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Best Sushi in Dayton, OH

I finally found the best Sushi in the Dayton, Ohio area. It is a little place called I-Zu. It is very small, but quaint. There are about 10 tables in the entire restaurant. It is a Japanese menu, but Sushi is the specialty. You will need to ask the waitress to explain all the different type of rolls.

My favorites include the Dragon Roll, the Tiger Roll, the Spider Roll, and the Rainbow Roll.
The presentation was excellent. I have eaten there twice and the presentation was different and fun each time.

There is only one waitress working, but it has never been crowded when I was dining there. She was very helpful and friendly. The chef came out to check on my dinner once which I thought was a good idea.

Sushi is charged by the roll or dinner depending on which you order. I went with my girlfriend both times and both meals were under forty dollars. It is really affordable. I recommend this to anyone who is looking to eat some great sushi at an affordable price.

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  1. It's good to hear that I-Zu has bounced back. For years, it was the best (and one of the only) place for sushi in Dayton, then the sushi chef/owner evidently sold out (a few years ago) and quality seemed to decline. Is the Japanese grocery store still next door? Also, just for comparison, where else in the Dayton area have you had sushi?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Niki in Dayton

      Yes I-Zu is still on N. Dixie and there is has never been a wait, even on a Saturday night.

      Other Sushi places I have eaten include Sushi Cafe (Miamisburg), Thai Nine (Downtown Dayton), Sake (Beavercreek), and Akashi (Riverside).

      Akashi is probably a close second as my favorite, but I still give I-Zu the my personal honors for being the best.

      1. re: king_patton

        Never been to I-zu, but have been going to Akashi for years! I dont think I have ever had better sushi, anywhere. Its really to the point now that they know me when I walk in. Delicious.

    2. Is I-Zu the place up on N. Dixie?

      2 Replies
        1. re: Niki in Dayton

          Sorry, I haven't eaten there since before they closed a couple of years ago. I was surprised to hear they had re-opened. This was the place I had my first Sushi experience though, and I will go back soon.

      1. I haven't been to I-Zu in ages, but it used to be a great place for lunch too-- nice bento meals, and like you said, hardly ever crowded. Their sushi offerings kind of went up and down, but I'm glad to hear it's better now. I noticed that the grocery store next door (Shoyama Koten, I think it's called) seems to be carrying fewer nonperishables and other goods than it used to.

        Sushi quality at Sushi Cafe is uneven, and I found Sake to be just dismal. I've been wanting to try Akashi again, though. Back when it was Yanase and owned by the late Mr. Yanagawa, it was our favorite sushi bar, hands down.

        1. I'll have to give I-Zu a try under the new owner. Thanks for the tip. I agree that Akashi is very good as well. My boss, who is from Japan, took me to dinner there a few years ago. The manpuku sushi dinner will fill you up and then some, and the fish was very good.

          If you want to take a short drive to my city, Troy, you will find very good sushi here as well. Sakai Japanese Bistro is owned by the original chef/ owner of I-Zu, Mr. Sakai. He relocated to Troy because of the large Japanese population who asked him to move closer to Troy. This restaurant is in no way related to the two Sake ones.

          There is a hibachi side and a traditional Japanese side. It's open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. The staff and owner are very friendly and attentive. I have eaten twice on the hibachi side and it is good. I prefer the traditional side and eat there often. The staff will gladly explain the menu to you and treat first time customers with the same service as long time ones.

          The sushi bar has a good variety and it is all fresh. There are also many selections that are not listed on the english menu, but are available. If you ask the sushi chef what he thinks is particularly good that day, he will tell you. I do not speak Japanese at all, but it's no problem. I have noticed that you will receive more varied suggestions once the chef learns your tastes for food. I don't think that this has to do with anything other than the assumption of the chef that if he serves something too unusual to the guests that they might not come back. If you would like to try more exotic fare, just ask him what he has and he will be happy to explain it to you.

          1. If your favorites are all the rolls, are you really a Sushi expert? But, I agree... they have awesome Sushi there too... even the real Sushi not just the americanized rolls.

            1. I'd like to see if there is an update on good sushi in Dayton, and I'll specify what I mean by "good":

              Good Uni! Would bluefin toro be too much to ask? Mackerel, Surf Clam, Snapper, Abalone, Scallop.
              I don't often eat the standard salmon/tuna//unagi nigiri, nor do I order rolls.
              I know I'm probably not going to find monkfish liver or anything like that... but I would love to find a sushi bar where the sushi chef has a nice little selection of less common items available fresh.

              Does this exist in the Dayton area?

              9 Replies
              1. re: Benjamin B

                You can usually get good Uni at Izu, even with quail yolks on top if you like. They also have great Nato. I'm afraid we are still stuck taking a ride to Columbus to get good fresh Bluefin or Abalone. For the best regular fish like Makeral, SurfClam, etc... I like Osaka in Beavercreek behind Fairfield Commons Mall. They consistently have fresh fish (though they don't carry Uni, Nato or Abalone from lack os sales) and their Sushi Chef Rocky comes fromNY and has awesome skill. Maybe we could keep requesting the Uni and Abalone there. I regulary have to make a run to Columbus and buy some for home. The only place that usually has Uni that is not fresh, is Sake. Dayton Mall, The Green, or up on Miller Lane. They seem to always have fish that is boderline bad, and the Uni is not fit to be sold.

                1. re: Benjamin B

                  We ended up going to Sakai Japanese Bistro at a friends suggestion.
                  I ordered 9 types of Nigiri and...

                  It was mediocre at best. Some of the fish was ok, but nothing even seemed fresh IMO. The prices were high for the Midwest (I could have gotten the same items for ~75% of the price in Indy or Columbus), the service was slow, and the uni and mackerel were both awful to the point where I wondered if they had gone bad.

                  I shall not return.

                  Sakai Japanese Bistro
                  2303 W Main St, Troy, OH 45373

                  1. re: Benjamin B

                    I flipped through my menus, and it's limited for what you're asking. Sushi Hana, on Yankee in Centerville, has red snapper, surf clam and mackerel on the menu. There's a place in Centerville called Kabuki that does have red snapper, but it's a roll. And Thai Kitchen, in Miamisburg, lists mackerel and red snapper.

                    1. re: Fibber McGee

                      Add JY Bamboo in Fairborn as another place that serves a better variety of fish than just tuna and salmon. Did not have the sushi. The place serves Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese. The masaman curry I had for lunch was a bit too soupy and the vegetables slightly undercooked, but it was tasty. Combining the cuisine of four different countries usually does not translate to a mastery of any of them.

                      1. re: Fibber McGee

                        I haven't tried anything in the sushi world in Dayton since that last attempt in Troy...
                        Until a couple days ago when I went and tried Saya in Fairborn.

                        I ordered: Uni, Mackerel, Red Snapper, White Tuna, Hamachi, Ebi (raw), Scallop, Surf Clam, Hirame. They were out of uni, so I substituted the fatty tuna.

                        Everything was wonderful, with one small exception: the fatty tuna, but that was minor and I think it was just a bad cut that made it stringy. I even realized that I forgot my wallet at home (20 minutes away) and they said "Come back and pay some other day." I called and paid over the phone that night. The prices also seemed pretty good.

                        I will definitely be going back, but would like to try Izu as well.

                          1. re: jackrugby

                            On Kauffman Road, almost at the bend as it turns into Central.

                      2. re: Benjamin B

                        I'm really late chiming and sadly, it's not in Dayton, but-- Ando in Blue Ash serves monkfish liver. It's not on the regular menu, though. They have a menu of appetizers and specials you can ask about, and they're happy to help with translations.

                        I can't remember if they have snapper, scallop, abalone or surf clam, but their sushi bar sometimes offers horse mackerel, uni, occasionally bluefin toro. Also natto if anyone feels brave enough to try it. ;) I just checked, and they have their menu and specials online:


                        Very friendly service, too. It's been our favorite sushi bar for years now.

                        1. re: Aria

                          It's never too late to add good, relevant choices. Blue Ash may be 45 minutes or so from Dayton, but it's a fine restaurant town for SW Ohio. Ando is on my list to try. Thanks.

                      3. Just ate at Sakai. Impressive selection of nigiri, everything was really enjoyable. Will probably be back again this week before I leave. Really appreciate the suggestion!