Sushi cravings aren’t something that should be taken lightly. Unlike your need for chocolate cake which can be satisfied by eating a mini roll with your eyes closed, when you start seeing fatty tuna and seared salmon belly in your sleep, there’s really no option but to get some sushi in your system. And when that time inevitably comes, this list of London restaurants will point you in the direction. From affordable tempura maki, to an 18-course omakase that will probably change your life - it’s all here.
When you’re looking for some high quality sushi, you should head to Sumi. The second restaurant by chef Endo, this Westbourne Grove spot is more down-to-earth than his eighth-floor omakase counter in White City, with a calming interior and a covered front terrace offering a mix of big sharing tables and tables for two. Despite being a lot more lowkey, the sushi is still the same sky-high standard, and with a small-ish à la carte menu of main dishes like mushroom gohan, and a sushi menu of nigiri, sashimi, and hand rolls, you can’t really go wrong. The nigiri is exceptional, and if you’re not in the mood to spend £100+ on lunch, then stick to the raw fish and steer clear of the ‘main’ section.
If you happen to meet us in ten years time and discover that our firstborn is called ‘double crab roll’ then please know that Dinings is to blame. A serious sushi restaurant inside a Georgian townhouse, you’ll find their sushi counter shoehorned into what was once simply a casual hallway. As you might have guessed, it’s quite a ‘snug’ situation but it’s entirely worth overcoming any claustrophobia for their excellent sushi classics and fun modern creations. Expect spicy akami tuna rolls, their signature sea bass carpaccio, and a big bill if you don’t opt for one of their daytime lunch deals.
You’ll find this neighbourhood spot on the corner of Merton Hall Road, and if the ceiling to floor glass windows and sleek tables don’t pique your interest, then a glance at their crunchy salmon roll should do the trick. This spot has options for everyone, from gyoza and pumpkin teriyaki udon to sashimi and nigiri. The sushi rolls are great, especially the urumaki, and with things like crispy prawn tempura and spider rolls, their huge menu has lots to choose from.
If you’re near Great Portland Street - or even if you’re not - you should eat the sushi at this Fitzrovia spot. It’s got what we like to call the holy grail of sushi: high-quality, affordable, and exciting. The sushi and sashimi are solid, and though the toppings can get a little theatrical, it doesn’t take away from the quality. The omakase starts from £14.80 for 6 pieces, making it some of the best value sushi of this quality that you’ll get in London.
This sleek Japanese restaurant in St James’s has high ceilings, bamboo architecture, and a spicy maguro maki that gives us butterflies. In terms of quality and presentation, it’s got it all. So if you’re looking to impress a date, a client, or the person who gave you life, you can do that here. We’d recommend going for a bento box, or the ‘maki selection’ for the best value. And we know you’re here for the sushi, but you’re going to want to get involved with the ebi tempura too. Trust us.
Sushi Heads is a teeny, tiny Japanese shop and takeaway counter that’s hidden on Phillip Lane. When you first walk in you’ll see a couple of freezers packed full of frozen dumplings, an array of bottled sauces, a cute cartoon sushi mural, and a couple of Furbys whose existence we choose not to question. You’ll probably spend a small fortune on Japanese cards, custard dorayaki, and chilli garlic kombu oil alongside your sushi order here, but that’s just the risk you have to take. Despite being so small they’ve got everything from donburi to nigiri to choose from, but it’s the katsu ebu futomaki that we’re really into. That being said, you can’t go wrong with a classic spicy tuna roll or a little salmon sashimi either.
This small Japanese grocery store at the bottom of Muswell Hill has all the frozen dumplings, sauces, sake, and Hello Panda packets you need, but they’ve also got a bustling team of sushi chefs who are lowkey preparing some of the best takeaway raw fish in north London. They’ve got the futomaki, uramaki, and hosomaki options you know and love, but it’s really the nigiri and sashimi options you should lead with. The yellowtail, sea bream, sea bass, and fatty tuna is always both faultless and beautifully presented.
How long has it been since you’ve been fed? No, we don’t mean since you’ve last eaten. We mean been fed. Well at this eighth floor 16-seat omakase restaurant in White City, you will be hand-fed. Well, hand-to-hand fed. And you will savour every bite. Not just because Endo (the head chef) is stood in front of you peering into your soul after placing fatty tuna wrapped in nori in the palm of your hand, but because the food is excellent. Whether you opt for the eight or ten-course omakase lunch or the £180 18-course dinner, it will be worth it, because this is probably the best sushi experience you can get in London.
If you’re a sushi purist then you may want to skip ahead or be prepared to get some strong feelings and Arthur-clenched-fists when you see things like sushi topped with barbecue sauce. But bear with us. Because the maki rolls at this Japanese/Danish influenced spot in Covent Garden are fresh and exciting. All the makis are solid, but we’d go for that barbecue sauce number, AKA Hell’s Kitchen, as well as ebi panko, and spicy tuna. And some extra spicy mayo for good measure.
“You just can’t get good sushi in London without paying a fortune,” you say, whilst eating your third free tester from the Waitrose sushi counter. Oh ye of little faith. We’d like to introduce you to Pham Sushi, a certified mid-price point Japanese restaurant that serves really great sushi. We’re talking under a fiver for two pieces of salmon sashimi or £18 for their deluxe 16-piece sushi set. The space is very City slick with Japanese touches and you pretty much can’t go wrong with a date night dinner here.
At Ikeda there’s a personal note from Paul Simon by the toilets. There’s one from Steven Spielberg (and other celebrities) too. Fergus Henderson says it’s one of his favourite restaurants in London. But those aren’t reasons to go to this old school Japanese spot in Mayfair. The sushi and sashimi is. Ikeda’s supreme assortments are just that. Each one comes with a mix of fatty to very fatty tuna, yellowtail, octopus, and more. It’s delicious, high-quality fish that melts away until you’re mourning it. And, importantly, the rice is also perfect. Warm and with a touch of vinegar, you’ll want to get a hand roll packed with the stuff. It’s worth knowing that Ikeda is expensive. But, it’s also very worthwhile.
We all love Kensington. The museums, Hyde Park, that pretty street that you aren’t allowed to take pictures of. But we’ve got another reason for you to love it: Yashin Sushi. Why does this restaurant deserve your precious love? Because it’s serving some excellent and creative sushi using high-quality fish topped with things like yuzu salt, edible flowers, parmesan, truffle, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Kibou is the kind of sushi bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Case in point: their motto is ‘sashimi over to our place’. Raw fish jokes aside, this big slick Japanese restaurant in Battersea serves some great rolls. It’s their chunky signature futomaki rolls that should be on your radar - and on your table - with top combos like soft shell crab tempura with sriracha mayo and our personal favourite, the panko-packed salmon volcano roll. Although this definitely isn’t the place for anyone looking for an epiphany over the quality of their hamachi, Kibou is perfect for a big round of sushi with a big group of mates who all appreciate the feelgood factor of a sashimi pun and comfy velvet banquette seating.
You could walk past this tiny spot on Merton Road five times before realising that this low-key restaurant is home to some of the best sushi you can get in SW London. It’s a small restaurant with an intimate feel, and a menu of nigiri, sashimi, maki, and small plates. The fish is excellent, and the spicy tuna and shrimp tempura maki are some of the best we’ve had in London. .
This popular walk-in only restaurant does the usual sushi, sashimi, temaki, and maki rolls. They serve lunch time sushi sets all under £8. But the dim lighting and horigotatsu (sunken) seating make it more of a fun weekday date night situation, and the perfect place to eat some decent, affordable sushi in central. And whilst the Dozo rolls can be quite fun, we’d opt for the soft shell crab and ebi tempura maki rolls instead.
Someone wise once said the words ‘everybody makes mistakes’. And while that’s true, some mistakes can be avoided. Like the mistake of assuming that this Japanese speciality supermarket/fish wholesaler with locations across London, is nothing more than that. Because the sushi being made fresh at this part supermarket, part sushi bar is top quality. You can get a nigiri, sashimi, or maki set that would cost you way more at one of the more expensive restaurants, and while the interior’s nothing special, it’s an excellent call for takeout or a quick sushi fix.
Charco Charco 炭牛
If you’re of the opinion that sushi should always come with its own little party hat made out of fried fish then you’ll like Charco Charco. Although this cheerful cherry-blossom packed restaurant specialises in yakiniku, we’d definitely recommend that you start your Japanese BBQ experience here with a round of their sushi. Despite requiring a little jaw gymnastics, their thick uni crab roll is a highlight thanks to all that sweet crunch factor and there’s also plenty of classic sashimi and affordable bento boxes to choose from. As you’d expect from a BBQ restaurant, the real standout here is the wagyu aburi maki roll which is both delicious and Exhibit A in our upcoming thesis All The Reasons You Should Be Eating More Meaty Sushi.
Kurumaya is one of those restaurants that makes you feel like you’ve just been let in on a juicy little secret. Why? Because you could walk past this tiny sushi bar 50 times without realising it’s there. It’s just a five minute walk from the Barbican, and of all the Japanese classics they serve, we’d definitely recommend getting involved in some of their katsu curry as well as the temaki sushi set. The dishes here tend to fall into the ‘very nice’ category - none of it will make you scream “I will name my firstborn after this nigiri!” - but when you’re in the mood for some affordable maki it’s just the place. By the way, they do takeaway too.
Although this spot is just off Oxford Street, it’s not the kind of place you head to after a long day of shopping. This Japanese restaurant and terrace bar is more the kind of place you plan your visit around. Their à la carte menu has a selection of sashimi, platters, and maki rolls. And although you can’t go wrong with any of the sushi here, there are some that are more memorable than others. The tuna and spicy tabiko, soft-shell crab tempura, and prawn tempura and scallop are all excellent. And for £18 a roll, you’re going to want to remember it.
You remember Yashin Sushi? Yeah, well meet sister restaurant, Yashin Ocean House. It’s bigger, with a longer menu, and with some newer things on that menu, like lobster sitting over dry ice, and candy floss over wagyu beef. But you’re here for the sushi, and the same high-quality sushi with interesting toppings like truffle or caviar makes it a great spot for a group meal or a fun sushi date.
This tiny sushi counter in Clerkenwell only seats seven guests at a time which makes it somewhat difficult to get a reservation. But that shouldn’t stop you, because it’s well worth the effort. There are two seatings every night and the sushi is made by a single chef behind the counter. All you really need to know is that the fish is never less than outstanding, and everything, from the yellowtail sushi, to extravagant pieces of king crab is excellent and well worth the £95 price tag.
Our second favourite thing to do in Knightsbridge, after leaving Harrods empty handed, is visiting this little Japanese spot on Beauchamp Place where you can get some seriously good sushi. The menu also has a range of Japanese classics, from tempura, to udon noodles, and a signature baby spinach and spicy prawn salad which you should definitely get involved in. The inside out rolls are all excellent, as are the Chisou rolls, and if you’re struggling to choose just know that the soft shell crab and hot sake maki should 100% be on your table. As can be expected from the location, it’s not cheap, but come in a small group, order a bunch of sushi rolls, some noodles, and that salad, and you can leave just £30 lighter.
Sometimes eating sushi is about spending three gleeful hours shedding tears over a perfect piece of sashimi. And sometimes it’s about grabbing some quickfire, affordable maki in under ten minutes. Bento Ramen falls into the latter. This go-go-go Camden spot does a bit of everything, but you’re here for their sushi platters. Go for the simple crab and avocado rainbow rolls, and the crunchy tempura-packed golden tiger maki is worth a try if you’re after something a bit different.
If low-key, quick-in-quick-out sushi is what you’re after, you’ll be hard pressed to find better quality sushi in this part of central than Ohisama’s. This utilitarian spot has tables downstairs, but upstairs is almost entirely counter seating, and that’s where you want to be. If you go for one of the excellent omakase options, dinner will easily end up costing you £70 or more, but we tend to go for one of the lower priced sushi or sashimi sets which should be more than enough if you’re not quite up for making a night of it.