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Yamato Japanese Restaurant

6 Reviews
Japanese, Sushi
Phone Number 0112680511 Opening Hours Lunch Dinner

Lunch: Monday to Thursday; Friday to Sunday 12noon to 2.30pm; 12noon to 3pm

Dinner: Monday to Thursday; Friday to Sunday 6pm to 9pm; 6pm to 9.45pm

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Menu

Menu - Yamato Japanese Restaurant - Menu - Updated April 2018

Details

Cost
R40 avg main meal
Food
Japanese, Sushi
Corkage
R50
Cost
R40 avg main meal
Ambience
Kids, Quick meals
Payment
Amex, Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa
Facilities
Accepts credit cards, Alfresco, Booking required, Child friendly, Dinner, Food, Functions, Licensed, Lunch, Parking, Serves food, Smoking, Takeaways, Vegetarian

Location and contact

198 Oxford Road, Illovo, Johannesburg

Critic's review

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food

Kate Liquorish

Opened in 1995, Yamato is one of the only remaining restaurants from the original Illovo Muse Centre. Tucked away in the back, it sits quietly but contentedly, opposite its boisterous and fabulous neighbours: Babylon and Beefcakes.

Food
Yamato is anything but trendy (the décor likely hasn’t changed in ten years), but people don’t go here to see and be seen, they go for the food: it’s authentic Japanese cuisine that promises no frills or fuss. The menu is extensive, so it’s best to ask for recommendations if you feel a little out of your depth.

The sushi is fantastic: expect top-quality fresh fish prepared with a delicate touch. The selection is wonderfully diverse, making it the restaurant’s biggest drawcard. (But quality comes at a price, so don’t expect conveyer belts or two-for-one specials.) Whilst you’ll find South African favourites like salmon roses, California rolls and fashion sandwiches, the focus is on more traditional variants like unagi (eel), tamago (omelette), tako (octopus), ika (calamari) and a range of delicious fish caviars, so push the boat out and try something different.

Tepanyaki and tempura are on offer, as well as a wonderful selection of starters that are great to share. One dish that is an absolute must-try is the agedashi dofu: blocks of deep-fried tofu served in a fish broth and topped with spring onion, fish flakes, grated ginger and radish – it’s the epitome of umami.

For mains you’ll find mainly deep-fried chicken, fish and pork dishes, some of which are fantastic. The crispy kingklip (goujons of fresh kingklip lightly battered in tempura and served with a sweet and salty dipping sauce) and the tonkatsu (a deep-fried pork cutlet) are two such wonders. But some mains do leave you wanting, especially those accompanied by deep-fried vegetables lathered in sweet sauces, so check before you order.

If you feel like a soulful bowl of something then try one of the Japanese noodle or rice bowls and, for the seriously hungry, opt to share one of the Nabe Monos (hot pots containing various soups/broths that are served with different meats, vegetables and tofu that you cook at the table yourself).

For dessert, they keep it simple with an assortment of ice creams and sorbets, a coconut milk tapioca pudding and a seasonal fruit platter.

Drinks
The usual selection of wines, spirits and beers. Wines are a little on the pricey side, but beer and saki work better with the cuisine in any case, so it’s best to stick to those. There are a few Japanese beers on offer, although at R70 a pop you may prefer to stay local.

Service
Most of the staff have been here a while so waiters are well-versed on the menu and great at explaining how to tackle each dish when it comes to things like mixing your own dipping sauces. Staff are friendly don’t go too far out of their way to please.

Ambience
The setting is minimal: splashes of black, red and white set the tone around simply set tables – it works. It’s not the kind of restaurant where you’re encouraged to while away the day; it closes between lunch and dinner service, so you’ll feel the impetus to get the bill shortly after dessert.

Best for…
Business lunches and casual dinners.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here

(August 2018)

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User reviews

6 Reviews
    This restaurant offers no fuss no frills pure Japanese cuisine. It is all about the food, and nothing else. You do not come here for service or ambiance, but rather the food. Extensive menu chalk full of Japanese specialities. Not cheap, but worth it.
    I was there last weekend for dinner with my mom. We were literally the only people seated in the restaurant but no one came to ask if we wanted to drink and we kept waiting because we couldn't get the waitress' attention and when we eventually had a waitress to order she left while I was mid sentence ordering our meals to go attend to people who had just walked into the restaurant. I have been eating here for more than 10 years and even before they moved to the new building but I have never had such an appalling service anywhere and I am not going back. I cannot comment on the food because we left and went to Japa to eat
    pathetic.ramen noodles??? two minute noodles. and some meat. R700 for noodles and sushi. they should pack up, go eat ramen in hong kong..' STAY AWAY!!!
    Have been to Yamato a few times in the first three months of 2015 and the food has been consistent. Consistently delicious! The Pork dumplings are my favourite, I confess just the thought of them makes me salivate. We have also of late been skipping the sushi menu in favour of some of the other more traditional Japanese dishes, like Agedashi Dofu (deep fried tofu), Oshinko (pickled veggies) and Buta Kakuni (pork belly). The Buta Kakuni is slowed cooked making it beautifully soft, melt in your mouth yum. If you are a big group and a red meat fan, I can recommend ordering Sukiyaki. This dish allows you to cook sliced rib eye, veggies and tofu in stock at your table to your liking. Shabu-Shabu is also a great option, you cook your meat, veg and tofu in a kelp soup. I am so looking forward to my next visit to Yamato and my next order of what I think are the best pork dumplings in Gauteng! Service is very slow.
    Service 1/10 Prices minus -10 /10 outrageous Food average Portions small Would not recommend to anyone

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