Japanese Restaurants in Soho
1. Chotto Matte Japanese restaurant in Soho 11-13 Frith St - W1
“Exquisite food and cocktails” – “an amazing blend of flavours danced across my tongue!” – and “a great vibe (particularly for late-night dining)” help make this Japanese-Peruvian fusion haunt in Soho a “fun and buzzy” (if “loud”, especially when the music’s cranked up) destination for a night on the tiles.
2. Humble Chicken Japanese restaurant in Soho 54 Frith Street - W1D
Japanese-born Angelo Sato worked under Clare Smyth and Adam Byatt before becoming head chef at Restaurant Story. His opening of an izakaya-style yakitori spot in the heart of Soho - on the original site of Barrafina - is exciting news for Soho.
3. Koya-Bar Japanese restaurant in Soho 50 Frith St - W1
“The #1 Japanese noodles in London” – especially for those who prefer udon, the fat wheat noodles eaten hot or cold that are a healthier alternative to ubiquitous ramen. The eleven-year-old Soho original has been joined by a City bar in the Bloomberg Arcade, although an offshoot at Victoria Market Halls closed after only six months this year. Choose the “very interesting specials and consistently good udon – the rice dishes are nice, but not as memorable”. Top Tip – “one of the few Japanese restaurants open for breakfast in the West End”.
4. Shackfuyu Japanese restaurant in Soho 14a Old Compton St - W1D
“Some amazingly tasty dishes” – of a funky, western-influenced Japanese genre – again earn high ratings for this “really delightful” Soho outfit (the brainchild of Australian chef, Ross Shonhan, creator of the Bone Daddies group). “It may not quite count as cheap ’n’ cheerful, but the tasting menu is a bargain for £30” – in fact, it may be a better choice than going off-piste, where “the bills rack up quickly”. Top Tip – “deliciously indulgent green tea ice cream dessert”.
5. Jugemu Japanese restaurant in Soho 3 Winnett St - W1D
“Under the direction of a single, passionate and precise chef” (Yuya Kikuchi), this brilliantly “authentic” little (about 20 seats) izakaya in Soho produces some marvels, with dazzling sushi being the top pick on the menu. Don’t go if you’re in a hurry.
6. Inko Nito Japanese restaurant in Soho 55 Broadwick Street - W1F
LA’s Art District housed the first branch of this Roka-lite concept (same founder), and this Soho yearling, with its “manifestly cool decor” (from a California design agency) delivers well all-round (even if it’s maybe “a little expensive”), especially if you are in the mood for a meal combining “a fun bar ambience” with “simple yet exciting” Korean/Japanese dishes.
7. Bone Daddies Japanese restaurant in Soho 30-31 Peter St - W1
“Incredibly filling bowls of ramen” – backed up by “interesting menus of delicious food, served quickly with a smile” – attract an enthusiastic crowd to this small chain of hip Japanese-style fast-food bars, although feedback supports the view that “the original in Soho is by far the best”. The founder, Aussie-born, Nobu-trained chef Ross Shonhan, has spun off a series of “Asian-fusion” concepts – Flesh & Buns, Shack-Fuyu and his latest, Poke-Don.
8. Oka, Kingly Court Japanese restaurant in Soho 1 Kingly Court - W1
“Punching above their weight in terms of flavour and presentation” – this “buzzy” quartet of “medium-priced” Japanese/Asian fusion “pit-stops” are “fab little places” for a high-quality refuelling (the new Barnes site is “perfect before a film at the Olympic across the road”).
9. aqua kyoto Japanese restaurant in Soho 240 Regent St (entrance 30 Argyll St) - W1
“This huge restaurant above Regent Street” with a sizeable rooftop setting (from the Hong Kong-based group also at The Shard) serves “surprisingly good Japanese food” and “feels like a nightclub, with bouncers, red carpets, loud music, moody lighting and a sexily groomed, exuberant clientele”. It’s “very buzzy, very loud and great for people-watching”. A neighbouring rooftop sibling, aqua nueva, does similar things with a Hispanic menu but doesn’t inspire the same level of feedback.
10. Tonkotsu Japanese restaurant in Soho 63 Dean St - W1
“Healthy ramen bowls” and “the best karaage fried chicken in town” are the secrets behind the rapid growth of the cramped Japanese pitstops, of which there are now 10 in London – the most recent openings, in Shoreditch and Peckham, having followed a £5million investment in 2019. They provide “a meal that could fill you up for a day”, with “excellent service from a really friendly team who go the extra mile”.
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