Japanese Restaurants in Mayfair
1. Roka Japanese restaurant in Mayfair 30 North Audley St - W1
“I’ve never had a bad meal at Roka, and I’ve eaten there many, many times” – Arjun Waney and Rainer Becker’s small modern Japanese group delivers an “exceptional”, “all-round” package of clean-tasting fusion food served in stylish and “buzzy” contemporary surroundings. Dishes are “beautifully presented but also amazingly well-flavoured” – be it “fantastic black cod”, “fabulous sushi” or grilled tapas-y bites from the robata grill. Top Tip – in E14, the “weekend brunch menu is splendid value for money: especially the children’s menu”.
2. Umu Japanese restaurant in Mayfair 14-16 Bruton Pl - W1
“Yoshinori Ishii is the perfect chef and artist… unique” and goes from strength to strength at this fairly small, hidden-away Japanese – in a quirky Mayfair mews, with little exterior signage – where he’s been head chef since 2010. Traditional gripes about the larcenous pricing are notable by their absence this year: instead, feedback could not be more positive about his Kyoto-style kaiseki cuisine, placing it firmly in contention amongst London’s top Japanese destinations. Owned by Marlon Abela’s M.A.R.C. group – this is head-and-shoulders his best property.
3. The Araki Japanese restaurant in Mayfair Unit 4 12 New Burlington St - W1
“Sushi as an art form, with every piece designed to the last detail” is at the heart of an unforgettable trip to this illustrious Mayfair nine-seater, where Marty Lau is the new master after maestro Matsuhiro Araki returned to Japan in spring 2019. The place is “soooooooooo expensive”, but what’s been striking ever since its debut in 2014 is how few diners begrudge the mesmerising bill, instead appreciating the intense, personal theatricality of the endeavour; and the “exceptional quality and sourcing of the ingredients”. Early feedback on the new regime says it’s “not affected by the loss of Mr Araki, and still a very special experience” – whether Michelin maintain its three-star rating in autumn 2019 remains to be seen…
4. Novikov (Asian restaurant) Pan-Asian restaurant in Mayfair 50a Berkeley Street - W1
“A playground for oligarchs” – Arkady Novikov’s infamously glam, Eurotrash-magnet remains one of Mayfair’s most happening scenes, luring the fast crowd with its mix of light Asian bites, sushi, grills and noodles. It’s not exactly somewhere to go if you’re counting the pennies, but, actually, “dim sum at lunch is excellent and very reasonably priced”.
5. Yoshino Japanese restaurant in Mayfair 3 Piccadilly Pl - W1
“Good, simple Japanese food” has drawn a steady crowd to this offbeat, two-storey outfit for 35 years; its trump card is “location, location and location” – a little alleyway between Regent Street and Piccadilly. Cooking standards have “varied over the years”, but most reporters still approve the overall experience and “sensible prices for Mayfair”.
6. Sakagura Japanese restaurant in Mayfair 8 Heddon Street - W1
This upmarket steak and sake bar is a co-production from the people behind the Araki and Japan Centre, and offers a “wide range and good choice of Japanese food” – “some dishes are more flavoursome than others” but all are “well executed”; and there’s “an amazing choice of sake”.
7. Nobu, Metropolitan Hotel Japanese restaurant in Mayfair 19 Old Park Ln - W1
“It no longer pulls the A-list celebs, it’s no longer difficult to get a table – but the food is still exceptional” at the Japanese-South American fusion chain’s original London flagship. It can be “hit or miss”, though – “some days it’s the real Nobu with the exquisitely prepared black cod signature dish, but at times it seems the chef has forgotten the recipe”. More than 20 years after its arrival in the UK, the global brand is still expanding, with a second hotel scheduled to open in the West End in early 2020.
8. Nobu Berkeley Japanese restaurant in Mayfair 15 Berkeley St - W1
“Fab but SO expensive”; the Mayfair branch of Matsuhisha Nobu’s luxury, Japanese-Latino fusion brand still pleases with its “absolutely incredible food (“stunning black cod”) – it even converted my non-sushi-eating husband to sushi”. It’s no longer a celeb-magnet nowadays however, and every year, a huge proportion of reporters complain how painfully “overpriced” it is, especially given its ‘meh’ decor and iffy service.
9. Tokimeite Japanese restaurant in Mayfair 23 Conduit St - W1
Owned by Zen-Noh, Japan’s agricultural cooperative, and specialising in high-grade Japanese wagyu, alongside sushi, sashimi, tempura and other more creative fare, this Mayfair three-year-old is centred around an open counter kitchen, controlled by chef Daisuke Hayashi. Fans are “keen for it to be better known” saying its ownership “really shows up in the superb food”, but it still has a surprisingly tiny following, perhaps because it’s “very expensive (probably too expensive)”.
10. Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill Steaks & grills restaurant in Mayfair 10-13 Grosvenor Square - W1K
Neighbouring maze has gone, replaced by Lucky Cat, but Gordon Ramsay’s hotel grill in Mayfair continues to plough on for the time being. Feedback is negligible compared with its heyday, but its posh grills inspired fewer disappointments this year. It also has a Chelsea spin-off on the site where the f-word chef first made his name, when it was called Aubergine (long RIP), and another on Chelsea’s Royal Hospital Road (near the GR mothership): reports similarly are few, with a verdict of tolerable but mixed.
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