We Tried It: Akido Restaurant Elevates Japanese Cuisine In Sandton

Akido Restaurant is a gastronomic adventure that tantalizes the senses and transports you to the heart of Japan’s culinary landscape situated at The Leonardo in Sandton.


  • Akido Restaurant brings an elevated Japanese dining experience to the heart of Sandton.
  • With a minimalist layout, a good selection of Japanese wines as well as a boutique menu, Akido is ready to seduce your palate.
  • The restaurant is open Monday to Saturdays, for lunch and dinner.
  • Visit www.sandtontimes.co.za for more stories.


Having opened in September 2023, Akido sets a new benchmark when it comes to Japanese dining in the city, and based on their clientele of mostly Japanese expats, it’s a clear sign they are getting something very right. Headed by the passionate Chef Earl Akido, alongside a team comprising of Chef Leong, Chef Johnny and Chef Ben, Akido Restaurant offers a boutique menu set to bring the best of Japanese dining to Sandton, with a unique tasting menu at the heart of the offering.


Experience the fusion of Japanese flavours and South African flair at Akido Restaurant, a culinary oasis in Sandton. Image: The Sandton Times

Situated on street level at The Leonardo in the heart of Sandton (75 Maude Street), Akido Restaurant oozes sophistication, as the restaurants ambiance and deco make for a cosy yet premium dining experience. It’s not hard to see why this is a spot to consider for a special occasion, be it a business dinner, anniversary or birthday.


Akido’s inviting interior is an ideal space to explore an elevated Japanese menu, for either lunch or dinner. Image: The Sandton Times

Having worked at the famed Nobu Cape Town, Chef Akido has brought much of his learnings to Africa’s richest square mile, to ensure Sandtonites get a taste of sushi and sake at the highest level. The restaurant prides itself on making all its own sauces including a teriyaki sauce and signature soya blend, which are served with the most beautiful fish cuts. The fish are graded and, in some instances, aged, also known as ‘juksei’ to extract the maximum natural flavours. Flown in from Cape Town, the fish is as fresh as it is diverse, offering a spectrum of flavour just as nature intended, with the most minimum of intervention by the kitchen team.


Indulge in the authentic taste of Japan with a curated collection of sake, enhancing every bite at Akido Restaurant in Sandton. Image: The Sandton Times

The Sandton Times joined the Akido team counter side, for the 14-piece tasting experience, which is a popular choice, we’re told. During this dining voyage, guests are invited to enjoy each piece of sushi piece by piece, hand crafted and paired with a delicious selection of sake, which is privately imported by the restaurant. Under the guidance of the Chef’s, each dish is carefully crafted and explained, to bring out the maximum flavours whilst adding a layer of education and entertainment to the evening.


Treat yourself to the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of Black Cod, expertly prepared at Akido Restaurant, where every bite is an indulgence. Image: The Sandton Times

We prepared ourselves to experience Osusume, a menu where every dish is a masterpiece crafted with precision and passion. Let’s delve into the gastronomic journey.


For Starters, we tried the tantalizing appetizers that set the stage for what’s to come:

  1. Tottori – Chicken Yakitori Sticks: A succulent chicken skewer grilled to perfection, boasting a symphony of flavours – a great start to the meal.
  2. Grilled Chilean Black Seabass Marinated in White Miso: The rich, buttery texture of the Chilean seabass, elevated by a five-day marinade in white miso, resulted in a harmony of taste and aroma which was truly memorable.


Experience the exquisite simplicity of sashimi at Akido Restaurant, where freshness meets finesse in Sandton’s culinary landscape. Image: The Sandton Times

It’s hard to savour the rich flavours of traditional Japanese cuisine without a comforting bowl of Miso Soup, featuring fermented soybean broth, delicate wakame seaweed, and velvety tofu. Akido Restaurant did not miss a beat on serving up a delicious broth ahead of the main service. For Mains, the Chefs prepared a selection of sashimi and nigiri that showcased the essence of Japanese cuisine!


Elevate your palate with the elegance of sashimi, expertly prepared at Akido Restaurant, bringing Japanese dining to Sandton. Image: The Sandton Times

The Sashimi consisted of:

  1. New Style Salmon Sashimi with Hokkaido Salmon Eggs: A delicate flavour of Hokkaido salmon, enhanced by a sake-infused marinade and crowned with luscious salmon eggs.
  2. Chutoro Sashimi (Medium Fatty Bluefin Tuna) with Fresh Grated Wasabi: A buttery richness of bluefin tuna, complemented by the subtle heat of fresh grated wasabi aged to perfection – divine!
  3. Fresh Yellowtail Jalapeno Sashimi: A vibrant flavour of fresh yellowtail, elevated by zesty notes of garlic and jalapeno, and marinated in a tantalizing blend of yuzu and soy sauce – a dish to come back for!


At Akido Restaurant, every dish is crafted with precision and passion, offering a taste of elegance in Sandton. Image: The Sandton Times

The Nigiri consisted of:

  1. Suzuki (Aged Seabass): A delight of nuanced flavours of aged seabass, expertly crafted into delectable nigiri by the Chef himself, and served piece by piece.
  2. Akami Zuke (Lean Bluefin Tuna) Marinated in Soy Sauce: The umami richness of lean bluefin tuna, elevated by a delicate soy sauce marinade and luke warm sushi rice, made to perfection.
  3. Sake Toro Aburi (Aged Norwegian Salmon): A sublime texture of aged Norwegian salmon, kissed by a gentle torch flame for a tantalizing smoky finish. Not too cold and not too hot – delicious!
  4. Toro Nigiri (Aged Fatty Bluefin Tuna): A decadent melt-in-your-mouth goodness of aged fatty bluefin tuna, a true delicacy for the discerning palate and just like it came out of the ocean.
  5. Negi Toro Handroll: A luxurious blend of minced tuna belly and spring onion, expertly wrapped in a crisp seaweed cone – it doesn’t get better than this!
  6. Tako Nigiri (Soft Boiled Octopus with Sweet Soy): A tender, succulent texture of soft-boiled octopus, enhanced by a touch of sweet soy – amazing.
  7. Ebi Nigiri (Tiger Prawns Marinated in Zu-Red Vinegar): A sweet succulence of tiger prawn, elevated by a tangy zu-red vinegar marinade.


Treat your taste buds to a fusion of tradition and innovation with the finest sushi at Akido Restaurant, bringing Asian excellence to Sandton’s dining scene. Image: The Sandton Times

The above tasting menu was paired with the exquisite flavours of Urakasumi ‘M’ Junmai Daiginjo and Toku Junmai Daiginjo Sake, perfectly curated to elevate the dining experience to new heights. The Japanese wine, often referred to as Japanese rice wine, complements the dishes beautifully and is a recommended beverage for this menu. Sake is crafted through the fermentation of polished rice and even has its own grading system.



The evening concluded with a touch of sweetness or in this case Tamago, a Japanese sweet omelette that leaves a lingering impression. For those less adventurous, the Apple Pie and Vanilla Ice Cream is equally as divine.


At Akido Restaurant, every dish tells a story, and every bite is a revelation. If you’re into immersing yourself in the artistry of Japanese cuisine, then embark on a culinary odyssey that will leave you craving for more, by the time you leave.


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Sandton Times Correspondent

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