Writes Laura A. Edgerton
Despite the recent Irish Rugby World Cup loss to Japan, we’re still emerging as winners in Cork with five top-rated Japanese restaurants in the city centre. At first glance, Japan and Ireland may have little in common from a cuisine perspective but consider the abundance of fresh fish and seaweed in both countries and you’ll see why Japanese food has found a home away from home in Cork.
Miyazaki on Barrack Street is a 15-minute walk from UCC. Whether you’re a sushi aficionado or newbie, walk over and pick up one of the generously portioned, ready-to-go sushi rolls that range from €10.50-€12.50. If you eat at the restaurant, be prepared to queue. There are only 6 seats inside. But, many Corkonians are happy wait for a seat if it means getting the opportunity to taste chef Takashi Miyazaki’s notoriously innovative and delicious food for a fraction of the price versus a visit to his haute-cuisine restaurant Ichigo Ichie (more on that below).
Sakura Cuisine is located in the restaurant rich, Victorian Quarter of Cork. With bento box specials (think Japanese sampler plate) and plenty of great non-sushi options, there is something to suit everyone. On a cold, rainy day head in for lunch and try the chef’s special beef hot pot or a filling bowl of ramen noodle soup, each €9.90. With a modern, cool aesthetic and a hot, richly steeped mug of green tea in your hand you’ll be feeling warm and full in no time.
Wabisabi Sushi and Noodles Bar offers six different bento boxes during the restaurant’s busy lunch service for €11.90 and a daily special Monday – Thursday for €9.50. The service is attentive and the kanso décor creates a calming experience at this Oliver Plunkett St. location. As a diner you’ll be provided with your own boxes of standard utensils, as well as chopsticks and a Japanese soup spoon – so have no fear if you’re a chopstick novice. Whether you’re ordering sushi or noodles, you’ll find the plates of food incredibly fresh and artfully presented.
Ichigo Ichie is the only restaurant in Cork City with a Michelin star, awarded in 2019. Dining at Ichigo will take some planning and saving as you need to book a reservation weeks ahead of time for the €120-€135 per person meal. The dining experience is kappou-style, which means multiple courses will be served with all food choices left up to chef Takashi Miyazaki. The great news for foodies on a budget is that you can access the chef’s food at his namesake restaurant, (mentioned above) at a much, much lower price.
Dashi Deli Sushi & Noodle Bar is located in Cook St, in the city centre. Sushi can be ordered the piece which allows customers to experiment. For value under €10 you can choose from a variety of platters: raw or cooked fish, futomaki, chumaki, uramaki or salmon. And if you’re home and get the urge for sashimi, Dashi Deli uses both Deliveroo and just-eat for delivery.