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London sushi? What are your favourites?

Personally I trek all the way from Central London to Golders Green to eat at Cafe Japan and have done for some time. Their Yellow Tail must surely be the best fish bargain in London. The grilled eel is also sublime.

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  1. There are some excellent places heading east.

    I am a fan of Matsuri on Holborn although it is nosebleed inducingly expensive.

    Tajima -Tei on Leather Lane is very good and a haunt for japanese ex pats.

    Of more recent places, Saki in Smithfield is very good indeed


    Blossom was one of my favourites in Hoxton Sq although I have not been since it moved to City point. If the quality is up to that in the post below it will be worth a visit


    More centrally, for a simple lunch, I still like Kulu Kulu on Brewer st although Kai Ten sushi is not my preferred choice


    1. Yes, I like Kula Kula and often go there for Sat lunch, I particularly love the way they do the egg-plant puree (whatever its called)

      Blossom was very good, they moved very suddenly and I have yet to visit their new location.

      Has anyone been to the Ginnan on Roseberry Avenue?

      1. In my neighb Inaho on Hereford road Notting Hill/Bayswater.

        Only can serve 20 to 25 at a time but always worth it for solid sushi & japanese dishes. Never anything fancy just good ingredients & decent prices.

        I love the salmon skin maki, tuna tatake, atsuage tofu, and many other dishes here.


        1. How is Ikeda on Brook St these days?

          A long time ago I lived in London for two years. There were only about 4 Japanese restaurants in London and only one had good sushi, actually great sushi and that was Ikeda. Really samll sushi bar in the back. I know the chef is long gone and chef is whole game.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sushiman

            The current sushiya at Ikeda has been there for about 10 years. It is very good, by London standards, and is very expensive, but high quality, with a fairly narrow selection of very good fish. One of my favourites in London.

            There is a place in Ealing called Sushi-hiro which is good and quite cheap, and very "authentic" -- completely characteristic characterless sushi bar like many in Japan. Worth going to if you are price sensitive.

          2. I just thought I would give Pham Sushi in Whitecross Street (another scruffy inner London street market that is gradually reinventing itself) a mention.

            There must have been sushi delegation in town because this place was packed to the gunnels, with a good showing of Japanese, which has to be a good sign.

            The sushi and sashimi were extremely good, the salmon negiri so delicious I had to have more. Then we tried some of their specialities. The miso blackened cod was exceptionally beautiful, one of the most delicious pieces of fish I have eaten for many years. The grilled eel over rice was suberb too.

            As we left, the waitress apologised for being so busy.

            With saki and beers the bill came to just over £60, very good value.

            1. I too am a big Pham fan...love the crunchy tuna roll. I was in there last week and somebody had ordered about 8 crunchy tuna rolls for delivery, all neatly lined up in an a takeaway plastic container. This one time, they put me at the table close to the restroom and well, I didn't like that at all. Stinky. And this other time, they were kinda rude when they turned me away at lunch without a booking. But I still love them.

              I also like Kulu Kulu in Covent Garden for conveyor belt sushi. Like the help-yourself-green-tea. The people that work there don't look very Japanese, but they still do a very nice sashimi for not so much.

              4 Replies
              1. re: kristainlondon

                They (Kulu Kulu) have a branch in Covent Garden now? Where abouts is it? I usually go to their branch in Brewer St in Soho.

                1. re: loobcom

                  went to kulu kulu last night again. must say it's decidedly gone downhill in recent years. there's less choice of sushi (mainly salmon) and the sushi is not as generous as it used to be. To be honest i prefered the non-sushi dishes like the nasu-bi (aubergine), kara-age, teriyaki chicken and agedashi-dofu.

                  1. re: foreignmuck

                    I have been to Pham a few times as I live so close, but I have never found it worth writing home about. The last time, I have to say, was actively noxious

                    I'd rather spend the extra money and go to Saki in Smithfield or the sushi bar at Matsuri in Holborn.


                    1. re: Simon Majumdar

                      Yes agreed on Saki a definite thumbs up. I am a New York based Londoner who has been living Stateside for the last 18 months. NY definitely has the clear edge on London where sushi/Japanese restaurants are concerned (although imo London compares more than favourably for almost all other cuisines) but places like Saki make me think that London is making strides where sushi/japanese/sake bars are concerned. I was impressed by the fish quality (uni from California amongst other things), the fish piece to rice bed size ratio and the sake selection. And the [lunchtime prices] were reasonable enough too.

                      During a week spent in London last month, I also went to Cafe Japan and Defune. Cafe Japan is an old favourite as I spent many years living in NW London - I still like the whole set up, the local vibe, the staff etc but I would definitely rank it below Saki in terms of food quality. My favourite item there remains the cooked salmon/tuna/yellowtail sushi roll with spicy mayo. Surprisingly Defune ranked bottom of the three in terms of food although again I liked the set up and enjoyed sitting at the street level sushi counter and interacting with the chefs. Problem was that the fish, whilst clearly fresh, was somewhat flavourless and there wasn't a particularly esoteric selection, something you might reasonably expect from a high end sushi place. Plus there was a pathetic sake list. And all for high Marylebone prices, I'm not sure that I would hurry back.

                      From London times gone by, I'm also a fan of Sushi Say in Willesden, Hiro in Ealing and Ribon in St Pauls but it's been a while since I went to any of them. Friends whose food opinions I respect recommend Kiku and Mitsukoshi but again I haven't been. A former Japanese colleague rated Edokko very highly but I was disappointed on my one visit there. Matsuri Holborn, I only tried once but will try again based upon Simon's recommendation. Blossom too. Pham had its moments but overall it was nothing more than an ersatz Nobu run by very Vietnamese folks [albeit very pleasant folks].

                      I also used to highly rate the sushi counters in (1) Selfridge's Food Hall and (2) the Japanese supermarket in Yaohan Plaza, Colindale. Great for getting sushi grade fish for home prepared sashimi salads.

              2. Our favourite sushi in London is by Atari-Ya. We used to trek up to their shop in Fortune Green and sit at the small counter. Super-fresh sushi for ~£1/piece. Heaven. They have recently opened a branch on James St. Same excellent quality and much more convenient. www.atariya.co.uk

                1. Sushi hiro and Okiware in Ealing are both worth a visit. Shshi Hiro is sushi and sashimi only, but very good quality. The problem with hiro is that they only take cash payment and the whole menu is in Japanese - also limited range but high quality food. Okiware does good sushi and sashimi (a wide range and high quality fish) as well as a range of soups, rice and noodle dishes and tempura - very friendly staff too. More central to London, other than the obvious (Nobu et al), Kiku in mayfair is very good indeed. Varied menu, excellent fish, well trained chefs and a fantastic value set lunch at £13.50 for teriyaki chicken, miso soup, assorted tempura, assorted sushi and a fruit salad for desert.

                  1. Yoshino in Picadilly is my favourite. Very authentic, quite quiet and reasonably priced (bentos and assortments) but great quality and great service. If you feel flush, splurging at the sushi bar is a real treat.

                    The wife and I filled to bursting, including beer and service for £50 this weekend and we've been back many times and it's never failed to impress us.

                    1. I had an excellent meal at Matsuri (Mayfair branch) last week

                      Primarily it is a Teppan-yaki place, but we also tried plates of the sushi, sashimi and tempura all of which were very good.

                      Not cheap ( about £300 for three) but, given the location and quality, worth trying



                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Simon Majumdar

                        Definitely not cheap and the number of London eateries where GBP 100 per diner can comfortably be spent now startles me so much so that I am starting to accept the London price gripes of the New Yorkers in whose city I live.

                        On my last London visit in November, we had a GBP 100 per person dinner at Alloro on Albemarle Street. Fair enough, white truffles were involved so a GBP 20 supplement per person but the bill was still significantly over and above what I would have expected to pay for a meal of that quality - thank God in that case for the expense account.

                        Perhaps what's lost on our New York brethren is the fact that there is plenty of value eating to be had in London but it's that bit harder to find than in Manhattan and it certainly ain't to be found in Mayfair, Kensington, Chelsea, Notting Hill and the like!

                      2. Cafe Japan in Golders Green in NW London may not have the surroundings but its food is first class and it is really good value . its always full and happy faces great you and the other regulars .

                        Hi Sushi next door ( and in Hampstead ) is nice but not as authentic .

                        Jun Kichi is nice in Hampstead , has a good atmosphere but is more expensive .

                        i went to Yuzu a year or so ago in West Hampstead and was impressed on the contemporary japanese with a twist , but having gone back there a few months back its gone downhill .

                        I have mixed feelings about Sushi Say in Willesden which is good but Cafe Japan gets my vote every time .

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: stevenjf

                          I think that you sum up the Japanese/sushi scene for NW3/NW6 etc well and I am a fan of Cafe Japan for all the reasons that you give - in utopia, every neighbourhood would have an abundance of places like that. I think that Taro on Finchley Road (for grill and for sushi) and Natural Natural and Atari Ya (for raw materials) are also noteworthy in the neighbourhood. On the downside, I heard a nasty rumour a few days ago that Yaohan Plaza in Colindale is set to shut down and be re-developed as flats. Such is the way of the world....

                          As a sushi addict who is considering moving back to London later this year/early next, I just wish that there were a couple of sushi counters in the city where I could have piece by piece omakase with an extensive range of fish types and some sushi sensei magic and creativity. I'm sure that such places will arrive in due course but for the moment London seems to have gone down the "Japanese food is trendy/lounge+restaurant" route which is a little bit disappointing.