Japanese Restaurants in London
. Sushi Tetsu
Japanese restaurant in Clerkenwell
12 Jerusalem Pas - EC1
“Like dining in Japan!” – Toru Takahashi is “the real deal” and provides an “intimate master sushi experience” at his “special” Clerkenwell 7-seater, which “is without doubt the best sushi in London at this price point” (and which, some would argue, invites comparison with The Araki, which charges about 4x the price here). The only fly in the ointment is the “ridiculous booking process” – it’s just “so hard to get a seat”.
. The Araki
Japanese restaurant in Mayfair
Unit 4 12 New Burlington St - W1
“Hands down most memorable restaurant experience of our lives” – Mitsuhiro Araki’s Mayfair import from Tokyo (where, as with here, he also held three Michelin stars) offers “the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine”: “mind-blowing, mouthwatering food” (“too many amazing dishes to mention”) “lovingly handmade in front of you at a tiny 9 seater bar”, where “Mr Araki makes you feel like guests in his living room”. Is it expensive? Flippin’ ’eck it is. But “ignore the price: it’s a complete cultural immersion and should be compared to a night in top seats at the opera, not a mere meal!”, is the view most folks seem content, nay, ecstatic to take. They say “If you can afford to splash-out, this is a must-try”. At the margin are slightly more sceptical types (or maybe just non-billionaires) who find the prices “galling” but ultimately feel it’s a Faustian pact that works for them: “It’s utterly brilliant and I loved going; but my goodness, it’s expensive, at about £40 a mouthful with the same for a modest glass of wine. But I’m so glad I experienced it. One to save for…”
Japanese restaurant in Wimbledon
228 Merton Rd - SW19
“An unbelievably good neighbourhood find!” – “some of the best Japanese food ever!” and wonderfully “caring service” can be discovered “in a tiny room at this unlikely location – a deeply suburban parade near South Wimbledon tube station. The “sublime” and “mouth-watering” cuisine – “Japanese with a Mediterranean twist” – is freshly prepared by chef-proprietor Taka, formerly of Nobu.
Japanese restaurant in Knightsbridge
5 Raphael St - SW7
“It takes flak for being too showy”, and “can be a little over-run by glam types”, but “the foundations of this fun Knightsbridge scene are as appealing as ever – fantastic, innovative cuisine, welcoming service and a wonderful, vibrant atmosphere”. The Japanese-fusion dishes deliver “brilliant flavours”: “superb sashimi and black cod (although all the fish is amazing)” to “steak mains to die for”. “It’s been a favourite for over a decade now and still feels fresh.”
. Jin Kichi
Japanese restaurant in Hampstead
73 Heath St - NW3
“Like walking through a portal into Tokyo” – this “really tiny” Japanese stalwart is “one of the few Hampstead restaurants worth going to” (note: “you’ll need to book”). “The stuff on the grill/ BBQ (including yakitori meat skewers) is to die for”, and “the sushi remains excellent”, while “a recent revamp has not dulled its charm”. “Sit and watch the superb food being prepared right under your nose – amazing!”.
Japanese restaurant in Covent Garden
190 Strand, 5 Arundel Street - WC2R
“Vast” and high-ceilinged newcomer, south of Aldwych, from the Japan-based fashion group Onward, whose stark styling (featuring lots of wood) is at odds with the more prosaic offerings typically found in the slightly featureless environs of Temple. On all accounts, its wide-ranging menu (sushi and sashimi, wagyu beef steaks, soba noodle dishes, tempura …) are “very good” and some would say exceptional: “my Japanese friends say this is London’s best authentic Japanese restaurant”.
Japanese restaurant in Soho
50 Frith St - W1
“Authentic, fresh udon” bring a real and very affordable taste of Japan to Soho and now to the City’s new Bloomberg Arcade. Quite different from the ramen that has proliferated recently in London, udon are soft, fat wheat noodles that can be eaten hot or cold – “great value for money” and “their specials change constantly and are fantastic” too.
. Yum Bun
Japanese restaurant in Shoreditch
Dinerama, 19 Great Eastern St - EC2
“Best buns in London no contest” – even “better than Bao!” – claim fans of Lisa Meyer’s Chinese-inspired steamed buns and dumplings (most popularly stuffed with slow-roasted pork belly), which started as a stall in 2010 on Broadway Market, and are now to be found at The Kitchens, Spitalfields Market, as well as various Street Feast locations.
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