Culture is one of the most important ingredients in a country’s culinary specialties. While some cultures place more focus on cooking techniques, others emphasize the role of flavor. The Japanese culture pays deep attention to both, in addition to the use of fresh ingredients to create a unique culinary experience.

While Japanese food fans have their own respected restaurant of choice, it can often be difficult for those looking for new options to know where to start. So start out with these picks for top spots for Japanese food in Denver.

Price: $30-$40
Hours: Mon to Sun—Lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dinner 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

With a focus on using only the freshest ingredients imported from the northern countryside of Japan, Domo offers its guests an enormous amount of options of over 120 different types of fresh seafood, meat and vegetables. Second only to the food is the atmosphere. With its Japanese country museum and traditional Japanese garden, Domo provides an ambiance that cannot be matched. In the fall and summer months, be sure to dine on the gorgeous patio.


Price: $30-$40
Hours: Tues to Thurs & Sun—5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fri & Sat—5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Lunch Hours: Sat—11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Meaning “Sake house with small plates,” Izakaya Den lives up to its name by serving up traditional Japanese dishes in tapas form. By using this small-plate serving style, guests are able to enjoy a variety of the brilliant dishes from the menu while sipping on specialty cocktails and Sake. Izakaya Den is an excellent example of the modern culinary scene developing in Denver, and is sure to make a fitting choice for any diner in search of creative Japanese food.

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Price: $20-$30
Hours: Tues to Fri—11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sat & Sun—3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Mon—Closed

With the motto “fresher sushi, bigger portions, better price,” Namiko’s offers its customers some of the best sushi the state has to offer. This Japanese restaurant specializes in preparing tempura, always using only the best ingredients and top-notch soybean salad oil. Those who don’t take kindly to raw fish can choose from udon noodle dishes, curries, teriyaki plates and donburi options. With outstanding service and a lower price tag than similar restaurants in town, Namiko’s is a must-visit for sushi lovers and Japanese food pursuers alike.

(credit: iFish/Facebook)

Price: $11-$30
Lunch Hours: Mon to Sat—11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Dinner Hours: Mon to Thurs—4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fri & Sat—4:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Sun—5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Bar Hours: Mon to Fri—11 a.m. to close, Sat & Sun—1 p.m. to close

This newer restaurant prides itself on its chefs’ expert experience, casual yet modern dining atmosphere and use of the freshest ingredients possible. This combination results in a menu of wonderful dishes that can be enjoyed either at the bar or in the intimate setting of the dining room. Not only does iFish use many local ingredients for its dishes, it also serves local brews. This is the perfect restaurant in which to experience how great Denver and Japanese culture combine.

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Price: $30- $40
Lunch Hours: Mon to Sat—11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Dinner Hours: Sun to Thurs—5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fri & Sat—5 p.m. to 12 a.m.


Since sushi is such a key staple in Japanese cuisine, it is no wonder that Sushi Sasa has quickly climbed to the top of the list of must-visit Japanese restaurants in Colorado. With a desire to stay traditional but also the willingness to welcome modern culinary influences, Sushi Sasa offers something for culinary conservatives and gastronomic adventurers alike.

Zack Christofferson is a freelance writer living in Denver. He is a self proclaimed beer geek and enjoys tasting and discussing Colorado’s wide selection of wonderful beers. His work can be found here


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