Japanese Restaurants in Tampa

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Dale Del Bello remembers everything about his first hibachi experience. While stationed in Korea as a part of the Air Force National Guard, Dale and a group of friends visited Tokyo on leave. They followed a traditional route among his fellow service people, which took him to a hibachi restaurant. Immediately he sensed that he’d stumbled upon more than just dinner. The chefs’ showmanship fascinated him as they seared meats and vegetables on their tabletop grills, allowing guests to sample forkfuls directly off the 600-degree surface. After returning to Buffalo, New York, in 1971, Dale opened his first Arigato location, attempting to recreate what made that dining experience so remarkable. Since then, he has distilled the authentic experience into something that families can enjoy without traveling abroad, establishing Arigato restaurants throughout New York and Florida and staffing them with more than 60 chefs from Japan.

Surrounded by 8–10 diners, these chefs act not only as the restaurant’s culinary creators, but also as showmen and magicians of sorts, dexterously slicing ingredients, flipping shrimp tails into their hats, and conjuring soy sauce out of thin air. Away from the flaming tabletops, meanwhile, bartenders make use of their own skill sets as they mix specialty cocktails, which occasionally use splashes of plum wine or sake to imbue familiar-sounding drinks with new dimension.

13755 N Dale Mabry Hwy
Tampa,
FL
US

Both Oishi Japanese Restaurant's locations showcase Asian-inspired décor, from the ceiling covered in bamboo accents to the marble-topped sushi bar framed by a glass case of seafood. Chefs entertain lunch and dinner diners with "fire shows" at hibachi grills where they sear vegetables, seafood, meat, and wrinkled shirts. Diners also cozy up to unfinished wood tables and booths as servers deliver spreads of Japanese steakhouse cuisine, fresh sushi rolls, and desserts.

615 Channelside Dr
Tampa,
FL
US

Dive into Origami Sushi's picture-filled menu to discover traditional fare with a creative twist. Starters such as the seared tuna tataki or the baked green mussels offer a pleasing beginning to any meal ($6.95 each). Try the tempura gladiator roll with eel, shrimp, asparagus, and avocado for a little crunch ($11.95), or combine shrimp, pineapple, cream cheese, avocado, and a thigh-slimming grass skirt in the Hawaiian ($6.95). Sashimi fans can swim upstream for the salmon roe and white tuna, or snag the sashimi dinner which features 10 pieces of sashimi and a California roll ($16.95). For patrons preferring unraw eats, Origami Sushi also serves up a variety of teriyaki selections and seafood rice bowls. Accompany the feast with a chilly Asahi or Kirin Ichiban beer ($5.95 each), or warm up with an Oi Ocha hot green tea ($2.95) or tabletop chopstick fire.

3647 W Hillsborough Ave
Tampa,
FL
US

The Rack boasts impressive lunch, dinner, sushi, and cocktail menus at both the Hyde Park and Brandon eateries. House favorites include the Bomber ($12.95–$14.95), a specialty sushi roll of cooked and uncooked delights (snow crab, avocado, and asparagus topped with salmon, tuna, and eel sauce) served with tempura chips. Or blast through hunger with the Volcano roll’s cucumber, crab, cream cheese, avocado, eel sauce, and spicy mayo ($12.95–$13.95). Fusion appetizers, salads, sandwiches, single rolls, and chef special entrees round out The Rack's eclectic menus into a rolling billiard ball made of sticky rice.

1809 W Platt St
Tampa,
FL
US

Shogun Sushi's Manhattan-trained chef rolls a bounty of eye-catching sushi rolls alongside the menu's eclectic selection of classic Japanese entrees. Appetizers include beef negimaki ($6.25), thin slices of teriyaki-broiled beef that wrap themselves around zesty scallions to disguise themselves as sushi rolls in an attempt to fool steak-knife search parties. Fried asparagus, bacon, and tuna entwine within the Longly Angel roll ($13.95), crowned with three kinds of fresh fish and a rainbow of colorful tobiko, and the Russian Roulette roll ($11.95) protects its tender interior of spicy tuna, masago, and cucumber with a vivid shield of tuna and spicy mayo. The kitchen also whips up a range of grilled and golden-fried delights, including teriyaki, tempura, and curry dishes ($10.95–$18.95), which complement uncooked edibles like a midnight french-fry soirée in the grocery store produce aisle.

15213 N Dl
Tampa,
FL
US

Hill Country News named Hayashi Sushi Bar and Grill Best International Fare in 2010. Yelpers give the establishment an average of 3.5 stars, 79% of Urbanspooners recommend it, and 11 OpenTable reviewers give it an overall average rating of 3.5 stars:

5537 Sheldon Rd
Tampa,
FL
US