Whether you like buzzy, sceney restaurants like Nobu and Zuma or intimate restaurants like Sushi Tetsu where the food is the only focus, read our guide to the best Japanese restaurants in London.
Sushi Tetsu is a traditional Japanese Sushi Bar located on a side street in Clerkenwell. Specialising in sushi and sashimi that is considered to have some of the best sushi in London, there are only a handful of seats so booking well in advance is highly recommended.
Tip: Sushi Tetsu uses Twitter to announce free seats and cancellations, but they get snapped up quickly.
Dinings is a contemporary Japanese Tapas and Sushi restaurant located in Marylebone.
The restaurant offers food based on the traditional Japanese Izakaya style with modern European influences where the menu is split into hot tapas, cold tapas and a large sashimi and sushi selection. Takeaway is also available for lunch and dinner.
Roka Charlotte Street
Zuma’s younger sibling in Fitzrovia was the first of four current Roka locations in London, which includes the recently opened Roka Aldwych. The upstairs restaurant is based around a robata grill, the focal point of the restaurant.
Downstairs, the Shochu Lounge is a more relaxed environment with the lights down low and a DJ in the cocktail bar until the early hours on weekends. We think Roka is one of the best Japanese restaurants in London.
Zuma in Knightsbridge offers a sophisticated twist on the traditional Japanese Izakaya style, with many dishes cooked on a robata grill, like sister restaurant Roka.
Zuma has been one of the most popular restaurants in London for over a decade and shows no sign of slowing down yet. Try the barley miso marinated baby chicken, oven roasted on cedar wood or the roasted lobster with green chili and garlic hojiso butter.
The opening of Nobu London on Park Lane was the first European venture of celebrated Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The food draws heavily from his training in Japan and his extensive travels so expect to see Peruvian flourishes and South American influences as well.
A few years later, a second London outpost, Nobu Berkeley Street was added to the global empire. Famous dishes include the Black Cod with Miso and the ‘Popcorn’ Shrimp with Ponzu Sauce.
Kouzu is a Japanese restaurant in Belgravia, where the main restaurant is on the ground floor along with a cocktail bar, while the mezzanine level features the sushi counter and a few more tables.
We loved the tuna tartar with spicy sauce and the prawn tempura with spicy mayonnaise when we visited. Kouzu is perfect for an elegant, civilised dinner.
A Japanese restaurant that originated in Denmark, Sticks’n’Sushi now has several locations in London, our favourite being in Covent Garden.
The generous selection of sushi is high quality (particularly for the price) and beautifully presented in rows of vibrant colours. The ‘Sticks’ involves boards of grilled meats and fish on skewers, with robust, smoky flavours.
Sake no Hana
Part of the Hakkasan group, Sake no Hana offers modern authentic Japanese dining in St. James’s.
The à la carte menus provide a variety of hot and cold appetizers, charcoal grill, Toban and Kamameshi dishes, while sushi and sashimi are prepared to order at the sushi bar. A sleek, sophisticated dining experience.
Down a cobbled street in Mayfair hidden behind a sliding door, Umu, meaning ‘born of nature’, uses the freshest ingredients sourced from Japan to create Kyoto-style Kaiseki cuisine.
Each plate is meticulously created and presented like a work of art. Try the ‘Kaiseki’ tasting menu for the full experience. UMU was recenly awarded its second Michelin Star in the 2015 Michelin Guide.
Kanada-Ya opened in 2014 specialising in authentic tonkotsu ramen. All noodles are made on site and you can request how firm you like your noodles, which are then cooked accordingly.
The noodle broth is rich, fatty and moreish. The restaurant has a no-reservations policy, so be prepared for a wait.
The menu features items from a Robata grill, along with a variety of ceviches and tiraditos, sushi rolls and numerous sharing plates. Sushisamba London has two large outdoor terraces, one of which has a stunning copper-coloured tree as a focus point above the bar.
The Best Japanese Restaurants in London
If you enjoyed this feature on the best Japanese and sushi restaurants in London, read some of our other London guides including London’s best Italian restaurants and our favourite restaurants in Covent Garden.
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Note: none of the venues have paid to be featured in the article.