The TallyCast

…all polite and classy.

Japanica – East side Japanese.

img_0984Japanica bills itself as a “Steakhouse” and in addition to the more traditional Japanese style cafe, has a teppanyaki (hibachi) room with knife wielding chef’s cooking at the table.  While hibachi is fun, for me it’s all about the sushi.

My standards for Japanese restaurants went up a bit after I visited Yokohama and Tokyo a couple of years ago.  I ate a lot of very tasty food in Japan, and when I got back, for the first few month’s, I just wasn’t interested in Tallahassee sushi.  These days, I’m back on the raw fish wagon, but with a bit more critical attitude.  I ate a lot of good food in Japan, but my best food memory is a sushi breakfast I had one morning at the Tsujki market.  Every  time I eat sushi now, I compare it to that amazing meal.

We started out with some lovely soup and tried a couple of items off the appetizer menu.  The goyoza were amazing; the skin was melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness; the chicken filling had a lovely  ginger flavor and the soy-mirin dipping sauce was spot on.

Japanese cuisene includes some delicious fried foods.  In Japan, spring rolls are called “harumaki” and are quite different from other Asian rolls.  Harumaki traditionally have a filling of shitaki mushrooms, bamboo shoots and some sort of meat.  The rolls at Japanica were cooked to perfection and came with a dipping sauce that was infused with chili oil.

The sushi at Japanica is well cut and well served, and they have a few special items on their menu.  I especially enjoyed the wasabi tobikko – flying fish eggs turned green and infused with wasabi flavor.

tomagoI was not as excited about their tamago.  Like most moderately priced sushi restaurants, Japanica get’s their tamago premade and you can tell.  (I asked our server and she checked with the kitchen.) Tomago is a kind of omelette, cooked in many layers.  It’s made with a little sugar, some dashi and a little mirin. For me, a small serving of good tomago is a nice end to an evening of enjoying sushi; a dessert.   Eating packaged tomago is like eating a microwaved frozen omelette.  Fresh tomago is amazing.

The prices are reasonable.  Two pieces of nigiri sushi (hand formed rice with some sort of goodness on top) ranges from $3.25 (the tomago) to over $6 for more exotic offerings like king crab or sea urchin roe.

Rating: ★★★☆☆  for good food at a good price.

Japanica is located on the east side of Tallahassee, on Mahan Drive, in a strip mall anchored by a Publix.


Lunch hours:  Mon-Fri  11:00 to 2:30
Dinner hours:  Mon-Thurs 4:30 to 10PM; Open to 11PM on Fridays.
Weekend hours;  Sat Noon to 11PM, Sun Noon to 9PM

The restaurant gets busy. Call them at 656-9888 for reservations.

You can find Japanica on the internet at

Tomago photo is by Flickr user Jetalone and covered by a Creative Commons attribution license.


  1. Thanks for the review. Kim and I are always on the lookout for good sushi, though we rarely ever actually make it out to eat at places like this because of the kids (which is totally worth it.) I’ve got a great Japanese cook book titled “Japanese Cooking: A Simple ArtI’ve made Sushi a few times using its instructions. I’ve got Morgan on the lookout for a Hangiri for me. Maybe I’ll bring some of my mediocre home-made Sushi out to the coop sometime.

  2. Japanica– (sounds like an unfortunate name of a newborn of black and asian parents)
    nothing special unless you have not been to a habachi place before
    do not waste the money and just go to mr. roboto’s

  3. Returned tonight for a sushi set, a cucumber eel roll and some agedashi. Everything was, as before, yummy, but the star was the dressing on the salad. #amazing

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