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The Best Sushi Restaurants in London

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The Best Sushi Restaurants in London

Where to go for your fresh fish fix

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For a city boasting as renowned and international a food scene as London, its lack of good sushi is shocking. We’ve gone and sorted the wheat from the chaff to bring you a definitive list of the very best sushi in the capital. Whether it’s the big fish names or small fry secrets, innovative fusion or traditional Japanese, there’s a sushi spot for you. Here are the best sushi restaurants in London.

SUSHISAMBA

SUSHISAMBA

The fun at SUSHISAMBA City begins in the panoramic glass lifts, which whisk you up to the 38th floor of the Heron Tower at record speed. Here you’ll find the jazzy restaurant, complete with their famous orange tree, hanging lights and wooden ceilings (all very Instagram-friendly), plus floor-to-ceiling windows providing 360 panoramas of the city. You could go here for the views alone, but luckily they’re more than matched by the food. Sushi aficionados will be well-versed in all things raw, sashimi and sake – but if you’re not so familiar, friendly waiters are more than happy to run through the menu and recommend dishes based on your preferences. There’s everything from gyoza to nigari to samba rolls to ceviche to robata, with dedicated vegan and gluten-free menus too. Our highlights? To name a few: the yellowtail crispy taquitos, sea bass tempura, veggie maki samba rolls, eggplant with mustard miso, and the perfectly cooked ribeye, chorizo and aged picanha dish. Cocktails are equally divine – the Lychee Cooler, made with elderflower, vodka, vanilla, coconut cream and lychee water, is particularly good. A heads up: SUSHISAMBA is not cheap, but the combination of top quality food, unparalleled views and faultless service warrants the high price point. Just be careful not to accidentally order the Kobe Beef Ishiyaki, or you’ll find yourself £1000 out of pocket…sushisamba.com

Sushi Waka

Sushi Making

Good sushi in London doesn’t have to be accompanied with all the pomp and frills – or an eye-watering bill. The sushi chefs at Sushi Waka serves up high quality fresh fish sans the pretension in its shabby-chic Camden restaurant; one look at its Google reviews (many of which claim ‘best sushi I’ve ever had outside of Japan’) is enough to have us booking a table hastily. While the steaming bowls of noodles and gyoza are enticing, the highlight here is sushi and sashimi so we suggest sticking to their forte. Up the authentic ante and perch at the bar so you can watch the chefs work their magic, or book a table upstairs where you can sit cross-legged on tatami mats. sushiwaka.co.uk

UMU

UMU Sushi

Forgoing the theatrical bells and whistles found at London’s more name-checked Japanese establishments, Umu favours a more refined, less Westernized cuisine that won it a Michelin star within months of opening (it now has two). Around 70 per cent of the fish served is British, and such is Chef Yoshi’s dedication to the highest quality produce that he personally trained Cornish fishermen in the ikejime method of killing and preserving fish to ensure it met his exacting standards – order the mixed sashimi and you’ll taste the difference. But it’s not all about the sushi – the seasonal kaiseki tasting menu takes you on a journey of elegant, traditional and previously unheard-of dishes, with many of the top contenders being fully vegetarian. CJ umurestaurant.com

NOBU

Nobu

Few names are as recognisable in the restaurant (and now hotel) world as Nobu, and it’s one that lives up to its reputation. The chef’s Peruvian-Japanese dishes are raved about the world over; rap songs, Trip Advisor, and movies included. It may be cliched but don’t leave without sampling the restaurant’s beloved black cod, or the soft shell crab roll and the ‘New Style’ sashimi you’ll see on the menu. Psst…if you’re looking for a five-star dining experience at a three-star price, head to Nobu in the day-time and opt for their Erabu Lunch Menu. noburestaurants.com

The Araki

Sushi Making Stock

There are only five restaurants in the whole of the UK that hold three Michelin stars, and The Araki is one of them. Seating only nine people at once, snagging a reservation here is no mean feat, but one that’s well worth the effort. In the intimate setting you’ll watch in awe as renowned Chef Mitsuhiro Araki expertly prepares the raw dish in front of your eyes. In terms of dishes, ordering here is fairly simple given that there’s only one set menu available – but we urge you to trust in it. With only nine seats and £310 a head, you’re looking at an undeniably expensive bill and a long waiting list, but for sushi fanatics and restaurant connoisseurs, The Araki is a bucket list spot you have to tick off. the-araki.co.uk

Zuma

Sushi & Sashimi Platter Zuma

Just a few moments from Harrods is one of London’s most acclaimed Japanese restaurants, Zuma, which is a suitably glamorous neighbour. The restaurant itself is vast, with a sushi counter, robata grill and sparkly sake bar, and always full to the brim with a mix of stylish locals, discerning fans of Japanese cuisine, and high-end shoppers dressed head-to-toe in designer clothing, all drawn by Zuma’s globally excellent reputation (there are 12 other restaurants worldwide). Having tried it ourselves, we can confirm that the hype is strongly rooted in fact – the menu features modern yet authentic dishes which will equally satisfy the guest looking for a recognisable Instagram post as the one on a real foodie pilgrimage. Once you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that a meal here will be pricey, you may as well go all out on the menu – so order the seared wagyu with truffle, fatty tuna with chilli, coriander and sesame, mixed sushi and sashimi (trust the house on this one), spicy beef tenderloin and finish with the classic Zuma melt-in-the-middle chocolate cake. Don’t skip the cocktails. zumarestaurant.com

ZELA

Zela sushi

As swanky as you’d expect from a restaurant owned by Cristiano Ronaldo and Enrique Iglesias, ZELA is one of London’s hottest hangouts du jour – and their Japanese Mediterranean cuisine is a winning combination. There’s a lot more to this Strand restaurant than sushi, but it’s a great place to start. The fish is as fresh as it comes, served either straight-up in a sushi and sashimi platter as dramatic as its surroundings, or with added delicacies to take it up a notch. Sushi purists would do well to go a little more adventurous than usual – an unusual addition is quail egg, fried with white truffle atop nigiri or combined with spicy tuna in a hand-rolled temaki, both of which still achieve perfect Japanese balance, while raw carabineros and a yasai-itame roll with Romescu sauce are a welcome nod to the Med. And if you still have space, the shrimp al ajillo gyozas and edamame with samorejo are not to be missed. Instagram at the ready… zelarestaurants.com/london

Engawa

Engawa

Piccadilly Circus is undeniably an onslaught to the senses, but a meal at Engawa is worth braving the crowds. As one of the only restaurants to offer real Kobe beef, customers tend to get bogged down in beef but the sushi is where it’s at. Order their signature bento, a wonderfully colourful (and Instagrammable) plate of beautifully intricate sushi, presented in tiny ceramic bowls. Choose the omakase sake pairing, selected by Engawa’s in-house sommelier. engawa.london

Tsunami

tsunami sushi

Tsunami is tucked away on a side street in Clapham. On a Saturday night, you’d be well within your right to doubt that you’d find near-perfect, melt-in-your-mouth fish after passing a strip of boisterous nightclubs with lines down the block. Within your right, but completely wrong: Tsunami is all class. Simple, clean lines and dim lights make the relatively small interior with tables and booths feel open and cavernous. As the name suggests, the menu is a bit of an exciting rush. Take your time as you pick on some spicy edamame beans. You’ll be grateful that the restaurant isn’t too buttoned up when you sneakily lick some chilli salt from your fingers. Once you get down to business, your first and foremost priority should be the white tuna, nigiri or sashimi. The soft shell crab roll, lobster maki, and dragon roll are also slam dunks. The snow crab shumai is light and fluffy while the spicy tuna roll is perfectly balanced, too. tsunamirestaurant.co.uk

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