Japanese food In Britain

The Japanese food market is growing rapidly, with more and more people in the UK opting for a healthier diet. It’s no wonder, then, that there are so many fantastic Japanese restaurants popping up all over the country! If you love noodles, sushi and tempura like we do, this article is just perfect for you. Our comprehensive guide lists some of the best Japanese restaurant food in Britain. From authentic ramen eateries to high-end sushi bars and everything in between, you’ll find it all here!

What to Expect from a Good Japanese Restaurant?

A truly great Japanese restaurant ticks all the boxes. First, there’s the food, of course. Then comes the decor, the ambiance and the level of service on offer.

When it comes to decor, the best places go for minimalism, with clean lines and a simple aesthetic. They want you to focus on the food, rather than being distracted by unnecessary bells and whistles. The ambiance should be relaxing yet energizing. You should be able to kick back, relax and truly enjoy your meal, but not feel as if you need to whisper. Finally, the level of service should be top-notch. Staff should be extremely attentive and helpful, but not overbearing. Ideally, you should be able to relax and enjoy your meal, with the minimum of fuss and bother.

The Basics: What Makes Great Japanese Food?

The best Japanese food is fresh, healthy and full of flavour. A great Japanese meal will be served on beautiful, delicate porcelain, accompanied by chopsticks and a small bowl of rice. It’s a cuisine that is largely based on fish and vegetables, but one that also utilizes rice as a staple

The best places will also have a menu that caters to people with dietary restrictions. Whether you are vegetarian, gluten-free or simply have specific dietary requirements, you can still enjoy a delicious Japanese meal.

Another important aspect of Japanese cuisine is presentation. A truly great Japanese meal will look as good as it tastes. So, he best places go for a minimalistic, clean aesthetic, with food that is both beautiful and tasty.

How to order at a Japanese restaurant

When you go out to eat at a Japanese restaurant, you will be presented with a menu. At the top of each menu, you’ll see a selection of appetizers, or “osusume,” as they are called in Japanese. As you work your way through the menu, you’ll come across a range of soups, salads, noodles and rice dishes. These are followed by the “gohan” section, which lists all the different varieties of rice that you can order. Finally, at the very end of each menu, you’ll find the dessert section.

Udon Noodles

Udon noodles are a classic Japanese dish. They are served either in a hot broth or cold, depending on the type of restaurant you go to. Udon noodles are made from flour, salt and water. Many restaurants in Japan also add egg as an ingredient. The dough is kneaded and then rolled out, before being cut into long, thick pieces. These are then pushed through a special press which cuts them into the characteristic thick, round shape. Udon noodles are best served with a dipping sauce. These are available in many different flavours, ranging from soy sauce to chilli.

Noodles & Soup

No authentic Japanese meal would be complete without some ramen, a staple of the Japanese diet. Ramen noodles are served in a meat and fish broth, combined with a selection of vegetables, sea kelp, mushrooms and pork. The best places will serve ramen that is freshly made.

It’s also worth noting that there are two types of ramen – shio and shoyu. Shio ramen is salt-based, while shoyu is soy sauce-based. You can also expect to see tsukemen on the menu. This dish is very similar to ramen, but with the crucial difference being that the noodles are served on the side.

Once you’ve finished the rest of your meal, you dip them in the broth.

Shabu-shabu is another popular dish. It is a hotpot, served with a sauce of your choice. The ingredients are placed in a pot of boiling water, which is then swirled to give them a light, “swirling” texture.

Bento & Bowls

A bento is a Japanese take on the classic lunchbox. Traditionally, it contains rice, a selection of fish, pickled vegetables and a small amount of meat or fish. Many places now offer vegetarian bentos, as well.

Bento boxes are perfect for a quick, easy and healthy lunch on the go. They are often very beautifully presented and make for a perfect gift.

Bowls are perfect for a quick, easy and healthy dinner on the go. They are served in a bowl with a selection of rice, fish and vegetables. In many cases, they also include a small portion of meat.


Donburi is a rice dish that is served in a large bowl. It is a very common dish in Japan, whereas in other countries it is not as well known. There are a number of different kinds of donburi. The most common type is a chicken or salmon donburi. It is served with rice and a sweet soy sauce. Another popular donburi is the katsudon. This is a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet and shredded pickled vegetables. There are also variations of donburi that are topped with ebi shrimp, eggs and vegetables.


Sushi is a Japanese dish that is made of vinegared rice that is served with various toppings. The dish is very popular in the UK, and many restaurants serve it.

Sushi is made by using a combination of rice, vinegar, and a selection of toppings. This can be anything from fish, vegetables and even eggs. When eating sushi, it is best to start with the sushi that has the vinegared rice as the first ingredient, which means that it has a tangy flavour. You should also eat the sushi pieces from the outside in, to leave the centre pieces for the end.

Tempuras and Katsu

Tempuras are deep-fried or baked dishes, such as shrimp and vegetable tempura, or chicken katsu, which is breaded and deep-fried chicken. They are often served with a dipping sauce, such as soy sauce or a sweet and sour sauce.

There are also a number of different appetizers that you can expect to find in a Japanese restaurant. These include edamame and gyoza dumplings.

The Basics of Japanese Cuisine

Japanese cuisine is often misunderstood as being strictly about sushi. In fact, it is much more than that and can best be described as an amalgamation of Chinese, Korean and Western influences.

Asian cuisines tend to be based on spices and seasonings that are not very strong, whereas European cuisines rely on a lot of dairy products and strong flavours. Japanese cuisine, therefore, is a mix of these two extremes, which is why it is not as spicy, salty or rich as some of the other Asian cuisines. The emphasis is on lightness and simplicity and the best Japanese restaurants will have these qualities in abundance.

A Couple of Words of Caution

When you go to a Japanese restaurant, it is important to know that the portions are generally somewhat small. This is because Japanese people like to go out with friends and family and sample a variety of different dishes. It is not meant to be a hearty meal in the traditional sense.

Be careful with your portions though. Rice is, of course, very healthy, but you don’t need to eat a bowl of it. It’s also important to note that some dishes, like sushi and sashimi, can contain raw fish and may not be suitable for everyone. Always check the menu and ask the waiter if you’d like to be extra careful.


As you can see, Japanese cuisine is a great choice for both lunch and dinner. It’s delicious, healthy and very affordable, making it a great choice for everyone. If you love noodles, sushi and tempura like we do, this article is just perfect for you. Our comprehensive guide lists some of the best Japanese restaurant food in Britain. From authentic ramen eateries to high-end sushi bars and everything in between, you’ll find it all here!