In the capital and looking for a meal out where the food prep and cooking are as much a part of the experience as the food itself? Where exquisite Eastern flavours and select Western ingredients pair up with a mesmerising Japanese ritual that builds the anticipation before you tuck into the delicious outcome? Then you need to try some tasty teppanyaki in London. Known for its arresting aromas and inviting flavours, this Japanese style of cooking draws not just food-lovers but audiences from all over the city. Head to the following restaurants for a dose of culinary entertainment from the East.
Six decades of serving authentic teppanyaki have earned global accolades for Benihana. You can watch the mouth-watering food being flipped in the air by the celebrated chefs before it lands on your plate. The chefs entertain you thoroughly, so you have the best combination: an exciting show and a plate full of great food to boot too!
Benihana takes individual food preferences seriously and caters for all dietary requirements. If you want halal, their chicken dishes and teriyaki beef are must-tries. But Benihana also caters for vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free diners, so everyone will feel they belong.
The star of the show at Benihana is the ‘hibachi lunch’. The meal includes a salad with ginger dressing, a prawn appetizer, hibachi vegetables and hibachi rice. However, one of the jewels in the crown is their version of surf and turf, the ‘Benihana special’ (hibachi steak with lobster tail) won’t disappoint.
The experience is enhanced by the engaging clique of chefs who entertain you while preparing your food.
You’ll find Benihana at three different locations in London. You can find out more here.
The first Michelin-listed okonomiyaki restaurant in the world, Abeno definitely makes the ranks of the best Japanese restaurants in London. If you’re completely new to okonomiyaki, these are wheat flour pancakes cooked on the hot plate in front of you, just as their teppanyaki is. We recommend either for a delicious taste of Japan. Order their kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) and salmon sashimi (raw salmon with soy and wasabi) on the side and you’ll have a real meal tour remember.
This family-run restaurant scores eco points for sourcing all their organic meats and ingredients sustainably. Their friendly service will make you feel right at home. You might not guess it from their unassuming exterior, but here you’ll get one of the best Japanese meals you can find in the city.
You’ll find Abeno at 47 Museum Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1A 1LY. Nearest station is Holborn.
For an unadulterated Japanese experience and for some of the best teppanyaki in London, the place to be is OKA. Go for the food and stay for the exciting mix of cocktails in the cosy, relaxed ambience. The line of skilled chefs creates a seasonal menu that changes often and is filled with innovative dishes to woo your taste buds.
We highly recommend the sushi and speciality rolls. The ‘dragon roll’ – prawn tempura, asparagus, spicy mayo and avocado, served with ginger and wasabi – is outstanding. And you can’t go wrong with an order of the bulgogi beef fillet with salad and herby chimichurri sauce. They offer decent portions of food for an excellent price and give impressive service too.
You’ll find OKA at various different locations in London. You can find out more here.
4. Ginza St. James’s
With a beautiful interior that sets the mood from the moment you first step inside, Ginza St. James’s is known for its genuine cuisine (and probably the city’s most expansive menu of sake). At their three cooking counters – for teppanyaki, robata and sushi – they create a myriad of flavours. Throw in their cocktail list and you have all the ingredients for a memorable experience.
If you are unsure where to begin at the teppanyaki counter, which uses carbon lighting to maintain a constant heat, the ‘Kagoshima beef’ (wagyu beef from the Japanese region of Kagoshima) and ‘chicken teriyaki’ are highlights. Other favourites are ‘kagoshima wagyu tartare’, a lip-smackingly good starter served with ginger, wasabi, sudachi (a citrus fruit) and anchovy mayo; ‘chicken karaage’ (deep-fried crispy chicken); and the sashimi platter. While you’re here, you simply have to try one of the cocktails. The ‘bubbles’ sake cocktail – with lychee, jasmine and citrus flavours – is simply delicious.
With a mention in the Michelin Guide, this is, without doubt, a restaurant that will give you a memorable meal for a special occasion. The staff are attentive and friendly, and the food quality and quantity justify the slightly higher price.
You’ll find Ginza St. James at 15 Bury Street, St. James’s, London, SW1Y 6AL. Nearest station is Green Park.
5. Hokkaido Teppanyaki Restaurant
The pride of Wakefield opened its doors in London to woo the food lovers of the British capital and totally won them over. Hokkaido is run by Head Chef Master Hua who has been serving his style of Japanese cuisine for over three decades.
You join the counter, which seats around 20 people, to delight in the theatrics and savour the food. You can start with their miso soup, which in their words is, ‘not just any miso soup, it is miso soup with wakame seaweed.’ Their daily changing ‘sushi and sashimi combination’ is worth trying, and the ‘freshwater eel nigiri’ is unusual but an utter delight. The donburi (rice bowl) with chicken or prawn is fantastic, and the gyoza (Japanese vegetable dumplings) are too good to be missed. There are loads of great options for vegetarians and vegans.
No visit to Hokkaido would be complete without a taste of Master Hua’s creation, ‘Princess Maki’. This is sushi with inari tofu skin and cucumber slices. The rice for this sushi is infused with the juice of red cabbage to give it a unique flavour and colour. It truly is a treat for your taste buds and they do some great teppanyaki in London here – trust us!
You’ll find Hokkaido at 160 Station Road, Chingford, London, E4 6AN. Nearest station is Chingford.
One of the oldest Japanese restaurants in the city, Defune offers some pretty great teppanyaki in London. The décor of neutrals and natural stone at this two-storeyed restaurant is inspired by typical Japanese design. Here you can have your food cooked at the table, take a seat at the sushi counter or order à la carte – whichever option you choose, Defune will not disappoint.
The ‘Chef’s special teppanyaki’ dinner menu with lobster and wagyu beef or seafood really steals the show. Tuck into a selection of appetizers and soup to start before moving on to king crab salad and sashimi. Foie gras sauté, followed by champagne sorbet, delicious teppanyaki and finally dessert, complete the gastronomic feast. Let the fleet of chefs take good care of you while you enjoy their delicious creations, all washed down with traditional sake.
While a little pricey, they offer value for money with their food quality, relaxing ambience and good service. No wonder then that Defune has been a favourite among the locals for years.
You’ll find Defune at 34 George Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 7DP. Nearest station is Baker Street.
COSMO is, in its own words, a ‘food theatre’. Inspired by the restaurants of top hotels from around the world, they serve a dazzling array of global cuisines, including Japanese, Indian, Thai, Chinese and the classic English carvery. Their all-you-can-eat buffet is the ideal destination if you’re with a bunch of mates who all want something different to eat.
If it’s teppanyaki you’re hankering for, watch the chefs’ artful performance at the counter, and feast upon the perfectly cooked steak, salmon, scallops or tiger prawns. Though not technically in London, it’s well worth the effort out here.
COSMO serves great food that is easy on the pocket. With so much on offer, everyone will leave satisfied – so gather the troops and make a party of it.
You’ll find COSMO at Unit 4A, The Brewery, Waterloo Road, Romford, RM1 1AU. Nearest station is Romford.
If you’re in the mood for some delicious Japanese food prepared and cooked before your eyes in a spectacular theatrical style, then make sure you head to these restaurants whipping up some of the best teppanyaki in London.