New in Town: Meet Tokyo Joe on the Manly Waterfront

Eclectic Japanese restaurant brand Tokyo Joe has taken over the Daniel San space which is located in the newly renovated Manly Pacific in Manly Beach. But what has changed?

We took the family for an early Friday dinner last week to find out.

At first glance, not much has changed since Tokyo Joe took over – the same bright laminate tables up front, a loud but fun ’80s-chic interior, and arcade games in the back. The huge bloom of fake flowers is gone, and the space is a little more streamlined, a little less noisy, and the walls quite extraordinary.

The new owners teamed up with talented local artist Miguel Gonzalez and Kayapa Creative Studio to give the space a subtle yet fresh new look. They worked on painting Japanese murals that feature throughout the venue. Each design honors an aspect of Japanese culture, from the beauty of the cherry blossom tree to the symbolic Nishikigoi fish. Overall, it looks much neater.

Tokyo Joe Manager Jameel.

We are greeted by the manager Jameel who seems genuinely excited about further changes to come – in particular the work being done on the nearby lobby bar which sits between the restaurant and the entrance to Manly Pacific which has also recently been renovated. There are much bigger changes afoot, he says.

“We will align with the $30 million renovations underway at our hotel, Manly Pacific,” the Tokyo team tells us. “Please bear with us as we are currently in this transition phase.”

The place will need bigger changes to get locals’ attention, but with plenty of room to maneuver a pram and a window seat to watch the ocean, I don’t think they need to rush . It really is a great place for this hot Friday night.

Jameel talks enthusiastically about the new cocktail menu he’s working on, so we’re easily convinced to start with a few drinks.

Pornstar Martini with Manly and Volcano rolls.

Our cocktails are really nice and they have a number of drink specials throughout the week. My favorite was the Pornstar Martini, which had vodka, passoa, passion fruit, vanilla, lime, sparkling wine ($15-$22), although the Yabai! with gin, midori, pineapple, yozu and vanilla felt like a fun flashback to the summer of 2001 when everyone was drinking shots of Midori and getting excited about Coke’s new vanilla flavor…

But back to the restaurant.

The biggest change they made is the most important: a new chef. Chef Marcelino Elamparo Papio Jr (Marc) is now in charge. He brings his extensive culinary expertise from some of the world’s finest restaurants, having previously worked at Nobu Sydney, Toko Restaurant in Surry Hills and Zuma Japanese Restaurant in Dubai. He is a sushi connoisseur with meticulous cutting and plating skills that will wow any sushi lover.

With that in mind, we follow Jameel’s recommendation to order directly from the sashimi side of the menu. It was a great recommendation, and for our taste, our two sashimi dishes stood out.

In first place, the Tuna Tataki Tokyo Joe style, a tuna aburi topped with pickled red onions, ginger soy sake, garlic and coriander crisps, takuan charcoal crunch, sweet chili and of smoked mayo ($18). It was the winner because the tuna, lightly seared on the outside and very tender, held its own against very strong side flavors. It was a surprise to have something so delicate and beautiful as 80s classics blared. I can see why they describe themselves as eclectic!

Tokyo Joe-style tuna tataki.

Next on our list of favorites was the thinly sliced ​​Usuzuki salmon topped with blood orange, wasabi cream, yozu kosho black caviar and mixed herbs ($18).

King Salmon Crispy Tacos – salmon sashimi, wasabi tobiko, chilli mayo and iceberg lettuce ($18) were fresh with a nice kick of chilli at the end, although there was very little space for the sashimi can say a word. chives, garlic amazu sauce ($16) – is always a crowd pleaser, as is the Katsu pork loin curry – 150g panko breaded pork, Japanese style curry with potatoes, carrots and cabbage with sesame ($28). The pork loin was delicious and a very generous portion. A little more katsu sauce would have pleased my husband more, but I’m sure they’d give a little extra if you asked.

Salmon Tacos.
Pork katsu.

The Volcano roll with wagyu beef aburi, cucumber and kimchi was a… new experience and the Manly Roll with its seared salmon, kani kama (crab stick, basically), cucumber, avocado, tamago, sweet soy wasabi mayo ($18 ) was a nice dish to share.

This is how Tokyo Joe wants you to dine here, by sharing. Tokyo Joe’s menu is designed in a “kaiseki” spirit, consisting of a series of small dishes to share and enjoy with friends. With a selection of delicately cut sushi, sashimi and steamed buns, every bite is an explosion of flavor.

Manly roll.

There is a kids menu and there were lots of families interspersed with the after work crowds when we were there so the venue appeals to almost everyone. I wouldn’t choose it for a fancy first date until the full renovation is done – but if your potential lover is more fun than fancy, this could be a winner.

Our desserts were also great summer refreshments, especially the Matcha Cheesecake ($14). Mochi ice cream ($9) was very “tokyo cute”.

Matcha cheesecake.
Mochi ice cream.

Whether you want to have a relaxing sunset drink with a close friend or enjoy a banquet with the whole family, Tokyo Joe is well worth a visit during the summer.


Tokyo Joe is located next to the Manly Pacific Hotel at 55 North Steyne Manly.

They are open from 4 p.m. Monday to Friday until late and from noon until late on weekends.

You can book online here.

More information:

Instagram: @tokyojoemanly

Transparency control ✓Thanks to Tokyo Joe for supporting Manly Observer’s information operations through this fully sponsored review. Our meals and drinks were provided free of charge for consideration.

About Walter J. Leslie

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