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Jan 17, 2009 04:27 PM

Sushi in Pittsburgh

So....we're NEW to Pittsburgh, NEW parents, have a NEW babysitter and looking for a NEW favorite sushi place. Tasty fish is more important than atmosphere. I really, really , really want to sit my fanny down, have some sake and chill out. Any ideas?

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  1. We love Chaya in Squirrel Hill on Murray. BYOB, so bring your own sake. I LOVE the toro aburi (seared fatty tuna). It was first recommended to me by the chef my first time there and now I always get it. :) They get their seafood from Japan and NYC. This is our "go to" place. Umi is also great, just quite a bit more expensive, and not necessarily "better", just more trendy/fancy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: QSheba

      I second Chaya, by far the best sushi I've had in Pittsburgh, haven't been to Umi, and likely won't because I keep hearing Chaya is just as good if not better, and at a lower price, minus the trendiness, which makes it exactly my kind of place. My only gripe was that every time I tried to order something a little more adventourous, like the tuna collar (excellent), the waitress kept trying to talk me into something more run of the mill instead.

    2. These good people are right about Chaya! Also, avoid at all costs the sushi at Nakama Japanese Steakhouse in the South Side. Worst sushi I have ever had and I have eaten at many great sushi joints up and down the west coast.

      1. I am in love with Sushi Kim in the Strip District. Unbelievable menu..

        3 Replies
        1. re: burghgal

          Apologies but I have to disagree re Sushi Kim. While the hot food is just fine, I really think their sushi is consistently disappointing. I have tried to give it a try again and again upon the request of devotees but am never happy with it. I don't think the quality and freshness of fish comes anywhere near Chaya or other top quality, authentic sushi joints in other cities.

          1. re: meatmaster

            Just a statement of preference, but this is how I see it. Yes Koreans have sushi, and my Korean friends will make something like a maki roll, but when it comes to sashimi, I think even many Koreans enjoy Japanese cuisine. Likewise in Japan, there are Japanese/style Korean Barbeque places, but they aren't quite the same to me as the Korean ones. Something is missing, but I can't tell quite what. I was trying to be diplomatic when the person wrote about eating sushi at the Oriental Kitchen, but really you have to have some idea as to what you're going to expect. I used to by sushi half price after five at a supermarket in Japan and there was a reason it was half price. There is a difference between buffet food and food made to order (although the Taj Mahal really works hard to blur that distinction). You have to know what to expect somewhat, right? Korean sushi? American run mexican fakeries? Fusion trendy whitebread ideateries/ nightclubs? Do you want to eat the food or are your intentions less than honorable? Good Japanese: Chaya. Good Korean: Korean Garden in Oakland. What else?

          2. re: burghgal

            I agree Sushi Kim is excellent and my favorite. I haven't tried Chaya but I will based on these posts!

          3. Not only is Umi the best sushi restaurant in Pittsburgh, it's one of the city's best restaurants period. Mr. Shu's creations are spectacular and will change the way you think about sushi. It's easily on par with fine sushi restaurants in Boston and New York, but only a fraction of the price.

            By Pittsburgh standards, Umi is expensive. By national standards, the prices at Umi are a crazy steal. The omakase starts at $75!!! The same meal in Boston would be at least $125. The best part about Umi is that you can upgrade the omakase for a little bit more. They also have a great sake selection. Umi is truly a jewel of Pittsburgh for fans of fine Japanese cusiine.

            2 Replies
            1. re: gmcurology

              Umi is good for Pittsburgh, but cannot be compared to places like Boston and NY. NYC has a Japanese population almost a 1/10 the size of Pittsburgh. NYC and Boston are coastal cities. It's just not a fair comparison. The only way to judge is against other restaurants in the same city. Having not been to Chaya, I would say Umi is the best Japanese restaurant I've been to in Pittsburgh.

              1. re: johnnytang24

                I live in Boston and have been to O Ya, Uni, and Oishii multiple times. Umi in Pittsburgh does not compare to O Ya, but O Ya is one of the best restaurants in Boston. The New York Times recently said it was the best new restaurant in the United States. My point is that I believe that the food at Umi is just as good or better than high-end Japanese resturants in bigger cities, but for only a fraction of the price. It's a tremendous value and Pittsburgh is lucky to have it.

            2. If you are anywhere near the South Hills, give Little Tokyo in Mt Lebanon a try. It doesn't seem to get much press and might not be as upscale as some of the other places mentioned, but it has served pretty solid sushi for the last 10 years or so. Prices are reasonable, sushi is pretty straight forward, and good. They have a great seaweed salad to boot. Also have a fairly unknown wine list with a lot of nicer aged CA cabs. Not a sake drinker so I can't comment on that.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MrKotter

                I agree, Little Tokyo is great. I'm originally from PGH, but live in Atlanta now. I always visit Little Tokyo when I am in town. Very reasonable, very fresh--very good!