The 10 Best Japanese restaurants in London in 2024

by Best-Japanese Team
11 comments
Tenkazu Udon Set Koya City

Looking for authentic Japanese cuisine? With all the Japanese restaurants in London, navigating through all the options is no easy task. Having lived for over a decade in Japan, we took up the challenge of visiting and then curating a list of the best Japanese restaurants in London that don’t break the bank. 

What you’ll find on this list are restaurants that Japanese expats and families frequent and foodie friends craving Japanese food love. While some may infuse local ingredients, they all pay homage to Japanese flavours and culinary traditions, and are careful to elevate the dining experience with real Omotenashi hospitality.

Whether you’re craving the comforting warmth of a traditional izakaya or the delicate artistry of a sushi bar, our selection will satisfy every palate and preference. Join us as we embark on a gastronomic journey where each bite evokes memories of Japan and leaves you yearning for more! Here’s our round up of the top 10 Japanese restaurants in London originally written in 2022. We introduce the new top 10 for 2024 at the end, and will be fully updating this article in the next seven days.

Kanada-ya Ramen – Best Tonkotsu in London

Kanada-ya Tonkotsu Ramen London - Top 10 Japanese Restaurants in London

Where can you eat the best Ramen in London? Well there are many who would say Kanada-ya wins this title and it certainly makes the list for the Top 10 Japanese restaurants in town. It specialises in Tonkotsu ramen and combinations of pork and corn-fed chicken broths along with a truffle ramen! There is also a vegetarian ramen option with a broth made of Shiitake mushroom and porcini-soya milk.

On our visit, we were equally impressed with the excellent presentation of the toppings and the distinctive aroma rising from the bowl. The Tonkotsu ramen comes with generous but not overbearing slices of Chashu (braised pork belly), chopped spring onions and Kikurage (wood ear) mushrooms.

The broth at Kanada-ya? Exceptional. Simmered for a staggering 18 hours with pork bones, it boasts a richness and depth that truly sets it apart. For us, it encapsulates the authentic Tonkotsu flavor perfectly. Paired with their meticulously crafted kata-men noodles made from a specific type of wheat flour, every slurp is a symphony of flavors and textures. It speaks volumes when you find yourself eagerly finishing every last drop of broth and still yearning for more – an experience we wholeheartedly shared. Without hesitation, we crown Kanada-ya Ramen (Panton Street branch) as the champion of Tonkotsu Ramen in London.

Jinkichi – Japanese Izakaya with Robata Yakitori

Jinkichi Izakaya Sashimi

Jinkichi is an authentic family-run Izakaya in Hampstead that sits comfortably in the mid-level range. It’s a place where you can eat incredible Japanese food at reasonable prices and spend an evening with friends that you’ll even reminisce about years later.

Once you step inside, you’ll find a cozy and small interior waiting for you. Jinkichi is extremely popular so it’s unlikely that you can successfully attempt a walk-in even mid-week. Instead be good to yourself, and book seats on the ground floor. You can either get counter seats where you can see the skills of the chefs on show in the open kitchen, or get a table behind. We were lucky to get a table next to the Ikebana (arranged flower) alcove. If you are looking for a real Izakaya atmosphere in London, Jinkichi is where you can find it.

Jinkichi’s robata charcoal grill means you can enjoy a good variety of Yakitori (BBQ skewer) plates. This includes popular items like Tsukune and Tebasaki and Ox tongue and Chicken Gizzards for the more adventurous. Even Yakitori-ya regulars hoping for grilled chicken skin or liver are accommodated. For the non-meat diners, you’ll be happy to know Shiitake Mushrooms, Asparagus, and Shishito pepper are on the menu too. Full review can be read here.

Cocoro

Cocoro Japanese Restaurant Grilled Eel

Where do Japanese expats go to eat Japanese food in London? Cocoro has remained a firm favourite for many since it opened in 2006. You’ll often see groups of Japanese work colleagues or families in any of the 4 restaurants spread across various locations in central London. We decided to visit their original Marylebone branch first.

When it comes to their menu, Cocoro has a wide selection of traditional Japanese dishes including black cod in miso, chicken teriayaki, or you can try a set menu too. They also have some more fusion based items on the menu such as dragon rolls, or volcano rolls which you can order a la carte. On our visit, I ordered their Tempura Donburi, which is often called “Ten-don” for short. This really was a spectacular dish full of umami flavour which made their prawns, mushrooms and aubergines taste incredible. Cocoro’s tempura was crispy, fresh, and had a great aftertaste.

Cocoro certainly delivered the Japanese experience for us. The food was authentic and the service was excellent. I’d go further to say that the low-key interior decor and the reasonable prices helped seal the deal. We felt completely as if we were back in Japan!

Mugen

Mugen Best Sushi London
Mugen Tokujyo Sushi Set

There are at least a hundred restaurants in London where you can eat sushi. The issue is only a handful serve sushi matching the high standards of Japan at prices we consider reasonable. Often you really have to pay for quality sashimi and sushi sets in this city. At Mugen however, you can eat incredible sushi at a cost that you could agree is fair for London restaurants.

On the Saturday evening we went at the end of July, it was busy but not full and it seemed like a hidden gem for Japanese expats. When we walked in the staff spoke to us in fluent Japanese, and we saw each table was taken up by Japanese coworkers, friends and couples. For almost two hours my friend and I could only hear Japanese conversations around us and we couldn’t believe we were in the centre of London. It was almost like a Japanese oasis in the City.

Mugen’s Tokyujo (superior special set) includes 10 pieces of nigiri and 6 tuna maki rolls. The nigiri neta we ate included salmon, salmon roe, sea bream, toro (fatty tuna), grilled eel, mackerel, scallops and prawn. Although the neta we ate was fresh and tasted incredible perhaps the best or most noticeable aspect was the sushi rice. It was perfect! Sushi chefs say sushi is 90% rice and if you want to try some authentically made sushi served the right way you need to head to Mugen.

You can read the full review here.

Tanakatsu

Tonkatsu Tanakatsu Japanese restaurant London
Tanakatsu Pork Katsu Set

Tanakatsu is a Japanese restaurant in London that specialises in Tonkatsu. The restaurant co-founders wanted to create a place where Japanese expats wanting to eat katsu in London could feel at home. It’s is located in Angel but makes up for being off the beaten path with a truly Japanese minimalist aesthetic.

On our visit, I ordered the Pork Katsu set which is a very generous set that features Tonkatsu, a large piece of prawn katsu and a pumpkin croquette. As with all the Katsu and Teriyaki sets, this comes with a bowl of steamed white rice, Fujin-zuke pickles, and a good quantity of shredded cabbage.  

Their Pork Katsu is the perfect marriage of pork, batter, and evenly applied panko breadcrumbs. The pork is a lean cut that is equally filling without being too heavy, and the soft panko flakes and batter simply melted away in your mouth. The sauce to pour over the Katsu reminded me of a traditional Japanese katsu restaurant too – it was sweet with hints of spices but without being overpowering. 

Tanakatsu is an excellent restaurant if you want to experience authentic Japanese food and see the kind of stylish interior you’d expect in a trendy café or contemporary restaurant in Japan.  

Coco Ichibanya

Coco Ichiban Chicken Katsu Omelette Curry

Coco Ichibanya, or Coco Ichi as it is often called, has two authentic Japanese curry houses located in central London – one near Marble Arch . The restaurant name translates to “here’s the number one” in English, and with over 1400 curry houses across the world, for many fans it’s certainly their number one curry restaurant.

Full review here

WA Cafe

WA Cafe

If you’re missing those delightful cakes you find in Japan, don’t worry WA Cafe has you covered. They have a fantastic selection of Japanese bakery goods too. This includes Shokupan milk bread, Matcha chocolate croissants, nostalgic Melon pan, and recently fruit sandwiches!

Full review here

Tombo

Matcha Ice Cream Tokio Sundae Tombo Cafe

If you’ve seen photos of Hello Kitty matcha lattes or Gudetama udon in London, it’s likely they were taken at Tombo Cafe. The collaboration with Sanrio has led to some fantastic dishes and lattes, and they certainly stand out a mile on Instagram. Tombo Cafe are also obsessed with Japanese green tea. You will see matcha powder forms part of several dishes on the menu, including their famous soft serve ice cream.

The above photo is of their Tokio Sundae which is a matcha soft serve with a mini mochi, azuki red beans, and a monaka wafer. It tastes like a traditional Japanese dessert. The monaka wafer in particular is a very nostalgic touch.

Full review here.

Koya London

Tenkazu Udon Set Koya City

The first Koya restaurant I saw was Koya City right by Cannon Street station although the original restaurant is in Soho. Both boast long queues at lunch, but when we went for mid-week dinner we did not have to wait. Udon is usually a lunchtime dish so you may say this is why, however the restaurant was still busy.

Full review here

Abeno

Abeno Okonomiyaki

If you search for an authentic Japanese Okonomiyaki restaurant in London, Abeno often takes the top spot. It is the world’s first Michelin-listed Okonomiyaki establishment and has been running since 1993 when it opened as the first Okonomiyaki restaurant in Europe. Incidentally the restaurant names comes from Abeno-Ku (ward) in Osaka, where one of the owners hails from.

Full review here

Best Japanese Restaurants in London

Here is our full list of Japanese restaurants (and cafes) in London that we would recommend to Japanese friends and family in the UK. While the criteria for this article is on more casual and reasonable restauarants we will aim in the future to review a few Michelin star Japanese restaurants like Umu in Mayfair or Sushi Kanesaka at 45 Park Lane by Hyde Park. Additionally, we are interested in exploring fine dining and special occasion options such as Sushi Samba in the Heron Tower especially for its panoramic views, Sumi in Notting Hill, and seeing how Nobu London Old Park Lane with its dishes like black miso cod lives up to its reputation.

  • Umu
  • Sushi Kanesaka
  • Nobu London Old Park Lane
  • Roketsu
  • Sumi
  • Sushi Atelier
  • Kanada-ya Ramen
  • Jinkichi
  • Cocoro
  • Mugen
  • Tanakatsu
  • Coco Ichiban
  • WA Cafe
  • Tombo
  • Koya London
  • Abeno
  • Japanese Restaurant Seto
  • Kineya Mugimaru
  • Tokyo Retro
  • Tenmaru
  • Taro Restaurant
  • Pantechnicon
  • Sushi Show
  • Tenshi
  • Hiden Curry
  • Katsute100
  • Monohon Ramen
  • Hachi Japanese Restaurant
  • Marugame Udon
  • Tombo
  • Ippudo Ramen
  • Eat Tokyo Covent Garden

How Do I Make Reservations at These Japanese Restaurants?

To make reservations at these Japanese restaurants in London, simply visit their website or call them directly. However please note that Monohon Ramen and Koya do not accept reservations. In addition, the Convent Garden branch of Kanada-ya does not accept bookings either.

Are Any of These Restaurants Award-Winning or Critically Acclaimed?

Yes, several of these Japanese restaurants are listed in the Michelin guide or in Hardens, and are where the top Japanese chefs in the UK can be found. This includes Daisuke Hayashi, Owner Chef at Roketsu, one of the few Kaiseki Japanese restaurants in London, where you can enjoy locally sourced British ingredients including Cornish blue lobster created with Japanese techniques and presentation.

Best Japanese Restaurants in 2024

Sushi Atelier, Fitzrovia

Sushi Atelier

For sushi lovers, Sushi Atelier in Fitzrovia is a must-visit. This intimate sushi bar offers a phenomenal omakase set based on the freshest ingredients and a diverse range of seafood. Their omakase set is a departure from the traditional Omakase as it comes out on one plate rather than being served individual over the counter, however an advantage of this approach is you get the chance to ask the helpful staff for more information on the special toppings that come with each piece. In particular, the avocado yuzu kosho with sea bream and sour plum with turbo stood out.

From delicate and outstanding pieces of seafood to Wagyu nigiri bursting with flavour, every sushi at the Atelier is a work of art. The skilled chefs here are passionate about their craft and go above and beyond to create a memorable dining experience. Make sure to get a counter seat when you reserve so you can watch the chefs in action, and don’t forget to ask the staff for recommendation on sake or cocktails which are both excellent.


  1. Sushi Atelier – excellent sushi and cocktails
  2. Koya City – loved their Kinako (roasted soy bean) ice cream
  3. Tanakatsu
  4. Mugen
  5. Abeno
  6. Cocoro
  7. Jinkichi
  8. Monohon Ramen
  9. Tokyo Retro
  10. Kanada-ya

Upcoming Reviews

  • Tenmaru – small plates and Lemon Ramen
  • Sushi Atelier – best Omakase experience for sushi restaurants in London (and they have Wagyu Beef sushi)
  • Cafe Japan – popular for the quality of their raw fish and range of seafood (we tried their Dover Sole sushi)
  • Tenshi – selection of sushi rolls, including spicy tuna, fried chicken karaage and vegetarian dishes

This is our list when it comes to the best restaurants for Japanese food in London. However we would love to hear how your experience was if you have visited one of these restaurants. You can find the comment section below and don’t be afraid to give your honest opinion.

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