What The Dickins: A Tale Of Edinburgh City

The 10 Best Places For Sushi & Japanese Food In Edinburgh

Sushi is one of the most popular Japanese dishes in the world and has exploded in popularity in Britain over the past decade. With all of the beautiful cherry blossoms sprinkled around Edinburgh lately, we’ve been put in mind of Japan, and their world-famous food.

Cherry blossoms are called ‘sakura’ in Japanese. Every year, thousands of tourists flock to the country to view the spectacular showcase. ‘Hanami’ is the centuries-old practice of relaxing and drinking under the blooming trees – an activity now enjoyed with family, friends, and often food.

Of course, there’s a lot more to Japanese cuisine than just sushi. Traditional Japanese food revolves around their staple dish – steamed white rice – paired with one or several main dishes and is usually accompanied by miso soup. Dishes include specialities like gyoza (dumplings), tempura, pickled vegetables and salads, and grilled meats. The food is traditionally arranged into a neat presentation, with each dish on its own plate, and served with a variety of dipping sauces. Noodle dishes, like ramen, soba, and udon are also common.

In recent years, the Japanese food scene in Edinburgh has really taken off, with new restaurants popping up all over the city. From casual ramen joints and relaxed bistros to sushi served in the finest setting, there are dozens of places to sample the flavours of Japan in Edinburgh. So pack your picnic basket and enjoy the sakura this year with our guide to some of the best places for sushi and Japanese food in Edinburgh!

1. Hakataya

Photo: @annakitbalyan

Hakataya | 122 Rose Street S Lane

With a warm atmosphere and designer wooden chairs, this cosy restaurant is the perfect place to kick back after a busy day on Princes Street. Tucked away in one of the lanes off of Rose Street, it feels a million miles away. Stepping into this restaurant almost feels like stepping into a small hangout in Tokyo. Hakataya’s menu is simple and straight forward, with dishes like Izakaya-style ramen, sushi served in beautiful bento boxes, and mouth-watering gyoza. Their drinks menu is also extensive, making this the ideal place to relax and unwind.

2. Slurp At The Kirk

Photo: Slurp At The Kirk

Slurp At The Kirk | 144 Candlemaker Row

Formerly known as Tang’s, this popular restaurant is part of the Hakataya family and claims to be ‘the newest Japanese restaurant in Edinburgh’s Old Town’. Their branding is quirky and fun and the restaurant features a modern and sleek decor. Chef Tang was trained in Japan and at ‘Slurp’ you can sample a huge variety of Japanese flavours as well as some inventive cocktails. Their secret-recipe ramen is made with a rich and complex miso stock and they serve traditional Japanese curries with chicken, pork, or prawn katsu. They also serve adorably presented mini platters for the little ones. For dessert, try one of their special white chocolate matcha brownies. Alternatively, grab one of their takeaway bento boxes and head to The Meadows for a picnic!

3. Koyama

Koyama | 20 Forrest Road

Another favourite Old Town hangout is Koyama. This is a casual and more traditional place, with minimalist decor and a relaxed atmosphere. Sushi is at the heart of their brand but they offer a range of other light dishes like tempura and fresh salads. Student discounts and a private karaoke room with room for 15 people make this a popular place for students to unwind.

4. Harajuku Kitchen

Photo: @harajukukitchen

Harajuku Kitchen | 10 Gillespie Place

This popular Bruntsfield restaurant is a local favourite and a go-to for authentic Japanese food. It’s been awarded an official rosette by the AA, so it’s no wonder it comes recommended by so many Edinburgh residents. In an understated yet stylish dining room, Harajuku kitchen serves traditional family recipes that have been passed down for decades. Their menu is full of the usual culprits like gyoza, curries and noodle dishes, and it’s all delicious, but it’s their incredible sushi that makes this place so special. You’ll find everything from tuna tataki and squid sashimi to tempura temaki and sushi rice bowls on the menu here.

If you’re looking for other things to eat and do in Bruntsfield, take a look at this guide: 5 Things We Love To Do In Lauriston & Bruntsfield.

5. Kanpai

Photo: Kanpai Edinburgh

Kanpai | 8-10 Grindlay St

Kanpai is one of Edinburgh’s oldest and finest sushi restaurants. Their award-winning cuisine has long been regarded as some of the best traditional Japanese food available in Edinburgh, with food critics offering high-praise for their delicate and refined sushi. This intimate sushi bar is simple and straight forward, with a focus on three key ingredients; sushi, sake, and tempura. Their sushi selection is simply outstanding and their extensive sake collection pairs with it perfectly.

6. Yamato

Photo: Yamato Edinburgh

Yamato | 11 Lochrin Terrace

Yamato is the younger sister of Kanpai and is equally as refined. You can expect top-quality traditional Japanese cuisine in this intimate restaurant, tucked away off Home Street. Yamato serves some hard to come by specialities, like sea urchin and yellowtail sashimi. They’re also one of few Edinburgh restaurants to offer Wagyu, a premium-quality Japanese beef. Beautifully marbled, this melt-in-your-mouth meat has a unique umami flavour and is unlike any other beef. You won’t regret paying a visit to Yamato on your next special occasion.

7. Kenji Sushi

Photo: @plateexpectations

Kenji Sushi | 42 St Stephen Street

We love St Stephen Street and the addition of Kenji Sushi makes it even better. At Kenji, you’ll find artful sushi rolls, traditional Japanese dishes, and beautiful bento boxes in a relaxed and cosy environment. Kenji serves some unique dishes like softshell crab tempura and their ‘Unagi Supreme Roll’, an eel futomaki roll with asparagus, avocado and cucumber.

If you’re looking for other things to eat and do in Stockbridge, take a look at this guide: Places to Stay In Edinburgh: Stockbridge Edition.

8. Luv Sushi

Photo: Luv Sushi

Luv Sushi | 15 Dalry Rd

Luv Sushi (formerly Hay Sushi) is easy to miss, but don’t be fooled by the simple decor. This Haymarket haunt is famous among locals and serves up some pretty delicious eats. Their main focus is on sushi but they also serve Japanese curries and plenty of side dishes like gyoza, pumpkin croquets, and tuna tataki. It’s the perfect place to grab a bite or get your dinner to go before catching your train from the station.

9. Maki & Ramen

Photo: @makiramen

Maki & Ramen | 37 Leith Street + 13 West Richmond St + 75 Nicolson Street + 97-101 Fountainbridge

This casual chain of Edinburgh restaurants now boasts four locations across the capital. They’re relatively new but already famous for their comforting noodle bowls and delicious sushi. Their noodle bowls are made with homemade ramen and come with all sorts of toppings, like salmon sashimi and even lobster. They also serve a large variety of delicious side dishes, teriyaki bento boxes, and plenty of fresh sushi to have on the side or as your main course. Maki & Ramen have a good selection of vegetarian dishes too, making it a great place to sample Japanese flavours without the meat or fish. They also teach sushi-making masterclasses, so be sure to keep an eye on their social media for an upcoming class!

10. Minato Sushi

Photo: @minatosushi

Minato Sushi | Delivery Only

If you’d prefer to dine in and would like your sushi delivered, there’s an option for that, too! The small but mighty Minato has been delivering freshly made sushi to happy Edinburgh customers for nearly five years. Upon returning for her year abroad in Australia, owner Jen missed the option of having fresh, reasonably priced sushi available for delivery, so she decided to do something about it and founded Minato in 2015. Nearly five years later, business is booming and she’s now delivering sushi to customers in Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian. Her menu is full of beautifully colourful platters, delicious dumplings, and experimental flavours like stake and asparagus rolls. Be sure to plan ahead if you’d like to order from Minato – they’re a small team and prepare everything fresh with limited stock, so orders need to be placed early in the day.

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