8–10 Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AS
  • Telephone 0131 228 1602
  • Opening times Tue–Sun noon–2.30pm; 5–10.30pm; closed Mon. Closed Mon.
  • Food served Tue–Fri & Sun noon–2.15pm, 5–10.15pm; Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–10.45pm. Closed Mon.
  • Average price £14.20 (lunch); £18.50 (evening meal)
  • Website www.kanpaisushi.co.uk

The swan of Edinburgh's Japanese scene; elegant, composed and beautiful, with a lot going on beneath the surface.

Eating & Drinking Guide

The 2016 edition of The List's Eating & Drinking Guide is out now – only £5.95 (+p&p).

This review is taken from the current (2016) edition.

Edinburgh’s Japanese scene is generally too homespun to do a serious job of showcasing the famous elegance and understatement of the Japanese restaurant kitchen. Not so Kanpai, where clean lines and confident service suggest anything but home-spinning, and whose food is all about finesse, from the super-fine batter coating the tofu, to the delicate crisp yam noodles. Sushi here seems far more than the sum of its parts, even though those parts are pretty noteworthy; chef Max has pretty high spec for his fish, requiring, for instance, Irish sea mackerel and Japanese tuna. Such attention to sourcing results in the cleanest tasting sashimi around, even though you’ll have to leave your sustainability hat at the door. A sensibly concise drinks list (including some superb sake) complements rather than confuses the enticing menu, and service is as smooth and elegant as the rest of the package, thanks to the watchful eye of maître d’ Christophe. Of course it comes at a price, but not an outrageous one, and really, it’s not easy to find this standard anywhere else in town.

  • High point: Wanting to eat everything on the menu
  • Low point: Having your wallet tell you to stop
  • Notable dish: Tuna nigiri
  • Private dining: Up to 8 covers
  • Capacity: 50
  • Largest group: 24
  • Open since: 2011
  • Number of wines sold by the glass: 12
  • House wine: £18 per bottle