The restaurant was created in 2004 by Alan Yau, who previously created the Japanese Wagamama and Thai Busaba Eathai restaurant chains as well as the more expensive Hakkasan restaurant, also in London. Like Hakkasan, Yauatcha gained a Michelin star rating in 2005, which it has retained.
In April 2005, the British Restaurant magazine released its fourth annual global ranking of the 50 Best Restaurants and Yauatcha was rated 43rd in the list (with a total of ten London restaurants listed).
In January 2008, Yau sold a majority interest in Yauatcha and Hakkasan to Tasameem, part of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
Rachel Stevens wrote a praising article on the restaurant in March 2009 in the 'Observer Food Monthly' magazine.
Yauatcha opened a branch in Mumbai in December 2011, and another branch in Bangalore in September 2013, Delhi in November 2013 and in Kolkata in September 2014. It has since then added the location of Honolulu in Hawaii to its list of branches.