Izakaya Den: Melbourne hot spot serves fabulous Japanese small plates, sake and beer


Izakaya Den is one of Melbourne’s coolest places to hang out. It’s almost impossible to find because the sign on Russell Street at Little Collins Street is not obvious and you have to go down two flights of stairs. When you arrive, you are shocked to see a packed, vibrant industrial-chic restaurant with high ceilings and stylish decor.

An “izakaya” is a restaurant serving small dishes paired with sake, beer, plum wine and shochu (distilled liquors). At Izakaya Den, we tried the following dishes:

  • grilled spicy chilli peppers, bonito and soy
  • marinated octopus
  • spicy tuna tataki
  • kingfish sashimi
  • sesame stir fried Japanese mushrooms
  • daikon salad
  • chilled tomato

All dishes were very delicious and some, like the chilled tomato, were surprising. The selection of sake (over 50) and beer (yes, they have Ebisu!) is impressive and they are reasonably priced.

This is my favorite place to eat in Melbourne.

Izakaya Den
114 Russell St
Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
+61 (03) 9654 2977

Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon

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See also my favorite restaurants and hotels in Sydney, Australia.

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.