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Is there good, reasonably priced sushi in London?

  • k

I did search this board, but there weren't many suggestions. Two friends have told me there is no such thing as decent sushi in London, which can't be true. Others say that the only good places are ridiculously expensive. What do y'all think? I could really use some leads!

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  1. I think your friend's information would have been right about five years ago, but, in the last few years many places have opened that are of excellent quality.

    You still have those which will cripple the wallet, but I can suggest

    Saki - Smithfield market


    Also, Tajima Tei on Leather lane is also very good.

    Blossom used to be one of my favourites, but I have not been since it moved from Hoxton Square to City point.


    1. Blossom has moved to city point and is still quite good.

      My personal favourites are still Cafe Japan up in Golders Green where there is a large ex-pat Japanese community. It's well worth the schlepp. Also Sushi-say in Willesden.

      1. I am a long term fan of itsu in Wardour street. It's a covveyer belt affaitr but always really fresh and well made. It can be hard to get a seat at peak times but it's worth it.

        Also a tiny and brilliant place if you're near St James Park/Buckinham Palace is Ichi Riki on a tiny pedestrian street called Strutton Ground. It's just a doorway and down some stairs. You might have to wait but they do great sushi, especially soft shell crab.

        4 Replies
        1. re: j999

          Itsu is pretty terrible in my opinion - the rice is never quite right, and sushi as far as i can see has been machine made..
          a far better option in this price range is kulu kulu im brewer street. pretty authentic, and for the price its not bad. My favourite 'mid price' sushi joint though is Pham sushi - probably the best sushi ive had outside of Japan. ( i lived there for 12 years)
          the fish is always sensational, always super fresh from billingsgate market. they do stuff apart from sushi, but its all really good. the place in willesden mentioned above is supposed to be really good too, but ive never been there.

          1. re: foreignmuck

            I've not been to Kulu Kulu, but I see it all the time. Is it better than conveyer belt places like itsu and Yo Sushi?

            1. re: Prawn Cocktail

              yep its a lot more authenic. Yo! and itsu are pretty westernised and gimmiky i think

            2. re: foreignmuck

              seconding Pham Sushi, it's truly excellent, but you do need to book a table, even on Mondays sometimes!

              Also Bento cafe in Camden does some pretty decent sushi and it's good value.

          2. Well, there IS good sushi in London; places like Umu and Hakkasan, for example. And then there's always Nobu, and there are three of those in London.

            But, it's not the most reasonably priced, I'll give you that. Though, having said that, Umu has a good set lunch and while it's pricey, sushi is ALWAYS gonna be more expensive than other foods.

            I've not been to Sushi-Say on Walm lane, but I keep reading good things about it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Prawn Cocktail

              I don't agree with this at all. I DO agree that London, as is typical of this city, is horrible at offering reasonably-priced food that is actually decent - many other capitals offer great sushi (at an actual sushi bar, no less) for something that won't break the bank. Let me get this straight - I love sushi, but since living here (about 7 years now) have seen my times out in pursuit of the good stuff dwindle to just about nothing, simply due to either a - incompetence with regards to how to prepare it, or b - ridiculous (and I mean ridiculous - 4 pathetic pieces of sashimi for £15 is absurd) prices, or c (usually with either a or b above) wait staff who I'm not sure are not going to start stabbing me repeatedly at any given moment. Sure, go to Hakkasan, it's always fun to pay thirty billion quid to be facepunched by an army of effete fashion lunatics. I'll go to Pham, if I do want to go for sushi in London, and get something comparable for a fifth of the price and a tenth of the attitude.

              1. Kulu Kulu is one of the original Kai-ten places and is a good stop off place for a Saturday lunch although it can get very busy and they put limitations on how long you can sit there at peak times

                I believe that the fish suppliers for Itsu and Yo are the same as for many in town, but I am not a fan.

                I recently tried Ginnan on Roseberry Court which is a huge favourite with the local ex-pat community.

                Definitely worth a try



                1 Reply
                1. re: Simon Majumdar

                  my problem with Yo and istu is not so much about the fish, it's the rice thats bad. i think they refrigerate it which is a big no-no, and also it's not washed properly before cooking, and the excess starch makes the texture is too claggy. ugh!

                2. If you are looking for the best reasonably priced sushi your best bet is almost certainly Sushi-Hiro opposite Ealing Common tube. Very fresh, very very reasonably priced, the nigiri selection is the real deal (toro, scallop, salmon roe and other goodies). The grilled eel nigiri are quite extraordinary. NB however they are miles out of town and have some quite wierd opening times (urban myth suggests the early evening closing is because the fish isn't fresh enough after eight o'clock) and they are cash only.

                  Otherwise consider Sushi-Say (nice, and do other dishes apart from sushi, but not quite as good as S-H). I also hear very commendable reports about Cafe Japan. Aki nr Chancery Lane does very good warm dishes, and I assume the sushi is worthwhile.

                  If you are unfortunate enough to be stationed south of the river do consider Tsunami. Actually the food is incredibly variable and the sushi isn't a spot on the specialist places mentioned above. One dish however - the foie gras and eel nigiri - is absolutely one of the finest dishes you can find to eat south of london bridge (especially given Glas and their marinated herring have migrated to Islington). And its 20% off the food bill on Saturday lunchtime.

                  If you're looking for the best quality, freshly made sushi I would not go to a kaitan (conveyer belt) place. The stuff can be tasty for sure but its altogether a different conception from spankingly-fresh handmade sushi.


                  PS Prawn Cocktail Hakkasan doesn't do sushi! (or not in any substantive fashion) Its forte is good (but expensive) dim sum.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jon Tseng

                    No, you're quite right, but when they get creative and make specials, boy is it good!

                  2. Certainly is

                    I was there for Dim Sum yesterday and it was excellent. Shame they spoiled it all by leaving the credit card slip open

                    But that's another story. The food was spot on


                    1. i'm a big fan of kulu kulu, the sushi there is quite good and waaaaay better than itsu or yo! (sacrilege to even mention those chains!)

                      cafe japan at golder's green is supposed to rival nobu for quality. i've never been there (closed for holiday on the one day we made the trek) but booking in advance is recommended, especially on a weekend.

                      japan centre on picadilly offers good quality sushi for cheap, particularly if you go downstairs, which is only takeaway. the rice was too chewy once (not cooked thoroughly,) but that's the exception rather than the rule. i like that i can pick up japanese groceries too, like wasabi peas and miso.

                      if you're willing to make the journey to leytonstone ichiban on the high street is absolutely amazing. it's my new favourite sushi place in london. very no frills, (you have to walk through the kitchen to get to the toilet,) and it's byo with no corkage. but the food! i have never tasted a more tender squid nigiri, the tempura was so light and literally melted in the mouth. £35 for two with tip which certainly qualifies as a bargain in this city - but it's only open for dinner, and only after 7:00.

                      1. Well, I hate to disagree but I think Kulu Kulu is just dreadful. The rice is wrong, the fish is wrong, and for £14 (what the all-u-can-eat costs as I recall) you can do much, much better.

                        In Camden there's a couple of good cheap Sushi places: Bento is well worth a look (it's on Parkway, right near the tube) - for under £20 you can get an excellent platter of Suhsi. I had takeaway from Feng Sushi (a small chain, one of which is up at Chalk Farm tube), and again, for under £20, surprisingly good stuff.

                        1. As a Japanese I found Kaiten-sushi( yo,its, kulukulu)in London very upsetting. I don't want eat dried block of rice cube made by machine that has slice of dead fish attached. I also noticed soy sauce they use tast very different too.
                          Anyway, if I have a craving fo sushi I go to Sakanatei on Maddox street. From outside the restaurant looks tiny but there are more seating down stairs. Lunch is good deal. For 16 pounds you can get assorted sushi plate, and its always good!
                          As a Japnese women I do not like to go to sushi alone becasue they quite often look down on me ( which is typical Japanese sushi chef attitude). But the chef this place is OK. So, that is why I keep going back to Sakanatei.

                          1. @gadogado - I'll definitely have to try Sakanatei, sounds like a great place.

                            There's a new Japanese place on Marylebone Lane called CoCoRo (http://www.london-eating.co.uk/3398.htm). I know the chef there, and they do excellent sushi. It's where I went for my last birthday :) Prices aren't exactly bargain basement, but it certainly doesn't charge anything like Nobu etc.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sifter

                              I see! Cocoro is where Nakamura used to be. I don't go to that area very often but I definitely want to try soon. If Cocoro is conviniently located for you, you may want to try Soho Japan as well =>www.sohojapan.co.uk They are also based north side of Oxford street. This restaurant decor is truly bizarre (ex pub)but staff are friendly and food are reasonably priced. This is popular place for Japanese in london to come after work becasue they offer Izakaya style menu (small tapas type of dishes). Japanese normally order many small dishes and share. And ony towards end of dinner we each order rice or noodle dishes individualy to satisfy one's stomach. But if you don't fancy to share your food they also have 5 different set meals you can choose even for dinner time, and these are all under 10 pounds.

                              If you are big sushi fan it is worth checking eat as much as you can deal at Mitsukoshi. Mitsukoshi is ugly Japanese department store on lower Regent street. But, they have very authentic looking restaurant with sushi bar. Twice a year, yes only twice a year, you can eat sushi as much as you want for 2 hour around 40 pounds in this otherwise expensive place. This is great because you don't need to worry about how much you are going to pay in the end of evening. And this deal normally comes with one bottle of bear.

                            2. Yes you me sushi in Marylebone where I believe you can sit but I normally get it delivered. very good and very fresh.. http://www.youmesushi.com/

                              1. Sushi of Shiori on Drummond Street gets nothing but rave reviews. I can't explain why I haven't been yet. I have walked past a few times, but never in need of a meal. Its extremely small (it can maybe seat 10 people max), and a lot of its business are deliveries I think. But it looked the real deal, and from what I've heard it matches expectations. From what I remember hearing the woman who runs it's husband works at Nobu, and she uses the same supplier. Don't know if thats an urban myth, but worth passing on regardless.

                                I do fear for the place though, Drummond Street doesn't seem like a senisble place for a sushi shop.

                                1. I'm a big fan of Donzoko on Kingly Street, just off Regents Street near Oxford Circus. Very authentic izakaya-style restaurant, not too expensive.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: zelda1zelda2

                                    London is not a great city for sushi. There's very expensive places and lots of really cheap places. Other cities like Vancouver, NYC, Salvador, etc have more options in the middle with sushi of generally better quality. My local is Sa Sa Sushi next to the tube in Angel. It's a small place that doesn't look like much. Get this: the chef welcomes you when you visit. The sushi is of a better than average quality for London. They have some really yummy options like a crunchy tuna roll and even Toro on most days. The best part is that, unlike most restaurants in London, there's good value for money.

                                  2. I love sushi and I'm always searching for good ones. And I'm saying that Atari-ya is pretty darn good. It is located just off Oxford street, just across from the Bond station. They cater essentially for take out. Check it out and confirm what I'm telling you.


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: HappyTraveling

                                      The brand new answer to this debate is surely Sushi Tetsu? Traditional sushi counter for 7 with everything prepared right in front of you. Best I have ever eaten.

                                      Got a stunning write-up from Jay Rayner last weekend as well