The 15 Best Restaurants for Sushi in Boston Right Now
From traditional omakase to Japanese-Peruvian nikkei: Here's our guide to the best sushi restaurants around.
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There are hundreds of potential spots to grab a sushi roll in Boston. So many, in fact, that it can be dizzying to decide on dinner. That’s why we put together a list of the best spots in Boston for dependably delicious sushi when a craving for fresh fish kicks in. Whether you’re seeking a cheap and easy spicy tuna roll, or have a hankering for sturgeon caviar on a Saturday night, our guide has you covered when it’s time to make reservations. [Updated June 6, 2019]
Strip malls are hardly correlated with quality sushi dining, or an acclaimed omakase for that matter. But Café Sushi exists in defiance of its location’s stereotype. Chef Seizi Imura, who inherited the restaurant from his parents in 2007, has transformed the menu (and, more recently, the interior) of this longstanding Cambridge sushi spot, amassing a dedicated following of sushi aficionados and earning a handful of Best of Boston awards along the way. The secret to Imura’s success? No frills. Imura’s simple nigiri allows the freshness of each cut of fish to shine through.
1105 Mass Ave., Cambridge, 617-492-0434, cafesushicambridge.com.
If the modern, chic lounge of Douzo’s dining space doesn’t promptly set an izakaya tone, your first bites here will, with appetizers like sweet pepper octopus ceviche and smoked hamachi mozzarella in grapefruit sauce. At Jack Huang’s Back Bay sushi restaurant, indulge in the toro jalapeño roll, filled with asparagus and layered with torched toro, or the sweet miso yellowtail roll with mango and fried onion. And if it’s a special occasion, start with the XO toro—slices of fatty tuna on a flaming stone, spattered with sturgeon caviar and a spicy sauce.
131 Dartmouth St., Back Bay, 617-859-8886, douzosushi.com.
Somerville’s bustling Union Square attracts new diners every day, and they’ve taken notice of a local darling: Ebi Sushi. Stuck on what to order? Try the raved-about torched salmon belly, a 10-piece omakase for $38, or the box-molded Somerville roll, topped with sesame-sprinkled tuna tartare and scallions. Stuck on the other side of the river? Ebi Sushi owner Jose Garcia opened a takeout-friendly spot called Sushi Kappo in the Fenway neighborhood in 2017.
290 Somerville Ave., Somerville, 617-764-5556, ebisushi.com.
A sleek wood-paneled interior, yellowtail crudo, larger-than-life powdery portraiture on the walls, and sake sangria—what more could you ask for from an über-mod Asian fusion restaurant? Owner Mike Shaw and chef Mike Sanchez are having a creative field day at Fat Baby with rolls like the Sneaky Russian, featuring butter-basted scallops and jicama salsa in a puddle of black garlic aioli, as well as drinks like a spicy tequila sipper dubbed Hefty Hugo. The loud and crowded atmosphere is a testament to the spot’s urban popularity—Maki Mondays see a serious turnout for $27 unlimited rolls.
118 Dorchester St., South Boston, 617-766-3450, fatbabysouthboston.com.
Fish Market Sushi Bar
Though the name may deceive you, this budget-friendly Allston sushi spot is a restaurant, not a retailer. The menu is chock-full of sushi joint staples like caterpillar and rainbow rolls, as well as a host of fancier menu items. If the $55 omakase doesn’t reel you in, the foie gras nigiri with truffle just might.
170 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-783-1268, fishmarketsushibar.com.
Fuji at Ink Block
In 2016, the opening of Fuji at Ink Block marked the transformation of the formerly industrial-commercial South End strip into a hot scene for day and night dining, shopping, and gathering. As the 10th restaurant opened by chef Jimmy Liang’s JP Fuji Group, Fuji at Ink Block stands out for higher touch service and elegant plating, enticing both experts and novices alike for omakase and approachable a la carte menus.
352B Harrison Ave., South Boston, 617-936-3282, fujiatinkblock.com.
At O Ya’s free-spirited sister restaurant, funky cocktails and hip decor abound—which explains why Hojoko has turned into one of the trendiest watering holes in the Fenway. Sidecar to stylish drinks like a sesame-tinged Mai Tai, sake bombs, and highballs are create-your-own sushi handrolls, shiitake mushroom tempura, and okonomiyaki, a traditional Japanese savory pancake made with cabbage. For the extra adventurous, order the wasabi roulette: an ordinary plate of sushi with a secret—one of the nearly identical bites is laden with wasabi.
1271 Boylston St., Fenway, 617-670-0507, hojokoboston.com.
Laughing Monk Cafe
Sushi chef Nick Korboon’s strictly brown rice rolls buck conventional sushi norms, and may perplex traditionalists. Yet his particularly artful constructions, and his use of microgreens and flowers grown in his personal greenhouse are enticing hungry diners. Though Laughing Monk Cafe also offers a large and authentic Thai food menu, Korboon’s creative maki stars with dishes like the spider roll, comprised of soft-shell crab and shiso leaf, with sauce spiked on the plate in the shape of a gauzy spider’s web.
737 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-232-8000, laughingmonkcafe.com.
Reservations at this nine-seat sushi counter book out well in advance, but an omakase experience with Colin Lynch is worth waiting for. The chef might be best known for coastal Italian crudo and pastas at his first restaurant, Bar Mezzana, but he’s a talented sushi chef, too, having honed his slicing and ricing skills with a stint at O Ya. His distinctive, nightly creations, like hamachi nigiri with soy, onion, and black truffles, and sunomono-style aji sashimi with sesame and dashi, showcase the same mastery of flavor combinations that’s earned Bar Mezzana’s crudo so much praise. Bonus: The unexpected selection of unique wines and sake, curated by general manager Kevyn Ashton.
11 William E. Mullins Way (located within Shore Leave), South End, Boston, 617-530-1772, norelationboston.com.
As a kid, chef Ting Yen’s father put him to work in his restaurant, fostering a respect for the culinary art that has persisted to this day. Of particular importance to Yen and his father was the freshness of their fish, which he picked up from the market each morning. Yen devotes the same careful attention to his own restaurant, which has earned multiple Best of Boston awards. Experience Yen’s mastery of the craft with creations like savory seared hamachi and truffle maki, or a California roll elevated with real snow crab.
1166 Washington St., South End, 617-482-8868, oishiiboston.com.
This tiny restaurant stowed in a basement on Harvard Ave. continuously exceeds expectations. When in need of affordable, fresh sushi in Allston, pop in for impressive rolls like the Fire Bruins Maki, a shrimp tempura roll tucked in an aluminum foil boat and served flaming hot—literally. Even with folding chair-style seating and eclectic decorations, this humble sushi restaurant has earned its spot as an Allston staple.
185 Harvard Ave., Allston, 617-202-3808, facebook.com.
When newbie restaurateurs Tim and Nancy Cushman opened their first eatery in the Leather District in 2007, they could never have imagined it would be named the best new restaurant in the U.S. As their company continues to grow with New York City restaurants, Hojoko, a forthcoming concept in Chestnut Hill, and an O Ya Mexico City in the works, their original sushi bar is still the crown jewel. With an extensive sake menu and a hefty price tag (the grand omakase will run you $285), chef Tim Cushman’s sushi menu is packed with opulent bites like house-smoked wagyu nigiri, scallop sashimi with burgundy truffle, and the renowned “legs & eggs” nigiri with Maine lobster legs, white sturgeon caviar, and tomalley aioli.
9 East St., South Boston, 617-654-9900, o-ya.restaurant.
This voguish izakaya at Millenium Tower is run by internationally known chefs Ken Tominaga and Michael Mina, and boasts some of the freshest seafood in Boston. Executive chef Ben Steigers spearheads the Boston outpost’s omakase, which is a popular date-night draw. As are the impressive Japanese whiskey and sake lists, featuring the blue-bottled Tsujizenbei Tobingakoi, which isn’t available at any other restaurant in the country. If you’re in the mood to try something new, Pabu’s luxury sushi platter features rare cuts like ishidai (spotted knifejaw), kinmedai (golden-eyed snapper) or kamasu (Japanese barracuda).
3 Franklin St., Boston, 857-327-7228, michaelmina.net.
The ultra-modern yet earthy decor of Ruka dining room creates a compelling contrast, just like the Japanese and Peruvian fusion cuisine, or nikkei menu. Dishes like blackened octopus skewers in a spicy harissa mayo are sure to ignite the sense. The sushi menu, initially designed by chef Ting Yen of Oishii, features rolls distinctive for their South American touch, like the Phoenix Sunrise, with spicy surimi crab hot from chili oil, and Hawaiian salmon ceviche sweetened with tropical passion fruit.
505 Washington St., Boston, 617-266-0102, rukarestobar.com.
Since expanding their small, basement sushi bar into this chic izakaya in 2016, chefs Ken Oringer and Tony Messina have earned multiple Best of Boston awards and national accolades—including Messina’s 2019 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northeast. Uni also tops our list of the Best Restaurants in Boston. Just steps from the Hynes Convention Center MBTA station, sample innovative rolls like the Lobster BLT, arced with crunchy pieces of just-burnt bacon; gorgeous sashimi, like the wordly lubina with with green chermoula; or slurp a luxurious spoonful of fresh uni nestled next to a creamy quail egg yolk and sprinkled with inky ossetra caviar.
370A Commonwealth Ave., Back Bay, 617-536-7200, uni-boston.com.