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London’s Japanese restaurant okonomiyaki offerings may not be that numerous (alas) but to us, this is one of the most delicious dishes we’ve ever tasted, making the search for the best okonomiyaki in London a very personal one.
For those who haven’t tried an okonomiyaki pancake yet (seriously, why not?!), okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese pancake normally made from a wheat batter flour mixed with ingredients; usually cabbage, various meats or seafood, aonori (seaweed flakes), Japanese mayo and sauce, katsuobushi (dried fish flakes / bonito) and pickled ginger.
Originally created in Japan with various regions creating their own versions, okonomiyaki is cooked on a teppan (hot dish) and tasty as. Having tried various versions in Japan including in the spiritual home of okonomiyaki (Osaka), we cannot get enough of this pancake perfection.
So here is our guide to best okonomiyaki restaurants in London, all of which we’ve visited over the last few months (tough work we know):
Japanese okonomiyaki restaurants in London
1. OKAN Brixton Village
Our first ever foray in the London okonomiyaki restaurant scene, Okan is billed as a little bit of Osaka in London and who are we to disagree? Situated in the heart of bohemian Brixton Village, Okan Brixton is a buzzing little restaurant with a big heart and limited menu (and all the better for it).
We’ve been to Okan Brixton several times in the last year or so as the okonomiyaki is divine and the restaurant is the perfect place to people-watch, either by getting one of the few tables inside (we told you it was small) or one on the terrace outside.
The staff at Okan Brixton are always friendly and it seems there is a real neighbourhood spirit within Brixton Village itself. We’ve often been in here when locals have popped in to buy sake to take home or grab takeaway and talk about their plans for the day.
The three main dishes at Okan Brixton are okonomiyaki (various fillings such as pork, squid, chicken or a mixture – generally around £10 to £12), yaki soba noodles and spicy udon pots (we haven’t tried the latter yet).
Brixton has lots to see and do, so as Okan Brixton is quite small and doesn’t accept bookings, we’d recommend you get there early to guarantee a spot and then explore Brixton Village and neighbouring markets and shops (including Pop Brixton) afterwards.
Okan Brixton Village is located a 5 minute walk from Brixton underground station and 2 minutes walk from Brixton train station.
Address: Unit 39, Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, London SW9 8PS
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2. OKAN South Bank
Tucked away in the inner recesses of London’s iconic County Hall and a world away from the tourist hustle and bustle of nearby South Bank, Waterloo and the London Eye, stepping into tiny but terrific Okan South Bank is truly a special experience.
Possibly the smallest restaurant in Westminster and with an almost back-room or basement kind of feel, adjust your eyes as you step in from the outside world and sit down amongst the atmospheric and dimly lanterns, as the staff warmly greet you and usher you to a table. Bookings in advance are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as there are only around 8 or 9 tables.
On our last visit, we were lucky enough to grab a spot right in front of the chef’s area at Okan South Bank so we got to watch (and smell!) all the teppan action up-close (various okonomiyaki and oodles of noodles sizzling on the hot griddle).
As with Okan Brixton, Okan South Bank is reasonably priced with most okonomiyaki dishes around the £10 mark and a pint of Asahi just over £5. There are around 13 different okonomiyaki combinations on the menu and you can add additional toppings for an extra £2. As well as okonomiyaki they also serve small Japanese tapas dishes, curries, donburi, yaki soba, hot pots and teppan yaki.
The interior of Okan is on par with the food and unusually, if you want to go to the toilet, you have to go through the inner workings and corridors of County Hall which is kind of neat.
Okan South Bank is located a 5 minute walk from Waterloo underground and train station.
Address: County Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 7PB
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3. Abeno, Bloomsbury
Established in 1993, family-run Abeno is Europe’s original okonomiyaki specialist restaurant AND was the first Michelin-listed okonomiyaki restaurant in the world! It is also the only okonomiyaki restaurant in London where the dishes are prepared right in front of you at your own table.
The set up inside the restaurant is cosy with just a handful of tables all with Teppan hot plates centered in the middle, and the decor is minimalistic with some Japanese paintings and Japanese calligraphy on the wall.
Abeno’s menu is really extensive with a wide variety of authentic Kansai-style Okonomiyaki – there are around 20 different options with prices starting at £15.50, and for £4.50 extra you can add noodles to it to make it Hiroshima style.
Other delights on the menu include a range of yaki-soba dishes and a large list of starters, side dishes, sake and desserts. Abeno are members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association so all their meat and many other ingredients are organically sourced.
Once you have placed your order, a member of staff will show you the ingredients for each dish in a bowl and will then whip them all together before carefully pouring the mixture onto the hot teppan plate shaping it into a circle with a spatula and covering it with a metal dome to cook. After a few flips of the dish, toppings are then added and the dish is ready to eat!
We also ordered the most delicious side dish of yaki-gyoza which were filled with succulent plump prawns and broccoli. These too were fried on the teppan plate at your table, and were sprinkled with water and covered with the metal dome to steam which made the gyozas super juicy inside.
We really enjoyed our experience at Abeno and thought the staff were knowledgeable and super friendly. Although not our personal best okonomiyaki in London, we still demolished it and left with smiles on our faces! The prices are also much higher than other places on our list but that could just be because the restaurant is located in an expensive area of central London.
Abeno is located just a few minutes walk away from the British Museum and the nearest tube stations are Holborn and Tottenham Court Road. Reservations are highly recommended and you can book online on their website (a £10 deposit is taken).
Address: 47 Museum Street, London WC1A 1LY
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4. Sho Foo Doh at Filly Brook, Leytonstone
UPDATE: The Sho Foo Doh residency at Filly Brook ends on 29th May 2022. We do not have any information yet as to where the next residency will be – check their Instagram account for the latest updates.
Sho Foo Doh is a quirky Japanese street food brand residency at the Filly Brook bar in Leytonstone, and serves up a fantastic menu of small plates, plus its main signature dish, the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. What makes the Hiroshima style different to normal okonomiyaki is a thinner pancake and the addition of egg noodles.
The dishes are all prepared by Sho Foo Doh’s Japanese chef Fumio Tanga, who has created a menu inspired by Japan’s izakaya bars and was taught how to cook okonomiyaki by the master at Henkutsuya in his home city of Hiroshima in the 90s.
There are 3 versions of okonomiyaki on the menu at Sho Foo Doh – one with pork belly, kimchi and cheese, one with squid and prawns, plus a vegetarian one with mushrooms, cheese and sweetcorn. We absolutely loved the seafood version which came with two large juicy prawns on top and a generous amount of toppings. Prices are on the slightly higher side at around £14 per okonomiyaki.
Small plates to accompany your okonomiyaki include unusual but yummy delights such as miso aubergine, mackerel tempura, baked katsu curried rice and sesame panko crusted cauliflower all priced at around £6-£7 each. We recommend you pair these with an ice cold beverage from Filly Brook’s extensive menu of local craft beers.
Food from Sho Foo Doh is available to order at Filly Brook on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, plus lunchtimes and evenings on Saturday and Sunday. We strongly advise to book a table in advance. Filly Brook is a located a 5 minute walk from Leytonstone underground station, or a 10 minute walk from Leytonstone High Road overground station.
Address: 392 Grove Green Road, London E11 4AP
5. Tenshi, Islington
This independent family-run restaurant in Islington is famous for it’s homestyle Japanese cooking and sushi, and as an added bonus also has okonomiyaki on it’s evening dinner menu!
A basic vegetable okonomiyaki is priced at £8.50, but you can add chicken, bacon or cheese for an extra £2 each, or prawns for £3 extra. According to one of the customer reviews online you can only order 3 okonomiyaki per table though so please bear this in mind if visiting as a large group.
As well as okonomiyaki there are plenty of other delicious Japanese delights on its menu including a large range of donburi, noodles, sushi, tempura and katsu curry, plus an extensive list of sake and Japanese beer.
Tenshi is located a 5 minute walk from Angel underground station and is open Tuesday-Sunday.
Address: 61 Upper Street, London N1 0NY
6. Yaki Ya Grill Japan at Bang Bang Oriental food hall, Colindale
London’s biggest Asian food court and street food experience has arrived in the capital with a bang (Bang). Nestled away in the suburbs of Barnet in Colindale, Bang Bang Oriental Food Hall brings a bit of sass and spice to the capital’s food scene.
Based in a huge, purpose-built hall, Bang Bang Oriental has around 20 different vendors and traders including Yaki Ya! who as well as doing Japanese favourites like katsu curry, sushi, yakisoba noodles and ramen, also offer up okonomiyaki.
Alongside the standard okonomiyaki ‘flavours’ such as vegetable, chicken and (to a lesser extent, prawn), Yaki Ya! also cook up what we think is London’s only salmon okonomiyaki.
Once ordered, grab your buzzer so that you’ll get alerted when the food is ready, find a table and just enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of Bang Bang Oriental.
Yaki Ya Grill Japan at Bang Bang Oriental food hall is located a 9 minute walk from Colindale underground station and is open everyday from 12pm until around 9.30pm.
Address: 399 Edgware Road, London NW9 0FH
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7. Okan at Shōtengai Japanese Market, Kings Cross
Possibly the cheapest okonomiyaki in London (£6!!), the go-to okonomiyaki experts at Okan also have a temporary street food stall at the Shotengai Japanese Market (part of Lower Street Stable Market), held one weekend a month at Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross.
Inspired by Japan’s numerous Shotengai (local market streets), this monthly market offers the best of Japanese food and homeware, along an alleyway chock full of permanent bars, restaurants and cafes.
Okan’s King’s Cross temporary stall offers vegetarian cheese and sweet corn okonomiyaki for £6 with yakisoba noodles as part of the mix for an additional £2. If you are still feeling hungry after your oh so nom nom okonomiyaki (or you visit King’s Cross on a weekend the Japanese Shotengai Market isn’t on), you can also get your fill of Japanese curry at neighbouring (and permanent) restaurant Hiden, where curries start from as a little as £9.
Upcoming scheduled 2022 dates for Shōtengai Japanese Market are: 17 – 19 June, 15 – 17 July, 19 – 21 August,
16-18 September, 14-16 October, 18-20 November and 16-18 December. Shōtengai Japanese Market is located a few minutes walk away from Kings Cross Station.
Address: Lower Stable Street, Kings Cross, London N1C 4LW
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