Hibachi is the Japanese word for metal tongs used in an ancient fire bowl cooking tradition that dates to around 800 AD. Most Japanese households had a porcelain cooking bowl in which they placed hot coals to lightly grill meat.
Centuries later, when Japanese immigrants migrated to North America, the porcelain bowl was replaced with an iron hot plate and hot coals with charcoal.
The flat top cooking tradition became a fashionable and theatrical dining experience wherein skilled chefs grilled meat, fish, and vegetables with astounding agility for a tableside audience of customers.
Currently, there are thousands of Hibachi restaurants that you might also know as Teppanyaki restaurants in which customers grill their own meat on a personal flat top at the center of their table. It’s a communal and entertaining experience for diners of all ages.
I have compiled a list of the best Hibachi restaurants in America for you to participate in and savor an ancient Japanese cooking tradition during your next vacation.
89 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003
Founded by Nagano, Japan native investment banker turned street-food extraordinaire Shin Takagi, Dokodemo is a famous New York City Hibachi and Japanese street food restaurant.
Chef Takagi quit his job as an investment banker to fulfill a lifelong dream of opening the most authentic Japanese Street Food restaurant.
He spent years traveling around his native Japan and working in Teppanyaki restaurants to create a menu that features the best of every regional Japanese street fare.
Located in Bowery, Dokodemo has quickly become a New York favorite for grilled delicacies.
Whether you want to fry your own noodles, rice, or meat, the menu has a package for you. I went for the Yakisoba, which comes with chicken, pork, tofu, beef, and veggies.
628 S Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104
Located in the heart of Seattle’s Chinatown International District, Ironsteak is a family-owned, locally owned Hibachi restaurant inside a no-frills corner dining space with lines out the door.
Their house-made sauces are so popular that they bottle and sell them at the counter.
They are a fast-casual formatted restaurant, with pictures of each dish displayed next to each menu item on the wall above the counter.
Everything is served on a piping hot iron plate, so each customer gets a personal grill to cook their meats as rare or well done as they like.
I went for the most authentic hibachi meal of thinly sliced premium ribeye steak ribboned around a tin of corn, rice, and scallion. I was sure to grab a bottle of their house chili sauce to-go.
100 W 82nd St #5502, New York, NY 10024
Flame is an extravagant, festive, and family-friendly Teppanyaki and Hibachi bistro with locations on the Upper West Side, downtown, and Riverdale.
A favorite place for birthday parties, Flame is all about the tableside theatrics. They also have a wide selection of Japanese and Pan Asian favorites, from sushi to dim sum.
They have a full cocktail bar to accompany an opulent menu of Hibachi combinations. All combos come with appetizers, rice, and vegetables.
They use certified Angus Beef and the freshest seafood, poultry, and vegetables. I recommend getting a surf and turf combo, like the Hibachi New York Strip with scallops.
4315 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Named for a famous 16th-century samurai, Musashi’s Japanese Steakhouse is a high-end Hibachi grill and Japanese sushi restaurant in Oklahoma City’s Crown Heights neighborhood.
Musashi’s has won Oklahoma Gazette and Open Table’s diner’s choice awards for the Best Japanese food in Oklahoma City.
It’s a more traditional Teppanyaki restaurant, where your expert chef performs a culinary juggling act from a large flat top.
They have a stunning menu of sake, cocktails, creative fusion appetizers, and Wagyu beef hibachi specialties.
I enjoyed their pan-fried pork and vegetable gyoza. It was the perfect prelude to a Samurai special meal of filet mignon and shrimp.
2325 Veterans Memorial Blvd, Metairie, LA 70002
Shogun is a bustling Japanese steakhouse and sushi bar in the Metairie suburb of New Orleans a quick drive from Lake Pontchartrain.
They have a family-friendly menu with cocktails, sake, cold and hot appetizers, sushi, hibachi, and dessert.
The atmosphere is casual and friendly, with a humble outdoor façade that makes them a hidden gem for out-of-towners who aren’t in the know.
For locals, they’re a popular spot for celebratory family dinners and affordable lunch packages.
The sushi and tempura selection was impressive. I especially enjoyed the tempura banana dessert.
My favorite authentic hot meal was the chicken teishoku, perfectly fried and breaded chicken breast with vegetables.
Fire & Ice
4100 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Fire & Ice is a trendy and innovative concept restaurant that self-proclaims to be an interactive bar and grill.
Located across from the Heavenly Mountain Resort, a block from the Nevada-California border in beautiful Lake Tahoe, Fire & Ice is a casual eatery that combines grilling traditions from various global cultures into a unique do-it-yourself experience.
The friendly staff directs you to choose your ingredients from the market section of the restaurant.
You fill a bowl with all the meats, vegetables, and starches you want to grill then you choose a sauce from a wide variety of sauce bowls.
You take your sauce and bowl to the grill master who throws it all on the grill, then onto a plate for your dining pleasure.
I was like a kid in a candy store at the market, only to be mesmerized by the grill master who artfully cooked my meal along with dozens of others simultaneously.
615 Baltimore Pike, Bel Air, MD 21014
Owned and founded by Marc Ha, Sakura started as a humble Japanese Hibachi restaurant in Virginia that acted as Ha’s side gig while he worked a full-time job at the nearby Naval Base.
The authenticity of Sakura impressed locals and visitors so much that it became a full-time job for Ha, who has since expanded Sakura to include 19 locations.
The Belair Maryland location offers the same fresh and healthy ingredients and authentic Japanese cooking as the flagship eatery.
The menu has classic Japanese hot dishes like Teriyaki and fried rice and a full sushi menu. It also has a full Teppanyaki section with multiple meat, poultry, and seafood combos for you to grill at your table.
I recommend the filet mignon, shrimp, and scallops, which were all of the highest quality and freshness.
Tanaka of Tokyo
Voted Hawaii’s best Japanese restaurant by Honolulu Magazine, Hawaii Business Magazine, Zagat, and more, Tanaka of Tokyo is a fine dining Japanese Seafood and Steak House.
There are three locations in the East, Central, and West regions of Honolulu for your convenience.
They offer an elegant and extravagant setting in which to watch expert chefs prepare high-quality meals with impressive flair on a traditional tableside flat top grill.
In my opinion, Tanaka of Tokyo has the most stunning presentation on my list.
The raw ingredients laid out in a rainbow of colors are as stunning as the final elegantly plated product.
At a restaurant this opulent, I recommend going for the gold with their premium meal sets.