Charlotte offers much more than simple Southern comfort and fast food. If you are craving authentic Japanese cooking, prepared using the freshest, pure, local ingredients, there are several eateries around Charlotte you can visit. From steamed rice bowls to tuna-wrapped rolls and traditional sushi, you will find it all!
Here are some of our leading picks for Japanese restaurants in Charlotte:
Futo Buta is a popular ramen house and bar in Charlotte’s South End. Founder and Chef Michael Shortino expertly perfected Asian fare before opening up this ramen-focused joint. Plus, the loud rock n’ roll and casual digs creates a lively, upbeat environment.
Ramen is one of Japan’s most popular regional comfort foods, but that is not all they serve. Try their authentic Gyoza, Donburi and Izakaya, which are small gastro-pub-style snacks, best paired with a glass of their specialty Sake. It is one of the top-recommended Japanese restaurants in Charlotte NC.
Musashi Japanese Restaurant
The Musashi Japanese Restaurant is a family-owned restaurant that shares the impressive craft of authentic Japanese cooking. Their location in South Charlotte offers classic Japanese cuisine alongside a few unconventional creations of their own.
Expect an expansive menu with everything from ramen and udon to traditional dinner entrees served with steamed rice, salads, soups, and tempura. We also highly recommend their sushi bar to try their assortment of authentic rolls.
Ru San’s Charlotte
Ru San’s is an intimate Japanese sushi and seafood restaurant in Dilworth. This eatery has been ranked among the top 3 best sushi restaurants in Charlotte over their 20 years! The Japanese restaurant in Charlotte NC offers a lovely casual setting with sparse artwork and warm lighting.
As for the menu, expect plenty of creative sushi rolls, pork dumplings, sashimi salads, tempura, plus an expansive selection of Japanese-style appetizers. Alongside your sushi, you can enjoy their house sake and crafty sake cocktails. Or, try something from their fine selection of wine and beer.
Akahana Asian Bistro
Head to Akahana Asian Bistro in Plaza Midwood to enjoy some of the most popular Japanese and Asian creations, all served in a warm dining room. From there, if you are looking for fresh sushi, their sushi bar offers a nice variety.
Nexy, if you are looking for something beyond traditional sushi, head to the main dining area for an assortment of curry and noodles. Additionally, we recommend the beef noodle soup (pho), pad thai, Mongolian beef, and sesame chicken.
The bar here is ever-evolving, offering a changing variety of craft beers, cider, sake, wines and other spirits.
Baku is a traditional Japanese Robatayaki (Japanese barbeque and grilling style) eatery. The two-story building in SouthPark has a ground floor meant for casual everyday dining and an upper lounge for an upscale dining experience.
All dishes on the menu are served on small plates, tapas style. Items usually consist of maki rolls, sushi, steamed dumplings, sashimi, tempura, plus fried and grilled meats including Kalbi (Grilled marinated Korean-style short ribs). The authentic Japanese restaurant also serves an exquisite selection of specialty cocktails and sake to complement your meal. It is simply one of the top Japanese restaurants in Charlotte NC.
Yama Asian Fusion
Yama Asian Fusion is a local Japanese restaurant in SouthPark known for its creative sushi plates. The venue serves fresh sushi, noodles, sashimi and hibachi alongside an extensive list of sake. The interior is intimate, cozy and delightful, plus you can always settle at their outdoor patio.
While Yama is primarily a sushi bar, it also provides a variety of dishes from Japanese cuisine. These include bento boxes, grilled meats served with fried rice and sauteed vegetables.
Koishi is an unassuming, low-key neighborhood restaurant located in Cotswold, known for its take on classic Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisines.
Staples on their menu include maki rolls, nigiri sushi and sashimi; all prepared using the freshest ingredients. We certainly recommend going for their sushi lunch specials with your choice of maki rolls, nigiri, tempura, and vegetables. They also serve a mix of chicken, beef, shrimp and vegetarian meals with steamed or fried rice.
Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge
If you want to feast on sushi in a trendy, upscale setting, we recommend the Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge. This sushi bar has a lively, inviting atmosphere for its connoisseurs to enjoy the freshest sashimi, nigiri and signature rolls. Plus, it’s all served alongside their expertly crafted cocktails.
The interior is marked with stylized dark wood counters and tabletops, red accents and warm overhead lighting. Locally owned and operated, this authentic Japanese restaurant is one of the top choices for a night out with friends and family. Expect impeccable service, and expansive menu, and fine Japanese cuisine.
Yama Sushi & Grill
Yama Sushi & Grill is a family-run Japanese restaurant and sushi bar in Charlotte’s Metropolitan city, Concord. This eatery specializes in authentic Japanese sushi made using the freshest ingredients and hibachi-grilled fare, all served in a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.
Yama Sushi houses an extensive sushi menu serving both cooked and raw rolls and even vegetarian varieties. Alongside their sushi is an assortment of grilled entrees, served with steamed rice and veggies, fried noodles, shrimp fried rice and more. Finally, pair your meal with one of their specialty martinis, margaritas or house wines.
Nikko Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar
Since 1999, Nikko Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar has been serving contemporary Japanese creations alongside standard fare in a modern, sleek setting. The interior houses an elegant sushi bar, a nice dining room and a good-sized patio in South End.
Settle in and order one of their sushi platters if you are a seasoned enthusiast. If this is your first time experiencing sushi, we recommend sampling one of their cooked varieties. You also don’t want to miss Nikko’s specialty creations, including fresh oysters, tuna nachos, Jalapeño Hamachi Sashimi and more. Come in every Friday and Saturday to enjoy live entertainment and dancing while you sip on their cocktails.
Sushi 101 is a popular noodle and sushi bar in two prime locations around Charlotte; one is tucked away along Promenade on Providence and the second in Park Towne Village. You can head to either of these locations to have a taste of their exquisite sushi and noodles, served in a laid-back, casual setting.
The primary offering here is sushi, made using fresh, quality ingredients and served with flair. Alongside their sushi, the menu enlists an assortment of Asian appetizers and Japanese delights, including their ala carte nigiri, fried katsu, tempur and, fried rice.
Sake Express Japanese Restaurant
Sake Express is a popular Japanese eatery in Belmont serving authentic Japanese cuisine made using fresh ingredients and classic Japanese culinary techniques. Owners Lisa and Linda Nguyen (whose father started Sake Express) strive to bring food and an enjoyable dining experience to their community.
At Sake Express, enjoy hot off-the-grill hibachi and teriyaki dishes, noodles, fresh sushi, seafood and even a specialty kids menu. You can either dine in at their warm, family-friendly location or pull up their drive-thru for a quick meal.
Japanese Food Charlotte NC: Final Thoughts
These were some of our top picks for Japanese cuisine around the city, but we are sure you will spot plenty more fantastic eateries during your visit. The next time you seek authentic sushi rolls, udon or ramen noodles, or perhaps some classic donburi, these eateries won’t disappoint!