277 Carlisle St, Balaclava, VIC 3183 open 7 days, Monday to Sunday, 12pm til late For bookings: (03) 9525 8886

Client Stories


George, St Kilda

En Izakaya is my favourite local St. Kilda Japanese restaurant.

This Japanese izakaya is beautifully designed throughout with an authentic feel which adds greatly to the atmosphere. En’s menu comprises of smaller dishes not dissimilar to tapas, and it gives my partner and I a great opportunity to try several different items from their original menu. I find that En Izakaya’s flavours are authentic and very evenly balanced with the kitchen’s usage of soy, mirin and sake. I always order En’s seaweed salad with saganaki cheese – a kind of fusion dish, but the colours and texture of the various seaweeds they use make it so tasty. Other ‘must try’ dishes are the okonomiyaki pancake with mushrooms, scallops and prawns, and the braised pork belly with soy, mirin and honey. Also, En’s range of sake and shochu are delicious. I have been dining at En Izakaya since they opened 8 years ago and it has become my favourite Japanese restaurants not just in St Kilda, but in all of Melbourne. Their service is friendly and prompt without being over bearing, and the food is always of such a high standard. George, St Kilda
 

Marlena, St. Kilda East

My favourite Japanese izakaya restaurant in the St. Kilda area

En Izakaya is an original and unique Japanese tapas restaurant in Balaclava. It is my favourite Japanese izakaya restaurant in the St. Kilda area. The menu is extensive, and over the years my partner and I have tried the majority of the offerings. It’s difficult to choose my favourite dishes, but the panko crumbed chicken thigh with yuzu and shiso, and the barbequed ox tongue marinated with sake and chilli are always tasty. I usually order the umeshu plum wine at En Izakaya. It’s sweet with a subtle marzipan nutty character. The restaurant interior itself really contributes to the whole izakaya experience. I have noticed especially the wood materials that the restaurant has used throughout the dining room and the attention to detail for specific fittings such as the glass special board and the lacquered tree. Definitely the most interesting Japanese (and Asian) restaurant in Melbourne. Marlena, St. Kilda East
 

Natalie, Elsternwick

A quality Japanese izakaya restaurant in my Elsternwick neighbourhood

I really enjoy coming to En Izakaya. The entire menu is so fresh and unique with a clever use of Japanese ingredients. The okara soy bean mash, and the arame seaweed stewed with konnyaku vegetable, edamame and tofu are usually available on the menu. Both are exciting dishes that have been thoughtfully created. My other favourite dish is the anago sea water eel nigiri sushi – delicious with a subtle hint of sweet soy on top. Service has always been friendly, accommodating and obliging. This adds to a very pleasant ambience. Very happy to have such a quality Japanese izakaya in the Elsternwick restaurant neighbourhood. Natalie, Elsternwick
 

Sophie, Caulfield

I love En Izakaya in Balaclava. It’s the best Japanese izakaya restaurant in Melbourne.

I love the variety of dishes at En Izakaya. This is my favourite Caulfield restaurant and happens to be the best Japanese izakaya in Melbourne. The seared wagyu blade on the silken tofu with ponzu dressing, and the sake and soy marinated grilled piece of cod are always great. So is the soft shell crab with sansho pepper and sesame dressing. I prefer to drink wine at En Izakaya, and there is always a tasty range available by the glass. This Japanese restaurant is stylish with a well thought out design. En Izakaya has very comfortable seating, especially at the bar counter. Andy and his staff always offer friendly and knowledgeable service. Consistently good. Sophie, Caulfield
 

Iris, Elwood

This izakaya is the most interesting Japanese Tapas Restaurant in Melbourne.

En Izakaya in Balaclava serves delicious modern Japanese tapas dishes. I would definitely describe this izakaya as the most interesting Japanese in Melbourne. I have dined at En for casual dinners but also with groups for special occasions. Love the shared plate format as I can taste several different flavours. My current favourites are the spring roll filled with prawn, shiso and mochi, and the barbequed calamari and soba noodle salad. The attention to detail at En Izakaya is very noticeable. The handmade ceramic cups for shochu and sake, and the beautifully crafted sushi and sashimi plates really complement the food and drinks themselves. The colours and tones used throughout the dining room and in the food contribute to what I think is an authentic Japanese experience. Iris, Elwood
 

Donna, Balaclava

I dine out regularly at many Asian restaurants in Melbourne and this Balaclava restaurant is by far my favourite Japanese izakaya.

We've dined at En Izakaya regularly over the past 8 years. It's the consistency in food and service that keeps me returning to this stunning Balaclava restaurant. I have seen the gradual development of En over the years, with its menus and the evolution of its interior. I feel that I am part of the En Izakaya story. Their range of sake and the aromatic European white wines is amazing. En Izakaya’s Hamachi kingfish carpaccio with the white miso vinaigrette is so fresh and creative. As is the tempura silver whiting rubbed with umeboshi plum, and the pan seared duck breast with the Japanese black vinegar. En Izakaya is truly a Balaclava restaurant gem! Donna, Balaclava
 

Michael, Elwood

I love En Izakaya in Balaclava. I think it’s the best Japanese izakaya restaurant in Melbourne.

Their food is amazing, service is smart and this Japanese Izakaya is very comfortable to dine at. The food menu is a modern version of the traditional Japanese fare served throughout Melbourne. Dishes such as the seared momen tofu and red miso infused eggplant which is a contemporary ‘nasu dengaku” is quite simply spectacular. I also enjoy the anago sea water eel nigiri sushi, the Hokkaido scallop scorched sashimi and nigiri sushi, and the salmon and broad bean tempura fritters. I really like that En Izakaya has a wide range of Japanese beers available. All the usual suspects are offered but the Coedo Kyara on tap which has a rich malty and slightly fruity craft beer taste is terrific and is a real point of difference. Michael, Elwood
 

Heidi, St Kilda

We have been going to En Izakaya in Balaclava for many years.

Andy and the team are always warm and welcoming, so we are always confident to bring visitors along to this restaurant. We love many dishes on the menu but absolutely love the seared momen tofu and with miso infused eggplant dish. We also love the soy marinated tuna sashimi with pistachio, wasabi & spring onion sauce, plus the prawns with the yuzu infused eggplant. We really enjoy the very tasty range of Japanese sake and beers which we find matches the food beautifully. En Izakaya is one of the best Japanese restaurants in Melbourne! Heidi, St Kilda
   

Lisa from Windsor, Melbourne

I think En Izakaya is the best Japanese restaurant in Melbourne.

Although some of the dishes have a ‘fusion’ element, it is really a modern Japanese Izakaya. The menu is completely different and exciting compared to the typical Japanese fare served in Melbourne. The soy marinated tuna sashimi with wasabi and pistachio dressing, and the salmon nigiri sushi are my favourite dishes. Their slow cooked beef blade with soy, mirin and chilli is so soft and tender also. En Izakaya’s wine list is concise but well thought out, and I usually order from their range of wines by the glass. I dine out at various Asian restaurants around Melbourne, and En Izakaya is always very consistent with their food and service. Lisa from Windsor, Melbourne
   

Aurora, St Kilda

An authentic Japanese feel to this St Kilda izakaya restaurant

Having lived near En Izakaya in St. Kilda for several years, I have witnessed the development of this lovely Japanese restaurant. Beautifully designed, there are so many elements that have helped create an authentic Japanese feel to this izakaya. Always an experience, the staff manage the dining crowds gracefully and efficiently. I nearly always order the sticky rice dumplings with chicken, prawn and ginger, and the tempura silver whiting with the umeboshi plum sauce. As one would expect from a Japanese eatery, En Izakaya has wonderfully fresh tuna, salmon and Hamachi kingfish sushi and sashimi. I enjoy very much the California roll filled with tuna, prawn, avocado and tobiko crunchy fish eggs. Always great and a definite favourite of mine for many years. Aurora, St Kilda