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best sushi in NoVA?

Where's the best sushi place in NoVA? The only requirement is that they must accept reservations for a party of 8 including one toddler who is well behaved.

We've been to Tachibana many times but I thought I would try something new for a change.

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  1. My favorite is Arigato on Rt. 29 in Fairfax (next to Home Expo Center). NOT the one in Fair Lakes of the same name.

    Also good is Konami in Rt. 7 in Tysons. I like both as well if not better than Tachibana.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Meg

      I agree...Arigato on 29 is very good...try the Mexican roll.
      However...my favorite sushi is at Cafe Asia in Rosslyn. Cafe Asia takes reservations and can seat 8...although it tends to get a bit noisy...so may not be best for conversing. If you do go...try the Spicy Tuna roll with crunch and the Dragon roll. Yum! I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. :)

    2. I went to Sushi-Zen (in the Lee Harrison strip mall, just off Lee Highway) last night and thought it was delicious. They are family friendly also (there was a party of 8, with some kids, there last night).

      I am a fan of Cafe Asia but thought the sushi at Zen was a lot better. The nigri tuna and salmon pieces were huge and melt-in-the-mouth tasty.

      It's a little more expensive than Cafe Asia, but worth it (I would still go to Cafe Asia for the sushi happy-hour though!)

      1. If its the Tyson's area (based upon your visit to Tachibana), I'd say look no further. Konami is awful, soapy tasting fish, we ordered $120 for lunch 2 weeks ago so I had all kinds.

        1 Reply
        1. re: v man

          Having frequented Konami and having a pretty sensitive palette, this sounds pretty atypical of Konami. Could it have been the drinking glass or perhaps soap not adequately washed from the hands and the smell of soap caused the fish to have that odd flavor? I had had that experience of soapy tasting foods at other restaurants; never at Konami. I do like Tachibana very much as well.

        2. Tried Arrigato on Rte 29 this week and was disappointed. Before bringing out the whole extended family, I went this week w/my wife and 2 kids. We decided to get the omikaze sushi and sashimi. Some of the fish was excellent but it was pretty uneven and definitely not worth the price. Looks like we'll have to head back to Tachibana next time even though I live 5 minutes away from Arigato.

          Does anyone know if there is a particularly bad day to go for sushi? Do restaurants pretty much get fresh fish daily? We went on a Tuesday after Labor Day but I don't know if that should affect things.

          1. There is a place called Ichiban in McLean that I like a lot...more my scene (small, low key, etc) than Tachibana but I have to say the sushi I've had at Tachibana has been pretty darn good. It's on old dominion.

            When i have sushi nowadays its usually when I'm on my way to/from home (west baltimore) from where I live now (Fairfax), and can hit up Sushi King or Sushi Sono in Columbia.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Lowbar

              Sushi king is the best in the area, no contest.

            2. Matsuri in Herndon has pretty good sushi. I have only eaten lunch there, so I cannot vouch for dinner. Lunch is a buffet with some hot items. The food is fresh and the salmon is amost always very fresh and succulent. They have tempura and other Japanese grilled items for dinner, but I have not tried them yet. This place is near the Cantina d'Italia and the Outback near the Fairfax County Parkway just inside Herndon.

              1. We enjoyed Sweet Ginger about a month ago. Fish was fresh, crisp and full of flavor. Menu was diverse and creative. Found it a very enjoyable experience.

                1. Yamazato in Arlington is very good and easy to get to, as it is right off of 395. The chef used to work at Tachibana. They also have Thai food there for those who may not want sushi.


                  1. blue ocean in fairfax.it's right next to trader joe's off of 236. fresh sushi, seperate japanese only menu. great staff.

                    1. I just got back from the Cafe Asia in Rosslyn. The Dragon Roll was very good, but the Spicy Tuna Roll was unspectacular. On a previous trip, I had the Ninja Roll, which was quite good.

                      1. Akasaka, far and away better than any others.

                        514 South Van Dorn Street
                        Alexandria, Virginia 22304-4612

                        ph: 703.751.3133
                        fax: 703.751.3134

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Atlantis

                          I've tried this place before and wasn't that impressed. I think they're korean owned, not authentic Japanese.

                          All in all, you have a few sushi joints in this area that are a cut above (ie. Tachibana, Kotobuki, Sushi-Ko, & Sushi Taro), and most of them are authentic Japanese. Then, you have a huge number of sushi joints that will get you your fix without problems. I think this falls in the latter category.

                          1. re: Chownut

                            Not authentic Japanese? I'd say that puts you squarely at odds with our Japanese guests and clients who routinely request that we stop there on our way in from the airport when we pick them up.

                            My literary agent and publisher also make a beeline for Akasaka on their visits here - but, my agent also flips for Charlie Chiang's Crispy Hot Beef, so there's no telling what she'll do next.

                            Does the ownership - I know nothing of it - somehow affect the food?

                            1. re: Atlantis

                              I'm sure the grub was satisfactory. I personally just didn't find anything authentic or distinguishing on the menu. In general, Alexandria is not a hotbed for sushi. Akasaka is probably one of the few sushi joints in that area that's not inside a korean restaurant. Northern Virginia (ie. Fairfax/Vienna/Tysons) and DC are the primary hotspots for sushi.

                              Yeah, I think the ownership affects the food. A lot of sushi joints in this area are not japanese owned, but instead, Chinese or Korean owned. Thus, there's an attempt to recreate what the Japanese have perfected, but in that attempt to copy, there's no ability to innovate.

                              I'd recommend you take them to Tachibana (NoVa) or Sushi Taro (DC) next time.

                              Read this article, it'll give you a different perspective:


                              1. re: Chownut

                                Yeah, that article was interesting. But, not terribly relevant to taste or quality, as far as our experience goes. In the end, as every investor knows, it's product that counts, and Akasaka deliivers like nobody's business (was that a pun?).

                                I do find, though, the best places are sometimes not where you might find them, and Alexandria is awash with ethnic delights that a diner who dwells too much on insignificant and irrelevant minutiae might overlook. Your recommendation for Sushi Taro is a very nice one - that place has a wonderful reputation, a place that gives Americans the false impression that their version is true "Japanese dining," when, of course, it is not, but, there is no comparison to Akasaka, regardless of who owns it.

                                Tachibana is limited and uninteresting, and McLean is still our idea of the boonies, which really is nuts, but, we've been here more than 30 years, when McLean really was the boonies.

                                Our Japanese friends/clients would never stray from Akasaka, no matter how many times they were told that Alexandria is inadequate to the task. Neither would we. It's too much fun knowing what's good. And, if it's Korean-owned, we can only be grateful that the owners know the value of delivering such an excellent product.

                                I would urge you to try Akasaka again. You might be pleasantly surprised.

                                1. re: Atlantis

                                  Humans are creatures of habit, and couple that with your friends being out of towners, I'm not surprised that they are not open minded to trying something else.

                                  I found the article to be very relevant. It's a cold, hard example of how someone from Japan would be disappointed with the multitude of nonauthentic japanese options we have in the states.

                                  Alexandria may be awash with ethnic delights, but nothing where sushi is concerned. Hopefully Akasaka is not trying to sell true Japanese dining either b/c they will fall far shorter than what you think about Sushi Taro.

                                  Surprisingly, Tachibana has multiple interesting appetizers that they offer which I have not see anywhere else. One is called Yamamoto which is a mountain potato that's been shredded and topped with sashimi. I haven't seen it anywhere else. Also, Tachibana has THE best tempura in this area, bar none. Of course, tempura is not authentic to some, but many love it. Also, they serve the best green tea, as it's filtered through toasted rice which adds a great flavor. Their lunch specials are the best around. A few weeks ago when I was there for lunch, I discovered while driving that there were at least 3 other japanese restaurants down the street from Tachibana.

                                  As with you, I would recommend you giving Tachibana another try, as McLean being the boonies is irrelevant to the quality of food Tachibana serves. McLean is a wealthy area and people there demand higher standards. I mean, Tachibana was in Arlington first, and now in McLean, and must be doing something right for them to deserve their longevity and following. I've been dining there for at least 13 years and have enjoyed it immensely.

                                  1. re: Chownut

                                    I have tried all of the sushi places in McLean. I like Tachibana, of course, but I also like Miyagi. Try the chef's specials there. Ichibana is around the corner; it's small, quite inexpensive but not nearly as good as Tachibana and Miyagi. Endo Sushi is just another average sushi place. There is also a Japanese restaurant on Route 7 near Tysons. I forget the name; the food is forgettable too.

                                    If you are ever in Fairfax, try Arigato on Route 29. Very good. Note that there is a sushi buffet place called Arigato also in Fairfax (the Fair Lakes area). Avoid this.

                        2. Whatever you do stay away from Cafe Asia. The food is absolutely terrible and their fish tastes like a word I'm not supposed to use here.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jpschust

                            I agree. The sushi happy hour is not worth it either. Some of their thai dishes, specifically the noodle dishes, aren't that bad, but I'm not a thai connoisseur.

                          2. I don't know about you guys, but I am finding that all the good sushi places nowadays are not serving very fresh fish. I don't know if it is the lack of business and turn around for the fish, but to me fresh fish should not smell fishy. I have been getting plates of sushi where I can smell the fish as the plate is being put down on the table. I love sushi, but this turn of events has churned my stomach more than a time or two and I am losing my love for it. Anyone else finding this a problem lately?