I used to come here all the time with my friends when I studied abroad in London. The chicken karaage bento is wonderful, especially washed down with some plum wine. I'm not a huge fan of katsudon, but I had a friend who loves it, and the Diner's was some of the best we had. Everything seems very fresh and tasty and basic, but in a good way. Japanese home cooking, I suppose!
Waits can get long in the evening, but they seem to move everyone in and out very fast. The waitresses are very nice--but no tipping! Despite the plethora of restaurants in Chinatown it's sort of a culinary wasteland, and Tokyo Diner is a respite and a delight.
+ A Japanese canteen, that's exactly what this place is
This place is a Japanese canteen. A canteen in Japan. Canteen japonaise.
I don't know what else I can add.
The food is definitely authentic. Their food is kind of comfort food that would be served in a canteen. (For the third time. I won't say that again.) Their food is decent but not special. To use proper foodie terminologies, they are "hmm yummy" but not quite "OMFG! You gotta try this sXXX. This is f-ing AWESOME!".
The restaurant is very small and it's right at the heart of China Town so it gets packed.
I have never been impressed by their staff, though. Most of the time they are rather blunt. I thought all Japanese people were nice and polite.
In one of my recent visits, I overheard two waitresses chatting quite loudly at the back (in Japanese) for quite a long time. Maybe it wasn't the busiest time of all but it doesn't feel right.
But they can get away with it. They are at a prime location with high visibility. The food is decent. So there is enough influx of tourists (they are one-off transactions) and locals who need a quick and filling meal.
I will still go back for the high cost performance. I only care about food.
Overcooked fried tofu & katsu in general; it's a bit cheaper but about par for hte course in C-town.
I've been here several times with friends and I'm endlessly amazed by the friendliness of the service, value of their menu and fabulous taste of the food. For Japanese food that's more authentic than the usual London offerings, but still affordable, you really can't beat it. I would recommend the pork katsu bento box, which comes with candied sweet potato and other delights.
I loved this restaurant. Really funky with excellent food at good prices (service is included). Crowded, but space available.
Very good katsu curry, but nothing exceptional. If you enjoy having the traditional Japanese katsu curry, this is your place! I also read on the menu that you can get an extra-large portion of rice at no additional cost.
I really enjoyed my food. It has been a while that I just had a katsu curry without anything fancy or the chef hyping it up. Good tasting and fresh :) It reminds me of what a katsu curry originally taste like.
The place is nicely decorated to look traditionally Japanese, so very simple. They do try to maximize the space as much as possible, so I felt like I was having lunch with the people sitting at the next table. Perhaps this is part of the appeal.
If I am hungry in Chinatown and unsure of where to go for a sure-thing good tasting meal, I would certainly return. However, I would not travel just to eat here.
I was there yesterday for lunch. Nice place, authentic Japanese food in London's Chinatown.
I had a great sauce chicken katsu don - YUMMY ! The resto has a strong Udon menu but perhaps lacking in the sashimi department.
I also appreciate its sustainable development policy re not serving tuna.
Would definitely return.
Last Saturday we went to Tokyo Diner. It was a great choice. We were also very lucky because we got seated right away, but immediately after us (around 7.30) people started to line up.
Tokyo Diner is all about one thing: great standard Japanese food. The setting of the restaurant is very basic and small (don't dress up for this). All staff is Japanese and very friendly & humble. They refuse any tips because "it's not part of the Japanese culture" (their words). They don't sell Tuna because they believe in only serving sustainable food. As much as I love tuna, I can only truly admire this choice and position they take.
The food was really good. We didn't eat as much as we normally do at a Japanese place but had a fair amount of salmon sushi (really fresh), pork with curry (tasted like other ones I had before) and Udon noodles (almost the most recommendable dish of the menu! Only £8 for the noodles with chicken and better than any other trendy Udon place I've been to in Soho).
Overall, all the prices are VERY reasonable (almost cheap) for such quality! It's about £2-3 for a beer for example. And the total bill (and in the end, we were full) was only £50 for several beers, glasses of wine, fresh sushi, pork, udon ...
I definitely go back when I'm around in Chinatown!
Seems that whenever I am in Chinatown, I pass by this place. Since I often go to Chinatown to get my Chinese fix, I have been ignoring this place until today. This is a very down to earth diner. The food is well prepared and delicious. You can get Bento, noodles, sushi, and your standard Japanese starter dishes here. My friend and I ordered a sashimi plate and Agedashi tofu to start. At first we thought 10 pound for a plate of sashimi wasn't a bad price, but when we saw the 7 small pieces of sashimi, we realized it wasn't the deal of the century. The Agedashi tofu was really good. I had the Katzu don which I liked. It was different from the Katzu I am used to, in this version, Katzu was cooked first and then cooked with eggs to form a pancake that covered the rice in the bowl. It was very yummy and very filling as well.
What I like about this restaurant is the attention to details. You will find the most comprehensive menu here with information about gluten and nuts/seeds content for each and every one of their dishes. They also clearly stated on their menu that they don't accept tips! Overall, a good place for a quick meal.
The food here is great and very authentic Japanese cuisine. So far, we tried the katsu curry with rice and the nigiri set. Both are extremely delicious. One great thing here is that you can get a bonus on rice if you ask for them with any donburi or curry rice.
But there is something less to be desired about the owners' attitude toward their customers. I tried to be friendly and speak Japanese with them, but they were extremely protective and replied in English sternly. Service level could be improved to make this store a better experience to be honest. But at least people will not be disappointed with the food! This place can also get quite crowded during weekends due to being a relatively small place.
I don't usually eat japanese food in chinatown, for reasons quite obviously stated in the first half of this sentence. I heard this place was pretty reasonably priced so we popped into here because I couldn't touch the dim sum places until after this stupid chinese notion of not eating prawns after surgery. And in chinatown - every dumpling you eat is like a lucky dip- you don't know what meats they have.
I would usually head for proper ramen in either bone daddies or tenten but due to not being able to walk very far 4 days after surgery, and i NEEDED to get a haircut because damn, i need to feel pampered after having such a shit time with my medical problems, I decided to treat my cousin here. (he chaperoned me so I didn't get bashed about in london, our family is close knit like that!)
It's basic- you get some set lunches, where you would get pickles, rice, what you ordered and soup and I love thats how simple it is, it's the epitome of japanese clean eating so you don't feel so msg-fied afterwards. I enjoyed my lunch!
Reasonably priced? for the simplicity- I don't really want to pay over £20 and we weren't that full, so no, I think that I can definitely find better japanese deals elsewhere.
I chose this place for a first dinner date, having read the previous reviews on here and got a verbal confirmation from a friend that it was good.
We stepped through the nifty sliding door, and we greeted and sat almost immediately, menus in hand. We ordered sushi and edamame, and while we waited we had the free green tea (which was rather good and not horribly stewed).
Menu wise it was very well labelled, I liked that they were clear on ingredients and common allergens. They also admitted there may be a language barrier with the server so in case of special requests to make sure the server understood.
The food came quickly and it was clearly very fresh- the rice was perfect and the fish was flavoursome and of a decent thickness. I could have done with more ginger but I'm sure they would have provided if I'd asked.
Despite it being reasonably busy they didn't rush us off our table after we finished the food but continued chatting, even pouring more tea for us.
Polite, efficient, good value. I will be going back!
I was a bit skeptical as Tokyo Diner is right in the middle of Chinatown and the name sounded a bit odd as well. The ambiance is simple and clean with attentive staff. Prices are very reasonable and they do not charge service nor do they ask for tips.
We tried the sashimi, kastu curry, and chicken karaage. The chicken had a great crust and was super juicy. You have the option of white or dark meat for the chicken karaage which I do not see often. The fish was fresh and nicely sliced.
I never thought I'd judge a restaurant by its entrance door, but I did. Sign of a quality time ahead, I say.
I've passed by the restaurant dozens of times but never stepped inside. It's deceptive on first impression as the space appears to be small, but the sign at the door that says "seating for 100 people" sums it up pretty well. We were taken to the seating downstairs, where we were joined fellow diners in a windowless basement. We promptly ordered the £8 Oyaka don (chicken pieces with scrambled egg and brothy rice), and a fried chicken bento box which was a bit of a letdown for £16 (you get several pieces of fried chicken, 3 pieces of salmon sashimi, some veggies). I'd recommend the rice bowls.
Overall, it's decent. I'm a bit obsessed with Japanese food so I'm glad I found it.
Eating here honestly just made me miss home more, I guess. I'm not Japanese, but growing up in Taiwan there was no shortage of good, cheap Japanese food, and I guess this place is the closest to that standard I could find in my short stay in London, with somewhat reasonable prices.
Their katsu curry is my favorite. Crispy fried pork chops in hearty curry - what more can I ask for, really. As for appetizers, I often get the chicken karaage - it's just simple, no-frills Japanese fried chicken. Yum. The free tea and rice crackers give it an even more authentic feel, and the staff was always nice to me.
Unfortunately they do not do takeout (apart from sushi, if I remember correctly) - hopefully that might change? At any rate, a nice place for ordinary Japanese fare, nothing fancy.
We where strolling around Leicester Square really hungry but didn't want any of that fast food stuff... there in a corner we found this nifty little place just waiting for us.
Place is small but nicely kept, menu has several choices to choose from and we pretty much liked everything, but mostly: Salmon Tataky, sushi plater, sashimi and the chicken karate. Everything was fresh and quickly served and for london, I don´t believe it was that expensive for what we got.
Not like the other places I usually eat Sushi at, but i decided to give it a try! Fresh, light, and many interesting choices.
I would return back with my wife for sure! she would love it.
A simple no fuss Japanese restaurant. There is nothing I could fault about the food in this place. I couldn't give it 5 stars because it was just simple Japanese comfort food, nothing out of ex-ordinary and all the usual Japanese dishes I could get in any other Japanese restaurant. Tokyo Diner focuses really mainly on one plate dishes like donburi and also their famous big portion bento boxes. There are also sushi platters but it just does not have a large a la carte menu. It's a place for a quick fulfilling dinner if you don't fancy Chinese in China town.
I do love it's concept of 'No Tipping'. With its free tea, Japanese crackers and no service charge it felt like a Japanese Wong Kei's with better service and better food. Portions were just as big though with free refills of rice for those extra hungry ones. Awesome.
We started with starters of agedashi tofu, spinach goma, miso soup and pickles. The tofu was average, not the most silky I've had but still very satisfying in a very well made dashi sauce. Spinach goma stood out the most although I wish they let it warm up a bit rather than it come out straight out the fridge, Still I love the nutty sesame sauce that made this dish so moorish. It tasted just like peanut butter but sweetened and gave the dish a slight sticky texture. It no longer felt healthy but indulgent instead. Wasn't a fan of the plum pickle that was too sour but the rest was fine.
My main of pork katsu was massive with a lovely marinated leaf salad on the side. It was one of the better ones I've had with next chunky soft carrots and potatoes in the curry which was perfectly seasoned and flavoured, not too sweet or salty. The katsu was perfectly fried, a nice crunchy batter into a thick succulent tender piece of pork. Rice was fluffy and cooked perfectly. A good choice.
However weirdly enough I preferred my boyfriend's tamago don. Something so simple like on egg on rice was so good and comforting. Where my katsu curry cooled down very quickly my boyfriend's dish remained hot throughout due to the egg acting like a blanket. It was soft, mouthmetling and cooked in a dashi stock that wrapped it in a nice savoury flavour. Together with the al dente sticky rice it was just the perfect combination.
We also shared a zaru soba which was faultless again. A nice portion, noodles cooked as they should and sauce flavoured well.
The most disappointed part was our cold sake which tasted like they had watered it down. Still it did not effect our overall opinion of the place as we were very satisfied with meal.
I do love this place and will probably return very soon. The automatic push button door was a nice touch as it made my boyfriend feel nostalgic about his holiday memories in Japan as apparently those doors were common over there. Also that and the light wooden tables, Japanese staff, a large map of Japan and the rest of the decor. With that in mind and the cheap generous prices do prepare to queue or get there a bit early.
I've been here a few times and it seems like they have a lot more space than they used to (both upstairs and downstairs). I imagine it would still fill up on a busy night but it was a Monday so we didn't have to wait. I had sushi with a side of more sushi, miso and edamame. Overall the sushi wasn't amazing but it was still very good and definitely for the price.
It's definitely one of my favourite places to go around Leichester Square.
A great bet for a pleasant, non-greasy meal at a very convenient location.
Remarkably tranquil inside, for such a busy area. As soon as you walk in, you're seated and served rice crackers and green tea by the attentive staff. The menu is not as expansive as other places, but everything they serve is reliable and less greasy. My comfort foods are the soba noodles and aubergine or tofu with dashi. Besides the food and service, it feels good to support a small business that has a strong ethos. One of my go-tos.
Katsudon! That's what you should get here :). They make a mean katsudon and it's very good values (large portions). You get hot tea and rice crackers while you wait for your food. It gets a little crowded in there, but I've never had to wait too long to get seated.
Totally Japanese~ some people may not get used to it, but I love it! It's smooth and soft~ noodles are terrific! However, sushi is a little bit loose, so it is easy to fall apart. Anyway, good place to try Japanese food! Definitely try it out!
From the exterior, Tokyo Diner looks simple and isn't eye-catching. However, the inside is beautiful, clean and as if you walked into Japan.
The menu is descriptive, explaining what goes well with what and on the front of the menu is a little description explaining they don't accept tips. I felt this was helpful to avoid embarrassment or avoid any insulting behaviour.
I ordered the Nigiri set which was plenty for lunch along with edamame and miso soup. The fish was very fresh and presented wonderfully. There was just something about the restaurant I really admired. It was quiet, many diners ate on their own and they were comfortable doing so.
The price was extremely affordable, the restaurant very clean and the service I found helpful.
Limited sushi selection but fresh and delicious. Great value for money.
Beautiful Japanese food, lovely service, given the location, I thought it would be one of those "fake Japanese restaurant" - secretly own by non-Japanese Asian. However, I was pleasantly surprise that this is not the case - if it was, they hide it very well. Lol
I particularly enjoy the curry, and for those who are VERY hungry, you can even ask for extra rice too!
Service is ok but the sushi is fantastic. The salmon is as fresh as it gets. Try the salmon nigiris, Salmon set, miso soup, and salmon tataki. The place is very casual and in the middle of chinatown, the place has a very laid back feel with traditional japanese vibe.
Tokyo Diner was one of the first Japanese restaurants to open in the Chinatown area. I remember peering at the menu at the time, wondering about this new cuisine invading the homogeneous Anglo-Canto food in the rest of Chinatown.
At those prices, it was definitely worth a punt and I haven't looked back since. I usually go for a bento box as I get some sushi (essential for me) as well as another dish included. It's a complete meal in itself.
It's not swanky and a little cozy but a reliable cheap Japanese meal.
The sushi menu was limited. I read a little anecdote on display about how the Japanese will travel across the country (of Japan) for freshly prepared soba noodles. But, um, the soba noodles I got were so obviously not fresh.
Is this a dishonest or an ingenious marketing strategy? I can't decide.
In any event, Okawari is just down Lisle Street, and it has a bigger sushi menu and lower prices. If you want a more stereotypically Japanese dining atmosphere, stick with Tokyo Diner. But you'll get more for your money at Okawari, and that's what counts, I think.
I'm sorry, I just wasn't feeling it. I wanted to like it. God, I wanted to have an awesome meal when I took friends out to thank them for helping me move, but it just didn't happen.
I went with a couple of friends for whom Japanese food is not a specialty and so weren't sure what to order. I gave some advice, but their tastes (ie meat!) are different to mine so they asked the waitress. Very unhelpful. There was just no sense of 'oh try this' or 'if you like that then this is for you'. It was as if she hated being there and was nervous about anyone saying anything that resembled a question and didn't know what to do when it happened.
We ordered edamame to get things started.... which was fine until one of the party found a live maggot crawling over them... ok, so you don't eat the skins, but... just..... no. not for me, thanks. After the earlier 'conversation' with the waitress, we felt at pains to point it out, and we were tired anyway so didn't want to kick up a fuss.
The rest of the food was fine. Nothing spectacular but a good cheap option in a great location, just set back from Charing Cross Road, a minute from Leicester Square station.
I'd like to go and try it again to see if I caught a new girl on a bad night, but I just don't want any more maggots on my food.
There's nothing really much to say about this place. Everything was pretty mediocre. The atmosphere, the service, and the food were all very average. Me and my friend were close to running out the door after having been served our drinks, but our morale enforced us to stay put!
The only thing bringing my star rating up a notch is my passion for Japanese food, and well.. I suppose I did get to eat that (as unsatisfying as it was). Plus, I needn't pay for tip, which saved me change for a post pick-me-up.
I'd really give this place a 3.5 stars if I could.
I've passed by this place so many times and finally stopped here for lunch the other day. They have a pretty good variety of items on the menu - and I went with the katsu curry. I thought it was good but it didn't get me excited enough to give it 4*s. The age dashi tofu is really good. I'll have to go back and try some of the other things on the menu.
In bubbling Soho and Chinatown it's difficult to make a choice for a restaurant. They all look similars and you wonder if the quality is everywhere good not to be disapointed and unfortunately it's not !
That's why I definitely recommand to go to this address. It has good prices, ethical concept (they don't use tuna because it's a specie in danger even it's cultural for Japanese to normally eat it) they don't take tip and ask instead to come back and bring friend ! Love the concept :-)
Inside the decoration is classic, wood table and some Japanese flag as decoration. You have lunch menu or a la carte suggestion. You can go for hot meal such as soup or fried meat or fish but also some sushi and cold sashimi.
I've been a couple of time and never been disapointed. The service is efficient, polite and friendly even quite shy as it's common in asian culture. Might be busy but worth make a try and even try a bit if the queue is not too long. If this one is full, then walk around and catch one with as much as stickers as possible from all the guides and travels books that have rated the place, the best way to find something else !
After skirting by this place maybe 87 times in my life...I finally decided to go in. And I've repeated that decision. So that means it's 3 stars (somehow this review seems very unenthused).
Great prices and tasty noodle and rice dishes (unagi mmm!) - I would skip the sushi though, seriously...just no. If you're looking for something that's open relatively late for this city, perhaps after a show (I had just watched Jude Law's modern portrayal of Hamlet, complete with skinny jeans), then this would be the spot to go to.
Don't expect to be able to sit and wax lyrical over something or other for hours and hours; it's in the heart of Chinatown and next to a bar complete with colorful patrons spilling out looking for a bite.
I do love people watchin here though !!
I would like to give this place a 4 star, but it just lacked a little something to push it into that category.
I love Japanese food, and it's quite possibly my favorite cuisine out there. I can't tell why I wasn't too impressed by this place but here are my general thoughts on my dining experience here:
1. I thought the prices were just a tad higher than for what they were offering.
2. I was hoping they would have more options on the menu. I know this is probably a silly thing to say considering how extensive their menu already is, but I was really expecting an izakaya style place and this was not it at all! And if it is, it is a very limited menu for an izakaya.
3. The food was just filling enough.
4. Despite the Japanese speaking servers, I still felt this place didnt feel Japanese enough, it feels like I'm in Chinatown...probably because it is in Chinatown =P
In the end, maybe my expectations were just too high before I came, or I just have my own idea of what good/inexpensive japanese dining should be like. It's a good fill your stomach on a decent variety of food, but nothing about it deserves special attention.
Great food, great atmosphere, great service... if you can get a table! :)
One of the best Japanese restaurants in the area, and a huge cut above the likes of Wagamama.
The Tokyo Diner doesn't serve Tuna due to ecological concerns. They donate all their tips to charity, and they give you more rice if you ask for it.
The people in the Tokyo Diner are nice people.
It also helps that their food is also pretty good. It's not going to change the world, but it's well-prepared, honestly priced and arrives as soon as it's ready. This can cause some social complications if someone in a group orders a quickly prepared dish (something like the aubergine - something I strongly recommend - which is served cold), though. The lunch deals are all very good value and come with a selection of pickles, miso soup and a side dish that varies day to day. Everyone also gets free tea (and refills!) and some rice crackers to munch while they wait.
The only slight downside is that there's no tempura on the menu, which struck me a bit strange for a place focused on bento-style meals, but it's not exactly the end of the world. On balance, it's one of the better 'authentic' Japanese places around here.
Kind of quirky Japanese restaurant that's really all about the food. There's no décor worth mentioning, but there's a cozy feel to the place nonetheless
Their Bento boxes are all really fantastic and they have a whole selection... each one comes with sushi and a refreshing seaweed salad. I always go for the veggie box, but my friend swears by the delectableness of the Katsu chicken box. I also recommend the edamame here - well-steamed and sufficiently salty.
The staff is always extremely fast and efficient, but the establishment is so popular that it still tends to get crowded fast... I've never waited, but I also usually go at pretty off-times.
Even though the service is great, in-keeping with Japanese tradition, the servers don't accept tips... however, if you insist, they will donate the money to charity - which I just think is so generous and kindly - a real reflection of this place's vibe and ethos.
This philosophy, which flies in the face of greed, is also reflected in the prices... everything is supremely reasonable... especially for sushi and considering the level of quality you're getting. It may not be the swankiest sushi joint in London, but it's certainly an all-around delicious and enjoyable place.
An awesome way to experience Chinatown! The soup, sashimi, tea, salad, rice, and everything else were very tasty and came out quickly. The staff are also very attentive
Sushi is my favourite Asian food. I recently found out where I can have the freshest and most delicious Sushi. In middle of Soho, at Newport Place, there is a 2 floor petite Japanese restaurant called the Tokyo diner.
Japanese run the restaurant, the service is attentive when needed and discreet when not. Remarkably for Central London the prices are very reasonable.
On arrival they serve green tea and rice munchies. I strongly can recommend the broccoli, eel and the bento boxes (a selection is made for you already).
This little gem I recommend to couples or a small group of friends. I keep it as my secret hideaway for me and my best friend to catch up after work every week.
The Tokyo Diner is the best place to go for some good value sushi in Central London. Its just a short walk from Leicester Square tube station, and its open till late. This makes it a great place to go for a light bite to eat in case you are totally past the reasonable dinner-time due to a late movie or show.
Contrary to expectation, they hold a different view to service and its value. The menu lists the inclusive prices for each item, with service charge as well. They don't accept tips either. The service is excellent - they serve green tea and rice crackers as soon as you arrive, and keep refilling your cup through the evening for free.
I love the hospitable efficiency at this Japanese diner. There are some good value Sushi sets at 6 pounds and more. There is a large variety of starters and some soups as well. I would strongly recommend visiting this place if you love sushi, and if you don't, well you just might start to.
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