Long before London ever got in on the act, sushi making was a revered art in its origin country of Japan. Perhaps 30 or so years ago, London finally caught up to speed and since then, more sushi restaurants have opened in the capital than you can shake a chopstick at. If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of Japanese restaurants in London, or you’re simply tired of trying supermarket knock-offs of sushi, we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up some of the best sushi London has on its doorstep, so book a table today and let the good times roll.
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi Canary Wharf, Chelsea, Covent Garden, Greenwich, Victoria and Wimbledon
Why: Having grown from a debut London site in Covent Garden to a clutch of restaurants across the capital (Canary Wharf, Chelsea, Greenwich, Victoria, Wimbledon) Sticks ‘n’ Sushi has won over Londoners with its fast-paced and fun menu. As the name suggests, the best orders here are the sushi rolls and the ‘sticks’ (grilled yakitori dishes served on skewers): the former includes tightly-packed maki rolls filled with the likes of salmon and avocado, spicy tuna and tempura shrimp.
Where: 1 Crossrail Place, E14 5AR; 113-115 King's Road, SW3 4NT; 11 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8PY; 1 Nelson Road, SE10 9JB; Unit 3-5, 3 Sir Milton Square, SW1E 5EB; 58 Wimbledon Hill Road, SW19 7PA
The Araki, Mayfair
Why: It would be difficult to put together a list of London’s best sushi without including The Araki. The restaurant is mighty in status (it boasts three Michelin stars), but tiny in size, accommodating just ten diners at any one time. Eating here will set you back an eye-watering £310, but if you can afford it, you’ll be rewarded by watching Marty Lau do his thing, a successor (four years in the making) and right hand man of sushi master Mitsuhiro Araki – a truly once in a lifetime dining experience.
Where: 12 New Burlington Street, W1S 3BH
Nobu Berkeley Street, London and Shoreditch
Why: With shout-outs in Drake songs and near daily Kardashian sightings, Nobu has made quite the name for itself around the world. Its three London sites (Berkeley Street, London and Shoreditch) are all impossibly glamorous and very much known as a place to see and be seen. On the menu, expect to find classic sushi combinations such as a soft shell crab roll and a 'California' (avocado and crab), while sake lovers can sip on a high-end brand which is exclusively served at Nobu’s parade of restaurants.
Where: 15 Berkeley Street, W1J 8DY; 19 Old Park Lane, W1K 1LB; 10-50 Willow Street, EC2A 4BH
Sumosan Twiga, Knightsbridge
Why: You’ll usually find a Ferrari parked up outside the entrance to this Knightsbridge hotspot, while the weekend party brunch often rumbles on until the wee hours. If you’re visiting for lunch or dinner though, you’ll be greeted by a glamorous and sophisticated dining room, which matches the menu of luxe comfort food (Sumosan Twiga’s USP is that it serves both a Japanese and Italian menu). The deliciously decadent ‘billionaire rolls’ are our top pick, which arrive crowned with truffle and Wagyu beef.
Where: 165 Sloane Street, SW1X 9QB
Why: It’s notoriously hard for restaurants to have longevity, but having being opened for almost two decades and still pulling in the crowds, we think Zuma has cracked it. Zuma London, and its sibling sites around the globe, still pulls in hordes of well-heeled sushi lovers, with most guests alleviating the burden of choice by ordering the chef’s sushi selection. That means your plate could be filled with the likes of soft shell crab pepped up with chilli mayonnaise or tuna slathered with homemade chilli miso and yuzu tobiko.
Where: 5 Raphael Street, SW7 1DL
Chotto Matte, Soho
Why: Eating at bright and bold Chotto Matte feels a little like dining in a low-key nightclub, with its neon-splashed walls and slick soundtrack. The food here comes with just as much bravado as the interiors, so expect to see sushi platters which are fanned out on funky plates, while the signature seabass and salmon-topped Sato maki rolls (named after the head chef) are flambéed with a blowtorch at the table.
Where: 11-13 Frith Street, W1D 4RB
Sushisamba, City and Covent Garden
Why: Whether it’s the jaw-dropping views from Heron Tower, or the lush greenery that envelopes the bar in Covent Garden, both of Sushisamba’s London locations are designed to be a treat for the eyes. Luckily, the menu is just as tempting, serving up dishes which blend the cuisines of Peru, Japan and Brazil. From the sushi selection, top picks include the El Topo, which sees salmon nigiri finished off with jalapeno and melted mozzarella.
Where: 110 Bishopsgate (38-39th floor), EC2N 4AY; Opera Terrace, The Piazza, WC2E 8RF
Roka Aldwych, Canary Wharf, Charlotte Street and Mayfair
Why: Originally a spin-off of Zuma, Roka has gone on to become a foodie favourite in its own right, now boasting four sites across the capital (Aldwych, Canary Wharf, Charlotte Street and Mayfair). Here, expect to dine on prettily presented plates which pack a punch – our favourites include the wagyu tempura maki and the spicy yellowfin tuna, given extra edge via a smattering of tempura flakes. If you’re visiting on the weekend, the lively Han Setto Brunch is a must-try.
Where: 71 Aldwych, WC2B 4HN; 4 Park Pavilion, 40 Canada Square, E14 5FW; 37 Charlotte Street, W1T 1RR; 30 North Audley Street, W1K 6ZF
Hot Stone, Islington
Why: While so many of London’s great Japanese restaurants reside in the glitzy likes of Mayfair and Chelsea, this Islington spot proves it’s good enough to be up there with the best of them. Stripped back, classically Japanese interiors speak to the menu of traditional dishes (Hot Stone is one of few restaurants that serves 100% fresh Japanese wasabi), including the likes of crunchy eel and seared butterfish rolls.
Where: 9 Chapel Market, London, N1 9EZ
Sake No Hana, St James’s
Why: A mix of bamboo-clad walls and black leather chairs, Sake No Hana is one of London’s most popular places to eat sushi, and it’s easy to see why. The menu here features all of the classics, but we’re particularly fond of the unabashed decadence of some of its offering – wagyu beef sushi with sea urchin, caviar and fresh truffle, anyone? Head here on the weekend to enjoy a generous seven-course lunch as part of Sake No Hana’s Sushi Saturdays.
Where: 23 St James's Street, SW1A 1HA
Yashin Sushi, Kensington
Why: An offshoot of Chelsea’s Yashin Ocean House, experimental Yashin Sushi is dedicated entirely to the art of sushi making. Guests can dine à la carte or opt to try the tasting menu, with both menus filled with innovative takes on sushi – think yasai maki rolls with asparagus tempura, or an eel and avocado variety. We’d also recommend taking the chefs’ lead when it comes to soy sauce – they apply it cautiously, ensuring that it doesn’t overpower the other flavours at play.
Where: 117-119 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3RN
Dinings SW3, Chelsea
Why: It’s often said that sequels are never as good as the original, but this SW3 outpost of Marylebone’s Dinings appears to buck the trend, with a more spacious dining room and an accomplished menu. Luxe rolls come topped with the likes of wagyu beef and truffle, but traditionalists might prefer the purer flavours of smoked eel with yuzu or yellowtail topped with mustard.
Where: Walton House, Lennox Garden Mews, SW3 2JH
Inko Nito, Soho
Why: Found in bustling Soho, Inko Nito is a refreshingly relaxed Japanese restaurant amongst London’s more exclusive offerings (although that’s not to say prices are pedestrian). The restaurant is best known for the dishes it serves from the central robata grill, but we’d argue that the sushi selection is worth a punt too. Top shouts include The OTT (spicy tuna, yuzu mayonnaise, chives) and The KFC; Korean-fried cauliflower with chilli sauce and sesame.
Where: 55 Broadwick Street, W1F 9QS
Why: It’s not a case of style over substance at this smart Japanese, as luckily Sakagura has them both. Sushi platters here are presented with real pizazz, decorated with edible flowers and carved vegetables, while on your plate you can expect to find fun takes on sushi, including the Sunshine Roll: yellowtail sashimi in an inside-out tempura flake roll, topped with wasabi dust and a yuzu garlic mayonnaise dressing.
Where: 8 Heddon Street, W1B 4BS
If your love of Japanese food isn’t just limited to sushi, take a look at our pick of the best Japanese restaurants in London.