By Lauren Harmes
Know your unagi from your nigiri and looking for somewhere to put your chopsticks to good use? Our whistle-stop tour of the best places to get your raw fish on in London is just for you.
1) The Araki
We’re starting on a high – The Araki is a three-Michelin star Japanese restaurant in the heart of Mayfair. Choice isn’t an option here – Head Chef Marty Lau has picked an incredible set-price menu for you to enjoy in this tiny restaurant (there’s only 10 seats so be sure to book!).
While a little on the pricy side, The Araki is an experience you’ll never forget.
No Japanese food list would be complete without a small nod to the classic Nobu chain that boasts three venues in Shoreditch and on Park Lane and Berkeley Street.
A favourite among celebrities, Nobu’s signature dishes alongside their unique Japanese fusion creations prove why the brand has stood the test of time.
Nobu is not cheap, but the quality of food, high level of service and stunning surroundings keep people flocking back over and over again.
Starting out as a pop-up in 2013, Kurobuta now has two venues in Chelsea and Marble Arch, serving up its “rock n roll” Japanese cuisine in rough and ready surroundings.
Tuck into their small but perfectly formed selection of sushi from Salmon Gravadlax & Avocado to tasty Soft Shell Crab Tempura.
Feeling brave? Try that Spicy Tuna “Roulette” – a dish of six pieces of sushi, one of which is extremely hot. It’s not all bad though – the victim earns a shot of Sake for their troubles.
From rock n roll to fancy schmancy, Zuma is a polished, industrial hot spot and favourite among celebrities, sports stars and City professionals.
A chic twist on traditional Japanese Izakaya style, this Knightbridge eatery offers classic sushi, alongside a Chef’s Selection if you just can’t choose yourself.
Sticks’n’Sushi has 21 restaurants across the globe – so it’s got to be doing something right.
Six of these are situated in our very own London, with another due to open in Soho in October. But what makes Sticks’n’Sushi so special?
Its no-nonsense approach to sushi and reasonable prices has made the Japanese cuisine accessible to all, from families to fashionistas – proven in its 25-year history.
The clue is in the name in this one – Sushisamba is a Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian blended restaurant drawing on the history of Japanese emigrants travelling to South America in the early 20th century. This unique concept has resulted in spectacular taste sensations such as their scallops decorated with shiso, pickled mandarin and drenched in mandarin leche de tigre – also known as Tiger’s Milk. With two venues in the City and Covent Garden, there’s no excuse not to get your sushi and your samba on here.
Finally, Roka is an elegant Fitzrovia dining experience set in a striking, yet informal surrounding.
With the option to choose from Aldwych, Canary Wharf, Charlotte Street or Mayfair – there’s no reason not to enjoy their contemporary Japanese offering.
When you visit, make sure to sample our favourite sushi dish – piripiri maguro maki. This mix of spicy yellowfin tuna, cucumber chives and tempura flakes has the perfect balance of soft and crisp textures resulting in a taste explosion.