PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
It's easy to get lost in the labyrinth of lanes and alleyways that make up Chinatown but finding your way to Yamato is half the adventure. To get there go by the blinking lights of Little Bourke Street or through a one-person laneway off the Greek precinct of Lonsdale Street. Yamato is a restaurant that you would expect to find in the outer suburbs of Tokyo: family-run, small with a loyal following, and no pretence. It's tiny, seating at most 20.
The appeal of Yamato is its simplicity. This is straightforward Japanese food without any flourishes. Gyoza (dumplings stuffed with minced pork and vegetables) and gyu no shogayaki (sliced beef cooked with ginger) make for a good entrée. Try the yamato nabe, one of the claypot speciality dishes of Yamato. The sushi and sashimi are what you would expect: the chirashi zushi (a traditional box of raw fish on sushi rice) or the hosomaki (salmon and cucumber rolls) are the epitome of Japanese simplicity. Order one of the sakes or a Japanese beer. Desserts include green tea ice-cream, a favourite of patrons. Remember to tip the waving cat on your way out and write down the address. You'll need it.