by Mona Lee
Besides the beautiful islands and breathtaking beaches, Kota Kinabalu is no stranger to all types of good foods. But you will be surprised that there are wide choices of Japanese food available too. Below are the few of the most popular Japanese restaurant here in Kota Kinabalu.
Hokkaido Sakagura (Oceanus)
Sakagura is definitely one of the few high-end Japanese restaurants in Kota Kinabalu, therefore you can expect their price to be on the high side. However, it was well worth it as the ingredients they use are very fresh and of high quality, some of them are even directly imported from Japan. For a taste of their fresh ingredients, you could try out their sashimi set, a combination of different types of fresh imported fishes (salmon, red snapper, and the best one would be tuna). They also operate another restaurant at Imago Mall (Ebizou by Sakagura) which serve a slight variation of Japanese foods.
Location: G-23A & G-25, Oceanus Waterfront Mall
Opening hours: 11.30am to 10pm
Sushi Zanmai (Imago and Suria Sabah)
Sushi Zanmai is one of the large Japanese restaurant chains in Malaysia, they have a few branches across KK, and their price is quite affordable. One of their main signature dishes is their Japanese curry, a sweet and spicy Japanese curry with plenty of vegetables served with rice, they do have a selection of plain curry or served together with Chicken katsu (Japanese fried chicken). Especially good for those you wish to eat curry but are unable to take spicy food.
Location: Sushi Zanmai Imago Mall and Suria Sabah
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
Nagisa is the only Japanese restaurant in a 5-star restaurant in KK. As such, you can assure of its quality and ambiance. The best seat in the restaurant would be at the sushi counter where you can just watch the sushi or teppanyaki chef at work. Their most exclusive dish is most certainly the wagyu tenderloin tepanyaki (wagyu beef tenderloin grilled on top of the teppan), it is quite expensive but the meal experience will certainly a special one. Another special thing about this restaurant is that they do have an all-you-can-eat buffet (selection of fresh sushi, grilled beef tepanyaki, garlic fried rice and even matcha ice cream as the dessert), but it is only available during the third Saturday of every month, so mark your calendar and don’t miss out.
Nishiki Restaurant (Kota Kinabalu city area)
Nishiki is the oldest Japanese restaurant in KK, and it is located at the center in the town area, just opposite Sabah Tourism Office. As a Japanese restaurant which was operating for so long (since 1987), it is commendable that they managed to maintain the quality and their freshness of their ingredient throughout the years. Their price is a bit pricey, but in exchange nowhere in KK you can find such fresh sashimi, and the best one would be salmon and salmon belly sashimi, it just melts in your mouth. They do have a good range of dinner sets too, coupled with the warm and rich taste of miso soup. And they will also offer you a complimentary bowl of fruits after your meal, a perfect ending to a perfect meal.
Nakasaki Japanese Restaurant (Kota Kinabalu City area)
Nakasaki Japanese Restaurant is located at Harrison Building (Opposite Suria Sabah). The environment inside the restaurant is great and they serve a good variety of Japanese foods. Price is slightly more expensive but they have a great location at the center of Kota Kinabalu City.
Opening hours: 11am to 2:30pm, 6pm to 10pm
Nagasaki Japanese Restaurant
No 19, Jalan Hj Saman
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
tel: 6088 216 623
Sushi Tei (Suria Sabah)
Sushi Tei is a Japanese restaurant chain, and there is only one branch here in KK, which is in Suria Sabah. Their signature will be the Kani Mayo, it’s a mayonnaise with crab and fish roe combination. Their signature dish is smoked salmon sushi topped with kani mayo (they call it salmon mentai) and volcano roll (California roll, rolled with cucumbers and topped with the same kani mayo and fish roe). Their price is on the slightly higher range, but this is acceptable for a large restaurant chain like this.
Location: Suria Sabah
Wojamama does have a few branches around KK, but the branch in Lintas would be the most popular one. In terms of sushi, their sunshine roll (California roll topped with salmon and fish roe) and avocado roll (California roll, rolled with avocado inside) are the best. For those alcohol lovers, don’t forget to try out the plum wine, it is exceptionally divine. Their price is in the medium range, not too expensive nor too cheap. One thing unique about this place is that they have a children’s corner, definitely a unique way for children to experience Japanese cuisine, perfect for parents whenever they need some peace and quiet whilst enjoying Japanese food.
Location: Lot 6 & 7, Blk A, Lintas Square, Lorong Lintas Square, Taman Southern
Opening hours: 11am to 10pm
Contact: +60 88-266 757
Hana (city mall)
Hana is located in City mall, and they offer one of the most affordable lunch set menu in town. This restaurant is usually crowded during lunch and dinner hours. One of their signature dishes is actually Salmon Okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza with salmon toppings). Another specialty of this restaurant is that they actually organize a different kind of promotion every month, therefore it is always a surprise whenever you are dining there.
Location: S-0-21-S-0-22, City Mall, Jalan Lintas
Opening hours: 10am to 10pm
Contact: +60 88-484 367
Aki Sushi (Plaza 33)
Opened 1 years ago at Plaza 333, Aki Sushi serves a wide range of sushi, fresh sashimi and Japanese cooking style. Their most recommended dishes is the Buta Kakuni (braised pork belly). More information at https://www.sabaheats.com/aki-sushi-modern-japanese-dining-by-sabahan/
Location: Lot 7, Block A, Lorong Plaza 333-1, Plaza 333, Kobusak Commercial Centre
Opening hours: 11.30 to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm
Sabaheats Food ranger
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