrimp, fish roe with mayonnaise hand roll) are highly recommended.

the sushi bar

Tip: The purpose of the pickled pink ginger slices that come with the sushi is to help you clear your palette. Take a slice right after you finish each sushi so you can fully enjoy the taste of the next one.

What People Say

According to TripAdvisor, The Sushi Bar scores 3.5/5, with most of the comments highlighting the slightly higher than average pricing and the quality of the staff, most of whom seemed cold towards the customers without the usual “irrashaimase” greetings you would expect from Japanese restaurants.

But that aside, most reviews favour the quality of the food in terms of its freshness, presentation and taste, with a decent drinks menu to boot.

 

GALLERY

Sorae: Sushi & Sake Lounge

Three female chefs carefully cut skins off pieces of salmon for later frying, patting down sticky rice and throwing an occasional soft comment to one another. Behind them, glass shelves hold a collection of Japanese sakes stretching to the ceiling, where large mesh clouds float immovably. The city outside is a vast expanse of dots and high-rises.

The black-and-red accented walls and fixtures, the feng shui bamboo, the granite tabletop surfaces, the metallic mesh. They’re all, to put it simply, cool.

You walk around Sorae and think:

This is where James Bond comes for his Saketini.

The Saketini (VND150,000) is the restaurant’s signature cocktail – one of several select sake concoctions that are unique to Sorae. It’s mixed with the house sake (Sorae Deluxe) along with raspberry vodka and watermelon juice, and garnished with daikon radish. It’s subtle, not overly sweet, and a decent side sipper.

Sorae kept mum on the interior designer’s name. Apparently they wanted to stay anonymous.

Whoever they were, they must have had Dr. No’s opening scene playing in the background during their brainstorming sessions. The place is undeniably smooth, precisely composed to seem almost organic, ready to seduce passerby with its deadly look.

Sorae Sushi & Sake Lounge

A potted bonsai, winding staircase and cascading three-tiered waterfall greet you at the entrance. A Japanese-speaking hostess takes you to your seat. Attention is in the details, from the handmade ceramic bowls and cups with tiny imperfections to the compressed hand towels that expand in water.

The first floor seats 163, and includes a Yakitori and beer bar, chef’s table, sushi bar, separate sake bar and a collection of themed private rooms.

The black and bamboo accent is so sleek it hurts, especially come night when the city’s lit and the wall-mounted candles aglow.

The second floor houses the cigar club, where you are free to pick out your choice of Cuban and armchair and lounge about to your heart’s content. The whiskey and wine displays are not too far off, ready for admiration and taste testing.

The beer bar actually has a few decent Belgian brews on tap – Leffe Blonde and Leffe Brown, which you don’t see in too many bars around Vietnam.

More impressive is the extensive sake, wine and whiskey selection, and the care that goes into doling out each sip.

Sorae Sushi & Sake Lounge

Here’s what their drink menu had to say about ice (yes, ice):

We know the importance of ice at Sorae. Our standard serve ice ball is hand made every day by our bartenders, using only local natural mineral water to create the purest possible ice.

Sorae has one of the best whiskey collections in Ho Chi Minh City. And they make sure their bartenders aren’t just aloofly pouring whatever the customer points at. Each bartender is trained in the heritage and style of every maker on the shelf. On Tuesday’s, you can even get behind the bar and pour your own whiskey (buy one make one free).

As if this wasn’t already a wet-dream for the fine drinking crowd, their sake list is as extensive as it gets in the city, and the drink menu (attached below this listing) has taste notes for every sake, wine and whiskey they have. Meticulous is an understatement.

We were served a modified set menu to sample some of Sorae’s most popular menu items. Here’s a breakdown of each dish:

  • Salad + Miso (VND50,000) + Chawan Mushi (VND75,000): The salad is fresh and the miso is standard, but the warm chawan mushi (a beaten-egg starter) was quite a surprise.

  • Bara Chirashi Sushi (VND180,000): As close to a sushi salad as you can get. Diced sashimi and a sweet omelet are piled atop sushi rice. Take this one slow and savor the fresh fish with the rice below. For the amount of sashimi you get, the price is solid.

  • Sorae Tartar (VND180,000): Marinated sashimi with spicy sauce and crispy rice, with nori (seaweed) on the side. Besides the nori, which was a little chewy and not as brittle as we’d hoped (likely to help wrap around the tartar – but you’re better off just leaving it there) this was hands down our favorite bowl. The spicy sauce was mild, but with enough kick to add a nice flavor to the soft, marinated sashimi. The crispy rice added some nice contrast and the whole setup got us addicted. Hail tartar.

  • Kushiyakidon (VND220,000): The skewers here are served with the salad, miso and chawan mushi sides, so this is probably the best bet for getting your belly full. The skewers consist of mushrooms, vegetables, meat and bacon-wrapped bitter melon, served with warm rice and a fried egg. The yolk and warm rice are quite heavy – add the skewers and you might not be able to have too much room for the tartar. Share this one or enjoy it on an empty stomach.

  • Mango Sorbet (VND55,000): A bit watery, and thus melts too quickly in your mouth to really appreciate the fresh mango used. We would have chosen a more substantial desert to top off our full bellies, but if you’re not craving more than a scoop, the mango sorbet will do.

TripAdvisor reviewers are surprised Sorae hasn’t gotten as much attention as it deserves. Universal praise goes out to the décor and drink selection, which seems to be shaping up second to none in Ho Chi Minh City. Compliments were given all around for the stunning city view and impeccable service. Food, for the most part, is highly regarded, with some even attesting this to be the best Japanese cuisine in the city. At the time of this writing, Sorae holds a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor with 37 reviews.

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Kobe Teppanyaki

A garden-covered alcove on Tu Xuong street, Kobe Teppanyaki is Ho Chi Minh City's first fine teppanyaki restaurant, established in 2012. The owner, Minh Le, has an innate passion for Japanese cuisine, and has spent a lot of time in Japan's finest teppanyaki restaurants, sampling high grade Kobe beef and other premium foods.

Kobe Teppanyaki

Along with an understanding of true Japanese quality, he also brought over the exceptional attention to customer satisfaction that is commonplace in Japan's fine restaurants. The servers are polite, accommodating and professional. The simple design puts you at ease. Guests can expect an inviting, airy and peaceful fine dining environment. The restaurant is great for groups who want to bond over the highest quality Teppanyaki cuisine in Saigon. 

Japanese salads at Kobe Teppanyaki

"Teppan" means an iron griddle, and "yaki" means grilled. The ultimate origins of teppanyaki are not well documented, and the style seems to have originated from several sources. A Japanese restaurant chain claims to have popularized the style in 1945, after noticing its popularity with foreigners who enjoyed the skilled movements of the chef as he cooked before them. Other documents trace the origins further back, a few hundred years ago, from meals that were prepared on small grills by Japanese families.

Kobe Teppanyaki ambiance

While many teppanyaki restaurants prefer a stylish approach to the art, with juggling and showy movements, Kobe Teppanyaki opts for full focus on technique and quality. The chefs are trained straight from the academy by Minh Le and Iron Chef David Thai, who comes in every week to consult the chefs.

Kobe Teppanyaki

Their Japanese premium A5 and A4 Kobe beef steak is carefully chosen and inspected, as is the lamb from New Zealand, and beef from Australia and the U.S. The menu is separated by quality grade, the highest featuring two best-sellers: the Premium A5 and A4 Kobe sets. These come with sliced beef rolled with onions and garlic, salmon and Japanese scallop. The difference from lower quality beef is noticeably different: the A5 and A4 Kobe beef contains more intricate marbling, allowing the fat to melt on the iron griddle and release a distinct aroma. When eaten, the beef requires much less chewing, is more buttery, and almost has a sensation of melting. For any meat lover and beef aficionado, this is a truly eye-opening experience.

Kobe Teppanyaki

Use the form on this page to make a reservation at Kobe and get 10% off your bill (does not include beverages).

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Tasaki BBQ Japanese Restaurant

Tasaki BBQ luxurious restaurant serves authentic Japanese grilled cuisine. With 100 dishes to choose from, whether it is family or business partners to impress, there is plenty of choice for everyone. Their Wagyu beef is well recommended.

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Bishin

Plenty of women are actively searching for ways to improve their beauty and health. This is particularly evident in Vietnam where, in the past few years, there’s been an explosion of products marketed as collagen-rich, highlighting its skin care properties. This belief eventually trickled down to the food industry, where restaurants sometimes include collagen into some of their dishes.

Mr. Nagai Shigemasa, a Japanese chef who moved to Saigon in 1997 and subsequently founded The Sushi Bar chain of restaurants, saw this demand and decided to act upon it. In April 2017, Shigemasa opened his new restaurant Bishin, which specialises in healthy and nutritious dishes, with the primary focus on beauty.

bishin

Conveniently located along Hai Ba Trung right beside Saigon Square, the three-storey restaurant sits behind a short driveway. As you walk up the stairs towards the main entrance, you will be greeted by the friendly and enthusiastic staff and be shown your seat and given a menu, a very straightforward one that highlights the restaurant’s main specialty — collagen chicken hot pot.

Made with the freshest ingredients sourced locally from Da Lat, the collagen chicken hot pot broth consists of 12 different kinds of vegetables and it’s all cooked in a standardized and patented process to consistently attain the highest quality possible.

Besides the collagen chicken hot pot, BISHIN also offers lunch box specials with steamed rice, chicken, soup and salad at a reasonable price.

Ambience

The three-storey restaurant comes with rather unique interior decor on each floor. The second floor, for example, is washed with shades of red and dark brown tones, which gives it an air of elegance and coziness. For obvious reasons, the majority of the customers tend to be female with the occasional boyfriend, husband, brother or father scattered around.

It’s far from noisy and very easy to hold a conversation with your partner as you savour your meal, which is one fundamental plus of any restaurant. The interior is also spacious with plenty of space to move about.

bishin

For those who prefer fresh air, the top floor has an open air, al fresco layout for you to enjoy your meal. This area is also ideal for birthday parties and gatherings as it’s a nice balance between open and private as you will be partially hidden from prying eyes.

Food

Although the hot pot is their main specialty, Bishin does have other items on their menu worth trying.

There are lunch box specials which consist of steamed rice, chicken, soup and salad which are popular among office workers, along with some appetizers that are worth trying such as coriander salad, a perfect combination of fresh vegetables and spicy dressing; fried Japanese sweet potato with honey if you’re looking for something sweet and a great caesar salad with boiled eggs.

bishin

The main star of course, is the collagen chicken hot pot. With all-natural ingredients and a choice to choose what kind of vegetables you prefer to add into the mix, the broth is pleasantly sweet and the chicken cooked to perfection. The best part of this restaurant is its focus on eating healthy and this is evident in the “detox drinks” available to wash it all down. Eating something so delicious without having to feel guilty is one of the main selling points of this restaurant.

What People Say

The restaurant has scored exceptionally high reviews on Facebook with a rating of 4.9/5. Most, if not all of the reviewers were delighted with the quality of the food, which they found delicious. The collagen chicken hot pot soup is delightfully sweet and the generous serving of vegetables make the whole dish seem like a very healthy alternative to generic hot pot dishes found elsewhere.

Diners also praise the service, with many pointing out the friendliness, helpfulness and efficiency of the staff.

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