Bar culture is thoroughly ingrained into the fragments of society in many countries. There’s tapas in Spain, Ireland has Irish pubs, and the Germans love their beer halls. For the Japanese, drinking high-balls and eating yakitori in a vibrant izakaya is a good way to unwind after toiling the gruelling 9-to-5. The izakaya concept has spread to nations far and wide, including here in Klang Valley’s burgeoning F&B scene. And by sticking to the blueprint, the izakayas in KL and PJ will have you imagining you’re somewhere in Tokyo—minus the pricey flight ticket.
Unwind In Authentic Japanese Vibes At An Izakaya In KL & PJ
Butaya Izakaya’s neon lights and vibrant signages give life to Jalan Sri Hartamas 8, which is considered to be the quieter, less chaotic side of Sri Hartamas. Furnished with wooden communal tables and benches as well as photogenic figurines from popular Japanese animes, this charming izakaya-style restaurant in KL serves up affordable charcoal-fired yakitori and a fine selection of Japanese beers and sakes. The place isn’t the most spacious (true to a conventional izakaya), so reservations are highly recommended, especially during the weekends.
Address: 14, Jalan Sri Hartamas 8, Taman Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tues – Sun: 4.30pm – 11.30pm
Contact: 03-2389 4172
Secluding itself from the busyness of Desa Sri Hartamas, this izakaya in KL oozes an intimate and cosy atmosphere the moment you step in. Choose to sit on a tatami floor or in a private booth, and you’ll get to enjoy a relaxing dining experience with crunchy karaage chicken, skewered octopus, and fresh salmon sashimi. For liquid sustenance, the sake choices here are extensive, but the cocktail mixes are worth a try if you’re looking for something less potent.
Address: Lot Wisma Rapid, 30, Jalan 30/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tues – Sun: 5pm – 11.30pm
Contact: 017-391 2318
Hamasho is yet another izakaya that calls the Sri Hartamas suburb home, so what makes it different from the rest? For starters, it’s a branch from Tokyo, making it popular among the Japanese expatriate community so you know you’ll be in good company. And if you love seafood, the sumibiyaki (charcoal-grilled seafood) here is highly recommended. From Hokkaido scallops to buttery otoro, you’ll find proteins that aren’t available at surrounding spots.
Address: 42, Jalan 27/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Mon – Sat: 4.30pm – 12am
Contact: 017-240 8549
Picture this: Thinly-sliced grilled pork belly smothered in silky speciality teriyaki sauce, placed over a bowl of warm fluffy Japanese rice. That’s the signature dish at Senya Izakaya, the Hokkaido Pork Don. Delicious and hearty, it has been the go-to order for loyal patrons. But if you’re keen on a lighter offering, the sushi rolls and sashimi platters will fulfil the munchies without you feeling the need for a siesta right after.
Address: D5-G3-5, No 1, Jln Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Daily, 11.30am – 10pm
Contact: 03-6205 4999
A chain from Osaka, Sharakiri 432” also runs 25 outlets in Bangkok on top of the two izakayas in Kuala Lumpur. Permanent fixtures of a Sharakiri 432” outlet include lively music, attentive servers, smooth draft beers, and an all-encompassing menu that has everything from yakitori and oden to ramen and tonkatsu. Great for picky eaters and/or indecisive diners!
Address & Contact:
D4-G3-5, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Desa Sri Hartamas
G Tingkat Bawah Jalan 23/70A 50480, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tues – Thurs: 12pm – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10pm
Fri: 12pm – 3pm, 5.30pm – 11pm
Sat: 11.30am – 11pm
Sun: 11.30am – 10pm
All of Fujisawa Izakaya’s outlets in Klang Valley are great places for after-work drinks and dinner. Referencing the coastal city that it’s named after, each outlet is adorned with Japanese paraphernalia like maps showing Fujisawa’s sights and aquariums of live seafood. Whether you’re visiting the Uptown or Sri Petaling branch, the menu items are consistent across all Fujisawa Izakaya locations; of which are unagi rolls, chicken katsu curry, and more.
Address & Contact:
52M, Jalan SS 21/58, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya
12-1, Jalan Radin Bagus 1, Bandar Baru Sri Petaling, 57000 Kuala Lumpur
21, Jalan Metro Perdana Barat 1, Taman Usahawan Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur
Sun – Thurs: 12pm – 3pm, 5.30pm – 11pm
Fri – Sat: 12pm – 3pm, 5.30pm – 12am
With three outlets scattered across Klang Valley malls, Robotaya Izakaya provides a pitstop for shoppers to rest their feet and fill their tummies with authentic Japanese fare. Specifically, the BBQ offerings are done using the irori, which is a Japanese sunken fire pit. This traditional grilling method helps to preserve the natural flavours and juices of the food. If BBQ isn’t your jam, the set meals here are said to be filling and worth the price.
Address, Opening Hours & Contact:
D4-G3-09, 1, Jln Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Mon – Thurs: 11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10.30pm
Fri: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 11pm
Sat: 11.30am – 11pm
Sun: 11.30am – 10.30pm
G202 & G203 1 Utama Shopping Centre, Lebuh Bandar Utama One Utama, Bandar Utama, 47800 Petaling Jaya
Daily, 10am – 10pm
Lot No. G-16, Empire Shopping Gallery, Ss 16, 47500 Subang Jaya
Sun – Thurs: 10am – 10pm
Fri – Sat: 10am – 10.30pm
Fujiwara Yakitori Bar
Fans of the cult manga series Initial D will love everything about this izakaya in KL. A life-like replica of the iconic Toyota AE86 sits at the entrance for photo-ops. Once you’re in, you’ll be bombarded with memorabilia of the series; there’s even an arcade machine for you to live out your street racer fantasy. Food and drink-wise, evenly charred yakitori, small bites like takoyaki, and satisfying mains such as donburi.
Address: 24, Jalan Kampung Pasir, Kampung Pasir, 58200 Kuala Lumpur
Tues – Sun: 3pm – 11pm
Contact: 03-7773 9728
Miyako Land sets up shop in a two-storey facade that is all about Okinawan culture. You’ll get a slice of the coastal prefecture through culinary delights like sea grape (a type of seaweed harvest off the coast of Okinawa) and chanpuru (an Okinawan stir-fried dish made with bitter melon, pork, and eggs). The decor is expectedly colourful and lively, which certainly helps to elevate the overall dining experience at this PJ izakaya.
Address: Lot 4, B Land, 2, Jalan 51a/225, Seksyen 51a, 46100 Petaling Jaya
Tues – Thurs: 12pm – 2pm, 5pm – 11pm
Fri: 12pm – 2pm, 5pm – 12am
Sat: 12pm – 2.30pm, 5pm – 12am
Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm, 5pm – 11pm
Contact: 012-660 5973
Located within walking distance from Damansara Jaya’s Atria Shopping Gallery, Tansen Izakaya is a quiet nook that lets you dig into yakitori and sashimi. There’s also imported Japanese beer and a steady selection of sake. The place is busy on weekends so reservations are highly recommended.
Address: No. 36, Jalan SS 22/25, Damansara Jaya, 47400 Petaling Jaya
Mon – Fri: 1pm – 3pm, 5pm – 11pm
Sat – Sun: 12.30pm – 3pm, 5pm – 11pm
Contact: 03-7731 3386
Drink And Be Merry At An Izakaya In KL & PJ
Sure, it’s likely you won’t find the best ramen or sushi (we’ll have separate recommendations for those) at a KL izakaya. But what you will surely find are smooth draft beers, addictive bar bites, and complex sakes. And not forgetting the energetic atmosphere and flamboyant decor that’s perfect for letting loose.
Looking for more watering holes in the Klang Valley to visit? Check out these cocktail bars where you’ll sip on curated concoctions by talented local mixologists. Or if you’re tired of the usual run-of-the-mill beer, try these craft beers for a taste of something new.