Great place for a quick bite, service is quick and the turnover is even quicker so you won't have to wait too long if you're a couple. HOWEVER, this is definitely not an ideal spot for a romantic dinner ( I don't know what we were thinking) as you sit elbow to elbow with the next table and sometimes feel like you should contribute to their conversation and take bites off their food.
We had the chicken gyozo and miso soup for starters, both of which were fine albeit unremarkable (although I've never met a remarkable miso soup), and I ordered the eel bento box while my boyfriend had a chicken noodle dish (I don't remember its name because I was too busy savaging my box of bento).
For 14GBP, the bento box is quite filling, although it's more rice than anything else. I had several pieces of salmon sashimi, tuna sushi and a few rolls in one section, then nigiri (eel covered in teryaki) on top of sticky rice, and a small salad section of edamame and peppers).
I'd definitely come back for the bento box and ditch the starters; it's great value for money and a perfect meal for when you're starved of sushi but need something more filling. Despite my spilling my soup and making a mess, the waiters were great, friendly and cordial while quite brisk at their service. It's a great alternative to other restaurants where you tend to feel like cattle being prodded to eat and get out asap.
We also had cold sake and bypassed the dessert; frankly, the restaurant's central location means you have so many fantastic dessert options just around the corner in Soho, and you will definitely need a walk after a meal at Taro.
Ate at the bar and unfortunately saw how the food was made. They use frozen scallops and precooked tonkatsu pieces, which don't taste bad but it's definitely not fresh.
We ordered chicken tonkatsu and tempura sushi. The tonkatsu was dry and the sushi was quite horrible, undercooked (soggy tempura) and mostly rice. The sushi chef also moves around the kitchen without washing his hands before making the next sushi piece, which also put us off from coming back.
Overall, given the choice of other Japanese restaurants in the area, would not recommend going here.
Big Dave goes mad for the bento boxes here. The rice dishes are good and very cheap, but the bento boxes are what really makes Taro stand out. Big Dave only goes to this one because it's where Mr Taro himself works and I like to feel important.
Sounded really good based on the reviews however my two daughters and I were disappointed. Chicken fried rice was very oily and the meat was chewy and chunky. Beef bento box was just ok. We only liked the beef. Sushi rolls were very blend and expensive. Overall a big disappointment.
The service is friendly and the decor feels quite Japanese (whatever that means). It does feel quite impersonal though and it is one of quick bite places. Maybe its different if you know Japanese.
The first time I went there there were 2 Japanese girls who were deep in conversatino with the chef while gulping down their Ramen. It felt a bit interesting but in general there are Japanese places with better food and better service than this around the same area.
Worth a punt if you are tired of the other places - which I was on the day - but a pretty meh experience.
The problem with most Japanese places is that they are either overpriced, pretentious nonsense or run by foreigners trying to sell Sushi.
This place -which has existed for about 14 years- is suprisingly authentic, low key and absolutely delicious. The interior is simple and they have an open kitchen whereone can sit at the bar and watch them work while you wait. Mr Taro, who ironically put his on face in the logo, adds his own spirit to this place and can often be found running around and is sometimes even available for a little chat.
Also I am not a big meat eater and i certainly appreciate the numerous veggie options on the menu. The tofu steak, which I only initially tried because it came as part of a bento box, is bound to convince any meat eater and tofu hater.
It was late of a Saturday evening, and we happened to be in the pub just next door, so as a convenient spot to eat this place nailed it. The service, although brusque, was decent and we were seated immediately. It reminded me a little of my favourite Japanese place in Leeds, Fuji Hiro, with the simple diner style tables and a few condiments, but sadly that's where the familiarity ends.
The menu is simple, so I went with what I know, and ordered chicken yaki udon. It comes with curry sauce, which isn't the usual so far as I know elsewhere (I only know it from two places in Leeds - we have a dearth of Japanese food) but neither usually curry it up. In any case, it came swiftly, which was grand since I was famished.
Sadly, it was not everything that I'd desired in an udon. The noodles were cooked plainly, with only the curry sauce to flavour them, and that was oddly the blandest curry I've ever sampled. I mean, it had a degree of spice, it was dark, but it just lacked any taste. The veg, carrots and such, didn't help to further excite the dish and the chicken wasn't that inspiring. It was all fine, insofar as it meant I was no longer hungry, but the more I tried to shovel it in the more I realised I was eating merely to sate said hunger.
I'm not in London often, but when I come back, I doubt I'll make a second visit. Fine if you need a refuel, but I'd try elsewhere for something tasty.
"Welcome to Taro, the best place under the sun where your taste buds get a heavenly treat!"
Authentic Japanese food in Soho? this is the place. And what I love is that mr Taro actually works there and walks around the restaurant, making sure everything is ok. And the restaurant logo? yeah- thats him.
The place is really small- my opinion- and always busy. I don't think I have ever been there and it wasn't packed. You normally have to wait to get seated but they try and make it quick. The idea is you go-eat-leave.
The amount of food you get on your plate is ginormous. So much food and so goooooood! I leave the place wobbling, to be honest.
Taro is a chain of Japanese restaurants serving a good selection of bento boxes and one plate meals. It's not quite canteeen style dining but the ambiance is certainly that of a buzzy lunch crowd rather than somewhere to dither and linger.
Their bento boxes are good value and overcome a common problem for the single diner - how to eat a variety of dishes. I've had the special bento box here a couple of times, which is a nice mix of hot dishes and the obligatory sashimi. It's good value, tasty food and I always leave with afull tummy and a smile.
They do have some interesting juices but are happy to serve you tap water without a sneer.
A little bonus is that Scoop Gelato and Snog froyo are just a few doors down for dessert.
If I'm ever craving sushi in Soho and am on a budget, this is the place that I head to. The bento box is reasonably priced and delicious. The staff are super quick so if you're looking for a place go grab a quick bite before a show/cinema outing/meeting up with friends, this is place to go.
They also apparently have a large dining room in the back for larger parties. So don't fret if it looks like they have no room when you first arrive. There's always space at Taro.
Walking in, I reckons mr taro is the guy who is behind the lectern at the back, adding up bills and ordering people about in true Japanese patriarch fashion. I am slightly afraid of him still, but he took my order with a nod of the head, and my lunch was in my hand before I could sit down on the bar separating diners from the kitchen.
It's busy, you can see into the bustle of the kitchen and the fluorescent glare kindof gives a shinjuku sheen to everything.
My barbecue pork soba noodle was pretty awesome, and a highlight in my latest spate of ramen / soba noodle tasting around Soho. I also had a pokari sweat from the supermarket on the other side of the road, which quenched my thirst rather well.
Even stranger was walking outside to the oddly London-like bustle of Brewer Street. Sadly strange was the lightness of change in my pocket, but never mind, a good noodle, is a good noodle.
I like this place. Authentic Japanese food, affordable pricing, and an easy choice for dinner on a weeknight. My wife and I normally each order a bowl of noodles (ramen for me, udon for her), and a tonkatsu to share. The noodles/broth/accompaniments are all what I miss from Tenkaippin in Tokyo. The tonkatsu is a bit thinner than what I'm used to, but still very good, and reasonable at eight pounds. The tea is nice, although I will forever resent paying for tea in a Japanese restaurant.
Its not fancy, but good, affordable, and reliable. Defintely a fan.
My new favouritest thing in the world is the bento box, and the lovely Mr Taro was the one who introduced me to it. Its such a great way to have a little bit of everything that you want, without having to order half the menu to get it.
The restaurant isn't beautiful, the staff are okay, but busy and not so attentive, but who cares, the food is why you should come here.
One little problem though...... I asked for the Prawn Bento box, but was told they didn't have it. Okay, no problems, Teriyaki Chicken box was excellent, so my second choice was a good pick. On my walk to the (slightly manky) toilet, what do I see? Yes, another customer eating a Prawn Bento Box. Why couldn't I have it? Its not fair. Never mind, I'm still planning to go back again.
There ain't anything better than a hot steaming bowl of ramen on a chilly winter's eve. Well we are not quite chilly yet, but anyhoos.
There wasn't anything wrong with the chicken ramen per say, but it wasn't brilliant either. It was salty, msg~y and hot. Noodles were thankfully not overcooked. I did walk away thinking, there goes my govermentally suggested salt intake X10 today.
The old lags here will know the thing I am going to complain about is beansprouts. A. NEVER SEEN IT WITH THE HEAD ON AT HOME . B. No need to give us a massive fist full just coz it's cheap (insert cheap sex joke here).
Beans sprouts... YUCK.
I love that mr taro actually works here, and that he actually looks like the simple cartoon that is this restaurants logo, which implies he has a sense of humour, but he was so gruuuuumpy last night! stood next to us and kept pushing our reciept closer and closer towards us across the table; ok, we get the hint, you want us to leave now! in all fairness they were sooo busy.
I like the huge amounts of food you get in a bento box, and how its all seperate and fun like a kids meal. I go here to be fed well, always end up getting the same thing, despite perusing the menu for 10 minutes.
I want to like it here! But my visit last night was disappointing.
My ramen was average. I wouldn't order ramen here again. The sushi was absolutely fine and the Tofu Don looked really yummy. I just wish I'd gone for a bento box!
I love a cheeky bit of taro. So cheap. Love how you can watch the chefs cook too. I got the chicken curry the chicken ain,t very nice, seriously basic. Bit the potatoes, rice and sauce are the actual business. A big thumbs up for a cheap, quick, filling meal in Soho.
Wet nights in London mean walk into the first restaurant you find where everyone in your party can eat something. And sometimes not even that.
Having emptied a few glasses at the -house stores down the road, we decided to take a punt on Taro if only because we were cold, wet and hungry. Three good reasons, methinks.
The decor is diner- rather than restaurant-style and there is a nice relaxed atmosphere to boot. The sushi was simple but tasty and not over-priced, and the spicy yakisoba was very pleasant, though the seafood was barely visible as it was so small.
One bonus is that they serve Asahi, a delightful Japanese beer, and the menu is varied enough for me to happily go back, though only if I'm in the area. When it's raining.
Overall, I was very pleased with the food and service of Taro. I sat at the bar because I am a lonely foreign traveler and have no friends *tear* but also, I like to watch the cooks in the back do their thang. If you choose to sit at the bar or have no friends like me, you can see the whole assembly process of cranking out a bento box. Lots of premade sauce and veggies from plastic containers to smother boxes full of rice, tempura and the like all at once. On the other hand, there was just one ramen chef (he looked like Mr. Taro but I don't know if it was actually him) so it was nice to see a more slow-paced, personalized attention to my ramen dish versus the whole Henry-Ford-process-bento-box-meal-thingy. I'm sure they are tasty but the assembly line itself reminded me of a fast food joint.
What I ordered: Spicy Beef Ramen. (It was just beef ramen and I had to pay about a quid more to add spiciness). So, what you need to know about me is that I am an all-round ramen loverrr. Of the three weeks I've been in London so far, I'd say more than 50% of the time I was out seeking ramen.You know how some restaurants claim a dish is spicy but it's not and there's no kick? This ramen actually came out spicy! There was a lot of beef too, so no skimping on the protein here. It was a bit salty but that's how I like my food and although it was pretty oily (probably from the beef being stir-fried first) it was very very flavorful. Bonus points for the ramen coming out super quick!
The service: ...was superb! Even though I sat at the bar, the waitresses, for the most part, took note of when I needed help. There was a point where no one saw me raising my hand for refilling my tea, so one of the two sushi chefs was so kind to ask me what I needed and then waved down a waitress to refill my cup. He could have just ignored me and let the waitresses do their thing but whatta guy! The other sushi chef eventually started a conversation with me asking about my whereabouts and comparing America to London - so endearing!
(For what it's worth, if I were ever a sushi chef behind a bar, I'd probably keep a straight face and ignore people eating in front of me - I'd think it'd be too indifferent to give a damn about people coming in and out to eat my food. SO, +1 for these sushi chefs not being like me)
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me three times... well I'm just an idiot aren't I?!
Yeah I admit it, I've been to Taro a few times, but tonight was the last time. It's my father's favourite restaurant in London and when he comes to visit, it is no hardship to go as it's cheap and central.
But the sushi is so ... fatty. If fish and rice can be fatty, then this is. There is way too much rice enveloping the maki and it's too sticky and stodgy. The fish is average and I hate that they put wasabi inside the rolls. The yaki soba is average, the salmon teriyaki is bad, sliced too thinly and resting on a giant bowl of stodgy rice.
And the service, or should I say, what service? We waited an age to order whilst tables who came in after us were getting main courses already. We then waited ages for the food - usually sushi is out to the table in a flash. I had to ask for a green tea refill twice and both times, it was cold tea. Great, thanks for that.
Taro, you won't be getting any more of my money.
The marinated fried chicken Karaage and the gyoza were really good! First time I had karaage but it was so good! Juicy meat and well spiced.
Japanese restaurant in Soho. I've been a couple of times and have found it to be just average. It's got all the usual items: sushi, noodles, gyoza, etc. It's a better choice than the Yo! Sushi novelty-type places and cheaper than Wagamamma, but it's unlikely to be a meal to change your life.
The interior's plain, almost spartan. Very bright and white, with light wooden tables. The service and atmosphere can be a bit rushed when they're in need of a table.
This restaurant was recommended to me for supper last friday and since i'd never been before i thought i should try it out before we went for dinner there.
While the outside may not seem preposessing - the food is absolutely fantastic. This is definitely some of the best sushi i've had. The rice was great - but what was really outstanding was the quality of the fish that they used in the sushi dishes. The food arrived quickly and it was very fresh. The prawn tempura roll was still warm and the tempura batter was still crisp when it arrived at our table.
Getting a table is harder during lunch than supper. Even at 7 on a friday evening this place had spec to fit in a walk in table of 3. Although its pretty packed the two lunch times i've been there.
Highlights: chicken teri-don - 3 different people that i've been with have raved about it and having tasted it, i can only agreed with their opinions.
Prawn tempura roll - crispy and tasty - its somethign a lot places cant get right - either the rolls are a little greasy and soggy or rather tasteless - so it was a pleasure to eat these.
Better than the Old Compton Street branch as this features Mr Taro watching over the restaurant. It's very good for the basics, happy, welcoming staff with chefs that can make the best Sushi.
The Chirashi Don dish provided a nice selection of raw fish on top of a bed of warm vinegared rice. Not too badly price at £9.75, but you can get it cheaper elsewhere (Eat Tokyo around the corner sells a similar dish for £6 which includes miso soup).
Friendly owner and wait staff.
Open on Sundays, with last orders at 21.20.
Service is lightning fast, occasionally bringing you the boxed food before the sushi.
Prices are good (around £1/sushi roll slice).
And food is very yummy.
I really like their teriyaki salmon box. Mostly because the chicken occasionally has fat and skin, and pork often has fat, and I don't like the taste of that.
Visited in late May (bank holiday weekend, in fact) as both Kulu Kulu and Ten Ten Tei (on the same street) were shut on the bank holiday monday. Shame. But we still ate good food. Just less sushi. Despite eating sushi for nearly 12 years now, I'm still not familiar enough with combos, names and recipes. Maybe because restaurants aren't too consistent amongst themselves. In any case, it results in slow and confused ordering when I can't pick my sushi off a blush conveyor belt.
There's a few of these knocking round London now. They're pretty cheap and the food is decent and well-presented.
Taro offers a range of Japanese treats. Their menu contains a number of great sides (the gyoza is terrific - not too greasy) and some fantastic looking mains. They also serve a handsome assortment of sushi and sashimi. Best of all, their set bento boxes contain sushi, sashimi, edamame and a choice of main. The Beef Teriyaki bento is fantastic.
This place isn't fancy. But it felt pretty authentic and the food is as good as its equivalent restaurants in Tokyo.
A really great place for a quick meal, the restaurant is has really minimum decor and is almost canteen style. Food is reasonably priced and super quick.
Wasn't overly impressed with the gyoza side dish we ordered. Mains on the otherhand were gorgeous. Had the Chicken Teriyaki which was scrumptious.
Would definately call in again.
What immediately made us go inside this canteen type restaurant was the amount of Asian people eating there which is always indicative of the good stuff.
I had a chicken teryaki on rice and my partner had crisp pork on rice covered in egg. Both served in chunky, rectangular dishes that reminded me of a house brick. Eaten with chop sticks and we both enjoyed it immensely. To drink we had a Hot Sake each and green tea. The total bill was £22 which I think is fantastic for a Soho meal for two with alcohol. Highly recommended and we will be back
The only place where the logo above the door actually turns out to be a real-life person! Honestly, the cute little illustration that serves as sign and logo is a really accurate portrayal of Mr Taro himself, who is just as cute in the flesh. He wanders around, smiling loads and stopping to say hello.
Best sushi place in London. Great, great food whether you're after a mouth-watering array of spicy tuna rolls, wonder rolls, unagi, or a big, comforting bowl of ramen noodles. All kicked off with some spinach salad with sesame dressing or edamame and accompanied with some hot sake or kirin beer.
A very casual atmosphere, simple decor and tables placed close together make for a friendly dining experience with good and efficient service.
I was here just recently with some of my mates. It was quite a surprise.
The food is really good, it tastes really authentic, and best of all they serve it quite quickly. I say this 'cause my food arrived within a few minutes and the place was packed. True props for that, not many places can do that nowadays.
Prices are good, as long as you only order one dish. But if you order more then one dish and a beer or drink be ready to spend around £20, but otherwise it will only be around £10.
The service is good, and really friendly. The atmosphere is quite lively.
A really good place to go with your mates or family.
A very good chioce for a quick japanese eat in central London. When we go there, I always eat tempura udon, which is fantastic, but I can recommend all sushi and chicken dish as well.
The prices are ok, the service is very fast, all together thumbs up!!!
I went to Taro on a friend's recommendation. They said the Chicken Teriyaki was awesome - they were right! I went back twice within the same week just for the Teri don!
Unfortunately that means my views are slightly skewed toward the one dish but then again it was particularly yum.
I'll give the other dishes a go - heard some good things about the Sushi too!
It's not clever, it's not flashy, it's not somewhere I'd go out of my way to eat in, but if you're in the area and looking for a cheap and cheerful japanese lunch or dinner you could do far worse! I alwasy have the chicken teriyaki don, with some gyoza and edamame beans, all of which are consistently good. in terms of value for money and polite good service I don't think you can go wrong and compares favourably to the toruisty places that over cahrage and under deliver that we have so many of in Soho.
Taro oh Taro what can I say?...
There are days when Taro is great, and then your leftover with the crappy times!
I went with a friend who for some reason gets a special price (I'm not fond of the charge what I feel like policy), then went by myself and got charged slightly more (-5), never mind I'm over it. It looks like the chicken teriyaki don is the most ordered item on the menu without a doubt, and I can understand why, glutenous rice topped with juicy chicken, ya just can't go wrong, plus I love the little box it comes in (+5 very trendy) Then me being me, decided to venture out a little and go for the ramen....hugely disappointed! Overly salty, not enough chicken (come on Mr. Taro), way too much carrots and bean sprouts (love ma veggies but theres a limit)to make up for the lack of meat & noodles! Definitley something I won't be ordering again. Besides the slight downfall of their soups the crowd generally seems to be happy with their food, my guess is that most are repeat offenders (diners) and know what works for them!
So to wrap up, go try it, it's an experience none the less...
....I actually enjoyed it, just in case my review sounded a bit harsh.
The go to sushi place when you are in Soho! I also happen to be friends with the owner so that may make this review slightly biased. Mr Taro is a lovely modest man just trying to satiate people's craving for Japanese food. Like him, the restaurant is very casual. In fact it is not the place you probably want to bring your girl on a first date as the decor lacks to impress. However, the sushi is downright succulent and yummy! If you've tried Nobu's Sushi and were amazed, then Taro should not let you down in taste since they use the same supplier! Only difference between the two is price and presentation! Taro's prices are probably half of Nobu's. I have never ordered anything here other than the sushi. I wouldn't recommend this place for anything else.
Sashimi very fresh, Ramen really good. Great friendly service to boot. Located in a happening spot. Can't wait to go back to try more.
We chose this restaurant based on the menu and business during dinner, usually a good sign! Which, for a majority of patrons, probably is the case. We had a negative experience, so take it with a grain of salt along with the other reviews.
We are big sushi eaters, so we started with an agedofu/agedashe tofu, which was bland, before getting our maki rolls: tuna, salmon, and shrimp tempura. The quality of the sushi was excellent, we're just not used to paying .30p more for a slice of cucumber and avocado, but taste was good so, no problem. The pot of tea we ordered? They gave it to the table next to us and poured their cups... And didn't realize their mistake until I asked (£3!).
What really made me come to this review, was the end of the meal. Sipping on our tea, there was a group of 4 who were refusing their table near the door, and requested to be moved more inwards. The owner sat them in waiting chairs right next to our table saying, "they will be leaving, so this table is yours." Then, every 15 seconds, asked if we were finished until we "asked" for the bill!
Disappointing to be forced out to make room for grumpy customers. Wouldn't come back with so many other options nearby.
I love it here! Bento boxes are fantastic and very filling (I eat like a horse!) Come here for early or late lunch during the week as it's very popular. If I don't have time to eat in I call my order in before I collect. I'm hungry just thinking about this place I think I'll go there for tomorrow's lunch to reward myself for this review!
Went here tonight. Sushi was ok but we were shocked when the bill came to £81. We hadn't ordered very much (2 edamame, 2 miso, a few rolls & 2 drinks) & had been paying attention to prices. When we got back to the flat we pulled up their website & menu & realized the waitress doubled our bill. Don't know if this was done intentionally. Should've called her on it when we knew something was wrong.
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