Japanese restaurants seem to be opening in the city faster than you can say sashimi – and we’re certainly not complaining. So we thought we’d guide you in the right direction with a tried and tested list of fifteen of the best Japanese restaurants in London you should definitely try gyoza and try. See what we did there?
1. Machiya, Panton Street
This unassuming little restaurant is located just off Leicester Square, which we reckon makes it the perfect little hideout away from the hordes of selfie stick-wielding tourists. The menu is slightly off kilter to anyone who isn’t fluent in Japanese, but go for the chef’s recommendations and you certainly won’t regret it.
Standouts on the menu include traditional dishes such as tonkatsu, Japanese curry and donburi – all available as a teishoku set meal with homemade miso soup, pickles and tasty steamed rice. If you’ve room for dessert, then go for their patisseries, which focus on premium Uji matcha and seasonal ingredients such as cherry blossom and Yuzu.
📍You’ll find Machiya at 5 Panton Street, London, SW1Y 4DL.
🚇 Nearest stations are Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.
2. Bone Daddies, Various Locations
It’s been described as ‘the mother of all hangover cures’ by one Secret London writer, and frankly there’s no higher praise than that. A New York-inspired Japanese noodle joint, Bone Daddies hang their hats on gutsy, thick soup dishes that put fire in your belly and a real spring in your step.
Alongside their already delicious selection of ramen bowls, wings, and bao, every month there’s an all new ramen special that pushes the boundaries of noodle, broth, and topping to the extreme. Collaborations come from established eateries as well as up-and-coming UK food stars, running the gamut from cheese vendors, to BBQ legends, to other ramen obsessives.
You’ll find Bone Daddies at various different locations across London. You can find out more here.
3. MOMMI, Clapham
Next up on this roundup of the best Japanese restaurants in London is MOMMI – a Peruvian and Japanese fusion joint that specialises in great sharing plates, top service and smashing cocktails to boot too. The menu features some incredible standout dishes, including the house ceviche with sea bass, tuna, salmon, sweet potato, red onion, mango and tiger milk, the aji garlic roasted king prawns and the nikkei fish and chips.
📍You’ll find MOMMI at 44-48 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7UR.
🚇 Nearest station is Clapham Junction.
4. Sachi at Pantechnicon, Belgravia
Now onto Sachi – a vibey restaurant which showcases regional Japanese cooking with some light touches of the Nordics. Set within the barrel-vaulted, lower-ground floor of Pantechnicon, it’s a warm and ambient spot that would work really well for a date – or if you’re looking to splash out with a mate or two.
They’ve got an assortment of exquisite sharing dishes on offer here – from melt-in-the-mouth trout and sea bream akami and wagyu tataki with porcini ponzu, to a tuna, takuwan and buckwheat maki roll on the side of gedashi tofu, mushroom and black Autumn truffle dashi tempura. Add in some excellent sake and you’ve got yourself a great night on the cards.
📍You’ll find Sachi at Pantechnicon at 19 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8LB.
🚇 Nearest station is Knightsbridge.
5. Kanada-Ya Ramen Bar, Various Locations
Next up on this best Japanese restaurants in London roundup is the Kanada-Ya Ramen Bar – which has numerous branches dotted all across the city. Kanada-Ya has a huge (and very well-deserved) reputation amongst ramen-loving Londoners…resulting in lengthy mealtime queues outside of its door. But whatever you do, do not let this put you off. Pork bones are simmered for 18 hours to create the rich and seriously smooth tonkotsu broth.
Homemade thin wheat noodles are then bowled and the toppings range from pork belly slices to pork belly and blanched bean sprouts or pork collar (so don’t come if you don’t like pork). There’s also a range of onigiri (Japanese rice balls wrapped in nori). Founded first in Yukuhashi, Japan, before being brought over – this is as authentic, and tasty, as it gets.
You’ll find Kanada-Ya at various different locations across London. You can find out more here.
6. Taro, Various Locations
Whipping up classic Japanese dishes, Taro – which literally translates to ‘an everyday dining room in Japan’ – is the spot to come if you’re looking for authentic bento boxes, sushi and noodle dishes. Created by Mr Taro himself back in 1978, you’ll be able to tuck into tasty dishes such as salmon, chicken, tofu and beef teridon, tonkotsu ramen, chicken teriyaki soba and duck bento boxes. Yum, yum.
You’ll find Taro at various different locations across London. You can find out more here.
7. Mu, Dalston Kingsland
From the team behind Hackney favourites Brilliant Corners and Giant Steps, Mu blurs the lines between a restaurant, bar, and live music venue. It’s not a new concept, but at ‘Mu’ it feels effortless – without lapsing into theatre or gimmick.
Mu whips up Japanese food that largely comes from the charcoal robatayaki grill, and standout, small plates range from yellowtail with yuzu and pomegranate, to scallop skewers with yuzu koscho – a standout seafood dish if you ask us. Larger main plates included such offerings as nikiri glazed tofu, dry aged dexter beef striploin with caviar, and smoked salmon teriyaki.
📍You’ll find Mu at 432-434 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AA.
🚇 Nearest station is Dalston Junction.
8. Issho-Ni, Shoreditch
Running from the centre of Shoreditch is Bethnal Green Road – home to a stretch of quirky pubs, bars and restaurants that carries East London’s arty edge all the way along. It’s also home to ‘Issho-Ni’ – which translates to ‘together with’ – a fitting name for the place where it’s all about sharing food, drinks and good times!
Dishes include salmon roe nigiri, seared butterfish tataki, grilled miso black cod, and fiery shrimp tempura – as well as plenty of sharing platters too. Add on regular happy hours and a killer bottomless brunch and you can see why this one has made our best Japanese restaurants in London roundup.
📍You’ll find Issho-Ni at 185 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6AB.
🚇 Nearest station is Shoreditch High Street.
9. SUSHISAMBA, Bishopsgate and Covent Garden
Sky-high dining and stunning views are the hallmark of SUSHISAMBA City – and the food ain’t bad either. Nestled on the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower, the City offshoot of the global restaurant chain commands incredible views of the city – but let’s get to the food shall we?
It’s a combination of Peruvian, Japanese, and Brazilian cuisine – and standout dishes include seared tuna tataki, wagyu gyoza, authentic kobe ishiyaki, tiger maki samba rolls and platters of sushi and sashimi too. They’ve also got an excellent assortment of cocktails here, so you can make a full night of it if you’d like. Don’t miss paying their Covent Garden branch a visit too.
📍You’ll find SUSHISAMBA at Heron Tower, Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY and 35 The Market, London, WC2E 8RF.
🚇 Nearest stations are Liverpool Street and Covent Garden.
10. Jin Kichi, Hampstead
This cosy little restaurant in Hampstead is home to authentic Japanese fare – from platters of tasty sushi and sashimi to traditional noodle dishes too. However, the standout here really are the exquisitely-delicious yakitori skewers. Chefs rustle these up behind a robata grill – and they’re bloody talented it has to be said.
On top of this, Jin Kichi has a fantastic selection of sake and some local beers on the bill too. Plus, if you’re peckish come lunchtime, then make sure you head here for their bento boxes.
You’ll find Jin Kichi at 73 Heath Street, Hampstead, London, NW3 6UG. Nearest station is Hampstead.
11. Tonkotsu, Various Locations
Tonkotsu is known for two things: ramen and whisky. (Their Mare Street branch has over 60 whiskies behind the bar.) Choose anything from their namesake Tonkotsu with pork belly, to their vegetarian curried pumpkin and spiced corn ramen. Oh, and they actively encourage slurping, so don’t worry about seeming impolite.
There are currently 14 branches of this great spot dotted all about London – including in Selfridges Oxford Street and on Bankside – and you can get a set lunch on Mondays to Fridays. A bowl of ramen or hiyashi with a side of edamame beans, pork, ginger and garlic gyoza or shiitake mushrooms with bamboo shoots for under a tenner? Sounds good to us!
Find Tonkotsu in various locations across London.You can find out more here.
12. Nanban, Brixton and Seven Dials
Next up on this roundup of the best Japanese restaurants in London is Nanban – a great spot that was founded by chef Tim Anderson who won MasterChef back in 2011. Since then, he’s gone on to publish four books on Japanese cookery, covering regional specialities, Japanese home cooking, and vegan Japanese food.
Their six different ramen dishes are undoubtedly very popular – the spicy lazy goat ragu-men and the vegan-friendly aubergine and courgette tan tan men are both bloody fantastic. Other standouts include yaki-udon, bacon and curry butter yakisoba and vegan market tempura too.
📍You’ll find Nanban at 426 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LF and at Seven Dials Market, 35 Earlham Street, London, WC2H 9LD.
🚇 Nearest stations are Brixton and Covent Garden.
13. Uchi, Hackney
Nestled in a quiet pocket of Clapton, the rustic-chic Uchi is a great little spot and a worthy addition to this list of the best sushi in London. The decor, lighting and cosy corners here are all creating a romantic vibe – perfect for a date may we suggest – and the food is pretty good to boot to.
The robata grilled skewers and deep-fried tempura are worthy choices, but it’s the sushi that’s the real gem here. Choose from soft-shell crab, tuna crunch or seared beef, and there are also veggie and fish platters of nigiri on offer too.
📍You’ll find Uchi at 144 Clarence Road, Lower Clapton, London, E5 8DY.
🚇 Nearest station is Hackney Downs.
14. ROKA, Various Locations
Our penultimate entry on this best Japanese restaurants in London roundup is ROKA – a contemporary spot which whips up tasty Japanese robatayaki cuisine and now has five different branches dotted across London.
From all-you-can-eat-sushi to bone marrow teriyaki and garlic confit skewers – there’s a whole host of things on the menu here – and the staff are excellent here too. Don’t miss paying a visit to the Canary Wharf branch which has panoramic views across the city and River Thames.
You’ll find ROKA at various different locations in London. You can find out more here.
15. Ayllu, Paddington
Rounding off our best Japanese restaurants in London hitlist is Ayllu in Paddington – another Japanese-come-Peruvian-fusion joint which has everything from bento boxes to crab uramaki and beef tataki to chicken teriyaki robata.
They’ve got plenty of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu too, but perhaps best of all is their bottomless brunch. Alongside your delicious dishes you’ll get to enjoy a live performance from a brilliant samba band; sure to get you on the dancefloor and showing off your no doubt impeccable moves. Plus, if the hip-shaking music alone isn’t enough to get you on your feet, a few more gulps of booze may do the trick… After all, it is bottomless so there are no excuses really. You can grab your tickets for it here.
📍You’ll find Ayullu beneath Smith’s Bar & Grill, 25 Sheldon Square, London, W2 6EY.
🚇 Nearest station is Paddington.
So there you have it – a roundup of 15 of the best Japanese restaurants in London. Whether you’re looking for bento boxes, crispy tempura, platters of sashimi, ramen or sukiyaki – you’re bound to find it here!