For the myriad dining options that Singapore has to offer, nothing feels more exciting than an omakase meal. There’s the joy of unpredictability, as the chef has free rein over what goes onto our plates, and the intrigue of being introduced to unfamiliar seasonal ingredients sourced from faraway lands.
This luxurious dining concept is usually associated with sushi joints, but can also be found in Japanese restaurants focusing on other cuisine styles such as kappo — where food is cut and prepared in front of diners — and yakiniku (grilled meats). Unsurprisingly, the best seats in the house are at the counter, where one gets to watch every course being whipped up from scratch, and savour it immediately after.
Here’s our guide to the best omakase restaurants in Singapore, where you can expect a memorable and unapologetically indulgent dining experience.
(Main image: Ki-Sho)
The world of cooking, especially in Japanese kitchens, has long been a male-dominated one. So it’s always refreshing to see a female chef at the helm. Chef Akane Eno is in charge at this kappo restaurant, which opened at InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay earlier this year, and more than holds her own with her inventive dishes and quiet confidence.
Go for the nine-course signature omakase ($268++), or splurge on the dinner-only seasonal or chef’s omakase options (from $338++), which promise a more lavish spread. The menus are largely dependent on seasonal ingredients flown in from Japan, but there are several permanent highlights such as plump scallops sheathed in rice cracker flour, sauté Hokkaido abalone paired with Romanesco broccoli, and — our favourite — prawn somen comprising cold noodles topped with botan ebi, uni and tonburi (vegetable seeds that resemble caviar). The latter dish is soaked in a deliciously sweet broth made from prawn heads and shells, and will have you slurping up every bite.
Other standouts on the signature omakase set during our visit included a fishcake-like mound of steamed grouper ensconced in egg white and radish, and slices of bread that were toasted on a hibachi grill before being thickly slathered with umami-rich monkfish liver paste.
This cosy sushi restaurant on Tras Street focuses on Edomae sushi, where the fish is marinated and cured or aged for a few days before being served. Its omakase menus (from $130++) are available for lunch and dinner, and showcase seasonal produce sourced from Hokkaido, Kyushu and Tokyo. A signature dish is its horse mackerel rolls, which are wrapped in seaweed and crowned with ginger and pickles.
What sets Sushi Mitsuya apart from other fine dining omakase spots is its laid-back vibe — head chef Ryosuke Harada is gregarious and chatty, and has a penchant for delving into the backstories of each dish when introducing them. The chef, who previously worked in Hong Kong for several years, is also fluent in Cantonese and occasionally breaks into it when conversing with his regular customers who speak the dialect.
Kyuu by Shunsui specialises in robatakayaki, where food is seared over hot coals, and offers an excellent omakase repertoire (from $129++). The set includes three different appetisers, a sashimi platter, and various charcoal-grilled dishes such as Maitake mushrooms with yuzu miso, Omi wagyu beef with red wine sauce, and king crab with Sudachi lime.
A particularly unforgettable course is the rice bowl bedecked with salmon roe. The ikura is added at the table by the chef, who will keep ladling spoonfuls of the sweet orange pearls until you tell him to stop. Our personal record? Seven scoops, before a couple of pearls bounced off onto the table and we felt too embarrassed to continue. For a more indulgent treat, opt for an additional topping of uni.
Located in a black-and-white colonial bungalow along Scotts Road, Ki-Sho is a kaiseki restaurant serving up omakase sets (from $150++) for lunch and dinner. Diners can look forward to staples such as wagyu beef, and uni and ikura rice, as well as seasonal ingredients such as Hungarian honey truffles and Matsutake mushrooms. The restaurant is particularly known for its sea urchin — a signature concoction on its dinner menu comprises lobes of the briny delicacy topped with caviar and dashi jelly. Other decadent creations include otoro sushi bedecked with uni and egg yolk, and bincho-tan grilled wagyu beef rolls ornamented with — you guessed it — uni.
Remember to complement your meal with sakes from Ki-Sho’s vast selection, which offers options sourced from all around Japan. There’s also a solid range of umeshu and shochu.
Situated at One Fullerton, two-Michelin-starred Shoukouwa is an elegant venue serving up Edomae sushi. Its omakase set ($450++) is available for lunch and dinner, and is incorporated with seafood imported daily from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market. Currently on the menu are Hamaguri clam sushi, Aka uni from Saga Prefecture, and Kegani (hairy crab) that’s steamed with crab roe sauce, studded with caviar and dusted with shiso flowers.
Other signature creations in Shoukouwa’s repertoire include kinmedai with ponzu vinegar, and abalone that’s braised in sake and water for five to six hours and drizzled with abalone liver sauce. The restaurant also offers an extensive sake list — perfect for capping off a satisfying meal.
Tucked away in Orchard Plaza, this hole-in-the-wall restaurant may not boast the most glamorous location. But it makes up for this with a reasonably priced omakase menu (from $70++) that fuses Japanese cuisine with Italian and French flavours. Expect scrumptious offerings such as fluffy burrata with tomato, kanpachi sashimi covered in miso sauce, tender beef slices with crunchy garlic chips, and assorted sushi.
Bistro Du Le Pin is an immensely popular spot with limited seating capacity, so reservations are highly recommended.
Snagging a seat at this 22-seater Japanese restaurant is a feat in itself as the eatery is constantly fully booked. It releases reservation slots online a month in advance, and these are usually snapped up within minutes. It owes its popularity to its extravagant 17-course omakase dinner set, which features everything from sashimi to sushi and wagyu beef, and is priced at an affordable $100++. Depending on what’s available that day, premium ingredients such as foie gras and Hokkaido uni may also make an appearance on diners’ plates.
Teppei is operated by chef-owner Teppei Yamashita, who also runs unagi eatery Man Man Unagi. The restaurant is open for lunchtime but doesn’t serve its signature omakase during then. It’s already full for October, but you can follow its Facebook page for updates on seat openings due to cancelled reservations. Alternatively, ready yourself when November slots launch next month.
This quirkily named eatery at Boat Quay specialises in yakiniku, with a focus on wagyu beef. Apart an extensive à la carte range of beef cuts and organs, it offers omakase options priced from $98++. For the full experience, consider its Wagyu Fanatic Omakase ($168++), which showcases wagyu and uni sashimi, eight cuts of grilled beef such as tongue, and a comforting wagyu chazuke.
Other highlights include its signature “niku somen”, featuring strips of wagyu in soy sauce, and “yaki suki” — wagyu beef prepared sukiyaki style with a raw egg. The staff will do all the grilling for you, so you don’t have to worry about burning anything.