Cuisine: Japanese

In a game of north shore restaurant hide-and-seek, this little gem is one of the hardest to find. Tucked away at the back of a small laneway as it is, the search for it only adds to its appeal. The vibe is casual and intimate, the decor contemporary with splashes of bright red and green. Most nights, it’s packed with families and couples snacking on obligatory entrees such as nasu dengaku, deep-fried eggplant $9, and softshell crab $11. Nourishing noodle- and rice-based mains might follow — udon casserole with prawns, chicken and egg $17.80 is the antidote to just about everything and kamamashi, Japanese-style paella $14.50, is a hit — but not before the assorted tempura $19.80 of prawns, fish and vegetables. There’s seating for only 30 people, so bookings are recommended. Find it. Now.


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Cuisine: Japanese,Japanese

Named after the cult hero renowned as Japan’s best thief, Goemon has built a big local following by serving fresh, sophisticated Japanese in a laidback and welcoming atmosphere. Presentation is prized here and there are plenty of dishes we’d be happy to just eat with our eyes. Drizzles of mayonnaise and miniature ferns of dill make pretty the quintuplets of kingfish sushi with dried miso paste $16. Some of the more unique sushi rolls have interesting exteriors, such as omelette, batter and fish roe. The house specialties are eye-catchers, too: try wagyu and Asian mushroom spring rolls $13 and beef tataki $13 splashed Jackson Pollock style with basil soy sauce. And, as you slurp the spicy miso broth of a seafood hotpot $24.50, spare a thought for Goemon, who was boiled to death in a cauldron of oil for his crimes. Or just enjoy the food.



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Cuisine: Japanese,Japanese,Italian

This is a cracking local that’s busy, buzzy and packed to the rafters. It’s the kind of place where the waiters know nearly everyone by name and greet them with big cheeky kisses. The locals come to this modest trattoria for plates laden with flavour and cooked with love. Gnocchi with braised rabbit ragu $20.50 is a knockout, the soft, giving pillows of potato perfectly cooked with a simple and full-flavoured tomato-based sauce. On the flipside, a kingfish carpaccio $21.90 sings of clean, fresh flavour, crowned with sweet blue-swimmer crabmeat, orange segments and good olive oil. A main of grilled crispy-skinned trout fillet with caramelised witlof, bitter radicchio, salty prosciutto, creamy aioli and tart caperberries $32 is a top-notch dish showing great balance. The Mosmanites are lucky indeed to call this one their own.

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Cuisine: Japanese,Japanese,Italian,Japanese

Soft colours, muted lighting and patrons going about the ritual of pouring tea all create an air of calm. The a la carte menu is relatively small, divided into entrees, sushi and sashimi and mains, with a handful of noodle-based sides. A duck tempura entree served with a blue cheese miso sauce $14 introduces flavours that push the boundaries, while steamed barramundi with a spicy soy sauce $24 is a solid main. But the thing to do here is kaiseki, a six-course degustation menu $43–$59. Kaiseki dining is an art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance and colours of food. The banquet might include an amuse bouche, bocconcini and fig rolled in wagyu beef slice with ginger dipping sauce, and grilled salmon with walnut teriyaki sauce. If appearances were everything, we’d be happy, but Mino’s food has the flavour to back it up.


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Cuisine: Japanese,Japanese,Italian,Japanese,Italian,Cafe

The views will probably distract you from what’s on your plate but it won’t take you long to refocus. Whether you’re there for a weekend big breakfast $22 or an intimate dinner in front of those twinkling harbour lights, the food is a cut above the average cafe fare. Entrees are elegant and simple. Panfried scallops with beetroot, asparagus and goat’s cheese $21 or fried eggplant and mozzarella parcels with tomato sugo $12 impress with flavours that are more than the sum of their parts. Fresh seafood dominates the mains and there are a few pasta and risotto options $26–$28. Opt for simple beer-battered fish and chips $26 or perhaps chargrilled beef tenderloins with potato cake and spinach porcini sauce $32. To finish, dark-chocolate pavlova $15 tastes even better than it sounds. Feel like showing off to your overseas relatives? Take them here.


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Cuisine: Japanese,Japanese,Italian,Japanese,Italian,Cafe,Thai

Located in Mosman’s chilled-out Myahgah Mews, Thai Nine is a step up from casual inside, with a contemporary interior that combines some heavy-set wooden furniture with frillier touches such as lanterns, swirling prints and a black-and-white colour scheme. Run by the team in charge of Castlecrag’s Bai Yok, this place can be opened up to allow outdoor seating when the weather behaves. Entrees include mieng scallops grilled with roasted coconut, shredded lime, Spanish onion, peanut, ginger, fried shrimp and palm sugar and served on betel leaves $14. For mains, yum ped tod, crispy duck salad $25, is irresistible, as is palo beef in a Chinese five-spice gravy $20. A novel dish is coco prawn $28, a spicy green curry that comes served in a fresh young coconut.


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Cuisine: Japanese,Japanese,Italian,Japanese,Italian,Cafe,Thai,Vietnamese

Going strong since 1995, this enduring Mosman favourite is showing no signs of age. Sure, the signature yellow walls, wooden chairs and fresh flowers are still there but husband-and-wife team Lanna and Tri Tran are committed to keeping their menu fresh and unique. There’s a warm, local feel to the place, helped no end by the friendly and efficient service. Start with Vietnamese crisp riceflour pancakes (two) filled with prawns and pork $15, or succulent grilled beef in betel leaves $15. Moist and crispy boneless duck $29 won us over for main, as did the mint and lime flavours of lemongrass pork belly $29. Vegetarians will love the hearty seasonal vegetable curry cooked in a claypot $19.


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