BEST SUSHI RESTAURANTS
THE 31 BEST SUSHI RESTAURANTS IN AMERICA
Sushi has become a staple of cuisine in the United States, so much so that you can get California rolls and nigiri at most grocery stores, and in some states you may even find it at a gas station. But is that real sushi? In Japan sushi is prepared in
almost a religious fashion, where chefs must complete almost a decade of training in order to be considered competent at the culinary art of sushi. But does that art truly transcend the Pacific Ocean to bring excellence of sushi to American consumers, or are we eating nothing more than fresh fish on rice? These 31 sushi restaurants around the United States truly bring to the table the finest of the Japanese art to our local city corner.
Seattle’s Oldest Sushi Restaurant
San Francisco, California
A family owned sushi establishment located near Union Square, Akiko’s brings the traditions of Japanese Sushi to San Francisco. A very small sushi bar with a relaxed ambience gives the feel of a sushi experience in Japan itself. Akiko’s offers a wide variety of sushi combinations, including nigiri, rolls, and an omakase option that will leave you walking out with a smile. Patrons will tell you that everything is presented with style, flavor, and freshness in mind. Just remember, it is a small establishment, so coming earlier than expected is a good idea to make sure you don’t wait too long for a seat at the sushi bar.
The first thing you have to notice on Arami’s resume is their recognition by the Michelin Guide, who has awarded them with the Bib Gourmand award for their dedication to excellence. When you step inside this contemporary setting you will notice that they have truly earned their place in the Michelin Guide. Their menu not only lists a classic choice of nigiri and sushi rolls, but mas a fine selection of classic Japanese dishes such as wagyu short ribs and ramen soup. Every plate will be presented with artistic finesse, and you will always feel the presentation making this fine restaurant become truly exceptional. Be prepared to leave a good sum of cash behind on your way out, but know that you will leave with an amazing experience in your mind and belly.
For many people sushi is a very traditional art in which many food snobs can consider change and moving away from the norm almost sacrilegious. Bamboo sushi takes your traditional ideas and places a modern twist to it in such a bold way that you can only be inspired. Customers are taken aback by the flavors created in the combinations of traditional and non-traditional ingredients alike. Every ingredient is chosen with care and listed with its place of origin on the menu. When you come here you will have the opportunity to go from your traditional rolls and nigiri with sustainably sourced salmon or tuna, or you can go a little wild with rolls containing apples to bring a zesty flavor to your sushi roll, or smoked octopus nigiri to create a Spanish/Japanese hybrid which will baffle your taste buds.
When you walk into Café Sushi the first thing that will come to mind is whether you are in the right place. The restaurant is clean and organized, but it is not something that will catch your eye. Yet as they say, you should not judge a book by its cover, for this homely café serves some of the best sushi in the state! For some seriously good prices Café Sushi serves but some traditional Japanese food, and high quality sushi to boost. Sure you can get a seriously tasty bento, but the sushi selection is the true powerhouse of this diamond in the rough. You are guaranteed to be impressed with their selection of nigiri, and their innovative choices of rolls.
San Francisco, California
Sometimes we have to truly go big, or go home. When you visit Hashiri in San Francisco, you better be ready to seriously go big. The first thing you will notice the high end Japanese modern look to the restaurant. When you sit down you will be presented with three options of omakase, starting at $175, and ending at $500 per person.
Each selection will be expertly chosen by the chef, and will have a mixture of traditional Japanese flavors, and other hints, such as truffles, and sturgeon caviar. Everything you eat at this establishment is created for one purpose and one purpose only; to wow you completely. Many are driven away by this pricy experience, but if you are ready to leave a pretty penny, then you will be subject to an experience that has been judged worthy of one Michelin star.
Like a phoenix rising from ashes, Juno has risen again after a fire damaged the restaurant. Not only is it back, but it is better than every. Juno not only brings forth traditional sushi practices, but with the mind of Chef BK Park it becomes a work of art. Each piece of food is so elegantly placed on the plate that it almost becomes a shame to destroy this beautiful arrangement, yet the presentation is only the beginning of what makes Juno incredible. Customers and critics alike have noted the fresh and delicate symphony of flavors that come with every bite. The Michelin guide is yet to award Juno with a star, but it does note that every additional effort that is placed into each piece is duly noted within the flavor.
In the blockbuster film The Prestige, two twins work together to create an awe inspiring magic performance; yet in Chicago’s Kai Zan, twins Melvin an Carlo Vizconde work together to create an awe inspiring sushi experience. Together, the brothers have taken their modern twist and laid it towards making a completely new type of sushi experience. Sure you can go down the traditional omakase route, but everything will have a twist of originality in it. You will be amazed at the creativity of the rolls, such as the polenta bites, angry crab, and especially the orange rush, a scallop wrapped in salmon that has been seared and given an orange glaze. It is no wonder that the Michelin list has honored it with the Bib Gourmand.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The first thing you will notice when coming through the door is the simple, yet classic layout of this small location. That is what kame is all about, the classic sushi experience. Originally focusing only on omakase, kame has expanded into a wide range of Japanese classics, from yakitori to ramen. Some of the dishes do have a outside influence from the Japanese norm, but even then you will notice the ever present hints of detailed perfection found in the finest sushi masters. It is a great place to take a breather from the overwhelming glamor of downtown Vegas, to just sit and take in something that is not overblown, yet very fine.
Many people do not like to eat out because they feel that most experiences come out, in lack of a better term, too bourgeoisie. I myself love to feel encircled in high class from time to time, but there is much to say about simplicity. Sometimes it is the simplest of things that make the entire difference of an experience. That is what Kin Chan is like, nothing fancy, just simple and good. The menu has a great selection of basic and easy rolls and sushi, yet what they lack in flair, they make up fully in quality. Nothing about this place will make you feel fancy, but the flavor, the freshness, and the simple qualities within make it amazing. You should not judge Kin Chan for what it is not, but for what it truly is. Kin Chan doesn’t want to wrap you in overwhelming elegance and class that would make John D. Rockefeller blush. They just want to give you some seriously delicious sushi, and with that they succeed.
When we think of the Meiji Restoration in Japan, we think of a world seriously changing. The same was true for Seattle, a small town at the time that consisted of small salmon fisheries, gold miners going to the Yukon, and a thriving timber trade. It is in this setting in which Meneki first opened its doors in 1904.
Surviving through the great depression, two world wars, and the Japanese internment, Maneki has become a serious Seattle staple, not only because of its tenure in the city, but because of its above standard quality. Not only will you get some historically good Japanese cuisine, but also you will have some of the best sushi on the west coast of the US. After being run by the same family since day one, Maneki has withstood the test of time, and the filled tables on a nightly basis is a testament to that.
New York, New York
Lets say that you were able to get a reservation at this prestigious 3 Michelin star sushi restaurant. The first thing you should be prepared for other than the incredible sushi, is the sticker shock. At $595 per person for omakase is quite a hefty sum to leave without any of the upgrades, or sake. But you waited a long time to have dinner here, so bring on the upgrades and the finest sake. If you come here then you are celebrating! What are we celebrating? Might as well toast kampai to life, because with food like this, it is very much worth living. Chef Masa presents you with the finest selection of ingredients to create an experience entrenched in tradition and culinary discipline. This is not a dining experience, but a trip to an art gallery, where your palate is your sense for experiencing the art. It is such an experience that Michelin says you should take a trip to New York just to eat here. Just make sure you don’t miss your reservation, because that is $200 per person for a no show.
When we think of the state of Maine and seafood we usually envision giant cold-water lobsters and tasty lobster rolls on a nice hoagie bun. Yet chef Miyake has decided to provide a different type of lobster roll in his sushi restaurant. Choose either from the tasting menu, the omakase route, or some listed favorites including a daily made bento box. Don’t think too hard, because every choice is constructed with serious flavor in mind. This is a serious Japanese culinary experience in a quaint New England setting. Even the customers are left baffled with every visit.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Steve Wynn is known for creating some of the finest hotels in the world. When you visit the Wynn and Encore in Las Vegas you will see that every fine detail of the place has been intricately thought out. This exact thought can be placed on the experience at Mizumi, located in the Wynn. Beautifully crafted pieces of sushi that take simplicity up a few notches. Even the most basic of sushi feels like it has been given some deep attention to its details and qualities. Enjoy the surrounding of the restaurant and feel like you are in a culinary dream. This dream does have a higher price to it, but every single piece of the restaurant makes it something to experience. So if you’re in the Wynn or Encore, and hit that jackpot, then head on over to Mizumi to seriously treat yourself right. The only better dream in house is Le Reve itself.
Since his time on the hit cooking show Iron Chef, Morimoto has become one of the biggest icons for Japanese cooking around the world. His restaurant in Philadelphia is no exception to that rule. The atmosphere is serene, and the food is masterful here.
You can get a wide variety of Japanese inspired dishes, including a wagyu Carpaccio, Udon, Ramen, Miso Black Cod, and much more. That doesn’t even start to cover the exquisite selection of sushi on the menu. As most other great sushi places you can go omakase, or choose your own journey. Either way, you have to try the yellowtail tartare because it is the best.
Los Angeles, California
Sometimes the greatest jewels are the most hidden; that is the case with Mori Sushi. From the untrained eye it may not look like much from its simple and quaint design, but the true treasure of this place is what is on the menu. Don’t worry too much of choosing which of the tasty sushi you want to try, because Mori is omakase only. Omakase starts at $110 per person for one appetizer and sushi selected by the chef. Some people get nervous when others choose their food for them, but do not worry! The sushi here is specially selected and masterfully laid out for you to enjoy, and enjoy you will.
Morio's Sushi Bistro
In Hawaii you will always notice that everything is much more relaxed. When you are looking for the best of something in the land of Aloha, it is never going to be anything over the top fancy. When the term “hang loose” is the unofficial motto of all the locals, quality food is not going to be wrapped in a silk bow, but it will be carefully prepared with the best ingredients and served simply, yet deliciously. Morio’s bistro will not visually strike you as impressive, but it is just a simple shop with a simple chef. Sit down for some classic, yet absolutely high quality sushi and a cold bottle of sake to help enjoy it. You will definitely leave here with a smile after experiencing a simple, reasonably prices, yet exquisite sushi experience.
Chef Kevin Corey runs the tiny Miami sushi restaurant Naoe. It is important to note that not only is this sushi restaurant big enough to only sit 8 guests, but it requires a reservation to dine. Each seat costs $220, plus a 20% service charge, and you do not pick what you eat. Each day Chef Corey creates a fresh selection of sushi for you to enjoy, and enjoy it you will. His selections have received the highest praises from customers and reviewers alike, stating that the quality and freshness of Naoe’s omakase only experience is one to deserve Michelin status, if they reviewed restaurants in Miami. This is the ultimate place to go if you are looking for an intimate and amazing experience that you can be guided through.
It is always an interesting thought when you have to purchase tickets to dinner, and not just make a simple reservation. If you are patient enough and willing to wait your turn in this long line of hungry customers, then you will be shown an omakase experience line none other. Each person will be presented with at least 13 courses during dinner, which will be expertly crafted by the head chef. Each dinner is specially crafted by the head chef and ordered in. No matter how many times you dine at Nodoguro, your amazing experience will never be the same.
San Francisco, California
Like many of the special reservation, omakase style sushi restaurants, the duly named Omakase of San Francisco stands with the best of them. Starting at $150 per person, you will get appetizers, expertly crafted sashimi, nigiri, and other tasty sushi crafts as well.
In omakase everything is made to be a piece of art that you will not only enjoy with your eyes, but are guaranteed to amaze your palette as well. It is so unique and exquisite that the Michelin guide has awarded Omakase with one star, meaning that it is some of the highest food you can find in the country.
You usually do not think of sushi when you talk about Boston, but there are many things about O Ya that are unusual. Tim Cushman has taken the traditional aspects of high quality sushi, and brought his own artistic spin to it. Ranging from unique ideas sucg as white truffle nigiri and foie gras nigiri to traditional with Ora King Salmon and Japanese Barracuda nigiri. It is always optional to come into O Ya and choose your own seafood adventure, but the mastery like in most other places lies in the omakase. At $395 per person you will be lead down a truly artistic culinary spin on the finest traditional sushi that money can buy. It is not just a meal, but it is an entire performance.
Named after the founding chef Shiro Kashiba, Shiro’s Sushi is a staple of Seattle sushi. Shiro’s is the first Seattle restaurant of Japanese Chef Shiro, who was a student of the famed sushi master Jiro Ono. Chef Jiro instilled a drive for continuous perfection in Shiro that he brought over to Seattle in his restaurants. Though chef Shiro is no longer with Shiro’s Sushi, his vision remains. Each piece of sushi is expertly crafted using only the finest and best ingredients that can be found. Nothing is out of place, whether you choose your own assortment of different types of sushi, delicious hot dishes such as marinated black cod, or if you decide to go omakase. When you walk out the door of Shiro’s Sushi, you will leave a changed person, knowing what true sushi looks and tastes like.
New York, New York
Students of the renowned Chef Masa, who has his own entry on this list, Jimmy Lau and Nick Kim bring their master’s knowledge and skills into their own light in Shuko. When we discuss the best of something and New York comes up, you know it is going to be a big deal. Make a reservation and wait in anticipation to experience the omakase only experience that will leave you at least $200 out of pocket per person. Yet price cannot be the only thing to make an impact with Shuko. Every course will be expertly created for you and your party. Like any omakase only restaurant, shuko is all about the guided experience of the master chefs themselves.
You know that you are a true sushi master not when your restaurants are featured on this list once, but at least twice. Shiro Kashiba, the student of legendary Japanese sushi chef Jiro Ono, brings us with the second of his masterful creations, Sushi Kashiba. After leaving Shiro’s Sushi, Shiro opened Sushi Kashiba in Pike Place market. Sushi Kashiba not only takes the mastery and precision of perfect sushi that we find in Shiro’s Sushi, but takes it to another level of perfection. You can either order from Shiro Kashiba’s expertly crafted A La Carte menu, request your own combination of sushi, or revel in the performance that is the omakase experience. Has Shiro Kashiba outdone his master, Jiro Ono? The jury is still out on that one, but he surely stands on the pinnacle of greatness with his legendary master.
New York, New York
Those who have seen the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi will remember the driven apprentice who is working to make the perfect egg sushi and to receive Master Chef Jiro Ono’s opproval.
That young apprentice now runs Sushi Nakazawa, a Michelin Star ranked sushi restaurant in New York. When you dine in Sushi Nakazawa you will find a restaurant style inspired by his master, Jiro Ono. Providing an omakase only experience, Nakazawa is said to bring you as close as you can get to experience Jiro Ono, without ever having to visit Japan. But is Nakazawa better than his fellow apprentice Shiro Kashiba? Perhaps if Michelin ever reviewed Seattle then we would know. But until then maybe a trip to the Big Apple should be planned.
San Diego, California
When you finally get to the end of your Google Maps journey to find Sushi Ota, the first thing that will come to mind when you see the restaurant from the street is, “did I come to the wrong place”. From outside Sushi Ota looks like some odd hole in the wall restaurant that doesn’t fit on a list of “best sushi”, yet on the inside you will find seafood heaven. Inside you will find relaxed and traditional decorations and the finest sushi in South California. Every piece of nigiri will be expertly crafted from only the finest ingredients that money can buy. The best part about Sushi Ota is that this incredible experience will not break the bank. So order a bunch of rolls, nigiri, and a teriyaki entrée without fearing the bill later.
Found outside of San Francisco proper, Sushi Ran is a jewel that is worth a drive and possibly ferry ride for. Take your pick of great selection of freshly sliced nigiri, priced per piece that will make you appreciate the simpler things in life. On the other hand the expertly rolled up rolls that take classic sushi to another level. Whatever you do don’t forget about the selection of appetizers, hot foods, tempura, and soups that are made to boost your experience. Everything here is delicious, and so fresh that it is delivered daily from Tokyo, and other parts of the world. You won’t get the sense of someone making your experience into an abstract piece of artwork, but you will get a fine dining experience that is worth leaving downtown for.
Step into the casual, yet sleek decor of Sushi Taro for some of the finest sushi in our nation’s capitol. This one Michelin star rated restaurant will provide you with high quality sushi at a reasonable price, especially so at their happy hour. Come and sit at the omakase counter to experience the mastery of true Japanese sushi, or sit down with a menu and craft your own experience. Judging how Sushi Taro is the preferred place for sushi in the city for Japanese embassy workers and dignitaries, you are guaranteed for a great dinner experience.
The city of Atlanta was blessed when Japanese born Chef Tomo Naito left his post working for legendary Chef Nobu Matsuhisa in Las Vegas to open his own restaurant in Atlanta. Taking the skills from his master, Tomo creates a high-class restaurant filled with delicious sushi that is almost shameful to eat for how beautifully it is presented. The menu is massive; making the fresh nature of everything that is served even more impressive. Take on the Tomo’s masterful hands as they craft traditional sushi that will defy all expectations, and revere his original and flavorful art that come from the mind of a true master.
Toni's Sushi Bar
Being a massive magnet for tourists and residents with deep pockets, Miami has become a city that is filled with many things and places that are expensive for the sake of being expensive.
Sushi restaurants litter the city, but none do it like Toni’s Sushi Bar. With the average roll going for around $13, you are in for some serious value for quality. In business since 1987, Toni’s has been serving great sushi along side with mouthwatering Japanese entrees like duck and sea bass that have become a landmark experience within Miami. Toni’s has stayed around for all of these years for not only serving some serious quality, but ensuring that if you leave the big bucks, then you leave happy, full, and drunk on sake.
When we think of food in Texas, we usually visualize Tex-Mex and BBQ joints. But in Austin, Uchi breaks the stereotypical ideas of fine Texan dining. Chef Tyson Cole takes the core ideas of traditional Japanese sushi, and adds some serious curveballs to the flavor profiles. Everything here will be familiar to any sushi lover, but the twists and turns of this chef’s tasty creativity will keep your taste buds guessing. You will experience the fantastic blend of tempura, salmon, and sun dried tomatoes in Shag roll or a delicious sashimi yaki with chicken breast, coconut and cilantro. It is everything that we love about sushi, just in a way we have never experienced it before.
Los Angeles, California
Q Sushi, or otherwise known as just Q, is the brainchild of master chef Hiroyuki “Hiro” Naruke. Chef Hiro has spent his multi decade career starring in restaurants all around the world. He has opened critically acclaimed restaurants in Tokyo, and has now settled into a seat at his culinary gem, Q Sushi. Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance and your omakase experience will range from $165-$250, depending on whether you want to go for the premium experience or not. But do not be afraid to go basic here if you must, because when you are dealing with an internationally acclaimed chef like Hiro, you are guaranteed to have a culinary experience that will change you forever.
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