It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a city famed for the fresh fish of Pike Peak Market and the beautiful Puget Sound should also be noted for its sushi restaurants. The owners and chefs don’t have far to go to get some tasty halibut, salmon, tuna, or shellfish. The best sushi restaurants in Seattle come in all shapes and sizes. Some offer full Japanese menus with teppanyaki, katsu, and teriyaki to go along with sushi rolls and individual bites. Others prefer to keep it simple: sushi and sushi alone.
Some sushi restaurants prepare their rolls in the open, allowing you to watch your chef work. Others construct their creations behind the kitchen wall. In either case, you can be sure the dish that arrives on your plate will be perfect.So, if you love sushi as much as I do, then check out my list below of the best sushi restaurants in Seattle! Hopefully, you’ll find one or more that will whet your appetite for one of Seattle’s best dining experiences.
Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant
2401 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
A short walk from Pike’s Place Market and the Denny Triangle is Shiro’s, where the owner takes sushi to the next level by introducing a technique known as “Edoame.” This upscale Japanese sushi bar employs pickling, smoking, and wrapping in his sushi delicacies. Try one of Shiro’s rice burgers the next time you stop in for lunch. The salmon filet rice burger – with lettuce, cabbage, tomato, pickled cucumber, and tartar sauce between two fried sushi rice buns is mouth-watering.
86 Pine St Suite #1, Seattle, WA 98101
The third sushi restaurant that famed local chef Shiro Kashira opened is just up the street from the Seattle Aquarium. He’s a multiple-time James Beard Award nominee who has imported his brand of delicacies and several top chefs to Seattle. Call in your reservation for the 1-hour, 45-minute omakase experience at the sushi counter. Each meal is specially prepared based on the catch of the day. Expect to pay a bit more for this, but it’s so worth it. I’m partial to the mouth-watering Sunomono Salad for an appetizer. It’s a work of art on a plate filled with sliced seafood (each day’s catch is different) and sliced cucumbers bathed in dashi vinegar. For dinner, I like the chef’s special broiled black cod dish, known as Kasuzuke. It was written up in the New York Times, and that’s good enough for me.
515 South Main St, Seattle, WA 98104
Here’s a hole-in-the-wall sushi experience just a few blocks from Puget Sound. This intimate and delicious sushi house is known for its snapper sashimi and seared salmon. But I prefer its bluefin toro nigiri, which seemed to melt in my mouth. The buttery taste found every nook and cranny. If you’re unsure where to get sushi in Seattle, please note that Tsukushinbo prefers reservations and does not seat many walk-ins. So, if you’re in the mood for sushi and want to try this small but satisfying restaurant, make sure you call ahead.
3130 E Madison St, Seattle, WA 98112
It makes sense that this laid-back Cape-Cod-style eatery is only a short drive down Lake Washington Boulevard from Seattle’s Japanese Gardens. It’s where I tried my first geoduck, that long-necked saltwater clam of the Pacific Northwest. Nishino is one of the best sushi restaurants in Seattle because of the vegetarian menu. The futomaki roll here is veggie-forward with shiitake mushrooms, spinach, tamago (fried egg omelet pieces), and kampyo (dried strips of calabash gourd). That’s lots of protein and lots of taste.
2101 N 55th St Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98103
After spending a day with the family at the Woodland Park Zoo, it’s only a few block walk or drive to Kisaku Sushi. It’s also just ten blocks from the Wallingford section of Seattle, with its funky shops and eclectic nightlife. You can easily see why it’s a local favorite. I like two things about this restaurant: the smaller portions of sushi (with prices to match) and the omakase menus. The smaller bites are great for kids and those trying sushi for the first time. The two omakase meals (Hoshi and Tsuki) offer every diner a chance to sample numerous sushi rolls and other flavorful Japanese dishes.
4725 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
This option is another of the best sushi restaurants in Seattle that delights in the omakase-style of wide-ranging dinners individually prepared by the chef. About a mile and a half southeast of the Alki Point Lighthouse, this upscale sushi house is a bit pricier than others and specializes in two-diner menus. I’ve tasted just about every kind of fish Puget Sound has to offer here. But I’m also happy that vegetarians can also have an intimate omakase dinner together. Mashiko created one of the region’s only tasting menus of vegetable dishes that do not include any meat or seafood. Expect asparagus, sweet potato, avocado, cucumber, and more veggies mixed for healthy and tasty bites.
2400 NE 65th St, Seattle, WA 98115
This culinary gem sits just a couple of long metro blocks away from Ravenna Park, one of Seattle’s hidden municipal spots. Take an inner-city hike along the Ravenna Ravine, then walk to Wataru. You’ll be ravenous like I was the last time I went. Wataru’s menu is as simple as it gets. There are three items on it: A 10-piece omakase sushi plate prepared in the Edomae style, an assorted Chirashi plate of sashimi over sushi rice, shiitake mushrooms, and Ariake seaweed, and a fat futomaki roll with various seafood, egg, and gourd.
304 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
If you don’t know where to get sushi in Seattle, why not try this venerable restaurant in the heart of Nihonmachi (Japan Town). Maneki recently celebrated its 117th anniversary. Opened in 1904, its current owner/chef, Jean Nakayama, continues to knock it out of Seattle Park with traditional and signature dishes. For an old-world recipe to go with this old-world eatery, I like the Unagi Kamameshi. It’s fresh-water eel cooked into the rice. It will take 30 minutes to cook properly, so have a shot – or three – of sake while you wait. It’s also for two people, so I always end up taking some home for lunch the next day. Talk about flavor. Yum!
I Love Sushi on Lake Union
1001 Fairview Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Owner Leah Kim loves that at night, her sushi spot is situated just right to see Seattle’s landmark Space Needle all lit up. Under the heat lamps and starry sky, you can take in the Emerald City’s coastal ambiance and eat some delicious food. I like that she offers four types of tuna – including the marbled bluefin variety – and four types of salmon. Plus, hers is a rare sushi house that boasts monkfish. If you’re looking for a full sushi roll, I’d suggest the “12th Man.” Named in honor of the raucous fans of the Seattle Seahawks, it comes with tempura shrimp and crab salad inside with spicy aioli and avocado on the top.
Sushi Kappo Tamura
2968 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102
Just south of the Portage Bay peninsula tip lies one of the best sushi restaurants in Seattle. This upscale sushi house is known for its open kitchen, rooftop garden, and sustainably delicious fare. I always look for rolls with interesting names, and here the Hamtastic Roll fits the bill. It’s filled with yellowtail, green onions, cucumber, and avocado, then topped with more yellowtail, some jalapeno, golden tobiko and ponzu sauces. Vegetarians will also like the seven types of meatless/fishless rolls here. Each includes different ingredients, such as pickled plum, tempura squash, and daikon radish. And many of them grow right on top of the restaurant itself.
1400 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103
This favorite is just south of Woodland Park and is one of a small chain of six sushi houses up and down the West Coast. This intimate diner and lunch counter provides the smells and tastes that tourists and locals love. First, they bait-and-switched me with its BLT roll. I expected bacon, lettuce, and tomato. But they replaced my favorite meat with baked salmon. See what they did there. Plus, they added in some onion and spicy mayonnaise. I’m sure glad they did because it was delicious! But I also like the 20 varieties of individual sushi pieces you can order. You can mix and match anything from pickled mackerel to scallop to squid. It’s really the best way to try something new. Plus, each piece is cheap enough that you can get four to five pieces for less than $10.