Best-of Guides Greater London

The Best Japanese Restaurants in London

8 Restaurants
Japanese restaurants came quite late to the culinary party in the UK, but now every gourmet worth their bonito flakes knows just how extraordinary Japanese food can be. It’s not just the quality of the seasonal ingredients that sets it apart; it’s the sheer variety of styles on offer that makes it so interesting – and we’re now seeing more a much greater range of Japanese cuisine in London. Here is a selection of some of the capital’s most interesting Japanese restaurants.
Updated on 14 June 2023
Japan House, 101-111 Kensington High Street, Kensington, W8 5SA London
£££ · Japanese

If you want to immerse yourself in Japanese culture before eating, then Japan House in Kensington High Street is the place to go. It not only hosts exhibits and events but also has a shop full of exquisitely designed goodies. You’ll find this restaurant upstairs, where the robata grill is used to great effect. Come for a bento box at lunchtime or enjoy a more extensive menu at dinner.

Endo at The Rotunda
The Helios, 101 Wood Lane, Hammersmith & Fulham, W12 7FR London
££££ · Japanese

The iconic Television Centre in White City has hosted many treasured cultural moments over the years, so it’s fitting that it now provides a home in which to indulge our love affair with Japanese food. ‘Sushi in the clouds’ is how Yokohama-born Endo Kazutoshi describes his restaurant on the top floor, where guests gather round a counter to enjoy his beautifully crafted creations.

Unit 1A, 3 Ravine Way Embassy Gardens, Wandsworth, SW11 7BH London
££ · Japanese

A trendy restaurant in a trendy area, this modern take on the traditional izakaya does a great job of marrying British produce with Japanese techniques and refinement. The two experienced chefs at the helm appear to have got everything spot-on, with plates designed for sharing and cooking that shows all the impressive craft of an authentic Japanese kitchen. A wine selection complete with sake and shochu just adds to the fun and authenticity.

Ginza St James's
15 Bury Street, St James’s, SW1Y 6AL London
£££ · Japanese

When eating out in Japan, you tend to decide what style of Japanese food you want and then go to the appropriate restaurant, as most specialise in just one type of cuisine, be it sushi, tempura, ramen, etc. This long-standing institution in St James’s offers, in effect, three restaurants in one, as it boasts three counters at which you can enjoy sushi, teppanyaki or robata.

18 Shepherd Market, Mayfair, W1J 7QH London
££££ · Japanese

Anyone who’s tried finding a restaurant in a Tokyo side street will be familiar with the bewilderment induced when scurrying around Shepherd Market in search of Maru’s front door. There’s extra pressure from knowing that guests are all served together so you need to be on time. This counter restaurant comes courtesy of a Nobu alumnus and his omakase menu features plenty of Cornish seafood.

56B South Molton Street, Mayfair, W1K 5SH London
££££ · Japanese

Husband and wife team Tamas and Tomoko own and run this intimate restaurant tucked away down a passageway in the heart of Mayfair. They’re together in the kitchen too, preparing an 8 course omakase menu, with plenty of dishes coming before the nigiri. Dishes are kept fairly traditional and pair Japanese techniques and flavours with mostly British seafood produce, including the likes of lobster, squid and hand-dived scallops.

157 Westbourne Grove, North Kensington, W11 2RS London
£££ · Japanese

Endo Kazutoshi features twice on this list, as SUMI is his de facto diffusion line; a baby sister to Endo at the Rotunda. His Notting Hill restaurant comes with a laid-back, neighbourhood vibe and a younger crowd. The cocktails are great and temaki is the highlight of the menu.

14-16 Bruton Place, Mayfair, W1J 6LX London
££££ · Japanese

The beautiful city of Kyoto, Japan’s former capital, is where many traditions are still faithfully honoured and that includes the art of kaiseki. Here at the impeccably run Umu, the subtlety of Kyoto cuisine is combined with top quality ingredients from around the British Isles. Tables and chairs may be preferred to tatami, but you’ll still leave feeling as though you’ve had a special Japanese experience.