Japanese lovers, attention please: some of the greatest sushi restaurants are out there in London and you don’t even know they exist. That’s why we are a great team, right? I have selected for you, the hidden gems of the so loved oriental cuisine, no matter if you fancy a high experience or not. Below are 10 restaurants with the best Japanese food in London!
1. Sushi Bar Atariya
This fishmonger and sushi bar is celebrated for the still-flapping freshness of its fish and its customer-friendly prices. Don’t be tricked by the simplicity of the location that recalls a hotel lobby. The sushi is anything but a lack of flavor and personality. You’ll be blown away by the variety of choices in front of you. And don’t forget the chirashi!
2. Sushi Tetsu
Be aware that it’s harder to book a reservation in this mini Japanese precious restaurant than at Sushi Samba. Each mouthful is prepared by hand in front of you by the owner…imagine the glistening grains of rice with the perfect texture, temperature and flavor; the shimmering slivers of superlative fish only minimally seasoned. Sushi heaven.
It is in Piccadilly, yet it is not. If you judge the quality from the outside, you wouldn’t give it a dime. Yet the ambience is so peaceful that the experience will bring you to a new level. Embrace the calm attitude of the staff and the simplicity of the menu, and you will discover a world of art and delicate flavor.
4. Aqua Kyoto
This is definitely one of the most luxurious sushi experiences you’ll have in London. Take your time to go through the menu, which brings to you an enormous variety of foods with different preparations, temperatures and origins. Fancy a suggestion? In the section, small dishes, try out the aburi hotate gai, and the rokku shurimpu tempura kurimi chiri in the tempura section.
5. Sushi Shop
You’ll only taste this exceptional and fresh creation at your home or office. In fact, Sushi Shop only works for takeaway or delivery, yet their menu changes continuously and proposes new mixes and matches for every season or festivity. Try out now the new Limited Edition Summer Box.
Japanese doesn’t only mean sushi. Kobe beef is known as the “caviar of meat”, and Engawa at Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel is one of a handful of London restaurants to serve it. From well-marbled sirloin to oyster blade steaks, there’s a cut for every taste. The lunchtime sashimi boxes are also a work of art, presented in beautifully colored Japanese ceramic bowls.
Matcha lovers come to me! An authentic Japanese café and matcha bar in South Kensington, Tombo has won awards for its teas. Skip straight to the matcha soft serve ice cream, which is delicious whatever the weather; for purists there’s a more intense matcha tea set. They also host one-off events such as tea tastings or a matcha ceremony led by their resident expert.
Following the enormous success of Zuma London, Rainer Becker quickly recognised the huge popularity of robatayaki cuisine and opened ROKA Charlotte Street in 2004. The à la carte menu is a voyage through flavors and spices that magically come together in creations that, not only are delicate and surprising for the palate, are beautifully presented to the table. For the category you’ll ask for more, try out the ebi no tempura.
9. Sake No HanaSake No Hana is an attempt by Alan Yau, the man behind Hakkasan and Wagamama, to gift London a high-end Japanese restaurant. The food is inspired by rustic dishes, and ranges far wider than most Japanese menus tend to. With Wagamama, Alan Yau democratized Japanese food. Here, he is working in the opposite direction, presenting home-style dishes in tiny portions for the well-heeled and carb-averse.
10. Pop Art SushiForget what you know about the Japanese restaurant and the sushi making and follow us in this extraordinary trip towards the loving marriage of two gorgeous cuisines: Japanese and Italian. Pop Art Sushi, in Vauxhall, is a three dimensional experience that includes art, culture and food. The menu is wide and generous, along with the wines and cocktails. If you decide to embrace Pop Art Sushi way of life for a lovely dinner outside of the chaotic City, remember to be patient. There’s only one chef there, so the creations you’ll eat will feel pretty unique to you.
11. Sumosan Twiga
11. Sumosan Twiga
Recently reopened on Sloane Street, Sumosan Twiga offers contemporary Japanese dishes with a twist: think rice pizza topped with salmon and cucumber or sashimi with citrus and truffle sauce. Their beautifully presented rolls are still our first choice; don’t leave without trying the famous tuna and truffle. Ideal for a mid-shopping pit stop.
A sushi mecca in a converted Marylebone townhouse, Dinings is run by former Nobu chefs who have created a new style of Japanese tapas. Dishes are delicately prepared and extremely decadent, think wagyu beef sushi topped with truffle salsa and minced truffle and garlic infused yellowtail sashimi with British caviar. Basement tables are snapped up quickly so booking is advisable, or if you’re lucky you might find a spot at the street level sushi counter.
In Italy, Temakinho is a hit: covering the country from head to toe (literally), the advanced cuisine that Temakinho offers is a real trip to Brazil. The fusion brings together the prime ingredients and recipes from the Japanese culture and the flavors, colors and variety of the Brazilian cuisine.
Replicating the hundreds of yakotori joints that line Tokyo’s streets, Jidori is the brainchild of Brett Redman, who made headlines with The Richmond in Hackney. Yakitori skewers – chicken (all parts) grilled over open coals – are the speciality, served with small plates including koji fried chicken and washed down with Japanese craft beers.
A pretty-as-a-picture Japanese restaurant with twists on traditional, home-cooked dishes. The lighting is soft – perfect for a date – the music soothing and the atmosphere relaxing. If it wasn’t for the obligatory wino staggering about outside, it all might feel a bit too perfect. The menu, while not exactly a tome, boasts all the usual suspects: thickly sliced, melt-in-the-mouth tuna sashimi; piping-hot, fatty karage (fried chicken) with an interesting chilli-kick; succulent charred pork skewers. But it’s the veggie dishes that really stand out.
Where’s your favorite place to get Japanese food in London? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image Source: weheartit.com
Photographic Arts student at University of Westminster, in London. Originally from Italy, spreading art and beauty.