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How do you eat sushi with other people?

If you go out to sushi with other people, how do you order? Do you order only what you want to eat, and then eat only what you ordered? Or do you all agree on what to order and then share, a la family style?

Just asking out of curiousity as my friends and I always decide together what to order and share, but my coworker mentioned that she always orders a couple sushi rolls and some sashimi just for herself and doesn't share. She thought it was odd that we shared our sushi with each other.

Note -- I don't want to know what is traditionally done in Japan, how the custom of eating sushi originated, which restaurant will refuse to serve you if you order sushi for just yourself, etc. I just want to know what you actually do. :)

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  1. Generally we order larger platters and maybe a few specific bites and everyone shares. We try to make sure everyone gets to try everything, but if people have favourites they'll usually take more of that particular fish and if everyone likes one thing, that's something we order more of.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jacquilynne

      ditto! My son usually orders his own avocado rolls because he can polish off a single order by himself, but other than that we share.

    2. I order what I want to eat, although I rarely eat sushi with a group. Sushi may be the only type of food I prefer to eat alone, I get wonderfully lost in it with a box of premium sake and a good connection with my chef.

      1. Somebody should take the lead and say "tonight here is how we will order/eat" if some of the folks have a problem with that, hey, it was only one meal in your life, just don't repeat it...........

        1 Reply
        1. re: ospreycove

          Typically I ask not tell "do you prefer to share rolls or order individually" I also make it known I have no preference.

        2. I only go out for sushi with family and we've always just decided what things we may all want and what things one or two of us want. So some items we all share and some we don't.

          1. Sushi's a food that's easy to share... if I was with a group I'd automatically go for 'family style' eating. But it's generally just DH and me, and DH doesn't really eat it (I've persuaded him that properly-treated fresh tuna is yummy but he's not interested in sushi rolls) , so we generally go to a buffet where I can have as much as I want and he doesn't have to eat it - he fills up on the cooked food and I eat my sushi in peace.

            1. Today I had lunch with a friend. We ordered sushi omakase. There were 2 of each type of sushi - did we share or did we order what we want to eat? Everything did come out on one platter, but we each ate 1 of each type.

              1. I order only what I wish to eat, and encourage to do the same, There are too many sushi varieties I don't eat and I don't want 80% of what I do eat going to the others, and being left with 80% of my plate containing items I don't eat.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bagelman01

                  What types of things do you prefer vs. don't eat? Just curious :)

                2. The couple of friends i sushi with we order and share apps (edamame, dumplings etc) and then order our own sushi since we have very different preferences (no overstuffed sauced tempura containing "special" rolls for me thanks...) and we're all happy.
                  On the other hand when i go with my sister we share everything since we have similar tastes.

                  1. I hate ordering with a group, especially sushi (all kinds) because I am a lot more adventurous and do not want to pay for avocado or cucumber rolls!!

                    I always order for myself and not bother with the others.

                    1. Generally like Chinese.

                      Mostly sharing. Some for just one or some.

                      I don't care about paying for a California roll when out with friends.

                      1. Whether just with my husband or with friends, we order what we want for ourselves. It's never a problem, we all like what we like.

                        1. We are typically at a sushi bar, and it's awkward to try to share food because there's just not much room. If you're in the cheap kind we inhabit it's hardly set up for sharing, as each patron gets one serving on each plate and then stacks the plate with the rest for the waitress to make the tally from at the end. We do sometimes order two of something (uni, for instance) and each take one, and usually one of us pays the tab for both.

                          1 Reply
                          1. Sushi should only be eaten alone, or in a couple, in my opinion, because it's an intimate experience. Sushi in larger groups is rarely memorable, so not worth it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: GH1618

                              Exactly. I never suggest or eat sushi with groups larger than 2 people. It ruins the experience, and turns dinner into a chore.
                              99% of the time I eat sushi, it's just with my girlfriend,. We only ever sit at the bar and generally do some sort of omakase. We only order nigiri, and generally get 2 of each piece so we can each have one. Then after eating a lot of the chefs selections we generally order more nigiri we really liked, or still want to try, not always in twos

                              Also, most Americans are extremely embarrassing to eat sushi with so I avoid it as best I can. Sushi is kind of a special thing and it's way too hard to enjoy it with a group.
                              Some people eat fast, some slow, some want only 1 roll while others want to stay and eat nigiri at their leisure. More than 2 people is just a disaster waiting to happen. I'd rather have to lie and tell a group of people that I don't eat raw fish, than to be subjected to a group sushi meal.

                            2. Some of my friends hate sharing but then I tend to have different taste from most of my friends when it comes to sushi. So it is easier for me to order my own rolls and have them eat it if they want but I normally won't eat theirs.

                              1. At lunch with friends, we typically each order our own preference, and have separate bills.
                                For dinner, we are usually at izakaya, rather than sushi bar, so several plates to share, and each person at the table has an opportunity to choose.

                                1. If you go out to sushi with other people, how do you order? Do you order only what you want to eat, and then eat only what you ordered? Or do you all agree on what to order and then share, a la family style?


                                  It's almost always omakase at the bar.

                                  1. I think I've only ever ordered alone if I am eating sushi and my co-diner has ordered a plate.

                                    Usually I do family style in a pair or group.

                                    1. I get what I like and don't share because too often people will get Fluffy Spicy Tuna nigiri or caterpillar rolls or rainbow rolls or deep-fried somethingorother roll or some other kind of thing I don't like. my husband and son are fine, I'll share with them, because we like a lot of the same things.
                                      That's my story and i'm stickin' with it.

                                      1. I have done it many ways. It really comes down how the restaurant allows it and my friends want to do. For small orders, we order what we want and get eat what we order. For large orders, it makes more sense to combine and share.

                                        1. Well, my favorite way to eat sushi is none of the above. I sit at the bar, I talk to the chef and tell him what I like and don't like and how much I want to spend. The sushi starts to come one piece at a time. I eat until I'm done. What's with this ordering and sharing?

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Bkeats

                                            Most sushi bars make nigiri sushi in pairs, even for a solo customer. I'm happy to go solo and eat two of everything, but sharing with a companion is better.

                                            1. re: GH1618

                                              Plenty of places I go to serve sushi as single piece offering especially as part of an omakase meal.

                                              ETA: Where are you? Does an order of nigiri there automatically mean you get two pieces? In the NYC area, most sushi places I go to price nigiri by the piece so even when ordering off the menu instead of doing an omakase meal, you would have to order two pieces to get a pair.

                                              1. re: Bkeats

                                                Oakland, California. I've never had sushi in NYC. I started eating sushi in the Twin Cities (Minnesota) more than 30 years ago, and have mostly eaten it in the SF Bay Area for the past 25 years or so. I can only remember one place that thought I wanted single-piece orders (I usually eat it alone and have never tried to order it that way), but I can't remember where it was. Two pieces per order is conventional.

                                                I don't know about omakase, as I have never had it that way. Also, conventions may be changing. I don't eat sushi nearly as often as I used to, and when I did eat sushi often it was mostly at just a few places.

                                          2. We often go out as a family for sushi, but only order for ourselves. Sometimes our teen grandsons will try some of our sushi, but most often we eat what we order.

                                            1. It depends. Some people like to share and are not picky. Some people don't eat raw so we get our own. Some people don't eat sushi and get other food at the Japanese restaurants.

                                              My husband and I share more often now than we used to. We used to give one piece to the other person as a taste. Now we will split 50/50 unless someone isn't as hungry (a rarity).

                                              My parents usually share but make us order the raw fish because they are skittish about it. We are slightly more adverturous eaters than they are when it comes to some things.

                                              1. Hi, boogiebaby:

                                                I usually won't mix eating people with sushi. I prefer one or the other...


                                                1. You can order a giant platter of sushi, rolls, sashimi, and sit at a table and share, if that floats your boat.

                                                  But the best experience as already stated, is to sit at the bar and let the chef decide, but it really depends on the restaurant and what you are comfortable with.

                                                  Sitting at the bar and having the chef decide, is actually the way to go, and also the only available way to order at very high end places in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, whether they have Michelin stars or not. The idea is to sample the seasons, have a progression and balance, and to taste and see the chef's craft. In these instances, two to three people (tops) is ideal, when you are sitting side by side. Four or more is difficult to have conversations with one another.

                                                  For informal places, anything goes.

                                                  1. Thanks for the opinions. I probably should have clarified -- when it's just me and DH, we do omakase at the bar. But sometimes my girlfriends will want to go out for sushi, so 3-4 of us will go out. It's hard to sit at the bar and chat since we end up being spread out (ie. person #1 and person #4 are too far apart to speak comfortably). So we usually get a table so we can catch up and eat. We all pick a couple things, and then we share. It's just how we've always done it. I've never really gone out for sushi with other people though -- just them and then DH/my kids. when the kids are with us, we order a few things to share, and DH will order some "special of the day" nigiri/sashimi for himself (which almost always gets hijacked by the kids anyways).

                                                    1. For me it depends on the type of restaurant, and the people I'm with.

                                                      I don't eat at higher end sushi places of the sit at the bar and chat with the sushi chef variety - my budget doesn't go there.

                                                      If I'm at the sushi roll place (things like California or dynamite rolls are not common where I live, and it's a specific restauant), we share, because you get 5 or six pieces per roll ordered.

                                                      If I'm with my husband I'll happily share - we are both adventurous and have complementary tastes.

                                                      With a group, I would generally order my own, because I want to eat what I like, and not everyone agrees with my tastes. I also don't want to fill up on things like cucumber rolls or egg when there's raw fish available.

                                                      Some places it's arranged as a sushi set meal, which is meant to be eating by yourself.

                                                      And sometimes it's a place like an izakaya where sushi is part of the meal but not all of it. That usually comes as a plate, and is shared.