When it comes to Japanese food in KL, I strongly believe that Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) is the safest choice because you will rarely go home disappointed. Sure, it’s not always cheap but the chances of you having a bad meal is extremely low.
Many times I have spent hundreds on a super-average Japanese meal which I regretted later and got me thinking “Damn, I should have gone for yakiniku instead”. So, here are 12 yakiniku restaurants that deserve my hard-earned money.
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Momotalo is a pork free, mid-high priced restaurant offering fresh and high quality ingredients. Meat options start from RM20 and could go up to RM165 for Kobe beef. Seafood is expected to pricier so get the seafood combination @ RM39 if you want a bit of everything.
20, Jalan 24/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 KL
Tel: 03-2300 2080
Business hours: Mon (6pm – 10pm), Tue – Sun (12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm)
Yakiniku Toraji started out in a small backstreet in Ebisu, Tokyo Shibuya in December 1995. They are known for serving thick cuts of meat, which was considered an unusual practice at that time, but the Japanese loved it.
Toraji carefully selects their meat to guarantee freshness and succulence to the bite. Their gas burners are fitted with crystallized marbles under the metal grill to ensure an even heat distribution. That allows the food to cook at the same rate with less chances of burning. To get more bang for your buck, take advantage of their set lunch menu which starts from RM40 per pax. For a more elaborate meal, Toraji offers two course menu.
Yakiniku Toraji @ Isetan The Japan Store, Lot 10
Business hours: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm
Tel: 03-2119 2626
Authentic BBQ has been around in Kepong for a couple of years and it’s still doing brisk business after so many eateries came and went in the same location. Their simple two page menu features dozens of different cuts of mainly pork, beef, lamb, chicken and seafood.
The sauces and condiments are sweet sauce, lime, salted black pepper and chili powder. The idea is to dip the grilled meat into the sweet sauce followed by a light coating of black pepper and chili powder. You can have a filling meal for 2 here between RM50-RM60, an economic yet delicious choice.
Authentic BBQ 古早烧烤
Jalan 6/37a, Kawasan Perusahaan Bukit Maluri, 52100 Kepong, KL
Business hours: 6pm – 12am, closed on Mondays
Tel: 016-203 4320
KNK is a great yakiniku restaurant worth checking out if you value quality over quantity. First timers would want to come during lunch time to take advantage of the lunch sets to gauge the experience. They will save you a substantial amount of money. Reservation is recommended.
KNK (Kannichikan Yakiniku) Restaurant
No 14, Jalan 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 KL
Tel: 03-2300 8829
The main reason we came to Gyutaro is because it shares the same parent company as Kanichikan Yakiniku (KNK). KNK is our top favorite yakiniku restaurant in KL so that automatically makes Gyutaro a safe choice. And we are glad to be right. You can expect the same excellent quality of food and service here, except that at Gyutaro, the dining atmosphere is more casual.
For a good bang for your buck, you won’t go wrong with the beef tongue/under tongue meat that’s only available in the set lunch menu. Both items are only RM9, definitely value for money. But of course, you must love beef tongues in order to appreciate this.
23.1, First Floor, 3rd Mile Square, 151, Jalan Klang Lama, Batu 3/12, 58100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7972 4011
Business hours: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 11.30pm
At Rocku Yakiniku, guests could savour the classic Japanese charcoal grill experience in buffet style. It is the first of its kind to incorporate live and modern entertainment in a casual sit-down BBQ. This unique concept of restaurant, dubbed as “restaurtainment” actually originated from Singapore and aims to deliver a fresh dining experience to diners in Malaysia.
Rocku Yakiniku – Japanese Charcoal Grill
Dining Loft @ Level 7, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2148 8884 (reservations line)
Business hours: 11am – 10pm daily
Yazawa BBQ Dining shares the same management as Japanese Fine Dining Kurata. That means quality is almost assured. Their simple one page menu offers beef, chicken, pork, seafood and vegetables that can be grilled on the charcoal fire pot. The most expensive items are wagyu beef cuts clocking at RM45 for short rib or loin, while the rest are between RM12 to RM28.
A ramen shop called Yokohama Ramen & Japanese Curry attached to Yazawa so you can also order ramen to complete your meal. I highly recommend it because a bowl of white rice is ridiculously priced at RM6 a bowl here.
Yazawa BBQ Dining / Yokohama Ramen & Japanese Curry
2, Jalan Solaris 3, Solaris Mont Kiara, 50480 Mont Kiara
Tel: 03-6211 2749
Business hours: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11.30pm
The man behind Gyukingu’s kitchen is Chef Lim, who served Japanese celebrities (even Takeshi Kaneshiro!) during his long stint at one of the most prestigious Yakiniku restaurant in Shinjuku. Gyukingu offers a variety of premium meats such as authentic Saga beef from Kyushu island, Australian Wagyu, Angus, Iberico pork, Sakura pork, Australian beef.. and the list goes on.
While you’re here, you MUST try their garlic fried rice @ RM9.30. This undoubtedly is one of the best fried rice (flavourful and full of ‘wok hei’) I have ever had and I was so surprised to find it here. In fact, Gyukingu is a worth a visit just for the garlic fried rice alone because IT IS that good!
Gyukingu Japanese BBQ Restaurant
Outlet 1) Kota Damansara (open daily)
28-2,Jalan PJU5/17,Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, 47810 PJ
Tel: 03-6143 7750
Outlet 2) Desa Sri Hartamas (closed every Monday)
42,GF,Jalan 28/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 KL
Tel: 03-28560828 / 012-689 7877
Business Hours: (Mon – Fri) 11.30am-3pm
Probably the only proper Yakiniku restaurant in Kepong, Chou Shun Kan pleasantly surprised us with their quality of food especially the various fresh offerings of meat for grilling purpose. The menu, as expected, is priced more or less in the mid-range. Set meals area available from RM78++ onward.
Chou Shun Kan Japanese BBQ
129-1, Jalan Rimbunan Raya, Laman Rimbunan, Kepong
Tel: 03-6257 1739
It’s impossible not to know Taishu Yakiniku, as they are probably the first restaurant to introduce the concept of cheap-and-good Japanese BBQ in KL. The menu is delightfully affordable with more than a dozen of choices of meat, mostly pork options. Price starts at RM5 for the cheaper cuts of meat like offals, RM10 for the normal stuff and RM20 – RM25 for the special stuff.
Besides yakiniku, ramen is also available here in three flavors: pork, chicken and cold. The pork ramen won’t necessarily blow you away, but it’s good enough considering the low price.
大众烧肉 Gerai Makan Japanese BBQ
Plaza Faber, Jalan Desa Jaya, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur,
Business hours: 6pm till midnight
Shin Nihon originated in the Nihonbashi district in Tokyo and they have 16 branches in Japan. Their menu is dominated by different cuts of meat and meat platters for grilling purposes. The ingredients for yakiniku seem to be just beef and vegetables, as we hardly saw any other meat like pork, chicken, lamb and seafood. Suffice to say, if you don’t take beef, your choices here are severely limited.
First timers are recommended to try the chef’s daily selection of Special 4 Cuts, offered in normal and premium range at different weightage. The more elaborate platters are served on a mini bridge and even a wooden boat! Those cost between RM180 and RM700 though.
SHIN NIHON 新日本焼肉党
26, Jalan 24/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, KL
Tel: 03-2856 7350
Business hours: Mon – Fri (5.30pm – 1am), Sat & Sun (12pm – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 1am)
Akashi BBQ is the branch of Taishu Yakiniku with a different name – that alone says a lot about this Japanese BBQ joint. Our favorite (for pork) has got to be the Shoulder Loin @ RM10 for its perfect balance of meat and fat.
The Genghiskhan is a must try here. For RM20, you get a good amount of lamb shoulder nicely marinated, flavorful without any unpleasant “gamey” taste when cooked. Even the soup used to boil the vege at the side is tasty as hell. If you can’t get enough of it (very likely), you can request for additional lamb shoulder at RM15/portion.
Akashi BBQ – by Taishu Yakiniku
Jalan Layang-Layang 1, 47100 Puchong
Tel: 016-221 5093
Business hours: Tue – Sun (6pm – 12am)