The Araki had previously won two Michelin stars before getting upgraded this year

LONDON (AFP) - A nine-seat sushi counter in central London has won three Michelin stars, joining a select group of British restaurants with the coveted top rating, the French gastronomic guide announced on Monday.

The Araki -- where the set menu costs �300 (339 euros, $398) per person -- in London s upmarket Mayfair district is the first Japanese restaurant in the United Kingdom to be awarded three stars in the annual appraisal.

It joins Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London, as well as The Fat Duck and The Waterside Inn, both in Bray, Berkshire as three-star rated.

The Araki had previously won two Michelin stars before getting upgraded this year.

Japanese chef Mitsuhiro Araki opened the sushi bar in 2014 after closing his three-starred restaurant in Tokyo and relocating to London.

"With its nine-seater counter, The Araki has gone from strength to strength," said Michael Ellis, international director in charge of the Michelin guides.

"When Mitsuhiro Araki moved to London... he set himself the challenge of using largely European fish and his sushi is now simply sublime."

The 2018 guide for Great Britain and Ireland awarded two stars to 20 restaurants, including Claude Bosi at Bibendum, which opened in Michelin House in Chelsea, London, earlier this year.

A further 150 restaurants were given a single star.

These include The Wild Honey Inn, an Irish pub in Lisdoonvarna, and Loch Bay, a converted crofter s house on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

In total, the guide rated 2,067 restaurants and 1,115 hotels and guesthouses across Britain and Ireland.

London has continued to cement itself as "a world-class destination for rich, varied eating experiences," according to a statement by the Michelin Guide.

But it also noted "the offer across Great Britain and Ireland as a whole is developing, often based around exceptional regional ingredients."