The best Japanese restaurants in London all share the same qualities: great food, great design and innovation in every roll


The pinnacle in modern Japanese cuisine from legendary German chef Rainer Becker with sashimi and sushi to the fore as well as the informal izakaya elements of grill, cocktails, drinking, carousing. OK, not so much carousing in Knightsbridge, but roasted lobster and green chilli, barley miso marinated baby chicken oven-roasted on cedar wood, grilled seabass with chilli-ginger dressing will put you in a celebratory mood.


And you thought Black Axe Mangal was a squeeze: the Araki manages seats for nine – although in two sittings – as every night is chef’s table night as oyakata (sushi master) Araki takes the 300 quid a head gathering through his 2 Michelin-starred greatest hits (abalone and caviar). Rarefied and mesmerising.

Oliver MakiOliver Maki

There’s unbelievable sushi all over London now that it has finally worked out how to be the best food city in the world. But for something a little different Oliver Maki in Soho is having a plum at twisting it ever so slightly (see shrimp taco). Those who enjoy Sydney sushi might like the fresh oysters with pickles and non-traditional sauces. And the iPads menus …


In the noughties sushi-sashimi got really creative, from California to Sydney, sushi chefs came under increasing pressure to jazz it up a bit, in no small part inspired by the global rep of the likes of Nobu. Dinings picks up on that theme with Scottish salmon zuke style with caramlised onion soy jam, or turbot topped with tosazu jelly and fresh truffle. The Izakaya inspiration means a grill is in place to deliver black cod and char-grilled vegetables too.

Sake No Hana

The Japanese sense of design is world famous and SNH takes full advantage with bamboo and metal stylings to create a modern, serene air with a dining experience to match: wagyu sashimi, tuna tartare with tobiko and caviar, and a wide range of sakes and whiskies should do it …