Best Japanese Cuisine in Washington, D.C.

September 16, 2015 8:00 AM

Asian food continues to be wildly popular in the D.C. area, perhaps because the city has such a diverse population. There has always been a special emphasis on Japanese food, and in recent years several new Japanese restaurants have opened. Below you will find some of the best Japanese restaurants in the area. Take note that not all are sushi restaurants! Japanese food is much more diverse than just sushi.
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Ramen At Daikaya (Credit, Priya Konings)


Daikaya
705 6th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 589-1600
www.daikaya.com

Daikaya has become a local favorite since it opened, largely because it was one of the first non-sushi Japanese restaurants in the area. The lower level features a ramen bar with some of the tastiest ramen in town. The noodles are even flown in all the way from Japan, so you know you are getting an authentic ramen experience! This is a great spot for a quick bite with a friend. For a sit down meal with more options, consider dining upstairs at Daikaya’s izakaya. An izakaya is essentially like a Japanese tapas bar. The upstairs menu features a plethora of small plates, perfect for sharing with your dining partners. Try the grilled avocado, cabbage salad, fermented Japanese vegetables or the sauteed edamame.

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Sushiko
5455 Wisconsin Ave.
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
(301) 961-1644
www.sushikorestaurants.com

This Japanese restaurant has quite the reputation, and has been featured on many best dining lists for the area. Sushiko has a lengthy sushi menu, as well as salads, tempura and soups. Their warm spinach salad with black bean sauce is a great appetizer, and their aged tofu, served in a dashi broth, is one of the best Japanese dishes in town. They do offer take-out if you would prefer to sample their dishes in the comfort of your own home!

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(Credit: Priya Konings)


Izakaya Seki
1117 V St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 588-5841
www.sekidc.com

This small and cozy spot has great food and a fun atmosphere. Their menu has all kinds of treats like vegetable tempura, daikon salad, fried rice with garlic chips, fried tofu, udon noddles and rice balls. The dishes are served family style, so you can share with whoever you are dining with. The venue also has a fantastic sake menu. Come on a weekday, as the restaurant only takes reservations for large groups, and on the weekends there is a long wait due to the small size of the restaurant.

Kaz Sushi Bistro
1915 I St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 530-5500
www.kazsushibistro.com

Located downtown, Kaz Sushi Bistro is the go-to spot for everyone looking for the perfect location for a business lunch. It is known for its unique sushi options, including the mexican roll, made with avocado, cilantro and jalapeno, a sun-dried tomato and mushroom roll, and even a Japanese eggplant roll. The restaurant also serves bento boxes, with noodles, salads and tempura, for those who want something besides sushi. They also do catering, and feature a host of daily specials.

Zentan
1155 14th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 379-4366
www.zentanrestaurant.com

This upscale dining venue is perfect for a Japanese dinner date for two. Order several dishes from their innovative menu and share. Highlights include garlic edamame, mushroom miso soup, crispy brussels sprouts in a shiso vinaigrette, Japanese curry and enoki mushroom robata. Robata is a cooking method where food is grilled on a skewer, giving the dish a distinctive smoky flavor. Zentan also has a large Japanese whiskey menu. Japanese whiskey is supposed to be the best in the world. They also have a happy hour menu if you just want to have drinks and a snack!

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Priya Konings is a freelance writer and restaurant critic in Washington D.C. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.