Tokyo Diner, round the corner from Leicester Square is a fairly reliable place to stop by if you find yourself famished in central London but craving an environment just that little bit different. Laid out in what I can only imagine to be a fairly authentic style, the restaurant is over two floors and open midday to midnight every day of the year, including Christmas.
I've been coming here on and off for years and prefer it to the more faceless chain noodle bars such as Wagamama. Little touches are the free green tea that you will be automatically served and that will keep on being topped up during the meal, the no tipping policy and a menu that rather eccentrically explains some of the rhyme and reasoning behind the Tokyo Diner concept.
Staff are always polite, food is always fast and generally of a decent quality. During weekdays if you're here early in the evening you might still catch some of the daytime special deals, otherwise the menu can appear a bit on the pricey side, which is true of most Japanese eateries in London.
Favorite Dish: With Bento boxes and sushi working out more on the expensive side, I've tended overall to come here for soba or udon noodles in soup, or katsu don (chicken or pork on a bowl of rice). Particularly good is the pork sauce katsu don (pork lightly fried in breadcrumbs) costing £8.30. Udon noodles garnished with chicken is about £6.00. If you don't mind paying that bit extra, they do a fairly decent chicken teriyaki bento box at £13.50. As mentioned, green tea is free, though Asahi beer beer here is actually quite cheap at £2.00.
If you're a connoisseur of Japanese cuisine, then Tokyo Diner's menu may seem a bit limited. But for a warm, hearty Japanese meal on a cold rainy day you could do a lot worse than this and the place has a more genuine feel than some of the better known noodle bars. A meal for two will come in between 15 and 20 pounds.
I tend to prefer sitting upstairs, especially now that I've found out they have a web-cam online all day downstairs. Check out their website and you'll see!
This is a great little restaurant in China Town with mostly Japanese staff and a multicultural clientele. The quaint interior has all sorts of pretty niknaks as decoration and a real Japanese feel which isn't cheap and tacky like many China Town places.
They serve you free green tea and keep refilling your cup; dishes range from light salads, to hearty rice dishes to bento lunch boxes and sushi.
Open noon till midnight, 365 days a year!
It's also listed in the Time Out Cheap Eats in London Guide.
Favorite Dish: So far my favourite is the fried chicken breast in breadcrumbs and spicy sauce on a bed of green leaves over boiled rice. It's delicious! And the free green tea helps it go down a treat.
They are especially proud of the mixed sushi set; at just under £10 this is good value as you get a lot of sushi.
When Tokyo Diner first opened I would have given it a perfect review BUT recently (last week) I had lunch there and was HORRIFIED! I don't even know where to begin – They first said: “We don’t have the lunch menu anymore, just the one.” (Which is the full price dinner menu) Hesitantly I ordered the "chicken teriyaki bento box" the waiter asked if I wanted the meat from the leg or breast. I said breast, he DID NOT inform me that the price would be different than what was on the menu (later found out from the bill) then I asked were is the miso soup that normally comes with the bento box? I was told that they now charge extra for it! At least I got the complimentary green tea (or at least I thought it was complimentary until I saw the bill!) Through all of that, the one thing that really cheesed me right off – they have the nerve to reduce the portion size and replace the once quality selection in their bento boxes with miscellaneous items of poorer quality. But for those who are still fans of the place – I’m happy to say, they still have the “no tipping policy” and the wonderful sliding door! I think Tokyo Diner should review their practices because NEW AND BETTER establishments have popped up around the corner. One I recommend is “KINTARO SUSHI” on Lisle Street (0207 437 4549) you won’t be disappointed
Favorite Dish: none