19There are so many Japanese restaurants in London that it may be difficult to decide where to start. I have so many favourite spots in the capital but to make things simple, I’ll be limiting it to seven restaurants that you definitely need to eat at or experience. From noodle dishes and rice bowls to matcha desserts, there’ll be something on this list for you.
Tombo has three locations in London. Head to Soho or Fitzrovia for their poké and matcha bars, or South Kensington for their restaurant and cafe. My favourite location would definitely have to be South Kensington as their restaurant menu offers some of the best Japanese food I’ve had in London and I highly recommend the chicken katsu curry. If you’re looking for something light, they have an extensive cafe menu. From matcha drinks like lattes to thick milkshakes and a range of cakes, you’re missing out if you don’t order here at least once.
2. Koya Bar
A big part of Koya Bar is the atmosphere. The restaurant itself isn’t very big or spacious, and the main eating area is this bar-like area in front of the restaurant kitchen. This is a really nice touch as it gives more of an authentic restaurant feel that you’d get in Japan. You also have the pleasure of watching your food being prepared in front of you. Koya Bar is well known for its noodle dishes, and my favourite would definitely be the udon. The udon comes in many styles and can be customised according to your preferences. If you’re heading to Koya just make sure to avoid peak hours otherwise you may find yourself lining up outside for quite a while.
3. Eat Tokyo
Eat Tokyo is the place to go if you’re looking for authentic Japanese restaurants in London. The branch was established in Tokyo in 1971 and they now have 16 branches in Tokyo, London and Dusseldorf. We Londoners are quite lucky as we have six locations to choose from: Golders Green, Notting Hill, Soho, Holborn, Hammersmith, and Covent Garden. Eat Tokyo’s menu offers so many dishes and the atmosphere inside the restaurants focuses on traditional settings with waiters and waitresses serving you in yukata.
4. Necco Japanese Cafe Bar
Necco is a small restaurant found in Islington’s Exmouth Market. Although it’s tucked away, it’s certainly not hard to miss thanks to the pink exterior and “kawaii” design. The special thing about Necco is their all-day menu. Lunch is served from 12pm to 3pm where they offer sides, curries, soups and lunch sets to eat in or go. From 3pm until 10:30pm (or all day on Saturdays) the restaurant transforms into a Japanese style tapas bar. Necco’s true highlight, however, is their cafe where they make fresh Japanese cakes and desserts. This is definitely one of the more fun Japanese restaurants in London.
5. Kintan Japanese BBQ
I’ve been to Kintan once before. The experience was great and getting to sample Japanese bbq that you’ve cooked on the grill yourself is something that’s fun to do with friends. That being said, it is very expensive and can cost you over £40 (thanks service charge), so try to save this outing for a special night out. They offer regular dishes and sides separately but if you’re going for the BBQ, beware that it may break the bank. However, if you’re looking for Japanese restaurants in London and a unique and fun time with friends, this is the place to go.
Shoryuu Ramen offers authentic tonkotsu ramen from Hakata, Japan. Shoryuu is one of my favourite Ramen spots and I highly recommend anyone going there to order a bowl of tonkotsu ramen. The flavours are amazing and the toppings are just as good. The menu can be a little overpriced regarding sides and desserts, but the ramen is well worth the money.
Tenshi has to be my favourite of the Japanese restaurants in London as it really gives you the whole package. The atmosphere is cosy and intimate, and the food never fails to disappoint me. You go to Tenshi for the “comfort food”, so rice bowls, curry dishes, okonomiyaki (customisable Japanese pancakes), basically food that feels home-made and gives you that full, satisfied and content feeling. Tenshi also does desserts and my go-to is always the mochi ice cream which comes in different flavours. Japanese food is usually pretty pricey in London but Tenshi’s menu is affordable and you definitely get what you’re paying for.