- 1) Sachi at Pantechnicon
- 3) Chisou Mayfair
- Issho-Ni, Bethnal Green
- 7) Sushisamba London
- 10) The Araki
- 12) Lan Kwai Fong
- 13) Sexy Fish
- 15) Aqua Kyoto
Kendall Jenner and Victoria Beckham might swear by edamame beans and sashimi, but sushi is about so much more than just rice and raw fish.
The Japanese cuisine has always been seen as the healthier – admittedly often sophisticated – dining choice than your average Italian. Those little rectangles of pure deliciousness, which are placed ever so delicately on a bed of rice with surgeon-like precision – always satisfy. There’s no denying it, sushi – whether it’s a plateful of nigiri or unagi – is amazing.
Since the cuisine was discovered by the western world nearly 30 years ago, swanky sushi restaurants have been popping up all over London and A-listers, just like us, can’t get enough of it. BFFs Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid have been spotted in the capital’s Sexy Fish, while actor Robert De Niro co-owns the lustrous eatery Nobu.
Now that lockdown restrictions are easing and we will be able to dine inside from May 17, we can’t wait to book a table at a sushi restaurant in London before heading off to the best bars for cocktails.
If you are a spider roll aficionado or if you don’t know your sizzling squid from your sashimi, we’ve done the hard work for you and chosen the most popular sushi eateries in the capital to book a table at.
Here are the best sushi restaurants in London to snap your chopsticks in:
1) Sachi at Pantechnicon
It’s a rare moment in the ELLE UK office when a meal leaves us utterly speechless, but the silence permeated the air when we dined at Sachi at Pantechnicon, such was the exquisite offering of Japanese food we were treated to.
Downstairs in the beautiful dining area, Sachi offers guests a unique experience of Japanese food made with British ingredients, whether it’s the wagyu tataki or the agedashi tofu with mushroom and black autumn truffle dashi on the autumn menu. In addition to nibbles and light options from Otsumami and the miso soups, we suggest opting for a selection of dishes from the Sashimi Moriawase and Agemono sections on the menu (the crispy Cornish monkfish, yuzu kosho tartare is out of this world!), before moving your tastebuds towards the latter half of the menu, with the Robata Grill, nigiri and maki rolls (prepare yourself for enoki tempura, black garlic and mizuna, and a tantalising tuna, takuwan and buckwheat).
Sip on punchy Sachi negronis and a Kakan Fizz, before trying the lip-smacking Pinot Auxerrois (it’s a new favourite of ours), and you’ll wonder how you’ve never been here before.
Location: 19 Motcomb St, London SW1X 8LB
Click here to find out more.
3) Chisou Mayfair
If their Instagram bio is anything to go by, Chisou Mayfair is the place for ‘proper’ Japanese food. The light and airy restaurant is one of two locations in London – it’s small and unfussy looking, but the food alone is worth making a fuss about.
A favourite is the horenso salad starter – spirals of spinach leaves topped with spicy tuna in a creamy yuzu sauce, followed by the delicious soft-shell crab ‘inside out’ rolls. Chisou prides itself on seasonal ingredients, so the menu is ever changing.
Wash it all down with a splash of sake from the eatery’s 40-strong, impressive menu – they even have a feature wall dedicated to the potent stuff.
Location: 22-23 Woodstock Street, W1C 2ARClick here to find out more.
Issho-Ni, Bethnal Green
Putting the unassuming Bethnal Green on the foodie map, Issho-Ni is worth travelling for. As a cocktail bar, as well as a restaurant, its mood lighting and decor is as welcoming as the taste of it’s must-have Shisorita cocktail – with ocho tequila, quiquirique mezcal, yuzu, agave and shisho. Its drink list is extensive, from sake to Japanese whisky, but the food is Issho-Ni’s pièce de résistance.
From the fiery shrimp tempura with smoked jalapeno mayo to salmon teriyake, classics get a truly scrumptious makeover. And as for its sashimi, the blue fin fatty tuna stands out as one of the most melt-in-your-mouth tastes of Japan you’ll ever try.
Whether you’ve got a few hours spare or only enough time for a pit stop, Issho-Ni has you covered with their takeaway lunch bento boxes and bottomless brunches on Saturdays. Why not try drowning yourself in their bottomless sushi instead of everyone’s classic prosecco?
Location: 185 Bethnal Green Road, London , E2 6AB
Click here to find out more.
7) Sushisamba London
This one is for the views, although you might need to close your eyes as you whiz up to the 39th floor in the glass lift. The second skyscraper restaurant in the Heron Tower – the famed Duck & Waffle is on the floor below – mixes our favourite food groups. A Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian fusion; mouth-watering sushi meets tasty taquitos – hence the restaurant’s name.
It’s hard to know what to Instagram first – the vast outdoorsy sky-lit room, the already famous full-sized orange tree perched on the drinks terrace or the Kobe beef which costs an eye-watering £1,000. We recommend you try the scallop ceviche with mandarin leche de tigre and the chicken heart Peruvian skewers scorched on the robata grill.
The black cod with maize morada and popcorn has us salivating, too. With those views, it’d be rude not to indulge on one (or five) of the Miso Mules.
Location: 110 Bishopgate, EC2N 4AYClick here to find out more.
Nobu is the celeb hangout spot. Chef Matsuhisa’s Japanese fusion-style redefined expectations in the early Nineties and has since partnered with co-founder Robert DeNiro, leading to a sweet marriage of sushi and acting royalty. Need we say more?
For more creds – Kanye West name checked Nobu in one of his songs and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Elton John are regulars. Kylie Jenner even makes a point to chomp the yellowtail Jalapeno dish on a UK visit.
The pricey menu is known for its ‘new-style’ sashimi and the original famous black cod miso is a must. If you fancy trying this five-star dining on a three-star budget, we suggest heading there for a lunchtime taster.
Location: 19 Old Park Lane, W1K 1LBClick here to find out more.
10) The Araki
As far as credentials go, this is one of only five restaurants in the UK to hold three Michelin stars. Looking for the ultimate sushi splurge? Brace yourselves. This is one for the restaurant connoisseurs, as the minimum spend is £310 per head.
It’s the price you pay to get a front row spot to watch Chef Mitsuhiro Arak in action. Keeping his team small, he’s one of three staff members; one being an assistant and the other his wife. Due to there only being nine seats in the restaurant – perhaps because so few can afford it – the waiting list is long.
If you join now, you might just have saved enough money by the time a seat becomes available. This restaurant might not be an option for your Monday lunch dash, but it’s definitely one for the bucket list.
Location: 12 New Burlington Street, W1S 3BH
Click here to find out more.
12) Lan Kwai Fong
Are you in need of tucking into some fuss-free fish? Or maybe you’re after a night of fun competition with your friends, accompanied by Japanese beer? Well, let us suggest Lan Kwai Fong, an East Asian Kitchen located in the heart of Camden Town.
The sushi is quite simple in terms of offerings – e.g. there’s no £1000 kobe beef here – however, they offer up salmon sashimi and avocado tacos, lightly dusted with tempura batter, which will line your stomach with satisfaction. The sushi platters are only £18.50, which is the same as one dish from the Mayfair haunts. They do great veggie options too.
The quirkiest feat is the digital beer pong tables available for private hire in the basement. Who doesn’t want to follow their rainbow roll with a round of Japanese beer pong?
Location: 27 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AGClick here to find out more.
13) Sexy Fish
Yet another Mayfair celebrity hotspot, this one does what it says on the (tuna) tin. Creativity is at its finest when it comes to raw fish here and with the complementary artsy walls, Sexy Fish is undoubtedly making fish sexy.
The chic interiors are designed by Martin Brudnizki with quirky mermaid sculptures by Damien Hirst and artworks by Frank Gehry and Michael Roberts. These provide good company to ice bowls of mouth-watering sushi. Bella and Kendall are fans of the signature sashimi slithers, and so are we to be honest.
This is the spot to see and to be seen in.
Location: Berkeley Square House, W1J 6BRClick here to find out more.
15) Aqua Kyoto
One of our favourite central spots has had a face lift. Located just behind Oxford Circus, Aqua Kyoto boasts rooftop views of London away from the noise and hustle. The chic interior update is by award-winning international designer Robert Angell. But the quality sushi remains the same.
We recommend the tuna tataki, which is beautifully presented on slates, black cod with yuzu curd and the Hoji cha octopus adorned with pretty flowers, to get your Instagram followers’ hearts racing.
This is contemporary Japanese dining at its finest. Also, new on the menu is the chirasi don (think poke style) bowl, which is great for a lunchtime visit. The salmon and avocado harumaki and seared tuna steak had us drooling all the way down the five floors.
Punters go for the drinks as much as they do the food, and it’s not hard to see why.
Location: 30 Argyll Street, W1B 3BR Click here to find out more.
Hidden away in Hackney, this east London gem is a cool twist on home-cooked dishes. Every inch of the interiors is an Instagrammer’s dream, with unfinished wooden stools, brass-brushed counter tops and pretty vases with fresh foliage. The food is not bad either.
The usual dishes are present – chunky slices of tuna and salmon sashimi – but it’s the mouth-watering sweet miso aubergine dish that really oozes on your taste buds. The rainbow wheel of black rice and tempura broccoli maki is a must-order.
And who doesn’t love their food served on a banana leaf?
Location: 144 Clarence Road, E5 8DYClick here to find out more.