Since his childhood, SUSHIYA founder Alexander Reinelt has been enthusiastic about Japanese cuisine and culture, and has therefore been intensively observing for over 30 years Japanese restaurants and sushi restaurants in Munich.
Here is a small, but certainly not complete, listing of former, but relevant Japanese restaurants or sushi restaurants in Munich.
Restaurant Tokami closed since May 2023
In our experience, the various Tokami restaurants were the first really good sushi restaurants in Munich in the 1990s. These restaurants were invented, founded and set up by packaging designer Rainer Kucklick, who is said to have had many stories and made a lot of money with them.
The originalTokami in the Rablstraße was later sold and became Mitani, from the Tokami & L-Bar in Wurzererstraße the Toshi and the Tokami Sushi & Seafood on Kanalstraße Jins Heaven Takumi" was created through a management buyout, followed by today's JINan interesting Chinese restaurant, which is also listed in the Michelin Guide.
Under the original management, the only company to survive was Tokami at Theresienstraße 56which we have in the meantime no longer could recommend.
We had even maintained very friendly relations with Tokami for many years, and until 2018 we had always recommended it to our guests, for example when we were fully booked or had a day off. We were also able to do this because we knew the chef there, Kenichi Sugawara, very well and appreciated the quality for which he was responsible.
Since 2019 the old shine gambled away and no more recommendation from us
Unfortunately, since 2019, we could not make such a recommendation today.
This is not only due to the fact that Ken Sugawara to leave the Tokami in 2018 but also other, deeper insights into management, the materials used, the condition of the premises and the behavior of staff and owners. For years there was an extreme shortage of staff at Tokami, for years we had heard time and again where the management's priorities lay and how little understanding there was of the needs of a Japanese restaurant on the part of the management. We also had to experience first-hand that the owners and management did not act honorably and honestly in our view.
We'll tell the whole story (and it's a very interesting one) in several exciting chapters here at the next opportunity.
✺ Conclusion Tokami Theresienstrasse ✺
Tokami restaurants stood for the best quality sushi in Munich in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In 2022, the Tokami snack bar has suddenly closed, which offered cheapest Thai food next to the Tokami. In May 2023, the Tokami in Theresienstrasse has closed for renovations, according to a note on the door. But from the outside there is nothing to notice of renovations.
Since August 2023, we have seen large stickers on the door stating that there would soon be an Indian restaurant. In October, an Indian restaurant apparently opened in the only slightly remodeled premises of Tokami.
The Tokami crew has not left any farewell or thanks to its regulars, some of whom have spent good money in the restaurant, which has always been very expensive, for many years. As of October 2023, only the latest announcements of ideas such as ladies' night, sushi roulette, etc. can be found on the website and Instagram, which were presumably penned by the owner's wife, who has probably been at the helm together with the office manager for the last few years. It is a shame, almost a sacrilege, what the operators have made or let become of the Tokami!
From our side, we have even invested a lot of money, time and especially love & passion to save the Tokami and transfer it into a good future.
But the interests of the remaining staff and the owners were obviously different. The fact that this restaurant, once much loved by many customers and us, no longer exists is, in our estimation, 100% attributable to the decisions of the owner or his wife, who represented him most recently.
Where the Tokami chefs can be found today
The Tokami has seen many chefs in its long history.
Kennichi Sugawara, who has been loyal to the restaurant for a long time and who was actually suggested to take over the restaurant by the owner, stands out. As far as we know, Ken is currently working at the Nobu Matsuhisa Mandarin Oriental after a few stops in between.
In recent years, two more of our chefs have also been to Tokami. Masami Saito and Satomi Oikawa now know the same things about the management of the Tokami as we have heard and experienced from other sources and now run the J-Bar in May Street.
Sushibar Schwabing closed
A long-standing, former top provider of sushi in Munich has closed: Kosta's sushi bar in Munich Schwabing and then Bogenhausen is closed.
Restaurant Tenno in Buttermelcherstaße
From about 2007 to 2019, there was the Japanese restaurant Tenno in Buttermelcherstraße, right on the corner of Klenzestraße in Munich.
Even if the naming was slightly irritating for Japanese, there was very good Japanese cuisine there, unusually despite the mixture with Thai cuisine.
This was due to the two owners: Haruko Kato, a very good Japanese cook, and Siri Ratius, a Thai native.
The Tenno was thus known for many years for good quality and always excellent friendly service, until it was closed because the owners could not and did not want to carry the constant burden of responsibility, worries with staff etc. any more.
We can sing a song about it, even a well-run restaurant does not make and finance itself, especially if it tries to serve authentic Japanese quality instead of ambience or cheap pseudo-sushi to sell over effects ... The Tenno was also in the press at that time in high demand, it was repeatedly praised or reported about prominent visitors.
Today's Tenno and Teno in Munich are free riders
However, it is very astonishing that shortly after Tenno closed, two sushi snack bars with similar names opened in Munich: once only a few meters away Tenno at Klenzestraße 16, then also near us at Georgenstraße 35 Teno.
Both presumably emerge from the low-cost delivery service Shizoo (which itself emerged from an attempt to build a French delivery chain called "The Sushi Shop" in Munich) and both have nothing, nothing at all to do with the former tenno and his qualities.
We definitely cannot recommend Tenno's Sushi or Teno's Sushi in Munich today, despite all the nice descriptions on the homepage. It has nothing at all to do with the Japanese restaurant "Tenno", which existed for many years in the Buttermelcherstraße corner Klenzestraße.
Unfortunately, we know such un-Japanese behavior ourselves from the restaurant "SUSHIYA BENTO" in Munich and it is already a hint: Japanese would not do such a thing, because it is simply incorrect towards the heritage of Haru and Siri - and especially towards their own guests, who might come with a different expectation than you can fulfill. That's exactly the difference between Japanese restaurant operators and other nationalities....
Where to find the Tenno operators today
By the way, Haru Kato has accompanied many important new openings in Munich in the field of sushi/Japanese cuisine in the following years and found himself most recently in the Do & Co restaurant, Siri meanwhile takes care of the distinguished reception of the guests in Munich's Nobu Matsuhisa at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Restaurant Sushi Se in Agnes Street
At Agnesstraße 2, just behind Elizabethmarkt, there was a small restaurant in the basement from circa 2014 to 2016 run by sushi master Kentaro Yamaguchi.
Kentaro was previously, for example, in the Sushi Bar Maximilianstraße active and is a professional with absolute standards, was known in his restaurant to work for perfection. Today, reviews and reports can still be found, which refer to the best quality. Employees of ours had also worked for him there at times.
Unfortunately, in Munich it takes not only good sushi to survive economically, but much, much more (marketing, kitchen mix, location, guest communication, long & much endurance, etc.) and he had to give up surprisingly quickly.
By the way, in the summer of 2022 Kentaro visited us at sansaro and praised the sushi as flawless afterwards. Well, hopefully that was not only Japanese friendliness... 😉
Where to find Kentaro today
We hope to see Kentaro in other locations sometime!
His last reported station is the sea bass just outside Munich, which we definitely want to try soon and you might too if you're ever in the corner.
At the "Sea Bass" is a delivery service and a small but fine restaurant, which are connected to an exquisite fishmonger. (Update: a first tasting has excellent (!) Quality shown. We try again and will report!)
Restaurants Sushi Zen
Were there any buildings in the Volkartstraße (today's AOI-Ramen) and in the Baader Strasse (today's Haguruma). Had a very good reputation. The two Sushi Zen existed according to our memory until the very early 2000s.
Was a Sushi Zen successor on Volkart Street, was run by Joe Udawara.
To our knowledge, he was a real Japanese sushi master.
Had to give up at some point, in the meantime a small Japanese ramen store called AOI Ramenwhich is recommended.
On Hans-Sachs-Strasse, in what is now Lotus Lounge. Matoi was a really good Japanese sushi restaurant. It was open in the late 1990s, according to our recollection.
Restaurant Fuji-ya St. Michael Street 2
The Japanese "pirate" (nickname from us) Goto-san opened his own restaurant there in Berg am Laim in 2006.
There was Japanese cuisine and also sushi, whereby Goto had deliberately made the sushi relatively expensive, so that the Germans also try something other than just sushi. We found everything very tasty and nice when we were there. Unfortunately, he had to give up a few years later when the tsunami disaster in 2011 called him back to Japan for family reasons.
The Fuji-ya in Berg am Laim has and had nothing to do with the assembly line places under similar names in Munich.
Restaurant Emiko in Louis Hotel
The Hotel Louis at the Viktualienmarkt had the "Japanese" restaurant Emiko for a few years. We were not convinced by the sushi there, but Munich's high society was.
Great location, at times even a Japanese bartender as he is in the book, but ultimately just not a Japanese restaurant, but one of the typical for Munich "Style & Location" restaurants with sharing concept, etc..
Some critics have classified Emiko as "one of the best Japanese restaurants far and wide" - but that's unfortunately the way it is when well-known restaurateurs open a high-class location in Munich. It doesn't take real Japanese taste, just a little glitz and glamour.
Daitokai Kurfürstenstraße Munich
Long closed the teppanyaki restaurant Daitokai in the Kurfürstenstraße, we already published an article about it a few years ago. Many Japanese chefs who are and were active in Munich have emerged from the Daitokai.
Restaurant Nomiya in Haidhausen
Nomiya in Haidhausen was not a sushi restaurant, but a Bavarian-Japanese crossover with grilled skewers and some sushi on the side. The sushi could not be described as such, the atmosphere was good, the place was always full and the Unertl wheat beer was still a real rarity back then.
Had to give up circa the Corona pandemic.
Somewhere in the press we read about supposed successors or heirs to the Nomiya concept that had opened in the Glockenbachviertel, but if we may quote a connoisseur of the Japanese scene in Munich: "Complete impudence to call the restaurant what has no connection at all with Nomiya and offers completely different style as some kind of successor of Nomiya!". So there is no real successor to the Nomiya, which, however, was quaint but not quite Japanese in terms of quality....
Restaurant Mifune in Munich-Bogenhausen
In no way should it go unmentioned that, to our knowledge, the first Japanese restaurant in Germany once resided in Munich Bogenhausen.
If we are not mistaken Mifune opened there in the early 1970s (?), at least SUSHIYA founder Alexander Reinelt was there in the 1980s for his 16th birthday with his parents and fascinated by the completely different tastes, indeed the different Feelings (today one would perhaps say "gustatory perceptions"), which triggered some food on the tongue and in the mouth.
At that time, Japanese cuisine was still something completely unusual in Germany and the Germans were not familiar with the taste of many ingredients, as they are today in part. According to the memory of a customer, there was also a room with tatami where you could put your feet under the table and an excellent sukiyaki.
Mifune eventually became "Enshu" (run by the Shoya Group), which then disappeared without a sound at some point, presumably when the gigantic wave of sushi assembly line eateries destroyed any perception in Munich of what Japanese cuisine actually is and what sushi should actually taste like.
The premises are no longer used as a restaurant today. Rumor has it that Henssler's Go delivery service, which we do not recommend in Munich, wanted to set up a restaurant there.
What Japanese restaurants do you remember?
Are there any special Japanese restaurants you remember or details we didn't mention here?
We love Japanese cuisine and we are passionate about it - contact You us, maybe we can incorporate a memory from you!