On November 16, beloved London restaurant wagamama opens its first New York location at 210 Fifth Avenue at 26th Street, bordering the bustling NoMad and Flatiron neighbourhoods.
A menu of Asian food inspired by the flavours of Japan includes bold donburi and teppanyaki, soul-satisfying ramen, colourful curries, gyoza and steamed buns. All dishes are prepared in an open kitchen at the heart of the restaurant, and are served as soon as they are ready—a long-established practice of wagamama.
Signatures include chili squid, tossed with seven spice shichimi, chicken katsu in a fragrant curry sauce over sticky rice, and wagamama ramen, a house specialty since wagamama’s beginning. The noodles, a proprietary wagamama recipe perfected over 24 years, are imported from the UK. A list of fresh juices, are also pressed, pulped and poured to order and include choices such as super green with apple mint celery and lime and raw juice with carrot, cucumber, tomato, orange and apple.
The Manhattan opening marks several firsts for wagamama, including the debut of an Asian-inspired weekend brunch and a full bar and cocktail list created with New Yorkers in mind. Drinks are wagamama takes on classic cocktails such as the whisky sawa with Iwai Japanese whisky and lapsang souchong liqueur and the yuzu mojito made with Tanduay rum and yuzu liqueur, in addition to an extensive Asian craft beer range.
The expansive, bi-level restaurant, with entrances on both Fifth Avenue and Broadway, is sleek and modern with exposed brick walls, pendant lamps and rich wood accents. Minimalist wood and metal stools offer seating at individual tables throughout, while communal tables—another founding principle of wagamama—seat up to 18 on long benches and establish a sense of equality among diners. Additional seating is available at a long, marble bar and on a large mezzanine overlooking the main dining room.
“Our Fifth Avenue location is really special, overlooking Madison Square Park. The whole NoMad/Flatiron area it is so vibrant and evolving fast into a key New York food hub. New York has always been on our wish list, and in my mind, alongside London, is one of the world’s two top cities,” said wagamama CEO David Campbell. “We are very grateful for the warm welcome New Yorkers have given us already, and are quietly confident wagamama will become a local favourite.”
wagamama was founded in London’s Bloomsbury district in 1992 with a clear purpose: to create a place for positive eating where the food satisfies the senses and the soul. The company is seen as a pioneer of the communal table, open kitchen and customizable, made-to-order menu, which is overseen by executive chef Steve Mangleshot.
This ethos has remained for more than two decades, focusing on positivity, freshness and continuous improvement. Kaizen, a Japanese word meaning “good change,” is a guiding philosophy of wagamama. It’s about never resting in the pursuit to be better, and wagamama has practiced kaizen since the beginning. The wagamama of today is the result of constant evolution in the food and brand, keeping the experience exciting and anything but traditional.
With its strong founding values intact, wagamama has become an iconic part of British dining culture and expanded to more than 160 locations worldwide. wagamama looks forward to serving expats, New Yorkers and visitors alike in its first Manhattan restaurant and to bringing its beloved menu to additional New York neighbourhoods in the future.