Japanese restaurant

Tried Essex’s top rated Japanese restaurant and everything was perfect – Hope Woolston

All over Essex we have amazing restaurants. You can get all kinds of cuisines for all budgets with very good food.

You can get Italian, American, Thai, Chinese, Turkish, British, and pretty much everything else. Another popular cuisine is Japanese.

Essex has many Japanese restaurants, the best being in Witham. AKA, on Witham High Street, serves a range of Asian dishes, but is popular for its Japanese selection.

Read more: Tried Bobby Jo’s restaurant in Southend

Not only is it rated the best Japanese restaurant in Essex, according to TripAdvisor, but AKA is also listed as the best restaurant in Witham. We wanted to see how good it was, so Life Writer Hope Woolston went to dinner:

First impressions

The bar inside AKA

The first thing that impressed me about AKA was how easy it was to book. No need to call, you can use the very simple online reservation system on the site.

I was even more impressed with this the day I wanted to push my reservation back an hour – it really couldn’t have been easier. After selecting your time, you’ll receive a text message confirmation and you’re all good to go.

Upon entering the restaurant, I couldn’t believe how big it was. There are several different areas, all nicely decorated.

After a warm welcome we were shown to our table and given menus. Having only eaten Japanese food a few times, we didn’t know what to do.

This was no problem as Patrick, the assistant manager, was on hand to help us. He explained how we could have a starter and main course like most restaurants or we could opt for a ‘tapas style’ meal.

The food

Chilli Pepper Squid and Teriyaki Tebasaki
Chilli Pepper Squid and Teriyaki Tebasaki

The menu had a huge selection of ‘small plates’ so we decided to order a few to share. We started with the Chilli Pepper Squid and the Teriyaki Tebasaki.

When the dishes arrived they looked amazing. We were both given a plate to share between us – I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful cherry blossom detail on the plate which, like the rest of the restaurant, looked stunning.

The squid was really something else. It was full of flavor and just delicious – I could have eaten a whole plate. The Teriyaki Tebasaki was also very nice with the chicken wings really coated in Teriyaki sauce.

After being really impressed with the first two “small plates”, we decided to stick with them and order a few more as Patrick had recommended. With so many choices, it was hard to choose what to choose next.

The food was amazing
The food was amazing

We ended up choosing the Wasabi prawns and chicken satay but couldn’t choose what else. On Patrick’s recommendation, we opted for the Teriyaki tofu and smoked chicken.

Once again all of these dishes arrived looking fantastic and the taste matched. The prawns were served with a wasabi mayonnaise which I thought was great as you could choose how much punch you wanted – delicious.

The chicken satay was everything I hoped for, with chicken skewers absolutely smothered in peanut sauce. The tofu was probably our least favorite as it’s always something we get used to but the flavor was still very nice.

We were massively impressed with the smoked chicken. It came in a massive portion with plenty to share and was amazingly good – we were so glad it was recommended as it didn’t jump off the menu for us.


The restaurant is wonderful
The restaurant is wonderful

To accompany our food we tried a selection of drinks. Tried a few cocktails with the Pina Colada being the best.

My other half drank beer. After choosing one he liked, Patrick again recommended a rare and hard-to-find beer – it was a hit and highly rated.

In addition to the amazing food at AKA, the customer service was also second to none. The staff were very friendly, informative and clearly there to make sure their customers had the best time possible.

We had a great chat with Patrick who told us how much he loves getting to know his clients. He was really, really nice and clearly had a huge passion for what he does.

There is no doubt that we will return to AKA. I’m not surprised it’s rated so highly as we had a fantastic evening.

Things to know:

  • We went on a Saturday night and it was full so it’s a good idea to book
  • You can book online or by phone on 01376 505058
  • You can find AKA at 47 – 49 Newland Street, Witham
  • The nearest car park is Newlands Drive, open 24 hours and only 50p after 7pm.
  • There are vegetarian and vegan options on the menu