London’s Best Casual Neighbourhood Sushi Spots
Searching for that elusive middle ground of reasonable, casual neighbourhood sushi? Here's where to find it.
Sushi can come in many forms. There’s the type you’ll find in the fridge at Tesco and immediately regret eating when you swallow the first bite of fishy rice, and there’s the type that would cost you a couple of night’s sleep and a chunky deposit before you even arrive at the restaurant. The good news is that there are plenty of quality spots serving top sushi at very decent prices.
A cosy spot with sleek interiors, Kampai knows a thing or two about fish. The Kensington restaurant is usually filled with local families who have popped in after leaving Holland Park, solo diners taking advantage of a free spot at the sushi bar, and groups that span Gen Z to those who still use a landline. It's compact but comfortable with wooden bamboo walls, black ceilings, and enough space between each table that you don’t have to worry about elbowing your neighbour’s rock shrimp and baby spinach salad on your way to the bathroom. Load up on nigiri—the scallop is top-tier—and get some of the chef’s special rolls (which are £15 or less) to share.
It’s Saturday night, you haven’t made a booking anywhere, you’re seriously craving sushi, and you also kind of want to have enough money to get the Tube home by the end of the meal. Eat Tokyo is your guy. With several locations dotted around London—Soho, Covent Garden, Hammersmith, Holborn, Golders Green, and our personal favourite Notting Hill—this casual spot serves reliable sushi at very reasonable prices. Make sure to get a classic salmon avocado roll and a “king dragon” (king prawn tempura), plus there’s an extensive menu of Japanese classics in case you’re craving some udon on the side.
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A popular walk-in only restaurant on Old Compton Street that does the usual sushi, sashimi, temaki, and maki rolls. The ‘dozo’ rolls are good too, but if you’re after an affordable dinner, you should stick to the regular maki. You could come here with a group of friends, order a bunch of rolls and leave £25 lighter. But the dim lighting and intimate sunken seats make it a perfect midweek date night situation. Ask for the window seat so you can enjoy the excellent soft shell crab maki while watching the Soho bustle from the best spot in the house. And if whoever you’re with isn’t into sushi, Dozo also serves ramen noodles, donburi, and robata skewers.
Sushi Atelier is a beautiful, fishy unicorn. OK, that sounded better in our heads, but stay with us, because this laid-back spot in Fitzrovia is that rare London restaurant that not only serves genuinely excellent sushi, but shockingly, it’s also relatively affordable given the quality of the fish. On the menu you’ll find everything from octopus carpaccio, to snow crab sashimi, to yellowtail truffle rolls, but our game plan here is to always go for one of the omakase selections or the sushi sets. Although we’re big fans of sitting up at the counter where the action is, if you’re rolling with a group there’s more seating downstairs.
Opposite Aldgate East station, Sushinoen isn’t an all-singing all-dancing restaurant, but it is one that covers almost all the bases of Japanese cuisine. The diner setup makes it appropriate for pretty much any casual occasion and the sushi is better than your average. There’s a large selection of always-good sashimi and nigiri, from aburi sake (seared scallop) to tamago (sweet Japanese omelette) as well as maki and temaki—none of which will cost a fortune. Hot stuff ranges from donburi bowls and yakisoba, to katsu curries, and everything here is pleasing. In fact, it’s just a very pleasant place to be.
This mini-chain calls itself a blend between “a Japanese traditionalist and a Danish anarchist”. What does that mean? It means that you can get some pretty solid maki topped with things like tuna and barbecue sauce, crispy kataifi, and trout roe. While it may not be traditional Japanese sushi, the rolls are consistently great. Split one of their hefty looking sushi sets for groups and leave with a stomach full of spicy mayo and a wallet just around £30 lighter. They also have some excellent starters. Don’t miss the hotate kataifi (scallops with miso aioli, trout roe, and kataifi) and kani korokke (crab croquettes). The interior of this Covent Garden spot is sleek and perfect for a date night or a long-awaited catch-up, but if the sun’s out, nab one of their outside tables.
Whether or not you’re in the area, this hand roll specialist in Brixton is worth heading to. If not for the delicious salmon temaki, then for the wooden wrap-around counter, ceramic plates, and overall cool aesthetic. But really, it should be for the salmon, BBQ eel, and otoro temaki. Come here with one other person, get the set menu for £30 each, some vegetable tempura, and you’re in for a great meal.
photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch
When you get to Nori’s address, you might be confused. The entrance is in an alleyway off New Malden High Street and you’ll walk in to find an ornate bench and a staircase, but little sign of a great Japanese restaurant. But trust us, up those stairs and to your right you’ll find Nori and in turn, some satisfying sushi rolls—which by the way are all under a tenner. The hot and cold noodle and donburi dishes and delicately fried tempura are also expert takes. It doesn’t hurt that the intimate dining room is packed full of bamboo and has enough charm to make it perfect for a date night in the area. Planning a family meal or a proper catch-up? Reserve one of the private dining spaces behind the chic shoji partitions.
Irori’s website homepage has ‘Delivery & Takeaway’ plastered all over it, but you should know that this small, casual Japanese spot on Shepherds Bush Road also has a couple of tables and some high window seats inside. Order their refreshing California roll, which comes topped with spicy mayo swirls, a prawn tempura dragon roll, or their good-value sharing box for two, which has 42 pieces of sushi. The sushi is made to order and is an ideal lunch or dinner option when you’re looking to fill up on kaburimaki in west London.
photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli
Pham Sushi is serving some of the best affordable sushi in London. And when we say affordable, we don’t mean that you might be able to escape with a bill that cost around the same as your beloved Dyson, dahling. No, we’re talking £20 for a deluxe 16-piece set, including some pretty great nigiri or even some Alaska roll for a fiver. At the bottom of the Heron Tower, it’s a slick space with plenty of red leather and a few Japanese touches. Whether you come here for a business bento box power move or a catch-up with friends, be sure to also get involved in the ebi tempura—we’re big fans.
A blink-and-you'll-miss-it restaurant, Sushi Show serves excellent sushi in a tiny spot down Camden Passage. You can pop in to grab a takeaway, or sit at the bar opposite the window and watch the fools who don’t realise what they’re walking past. The sashimi is reasonably priced and cut fresh in front of you, and you can get some great-value sushi platters to share that work out about £15 per person for a mix of nigiri and rolls. And if you’re with someone who’s not into sushi, there’s also a small selection of donburi bowls.