The best luxury Japanese restaurants in London
Japanese dining is truly a cuisine designed for luxury. Traditional dishes are strong in both flavour and beauty, and the dining experience is second to none. But with fast food sushi available around every corner in the city, perhaps popular culture has begun to neglect this truly elegant and elaborate history of dining. So we look at the best luxury Japanese restaurants in London, where you can experience the most breathtaking examples of this cuisine. Better still, most are just a short distance from your luxury serviced apartment!
A Side of Culture
Japan House is the cultural home of Japan in London. It hosts exhibitions and events that fly the flag of Japanese culture, technology and design. So cuisine is a natural companion. AKIRA is on the first floor of Japan House. It’s named after chef Shimizu Akira, who works on the principles of ‘trinity of cooking’ – food, tableware and presentation. It’s open from lunch through to dinner, and offers a truly authentic Japanese experience with omotenashi hospitality and dishes from robata grill to sushi.
Food with a View
West London’s Television Centre may no longer be a flagship BBC building, but it’s got plenty of life still in it! Go to the top floor – the rotunda – to find Endo. Chef Endo Kazutoshi is a third generation sushi master specialising in the Edomae style from Tokyo. He terms his restaurant ‘sushi in the clouds’ which is a perfectly romantic tagline for a perfectly breathtaking experience. Meals here are designed to be immersive and intimate. It follows that there’s an extensive waitlist for a spot at the communal table.
Ginza is centrally located and a short stroll from Green Park. Here you are treated to a choice of specialities. The Robata counter is a dramatic open grill. Alternatively the Sushi counter offers a more sedate Omakase dining experience. This means, “I entrust you”, so the sushi chef will surprise and innovate as you watch. Finally, the Teppan Yaki counter is a different way of cooking again. This style uses carbon lighting to ensure consistent heating.
Sushi master Taji Maruyama’s establishment runs on two traditional principles of Japanese service. First is Omotenashi, the culture of guest focussed hospitality. This means that chefs wholeheartedly look after their guests and both cook and serve through an intimate dining experience. The Omokase tradition of trusting in the chef means that every meal is unique and supports the use of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.
The London branch of Nobu opened in 1997, and was one of the first. The menu has been much imitated over the years and the fusion of dishes are well known. There are plates here that have become real classics, which makes this is a reliable destination for anything from a quick lunch to a social dinner.
This elegant and discreet restaurant is all about care and respect. Both service and the handling of ingredients are courteous. This is reflected in how the seafood is prepared with the traditional Ikejime approach. Similarly, this restaurant is dedicated to sustainably sourced British ingredients.
The warmth of the Robata grill is at the heart of Roka. Not only are food and drinks shared around the central grill, but warmth and welcome is at the core of the service. It’s so important to the dining experience here. In warmer months, the glass walls open out onto the street which creates an alfresco feel, with fully outdoor tables available to book in the summer.