If you’re as big of a yakitori fan as we are, you’ve no doubt already browsed the impressive selection that adorns Australia’s east coast. Whether smoky, sweet, savory or rich in soy sauce, Asian restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne combine traditional techniques with modern flavors to inject some creativity into the yakitori market.
But the refined palettes of our foodie readership (not to mention our editorial staff) demand only the best. With that in mind, we turned to Kirin Ichiban 50, your go-to guide to modern Japanese cuisine, for the best places to get your hands on great grilled yakitori. Drawing on a panel of expert judges, as well as nominations from the Urban List audience, we’ve scoured this interactive collection of restaurants and come up with six must-visit spots to add to your foodie bucket list.
So what are you waiting for? Gather the gang and start fighting your way through the best yakitori restaurants this side of the Pacific.
With a focus on seasonal cuisine that won’t break the bank, Yakitori Yurippi is a restaurant to add to your regular dining routine. Skewers range from $3-5 a pop, letting you choose between flavors to make your own meal. There’s no passing sweet soy chicken skin, though we have to admit pork belly on a stick is a strong second contender. Pair them with a trio of quail eggs to add some class to your night on the town.
A sister location to Chaco Ramen in Darlinghurst, Chaco Bar puts yakitori skewers center stage. With an extensive menu offering everything from chicken and pork to beef tongue, hearts and gizzards, a visit to the restaurant is the perfect opportunity to try something new. Whichever meat you choose, your skewers will be cooked over cherry blossom charcoal and basted with rich seasonings. Trust us, it doesn’t get much more authentic than this.
Yebisu Bar + Grill
Nestled in central Sydney’s Chinatown, Yebisu Bar + Grill is what is known in Japan as an ‘izakaya’, meaning a ‘sake restaurant’. The place specializes in small portions, so diners can sample a larger selection from the menu. Get yakitori skewers alongside absolutely divine sukiyaki hotpot, complete with wagyu beef, udon noodles, soup and fresh eggs. Wash it all down with a chilled bottle of Ichiban Shibori, a premium Japanese beer brewed with 100% malt and designed to accompany a hearty meal. The combination of flavors will simply leave you obsessed.
With a menu designed to be shared, Robata is popular with Melbourne foodies in the Southbank area. The evocative venue was designed by award-winning architects Ewert Leaf and pays homage to the futuristic style of Tokyo’s cityscape. The relaxed and informal atmosphere is perfect for putting the food front and center, so diners can enjoy the incredible flavors of every dish they order. We recommend searing the chicken thigh yakitori with spring onion, accompanied by a side of grilled rice balls. Sure, it’s a bit old, but it’s earned a reputation for all the right reasons.
Bar Yaki Tori
Boasting a Binchōtan grill imported directly from Japan, YakiTori Bar takes Japanese cuisine to the next level. Their yakitori is as authentic as it gets, infused with the smoky charcoal flavors that have made this dish an international favorite. The result is tender, juicy, flavorful chicken worthy of an Iron Chef feature. Just thinking about it makes you hungry…
Follow the neon lights and bright, noisy decor to Yakimono in Melbourne’s CBD. Nestled between a host of luxury retailers, the restaurant is an ode to flame-cooked dishes served in what can only be described as an electrifying atmosphere. Sip a bubble tea cocktail or serve sake to accompany your yakitori, and strap yourself in for one of the most exciting dining experiences the city has to offer.
Have you tried them all and still can’t get enough? Discover the rest of Sydney and Melbourne’s must-visit Japanese restaurants with the help of the Kirin Ichiban 50 guide. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Kirin Ichiban and proudly endorsed by Urban List. To learn more about who we work with and why, read our editorial policy here.