Spotlite: Doraku

I enjoyed a unique dining experience at Doraku Atlanta. This restaurant and bar serves the perfect blend of traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern twist, sprinkled with a few surprising elements.

Doraku is the brainchild of Kevin Aoki, whose father-Rocky Aoki-founded Benihana. So it’s safe to say that success is in Kevin’s blood. I knew that dinner at Doraku would be a treat for all of our senses.

Doraku Atlanta

There are several Doraku locations in the U.S., and we’re fortunate that we’ve got one here in the heart of Buckhead. The Izakaya (which means Japanese Gastropub) fits in well in the Shops of Buckhead. And while I noshed on sushi for most of our dinner, the menu offerings at Doraku are diverse with a number of fusion dishes available. I was invited to dine with the REAL Atlanta Food Guy, who actually had a Waygu Beef Hot Dog…yep, at a Japanese izakaya. That’s just one of the many creative dishes on the menu.

Kristen and I started off our night by sharing the Chicken Kara’age. I tried not to eat too much of this so I’d have room in my tummy for the rest of dinner, but those crispy pieces of chicken were addictive.

Doraku Atlanta

And while Kristen ate his hot dog (check out his pics of this beauty here), I enjoyed a couple of the popular sushi rolls from the menu.

First up was the East Meets West Roll. I’ve never had a sushi roll topped with any sort of beef, but the rib-eye was a welcome change of pace for me. It was seared perfectly and tasted great with the spicy aioli. The shrimp tempura and asparagus added a nice bit of crunch.

Doraku Atlanta

I was also served the Double Happiness Roll. I’m usually not a huge fan of rice-less rolls, but this one made me smile. The ponzu drizzle brought out the flavors of the tuna, yellowtail, and salmon. And the radishes were a nice addition to the roll. All of the ingredients tasted incredibly fresh.

Doraku Atlanta

Also, for the first time, I got to try Uni…also known as sea urchin. I was pretty nervous, however; it was actually tasty! The flavor was a little briny, which I didn’t mind. I’d order it again!

Of course, every good meal ends with dessert. Our meal was even better because we ended it with two desserts!

We had the Brownie Tempura (genius idea, I must say) served with vanilla bean ice cream, green tea anglaise, and caramel drizzled on the plate. The tempura batter added a nice texture to the warm brownie.

Doraku Atlanta

We also had Matcha Cheesecake, topped with a berry compote and whipped cream. The matcha was dusted on top of  the cheesecake, giving a hint of flavor with each bite.

Doraku Atlanta

You all know by now how much I love a good Old Fashioned, so I just had to try Doraku’s version of this classic cocktail. It did not disappoint!

Doraku Atlanta

With all of these amazing dishes, along with a fabulous selection of happy hour specials each day from 5:00-8:00, Doraku is an absolute gem in our city. Be sure to visit soon.


265 East Paces Ferry Rd

Atlanta, GA 30305



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