CAMBRIDGE (Hoodline) – Craving Japanese food? Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top Japanese spots around Cambridge, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to achieve your dreams.
1. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
Topping the list is Hokkaido Ramen Santouka. It’s a Japan-based chain serving six styles of ramen: shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), spicy or regular miso, pork cheeks and double pork. The ramen comes in distinctive blue bowls and can be paired with sides like gyoza, rice with diced green onions, or soft-boiled egg.
Located at 1 Bow St. in Harvard Square, it is the highest-rated Japanese restaurant in Cambridge, boasting four stars out of 964 reviews on Yelp.
Next up is Tampopo, situated at 1815 Massachusetts Ave. in Porter Square. It offers mostly traditional Japanese main dishes, like tempura, donburi, katsu and curries, plus sides like gyoza and miso soup.
Look further and you’ll see a number of house specialties, including a curry risotto and a tofu and hijiki (a type of seaweed) salad. With 4.5 stars out of 257 reviews on Yelp, the Japanese spot has proven to be a local favorite.
3. Cafe Sushi
Next, Cafe Sushi, located at 1105 Massachusetts Ave. near Harvard Square, is another top choice, with Yelpers giving it four stars out of 605 reviews. It’s been serving up fresh fish in a casual atmosphere since 1984.
Order from a menu that includes nigiri, sashimi and maki, plus whole fish, broiled fish collar, and seared salmon belly, or go with a chef’s choice omakase experience. Enjoy your meal with a Japanese beer, or try a sake flight.
4. Cafe Mami
Cafe Mami is another go-to, with four stars out of 468 Yelp reviews. It’s a tiny spot for inexpensive Japanese food. Head over to the Porter Square Exchange at 1815 Massachusetts Ave. to see for yourself.
Appetizers include a spicy tofu salad, fried shumai dumplings and a seaweed salad with house-made soy dressing. It features “sets,” or meals, that include an entree and miso soup, plus rice or salad. Try entree options like curry dishes, ground marinated beef steak and chicken in chili tomato sauce. Thirsty? The eatery offers a green tea smoothie.
5. Shabu & Mein
Finally, over in East Cambridge, check out Shabu & Mein, which has earned four stars out of 435 reviews on Yelp. It’s from local restaurateurs Jimmy Liang and Peter Tse, who also run Fuji at Kendall and Bistro Chi.
Diners can take charge of cooking Japanese hot pot at their tables using pan-Asian bases like tom yum, kimchi and phở, and adding meat, seafood, noodle and vegetables in combinations of their own choosing. The menu also features small plates like steamed soup dumplings, fried shrimp and fresh spring rolls along with ramen, from spicy pork to a vegetarian version. You can find the restaurant at 148 First St., or call for delivery.