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Hot Stone, Islington
Japanese steak and sushi bar Hot Stone offers guests an authentic Japanese feast with its omakase menu. Served exclusively on Monday evenings, the dishes change every week and the menu is made up of 14 courses, each pairing the freshest seafood, fish and Japanese wagyu beef with seasonal ingredients. With three sittings each evening, and only four seats available, guests enjoy 90 minutes of kobachi small plates, sushi, sashimi and desserts. Thanks to the bijou restaurant space, every seat is at the chef’s table, offering guests an up-close view of the specialist sushi skills on show. Expect to sample hand-dived scallops with truffle ponzu sauce; seared butterfish sashimi in green jalapeno sauce; and quail’s egg with salmon ikura and wasabi, freshly grated for diners at the counter.
9 Chapel Market, Angel, N1 9EZ
In an old pub on the Essex Road, Akari is great for a quick midweek dinner. A bit of a hidden gem if you’re not familiar with the N1 postcode, this relaxed small-plates restaurant offers prime spots at the bar to watch the chefs prepare your sushi. Our favourite dishes are the tuna tataki and miso black cod.
196 Essex Road, Islington, N1 8LZ
A sign proclaiming “We have no wi-fi, please talk to one another” tells you most of what you need to know about this location. In the same vein as Dotori, Tenshi aims to give its guests an authentic experience. The surroundings (particularly the paper lanterns dotted everywhere) transport you straight to Japan. Among the Japanese ‘comfort food’, donburi and sushi, we love the pumpkin croquettes with tonkatsu sauce and fried soft-shell crab with teriyaki sauce.
61 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0NY
Dotori, Finsbury Park
Finsbury Park’s Dotori can be hard to get into, but once you’re through the door, you can count on a truly authentic experience. With a fusion menu that’s split between Japanese and Korean dishes, try pairing the gyoza and dragon rolls with haemultang, a spicy Korean soup filled with cod, squid, prawns, mussels, tofu and vegetables.
3 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, N4 2DQ
Sumi, Notting Hill
Sumi is the elegantly casual little sister to sushi master Endo Kazutoshi’s Rotunda restaurant in White City. Named after Endo’s mother, Sumi offers a menu that takes its inspiration and direction from Japanese traditions while paying homage to the many people and places that have influenced Endo throughout his journey. Head chef Yasuda Akinori (previously of Zuma) serves up refined yet approachable dishes, with must-tries including fillet of beef ‘kushi-katsu’; sesame seaweed salad; and Japanese A4 wagyu 100g striploin; alongside an excellent selection of handmade nigiri, sashimi and temaki.
157 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, W11 2RS
Tokii, Marble Arch
Within Mayfair’s Prince Akatoki hotel, this restaurant specialises in Japanese-British fusion dishes. A great option for date night, the restaurant itself is dimly lit, while staff serve delicate plates of sashimi on ice, sushi and small plates from the grill like miso caramel chicken wings, pork belly teriyaki skewers and yuzu miso salmon bites. In addition to the restaurant’s grade A5 wagyu beef, diners can choose from the chef’s selection of sushi, or order sashimi and nigiri by the piece, including seabass, scallop, prawn and mackerel, topped with quail’s egg yolks or crispy onions.
50 Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, W1H 7FD
Taka serves a small plate-led menu, focusing on hot and grilled dishes and sushi. Sharers include a yakitori omakase – a whole chicken broken down and grilled over hot coals to create a complete nose-to-tail eating experience. The selection of sushi focuses on quirky adaptations of long-standing favourites, such as kagoshima A5 wagyu sukiyaki with onsen eggs, and popcorn shrimp with daikon salad.
109 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone, W1U 4RX
The second restaurant from the team behind Taka, Maru offers diners an immersive experience, serving a 20-course farm-to-table tasting menu, presented omakase style to guests seated around an intimate counter. Maruyama previously worked in Tokyo, as well as at Nobu, Beaverbrook and Taka, and takes the omakase principle to the next level, with the chefs behind the counter serving all aspects of the meal to their guests, including the drinks, which they also make. The menu combines British ingredients with classical training and techniques, and changes daily.
18 Shepherd Market, Mayfair, W1J 7QH
Last year, Temaki launched in Brixton Village’s Market Row, with a menu focusing on its Japanese namesake – handrolls. The lively bar features pared-back oak interiors and concrete flooring around a central communal chef's counter, set low and flat with nothing to divide the chefs and their guests. The chefs wrap fresh cuts of the finest sushi-grade fish – from tuna to ‘unagi’ eel and marinated salmon – in vinegared red rice and a crisp piece of seaweed, handing it directly to guests across the counter. The menu also offers a concise selection of small plates to accompany the handrolls, including toro sashimi with smoked salt and buckwheat and salmon skin crisps with chilli and salt.
12 Market Row, Brixton, SW9 8LB
Koji’s at-home boxes became a lockdown treat for many across south-west London. Now, the Fulham restaurant is open again and serving high-grade sushi in its dimly-lit dining room. Customers can look forward to the likes of Japanese-style fried chicken, crispy rice with spicy tuna, yuzu squid and kitchen signatures such as creamy rock ’n’ roll shrimp and black miso cod. There’s a great selection of wine and fizz, as well as sake and Japanese beer.
58 New Kings Road, Fulham, SW6 4LS
Issho-Ni, Bethnal Green
If you’re in east London, this neighbourhood restaurant and cocktail bar is one to know. Issho-Ni means ‘together with’. Here, it’s all about catching up with friends over sharing plates, sake and cocktails like the ‘Shisorita’ (tequila, mezcal, shiso, agave, yuzu and lime). Build your own sushi bento box for a weekday lunch, or book in for bottomless brunch, which includes unlimited sashimi and maki rolls, followed by larger dishes like wagyu steak, katsu curry and salmon teriyaki.
185 Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, E2 6AB
This Japanese restaurant is known for putting modern twists on traditional, home-cooked dishes. The menu severs all the usual suspects – think melt-in-the-mouth sashimi; piping-hot karage (fried chicken); and succulent charred pork skewers – alongside fresh, inventive salads. Interiors-wise, it’s like a Pinterest board come to life, with brushed gold countertops, untreated wooden stools and delicate foliage on the tables.
144 Clarence Road, Clapton, E5 8EA