Hyperlocal news about Melbourne's first suburb: Fitzroy 3065

the Smith St Japanese food precinct


Smith St on the border of Fitzroy and Collingwood has seen an increase in Japanese eateries in the past couple of years. As I noted in a recent post about the decline in Indian restaurants in the area, Japanese is becoming a far more popular cuisine.

Hanabi Sushi, Shop Ramen and Hinoki Pantry have all opened on Smith St recently, and Teriyaki Anarchy Sake, Momo Sushi, Aka SiroMina No Ie and Pabu all opened in the past year or so. Smith St veterans include Wabi Sabi, Cocoro, Peko PekoWood Spoon Kitchen and Shoubu.

What are the factors that contribute to the evident appeal of Japanese food? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, and to start the conversation Perhaps the most obvious explanation is that many of the Japanese restaurants in the area are inexpensive and appeal to younger, less affluent eaters who are attracted to the area. Another is the emergence of westernised / Japanese influenced places like Cibi and Teriyaki Anarchy Sake.


  1. Based on my experience of Japan, one theory could be that its been driven by expat Japanese who love the chance to eat Japanese food in a smoke free environment, unlike at home! Although they might well baulk at the prices at the Collingwood establishments, which are significantly higher than those in Japan.

    One thing we haven’t seen in Collingwood is an old-school yakatori bar. There’s a niche waiting to be filled!

  2. On a recent trip to Japan I was surprised to find that Japanese people do not saturate every dish with soy sauce …. in fact the ubiquitous (in Oz Japanese eateries) bottle of soy was not in evidence on any restaurant tables where we ate. Maybe that is an Ozzification that we could learn to do without!

  3. Tokushima is another excellent Japanese restaurant on Smith St – not as hip as the others but consistently good.

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