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1. Sakura: The grandfather of them all. This was Delhi’s first really upmarket Japanese restaurant. At that stage, the Metropolitan Hotel, where it is located, was run by Nikko, a chain owned by Japan Airlines. Legend has it that fresh fish would be flown in on the airlines flights for the delectation of a largely Japanese and Korean clientele. Super-expensive but those who went, earned in yen and dollars.
2. Wasabi: A Nobu-kind of modern Japanese place, this never caught on with local Japanese or Koreans but became a clubby meeting ground for Delhi’s rich. They came for nouvelle takes on sashimi and sushi plus the Wagyu beef. More expensive even than Sakura but you had the sense that the guests were too rich to care.
3. Megu: A branch of a not particularly notable New York restaurant, Megu is glamorous and chic and not clubby like Wasabi. The food treads a careful middle path between the Nobu-style nouvelle Japanese that Wasabi brought to India and more traditional Japanese food. Does well with Japanese guests at lunch but attracts Delhi’s beautiful people in the evening.
4. Akira Back: The newest kid on the block, this Las Vegas transplant is the brainchild of a former Nobu chef. He serves traditional nouvelle Japanese favourites with a sense of fun that combines nicely with the flavours of his native Korea. Still to truly take off but trendy all the same.