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A guide to a few of the very best places to get Japanese raw fish rolls in The Gate City
Here's a brief introduction to five of Atlanta’s top sushi restaurants.
No part of Georgia is really known for its sushi. The Southeast has historically never been a significant center of Japanese immigration; as a result, the country’s cuisine never quite organically sprouted up in the region. But as the worldwide food landscape continues to globalize, Atlantans have been increasingly able to find a considerable smattering of great sushi restaurants in their city. So the following, for your benefit, is a brief introduction to five of Atlanta’s top sushi restaurants.
Bluefin: The words “blue” and “fin” provide a good description of the stylish décor to be found in this sushi bar, full of white and azure tones and couches evocative of fin shapes. Bluefin describes itself as “modern Japanese cuisine with a pinch of American & European tastes,” and its Asian fusion-style sushi and sashimi may be a good starting point for the relatively uninitiated.
Taka Sushi and Passion: Insofar as one may consider a sushi restaurant to be fine dining, Taka fits into that category like a head in a custom-made hat. For over ten years now, Chef Taka Moriuchi’s place has been one of the most high-end and popular sushi establishments in the South.
Mali Restaurant: It’s like Bangkok and Tokyo collide at this “Thai sushi bar,” which excels at both of its specialty cuisines. Delivery is offered, and for the price, it’s reliable and appropriately delicious.
Sushi Bar Yu-ka: Reliability is the word at Sushi Bar Yu-ka: it’s a casual sushi bar, and walk-in patrons may be surprised at the unexpectedly high quality of their offerings. For friendly staff and reasonable prices, diners are unlikely to find a better place for moderate-cost sushi anywhere around Buckhead.
Nakato: This restauarant is divided into three sections: a hibachi/teppanyaki grill, a sushi bar, and a “traditional” Japanese dining area. Make no mistake, however: Nakato has not made its focus too wide, and though all of its food options are great, its massive sushi bar is virtually incomparable to other offerings in the region.
One Flew South
One doesn't usually put "airport cuisine" and "delicious sushi" in the same sentence, but One Flew South breaks the stereotype and serves up impressive food in an atmosphere that allows you to forget you're in an airport. The restaurant enjoys semi-privacy from passersby through a slatted wood plank wall. The white leather seating is equally luxurious. An 18-foot marble back bar greets solitary diners and provides an ample perch while waiting for prepared food-to-go. Serving more than sushi, guests also devour the scallops or the pork belly. Popular rolls include the kamikaze and traditional tuna roll. Suddenly an extended layover is not such bad news, after all.
Recommended for Sushi because: This premier Atlanta sushi spot sits within the Atlanta-Hartsfield airport. Upscale sushi + airport cuisine – you don't hear those two things together often, if ever.
Lesli's expert tip: Can't stop to dine? Take-away options are also available.
21 Restaurants to Order Stellar Sushi Around Atlanta
Atlanta loves sushi, a fact not lost on the many talented sushi chefs around town. Atlantans have come to expect fresh ingredients, serious knife skills, and fish imported straight from Japan. Nothing else will do. Here, now, are the restaurants serving some of Atlanta’s best bets for great sushi.
Don’t see a favorite sushi restaurant. Send Eater Atlanta details to check out for the next update via the tipline.
Disclaimer: A number of restaurants on this map have resumed dine-in service. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the Georgia Department of Health. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.
ATL Airport Dining: Café Intermezzo
Location: Concourse B
Pre-dating well-known coffee chains like Starbucks, Café Intermezzo opened its doors in Dunwoody back in 1979 after founder Brian Olson researched Kaffeehauses in Austria and Germany. Intermezzo means intermission, which is what the café hopes to serve as in the setting of the busy airport. Here, you can escape the airport hustle bustle at a bistro table in the café’s warm interior. Don’t miss the impressive dessert case offering tarts, pies, and cheesecakes, all of which pair nicely with an espresso beverage. Additionally, café fare like crepes, sandwiches, and salads are also available.
From healthy to classic southern to tapas to fragrant Persian cuisine and everything in between, you’ll find it in Sandy Springs. The hardest decision is where you’ll dine first in Sandy Springs! But you know you can’t go wrong with any of these tried and true Sandy Springs restaurants.
About the author
Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!
6 sushi restaurants to try omakase in metro Atlanta
You love sushi, but have you taken your love to the next level?
To do that, you would be smart to try out omakase, “the purest expression of sushi, a chef’s choice of dishes, often delivered one piece of nigiri or plate of sashimi at a time,” former AJC food writer Wyatt Williams writes.
If you’ve been stuck in a spicy salmon or California roll rut, or looking for a special occasion activity for the sushi lover in your life, try out one of these metro Atlanta spots that offer a parade of dishes that might just spoil you for “regular” sushi.
Brush Sushi Izakaya. Omakase is typically not for the light of pocketbook, but Brush's newly-launched Sunday-Thursday omakase is designed for the budget conscious. The 10-course offering from chef Jason Liang is a piece--by-piece nigiri experience for $49 per person, with the option of a $13 sake or wine flight. On Fridays and Saturdays you'll find the traditional $150 omakase featuring 15 pieces of nigiri including bluefin tuna and uni, toro ikura hand roll made with fatty tuna and a dessert, with a $50 optional beverage pairing.
316 Church St., Decatur. 678-949-9412, brushatl.com
MF Sushi. Owner and sushi chef Chris Kinjo's omakase is the only way to go if you visit MF Sushi in Inman Park. Ranging from $75-$150 per person, the nightly omakase service offers rotating dishes including lotus root and seaweed salad, bites of nigiri, kampachi with yuzu zest and A5 Kobe beef. Williams called it "incredible" when he reviewed it in 2015.
299 North Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta. 678-575-7890, mfsushiusa.com/
Sushi Hayakawa. Looking for arguably the most exclusive omakase service in Atlanta? Chef Atsushi "Art" Hayakawa personally guides just two diners each night through the multi-hour experience. AJC food writer Brad Kaplan described the experience in a recent story: "You sit at the counter, facing Hayakawa as he delicately slices deeply hued o-toro or precisely shapes the sushi rice so critical to each bite of nigiri. The honkaku (authentic) omakase stretches across 14 courses, driven by the market and the seasons, but always starting with a soup." The whole thing will set you back $185 per person.
5979 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-986-0010, sushihayakawa.com
Taka Sushi and Passion. Chef Taka Moriuchi offer a variety of options if you're looking for omakase, starting with a 12-piece nigiri for $50 per person. If you're looking for a more traditional omakase experience featuring nigiri in addition to crudos and hot dishes, choose six plates for $65, eight for $75 and 10 for $85. All omakases are offered nightly.
4600 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs. 404-851-1500, takasushiatlanta.com/
Tomo. Sit at the sushi bar as chef Tomo Naito guides you though an omakase experience put together based on a questionnaire about your dietary and budget restrictions, with a particular emphasis on aesthetics. On any night, dishes could include seared Spanish mackerel in a citrus-soy sauce, an oyster topped with caviar and a variety of nigiri.
3630 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. 404-835-2708, tomorestaurant.com
Umi. Put on your swankiest outfit and head to see-and-be-seen Umi for chef Fuyuhiko Ito's chef's choice dinner. Expect to see dishes such as Kobe beef, yellowtail jalapeno and black cod miso. Save room for a decadent dessert from Ito's wife Lisa, who serves as the restaurant's pastry chef.
Kimball House Arrow
An annual James Beard Award nominee, Kimball House is famous for its cocktails, but has so much going for it: An oyster program widely considered the best in the city (and, some say, the Southeast), thanks to the prodigious efforts of partner and oyster-bar manager Bryan Rackley. (Stop by between 5 and 7 for the daily oyster happy hour, when all bivalves are offered at reduced prices.) Chef Brian Wolfe’s main menu, has standouts like Georgia trout with fermented chile grits and tender duck breast served with shishito peppers and okra. And you shouldn't leave without one of Pastry Chef Yesenia Justiniano’s crowd-pleasing desserts like the frozen peanut-butter bombe.
Top 10 Sushi Spots
Sotohiro Kosugi is one of America's sushi masters, especially renowned for inventive composed dishes—fatty tuna with avocado coulis and caviar, geoduck clam salad, steamed lobster with uni mousse—that lift this Japanese restaurant above all the rest.
357 Sixth Avenue 212-414-3088 2. O Ya
Owners Tim and Nancy Cushman's 37-seat South Boston jewel has a smart wine and sake list and riffs on traditional sushi and sashimi—spot prawn with garlic butter, preserved yuzu , and white soy, as well as salmon belly with cilantro, ginger, and hot sesame oil.
9 East Street 617-654-9900 3. Sebo
A hangout for local chefs, this no-frills Hayes Valley spot sources the highest-quality fish, most of it from Japan's Tsukiji Market, and then does little to interfere with it. Purists order shirauo (ice fish), saba (mackerel), and shiro ebi (baby white shrimp).
517 Hayes Street 415-864-2122 4. Nobu
Twenty-two years after he launched a raw-fish revolution with his restaurant Matsuhisa, pioneering chef Nobu returns to America's capital of sushi and opens another branch of his empire. Expect all the trademarks—Hollywood A-listers, cutting-edge design, and signature dishes, including yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, black cod with miso, and rock shrimp tempura with butter ponzu .
903 North La Cienega Boulevard 310-657-5711 5. Roka Akor
This glitzy global mega-restaurant brand hopes to do for sushi and robatayaki (grilled food) what Benihana did for teppanyaki (griddled food). The 11-course prix fixe, which offers items raw (Wagyu beef, butterfish) and grilled (lamb cutlets, scallops), is the best way to sample the menu.
7299 North Scottsdale Road 480-306-8800 6. MF Buckhead
The second sushi place from brothers Chris and Alex Kinjo spans 8,000 square feet, including a 26-seat sushi bar, an omakase (chef's choice) room, and three private dining rooms. It's not intimate, but the sushi selection and the new robata grill menu are outstanding.
3280 Peachtree Road NW, Suite 110 404-841-1192 7. Kaze sushi
Specialty rolls—many folks' introduction to sushi—are hereto stay. This Roscoe Village favorite specializes in makimono (rolled things), such as the hamachi ebi tempura (yellowtail, shrimp tempura, smelt roe, avocado, cilantro, and jalapeño).
2032 West Roscoe Street 773-327-4860 8. Uchi (pictured)
Destination sushi in Austin? Since 2003, Uchi has received raves for avant-garde creations such as foie gras sushi with pomegranate. Look for chef Tyson Cole's upcoming Japanese-Spanish restaurant in Austin's W Hotel.
801 South Lamar Boulevard 512-916-4808 9. Bar Charlie
Chef Charlie Trotter's 18-seat spot offers tranquillity in a land of sensory overload. Kaiseki , a Japanese tasting menu, is served in either 8 or 14 courses with an emphasis on seafood, including crispy abalone with fennel.
The Palazzo, 3325 Las Vegas Boulevard South 702-607-6336 10. Sushiko
Sushi aficionados flock to this curvy 14-seat bar to watch expert sushi chefs turn fresh fish into edible art. They know the fresh wasabi (as opposed to the common processed stuff) is well worth the extra charge.
Concourse A: Varasano's Pizzeria
For six years, Buckhead resident Jeff Varasano had a single mission: make the perfect pizza. He flew across the country, trying pizzas at legendary pizza parlors like Grimaldi's and Patsy's in New York. He finally found the perfect pizza and published the recipe on the Internet, turning him into an immediate Internet sensation and subsequently opened up his eponymous Buckhead restaurant. Though some prefer Antico Napoletano, some claim that Varasano's makes the best pizza in Atlanta and one of the best pizzas in the country.
The airport version of Varasano's has a counter where you order your pizza and then they hand you a buzzer so you can pick up your pizza and eat it in the general food court area. They have a small piano bar, as well, with some good beer and wine selections.
* Other great options in Concourse A:
- Chik Fil A: Atlanta institution serves up everything chicken, except on Sundays
- Piece of Cake, serving up delicious cakes and desserts
The Best New Sushi Restaurants in America
Ramen shops and izakayas may get all the buzz when it comes to eating Japanese, but we'll always be suckers for a great sushi place. There's something almost cleansing about a simple, exquisitely fresh piece of fish prepared with a minimal amount of fuss. And with all the sustainable varieties of seafood showing up on menus lately, eating sushi can be a reminder that we haven't totally fished out the oceans--yet. Here, in alphabetical order, are our picks for the best new sushi places across America. --Alex Van Buren
It's Hawaii by way of Lake Michigan as chef Byungkyu Park prepares a wide selection of superfresh fish with tropical visual flourishes. Think fresh flowers and seashells, all under a vaulted wood and glass ceiling.
: The crunchy hamachi maguro ebi (yellowtail, tuna, and shrimp) wrapped in rice paper, or any of the sashimi. On chilly days locals slurp pork belly ramen brimming with fiery kimchi.
: The father of co-owners Troy and Ty Fujimura was raised in Hawaii, which inspired the presentation and vibe at Arami.
1829 West Chicago Avenue 312-243-1535 aramichicago.com
The Rose City's acclaimed, hypersustainable Bamboo Sushi expands to a new 90-seat restaurant (with a 22-seat sushi bar) in the northwest quadrant this June. Look for fancier cocktails, a Scandinavian note in cooked dishes, and great local fish.
: The black cod with smoked soy glaze is a Bamboo staple, but nearly a quarter of the offerings here will be new, such as a seafood charcuterie platter featuring raw, cooked, and cured options.
: Just as at the original, every fish is approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, and a portion of your dining dollars help sustain a nature preserve in the Bahamas.
Clockwise from top right: Sweet Shrimp Tartare with Black Truffle & Gold Flakes, a signature at Shunji (Photograph by Hironaga Takahashi) The dining room at Arami Variety of Sushi at Shunji (from left, kampachi, halibut, pompano, marinated salmon, marinated ikura) Chef Shunji prepares sushi (Photograph by Hironaga Takahashi)
Acclaimed chef David Bouley left his French-food comfort zone to open this Tribeca spot with Osaka's Yoshiki Tsuji in 2011. Known for their kaiseki--a set menu for a multicourse meal--the duo expanded the raw fish selections this April with a bar devoted to Edomae (usually pristine nigiri--rice crowned with fresh fish).
: Sample the kampachi sashimi, of course, but don't turn up your nose at the ethereal seasonal soups, either.
: That striking wall in the bar is not made of crisscrossed pieces of wood, but rather of 25,000 paperback books, stacked with pages facing the diner.