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Jun 8, 2010 09:51 AM

Best Sushi in Tampa?

Where is it? I've been to a lot of places that are good, but so far none that are great. And preferably nothing that I have to drive out to pinellas for. In Tampa I've been to-

Cafe Japon (at International Plaza) - Top notch Sashimi, bottom notch service, good rolls.

Samurai Blue (ybor) - Fun, tasty, but expensive and super commercialized.

Joto's (Dale Mabry) - not bad, but nothing special.

Fuji Sushi (South Dale Mabry) - Blah.

Sakana (Gandy near MacDill) - The charred Seabass appetizer is spectacular, the service, rolls, and sashimi selection else are mediocre.

Soho Sushi (Kennedy near Henderson) Good but not so much so that I can't wait to return

Rawbar - (Downtown at Skypoint) That place is miserable. Looks like dracula tried to open a gay bar that serves sub-par overpriced sushi with servers that don't know Uni from Unagi.

Matoi (Dale Mabry just north of Kennedy) - Used to eat there every couple weeks, prices went up, portions went down, and the korean food steeply fell off. Maybe the chef left?

Water (South Macdill) - Very decent but very expensive, mayonnaise on freaking everything, initially very creative (years ago) they used things like curry and other spices on the sushi, but as of late it's back to the fried stuff and mayo. Meh.

Tokyo Sushi (56th and Fowler) - My current favorite, a hole in the wall near a college, so they have very reasonable prices and large portions, and a good selection of sashimi too. Never had a bad meal there. They have a roll called the CD roll, which is nearly the diameter of a compact disk (how aptly named). Also a bunch of fun appetizers, and the regulars have rolls named after them.

Soho Sushi
311 S Howard Ave, Tampa, FL 33606

Cafe Japon
2223 S West Shore Blvd, Tampa, FL 33629

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    1. If it's any consolation, I believe Rawbar is no more. The space is some generic looking bar and grill now.

      I have been to Soho Sushi, Sakana and Joto and agree with your takes; Soho is my go-to fave, because it's good, the service is good, and the location is convenient. I have also been to Yoko's, and, well, I won't go again.

      We'll try Cafe Japon next...

      6 Replies
      1. re: Miss E

        I've always liked Yoko's. Last time I went I thought it was better than ever. The little place in Palms Plaza (I think its Harbor Sushi???) is pretty good too. I've always had fun at samurai blue, but I was probably drinking too much saki. Last time I went to Joto's it was mediocre at the very best.

          1. re: askdrtodd

            right across Dale Mabry from Wrights. Mott & Hester is in that same strip mall. I haven't been in a year or so, so I assume it is still there. It is on the same side as the Wing Stop.

            Keving K. from Pane Rustica turned me on to it (That has to count for something with you, Doc. ;) ). I think he used to go in there once a week. Not much atmosphere, but decent sushi.

        1. re: Miss E

          Yay! I feel like I won or something (regarding the Rawbar thing).

          1. re: askdrtodd

            I haven't been in at least three years, but there used to be a terrific sushi place in a non-descript strip mall in Palm Harbor -- I think it was owned by the brother of one of the Iron Chefs.

            Also, haven't been in a while, but how about Kiku's in Clearwater Beach? Have never heard anything but praise about this place. I know you don't want to leave Tampa, but it (used to be and probably still is) worth a drive across a couple of bridges.

            1. re: kentski

              I second Kiku's in Clearwater Beach...sit at the bar and let the chef serve you what he is the best sushi in the area. The sushi bar (Takura) at The Venue used to serve the best Uni I've had outside of Japan, but now you have to special order it ahead of time. Still, they have their fish flown in twice a week from Hawaii and's very good (and more easily accessible from Tampa.) Try Tuesday when it's all you can eat for $19.95.

        2. Kiku is great on the beach. Try the tempura bagel roll if they still have it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: tebbital

            Is that a fried roll with cream cheese in it? I was hoping more for places in Tampa, and places that focused on creativity and the art of making sashimi/omakase rather than just frying up some American ingredients...

            1. re: askdrtodd

              I've been to Ichiban near the Jai Ho (University Mall) area three times...
              The first two times, every bite blew my mind...
              Creative, fresh, delicious rolls, and a great sashimi platter....
              The first two times, friendly, happy, hospitable, Asian folks served me and made my food...

              This last time, I popped in with the intention of not going crazy...
              I ordered a roll of some kind, a couple pieces of salmon, a couple Yellowtail, and a couple smoked salmon...

              You know how I love the Mexican people & culture... I am a Mexiphile...
              (I'm an everybodyphile)
              When I visit my aunt and uncle in Anaheim every few years they think I'm nuts when I choose to get a cheap motel room in the Mexicanest neighborhood I can find, rather than something nicer closer to Disney......

              But I'm never thrilled when a Mexican crew is going thru the motions, joyless & expressionless, making my sushi in a highly regarded Japanese restaurant/sushi joint...

              That's what happened on my last visit, and everything was blah...
              It was a weekday lunchtime visit...

              Maybe they bring in the A Team for dinner and weekends...

              I'll try again sometime and see...

          2. Ichiban is a USF standby. i've had mixed experiences, too. Last time i went (2-3 months ago), they were out of tuna. I walked out.

            I also agree that Matoi may have slipped recently. Not sure if they lost personnel when the restaurant burned last year.

            I have been meaning to try Tokyo, and will do so in the next week or so.

            3 Replies
            1. re: andy huse

              I hope you enjoy Tokyo! The CD roll is a must try, the white & red tuna app is yummy, the tiger eye is good if they still have it, also the volcano mussels, the sushi pizza is cool, and the "holy mackeral" if you like mackeral :)

              1. re: askdrtodd

                Todd, you're right on about Tokio. I ordered my usual standbys (nothing special: spicy tuna and mexican rolls) and both were very good. the ingredients and attention to detail are superior.

            2. I haven't eaten sushi in Tampa in quite a few years but the most consistent place I always had luck with was Sushi Tsu in Tampa Palms on Amberly. Fresh ingredients and very friendly service.


              Is it still good?

              Sushi Tsu
              15317 Amberly Dr, Tampa, FL 33647