In honor of Macon’s veritable Cherry Blossom Festival, which begins March 16, and the hundreds of thousands of Japanese Yoshino cherry trees blooming all over town, we’re featuring Macon’s best Japanese restaurants. After taking a walk through the trees downtown or driving through some cherry blossom neighborhoods, try one of these favorites for a more Japanese experience.
Taki Japanese Steakhouse
Address: 6255 Zebulon Road
Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 4:30-11 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday
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This overwhelming favorite comes with an accompanying price tag and wait time but has some of the prettiest sushi in town. If you prefer hibachi, join seven friends at a teppanyaki table for dinner and a show. If you’ve already seen as many onion choo-choos and shrimp-into-hat tricks as you can handle, you can dine on hibachi and teriyaki in the sushi bar area.
Osaka Sushi and Hibachi
Address: 1530 Mercer University Drive
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
This new entree into the Japanese restaurant business has the price, quality and location to make Mercer students and their visiting families very happy. The sushi is fresh and tightly rolled, the hibachi is full of protein and vegetables, and the yum yum sauce is, indeed, yum yum.
Tokyo Alley and Ninja Steakhouse and Sushi
Address: Mulberry Street Lane
Hours: Tokyo Alley, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5-9:15 p.m. Friday-Saturday; Ninja, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5-10 p.m. Saturday.
Website: tokyoalley.com, Facebook
These neighbors face each other in a gustatory alley between Mulberry and Cherry streets and are well worth seeking out. While Tokyo Alley is more generally “Asian” than real Japanese, this cozy spot is deservedly a legend in downtown. Newer Ninja is sleek and more traditionally Japanese in style, with a friendly bar and a sushi roll called the Macon.
Mikata Japanese Steakhouse
Address: 2972 Riverside Drive
Hours: 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Lots of Maconites swear by Mikata as the best Japanese restaurant in town. The teppanyaki experience comes with soup, salad, steamed rice, vegetables, hot green tea, dessert and a show. Prices are a little steep, service can vary, but it’s a great place to go to celebrate a birthday or office event. Weekends can get very busy, so plan accordingly.
We will be reviewing newcomer Sumo Steak and Sushi on Riverside Drive soon and expect it to be worth trying as well. If you’re new to Japanese, start with the hibachi chicken and California roll sushi and see where that leads you. Enjoy your time at the Cherry Blossom Festival 2018!