HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


Best sushi in D.C.?

New to the area and am looking for some sushi ideas - doesn't matter which part of town it's in.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. There are quite a few threads on this already.

    But my personal favorite is Sakana on P St. in Dupont Circle. I eat here at least once a week. It's not expensive at all and while its not as fancy as some of the other spots its perfect for a neighborhood sushi spot. The staff is friendly and I literally wake up craving some days their Sakana Tempora Roll. It's the stuff that sushi dreams are made of!

    It's a small spot but they also have a few tables outside during the warmer months. You should certainly check it out!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Elyssa

      Sakana is sub-par sushi. The best in DC is Makoto, but it is very pricy. Sushi Taro is 2nd best, about half the price as Makoto. Kotobuki (right above Makoto) is probably the best value in DC -- very inexpensive and exceedingly fresh. Kaz and Sushi Ko are very good, similar to Sushi Taro in quality and cost. Kaz is more innovative. In Dupont Area, after Sushi Taro, Uni is pretty good. Cafe Japonne is absolutely terrible. Sakana slightly better. Dupont could really use a place like Kotobuki -- simple, cheap, and very fresh. I love Sushi Taro but the wait is a killer and the prices (combined with the wait) make it a tough sell.

      Kotobuki would probably be my favorite restaurant in all of DC if it was located in Dupont/Adams Morgan. I'd probably eat there 3 nights a week.

      1. re: masonuc

        I would never call Sakana "sub-par." For a neighborhood sushi joint it is excellent!! I eat sushi at least once a week. I don't want to have to pay through the nose for it each time. The service is friendly, the sushi is fresh and tasty...especially the Sakana Tempura Roll (which is certainlly special. Never found anything like it anywhere else) and the price is perfect for a place that I go to regularly. I wouldn't say it's the BEST sushi restuarant in DC. I haven't tried enough and I'm sure some of the high end places are better. But it's where I prefer...especially for a close by, neighborhood spot.

        1. re: Elyssa

          What's so special about Sakana's Tempura Roll that's so unique?

          1. re: Ericandblueboy

            It's very overrated and not worth the trip to the place.

    2. I hope you're ready for a whole lot of responses. No two posters on this Board agree on this topic.

      For me, whenever Kazuhiro Okochi is working behind the sushi bar at Kaz Sushi Bistro on 19th and Eye, drop a $20 bill in the tip jar and say "omikase" and you'll have the best sushi experience in Washington DC. He's also one of the few trained sushi chefs who can do fugu....

      1. My vote is for Sushi Taro, at 17th & P. Fatty tuna to die for!

        1. I agree with BigEats - Kaz Sushi is great, and Kaz himself is very innovative. My mouth waters every time I think about the seared salmon belly or the lobster salad. That said, I'm not crazy about some of his sous-chefs (I don't know what one calls underling sushi chefs - sushi-sous?).

          Otherwise, if you're willing to travel to the 'burbs, Tachibana in McLean is outstanding. Not as creative as Kaz, but the fish is absolutely delicious.

          2 Replies
          1. re: FoodieGrrl

            Amen to Tachibana. I was going with the "in DC" theme, but I never pass through McLean without stopping in to Tachibana, and I've been going there for years -- starting when it was on Lee Highway in Arlington.

            OK, I was hesitating to do this, but Springfield has a surprising little sushi stop. I wanted to keep this little secret all to myself. It's called Tokyo Inn on Backlick Rd., and it has the typical cook-at-the-table Japanese steakhouse dining room. It's owned and run by Chinese people too. But I've rarely had better sushi -- the broiled eel is melt-in-your-mouth, the "white tuna" is a rare treat, and the sashimi is sized larger than most. Instead of the green plastic garnish, you get Asian mint, which is really a perfect accompaniment to a piece of sashimi. I'm tempted to erase this last paragraph because I want this place all to myself....

            1. re: FoodieGrrl

              Just came back from Kaz based on these endorsements and was extremely disappointed. Not that it was bad but just not exciting. Won't return.

            2. I'm a big fan of Kotobuki on MacArthur. Everything I've had there is great. Plus, it is CHEAP! Go for the uni at about $2 a piece and the monk fish liver for around $5. I've never had a long wait, but once you are seated, the meal can go fast. They like to rush a bit because the restaurant is so small.

              1. Kaz is very good. Tako Grill isn't bad but I live right near it. I wouldn't go to Makoto. The prices for the sushi and all a la carte are way, way, way too high. The tasting menu is great and reasonably priced though.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Gosh

                  Sushi Ko in Glover Park. The original!

                  1. re: GarlicandGinger

                    Kaz was at Sushi Ko, and then went back to Japan to raise his skill level and learn to prepare fugu. He prepares sushi you won't see anywhere else in the DC area. Like tuna with foie gras -- absolutely to-die-for! Or the plum wine infused foie gras with plum wine jelly!

                    If you're not concerned about your budget too much, and Kaz is behind the bar, just order "Ultimate Sushi" and he will feed you the best of what he has until you stop him. It may be the absolute best sushi experience in the DC area.

                    1. re: BigEats

                      I dont think that Sushi Ko lost any prestige by losing Kazuhiro Okochi when they added Koji Terano who is excellent at what he does. In my opinion DC has three top sushi places:
                      -sushi ko
                      -sushi taro
                      -kaz sushi
                      You will have most people on this board claim that one of those three is better, I am a sushi ko person, but many will disagree and others will agree. I recommend you try all three and make up your own mind.
                      To me one notch below is Kotobuki that makes it up by serving the best sushi for the money you pay (its dirt cheap for sushi).

                      Just my $0.02

                      1. re: BigEats

                        A couple questions:

                        1) How much does "Ultimate Sushi" run? Is it a fixed price or depends on what you eat?
                        2) When is Kaz there?

                  2. KAZ, and then Momo Sushi. For just every-week, nothing-special-but still-good, I like Bonsai Grill on 23rd in Crystal City. It's uneven though. Sometimes it is really bad, but when it is good (crowded) then it is really a great deal. Sushi Taro and Sushi Ko are always too crowded but it's for a good reason...

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: anhdeluxe

                      I've always had pretty good luck with Tono Sushi on Conn. Ave. (Adams Morgan / Cleveland Park / Upper Dupont Circle) or Yosaku on Wisc. Ave. (Tenley Town), if you happen to be near either of those.

                      1. re: chew

                        Sushi Ko is a long-time favorite. Makoto (on MacArthur Blvd) is a different kind of experience; it is tiny, looks like a restaurant in Japan, and everyone there understands Japanese cuisine. Not inexpensive, but many Japanese executives eat here when they visit from home. Definitely try it once.

                        1. re: chew

                          Tono lost all my respect when they told me after they brought out my "sashimi" that it had been pan seared.

                          1. re: jpschust

                            I think that might have been more of a "language" issue with the waiter (which I have had now and again) than simply bad food.

                            I think they have a house special (I've had it before) that is a pan seared sirloin tuna (Tataki something or other) - that might be it. It's the only seared thing on the menu I can think of.

                            Bottom line - if you asked for Sashimi, you should get sashimi.

                            1. re: chew

                              Tuna Tataki is seared Tuna and it can be served sashimi style, meaning without rice.

                          2. re: chew

                            tono sushi is a weak suggestion--their sushi is average at best.

                            1. re: MTP

                              I agree, their sushi isn't great, but it's close to my house and the $1 happy hour makes it worth it when you have a craving.

                            2. re: chew

                              I've had pretty good experience at Tono. It's not amazing but pretty good for the price. Yosaku, on the other hand, had really lame sashimi.

                          3. I just started going to Kotobuki, finally, after reading abou the place for so long. Loved it..so far, the only place I know that has oshi zushi(pressed sushi with the mackeral on top)...that was my favorite in Japan, so was quite happy to have found a place that serves it in this area. The sushi is fresh,albeit on the smaller side, but for most of them being $1.00, I'm not complaining. The place is small, so not suitable for larger crowds....on the subject, my fav in the burbs was Yuuraku in Germantown, but a friend told me that it had been closed the last two times she went......anyone have any news?

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: tabemono

                              Sushi Ko: Yuck!
                              Kotobuki: Good but need a car!
                              Kaz: So totally overrated. (maybe its only good if head chef personally prepares it)
                              Sakana: Good for weekday takeout.
                              Sushi Taro: Some things are careless (like soggy seaweed for a fatty tuna/scallion handroll) -- but broiled yellowtail jaw and pork belly are consistently good and Omikase sashimi is good (comes with fried shrimp head garnish too). Menu offerings beyond sushi remind me of awesome local Japanese places in Honolulu.

                              1. re: Jaws

                                i feel like great sushi/asian fusion is a something that is totally lacking from the DC scene.

                                1. re: elegantelliot

                                  if you want some asian fusion you could try Zengo (latin fusion sushi options) which is pehnomenal... but a bit pricey

                                  1. re: JRMorrisonJr

                                    not really what i am talking about, i am a sucker for tao, nobu, buddakan, morimoto etc, and we really have nothing like it here. I think any of those types of places would do great in DC

                                    1. re: elegantelliot

                                      TenPehn. I still think its consistantly good for Asian Fusion. It's certainly not at the Nobu or Buddakan level but its still quite good. Maybe not as hot as it was 5 or 6 years ago when it first opened up but still consistantly good.

                                      1. re: Elyssa

                                        i actually have never been to TenPenh and i have a res there for restaurant week, i havent heard great things, but i still want to give it a try.

                                2. re: Jaws

                                  What then would you recommend??

                              2. Makoto, for a great dining experience. outstand quality, although they do more than just sushi

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: MTP

                                  Agreed. Makoto's dishes, cooked and the "raw bar" are simple and delicious. Their nigori and wasabi alone is worth the trouble of making reservations and getting to Georgetown.

                                  1. re: joco

                                    Tachibana - no contest.
                                    6715 Lowell Ave
                                    McLean, VA 22101
                                    (703) 847-1771

                                    1. re: Lori Lou

                                      Mikaku and Sushi Sono...both are a bit out of the way, but completely worth it. Nothing I have had in town even comes close.

                                  2. Tachibana in McLean, SushiZen in Arlington (Lee-Harrison), and in the District, Tono (nice outdoor tables), Sushi Sushi on Macomb Street (sister to Tono, I think) and Yosaku if you get there during happy hour and get it cheap, they also have outdoor seating.

                                    Baltimore has better sushi at Chiu's, Hana and San Sushi. The two cities need to work out a trade to bring some of the sushi south and some Chinese north.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: jkosnett

                                      you've got to be kidding. there is no Chinese worth eating in DC.

                                      1. re: JRinDC

                                        and there is no good sushi in Baltimore!

                                      2. #1 Sushi Taro- Their specials are some of the most interesting raw sea creatures to be found in the area. The lunch Chirashi is a big deal. Amaebi with fried heads is really excellent. Chef's specials or omakase are the way to go. Never liked the non-sushi/sashimi entrees. Yakitori is good but not great. I am a fan of the octopus yakitori
                                        #2 Kotobuki- A step down in variety, quality and preparation from Sushi Taro, but the price just can't be beat. Their Chirashi is also exemplary (and $9.00!!!). Their fatty tuna(s) are sometimes cut in a way that does not negate the stringiness of the sinews of the fish. Might also be the supplier. Have found their ikura to be a little strong on occasion.
                                        #3 Kaz - Love the Nobu-ish experimentation. I don't feel that I get the bang for the buck of Kotobuki or the ultimate quality and variety of Sushi Taro. Dangerously close to where I go to law school.
                                        #4 Super H Mart -- A distant fourth. Decent prices, decent sushi. Always a pleasure to have some sushi dipped in gojuchan (sp?) as a change of pace.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: moogjuke

                                          Agree with the comments about Kotobuki. Great prices and fresh fish, although I thought the sushi rice was not the tastiest. A real sleeper here is the unagi kamameishi, bbq eel over rice. Really excellent. The rice pot is cooked over the stove and comes out of the kitchen piping hot. The slightly burned rice on the side of the pot mixed with tea makes a tasty ochazuke to finish the meal.

                                          1. re: moogjuke

                                            I also agree with the comments about Kotobuki. I eat there at least once a week ordering either the chirashi, kamameshi or sushi. I've started to avoid their toro for the same reason as moogjuke, i.e. sometimes it's stringy. Their regular tuna has also disappointed. But, the white tuna, yellow tail, scallop, salmon, uni, and mackerel are awesome.

                                          2. From a purely solipsistic perspective, I have to say again that the sushi bar at Spices, the pan-Asian place in Cleveland Park, always speaks to me the most, and I've tried most all of them. Given how small a minority that puts me in, however, I can't say I'm convinced it's the "best." Try it sometime, though.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Bill on Capitol Hill

                                              I was really dissapointed when I went to Spices. I had heard good things, but the shushi was less than fresh and not worth it for the price.

                                            2. Perry's on the corner of Columbia and 18th in Adams Morgan. The sushi is great, but the environment there is awesome too. Great for a date.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: smperk

                                                the sushi it Perrys is barely edible at times and the service is atrocious!

                                                1. re: elegantelliot

                                                  After reading this thread, I'm seriously disappointed.

                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                    I am disappointed that anybody would mention Perry's and Sakana in a "best sushi in DC" list. That's just... insane. There are only 5 places worth discussion: Makato, Sushi Taro, Kotobuki, Kaz, and Sushi Ko. Nothing else is on the list. Makato best, Kotobuki best value. Others have their plusses and minuses.

                                              2. What is the best Sushi spot that allows for take out in DC on or near a Green/Yellow or Blue/Orange line? I know Kaz is near Farragut West? but am unsure if I could do take out, I would like to try their Bento boxes.

                                                1. I was there a couple weeks ago Sushi Taro was pretty good. I Really enjoyed their spicy tuna rolls. And the nigiri was exceptional fresh compared to Minneapolis(no suprise). I think I would probably try Kotobuki and Makoto next time I'm there.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: astadtler

                                                    Makoto is not a sushi bar but an Kaiseki restaurant. where one course is sushi.

                                                    1. re: fudizgud

                                                      You can get sushi-only at Makoto. They have a sushi menu you can ignore Kaiseki all you want and just get pieces. It's really expensive but worth it. As good as the old Sushi Taro, i think -- or at least close. Sadly the new Sushi Taro isn't really even in the top 5 any more, and that's if you don't consider price at all.

                                                      The new Kushi is pretty good too. Best is still Makoto, best value is still Kotobuki. No surprise, they are upstairs/downstairs from each other. Other than those, Kaz is tops.

                                                      1. re: masonuc

                                                        I know this is dated board, but I had a great meal at Obi Sushi in Reston Town Center last week - excellent scallops. Everything except the eel was excellent. A little pricey, but they also have a very good sake list. This is consistently the best sushi in the western burbs that I have enjoyed.