Washington, DC’s best sushi

Hankering for hosomaki? Discover the best places to fill up on raw fish with our guide to Washington, DC sushi restaurants



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  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 3/4

Stand smack in the middle of Adams Morgan Party Central, the intersection of 18th Street and Columbia Road, NW (the traffic is so gridlocked on weekend nights that you can often do so without any significant risk to either life or limb), and you’ll see the illuminated rooftop of Perry’s, hangout of beautiful people and their attendant wannabes. The largely twentysomething crowd is attracted not just to the lights—and the lively scene under them—but to the array of well-executed sushi prepared downstairs, where a classic wood-paneled dining room offers a more sedate setting for unwinding. Along with sushi, the menu features a short list of New American starters and entrées, with such favorites as seasonal heirloom tomato salad, grilled swordfish steak with lemon chutney and the chef’s veg platter. Perry’s drag queen brunch is offered every Sunday. The fixed price includes all you can eat and dancers to entertain you. Arrive early for the show.

  1. 1811 Columbia Road, NW, (at Biltmore Street)
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Izakaya Seki

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

A brisk walk from the main drag of restaurants and bars near U and 14th streets, NW, Izakaya Seki is tucked into an unassuming and narrow, two-floor row house. Choose to eat upstairs in the dining room or downstairs at the chef’s bar. Either choice is equally no-frill; coat hooks are just about the only décor. Once seated, you’ll be hard-pressed not to salivate, either over plates arriving at neighboring tables or by what the robata cooks behind the bar are turning over a low flame. When it comes time to choose what to drink, brace yourself for page after page of sake selections. Your server is your best ally here. Another great ally: the list of specials handwritten on a piece of scrap paper, usually accompanied by a quirky doodle or two. The chef’s rotating sashimi selection is explosively rich (note: the wasabi here is fresh), and the seasonal miso soup (recently served with assorted roasted mushrooms) is not to be missed. From the main menu, order the slow-grilled octopus. The salmon roe hand roll—with its barely warm rice and fresh roe—will put you in a state of nirvana. In short: Izakaya Seki deserves a deep bow of respect.

  1. 1117 V Street, NW, (between 10th & 11th Streets)
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  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Behind a mock-industrial façade is a sleek little dining room containing one of the city’s best sushi bars. The decor is simple, the menu compact, venturing beyond sushi and sashimi but not detracting from their star power. Tuna Six Ways, a frequent special, accentuates variations of texture and flavor; simple preparations showcase unusual fish nightly. The vibe here is casual: neighbors stop by for carryout, club kids come in to start their nights, and solo diners make friends at the sushi bar.

  1. 2309 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Glover Park, (at Observatory Lane)
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Sushi Taro

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4

Sushi Taro underwent a major renovation in 2009 and has been reborn as an upmarket Kaiseki-style traditional Japanese restaurant, under owner Nobu Yamazaki. In a kaiseki-style meal, diners don’t order off a menu. Instead the chef presents a succession of complementary dishes. The Suppon Kaiseki Tasting focuses on the very traditional soft-shell snapping turtle. There is also an excellent saké selection.

  1. 1503 17th Street, NW, (at P Street)
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Kaz Sushi Bistro

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Sushi king Kazuhiro Okochi made his mark at Sushi-Ko, successfully melding Asian and Western ingredients, before bringing the winning formula here. The sushi itself is top-notch, featuring fish that is gorgeous and glistening, while the rice has a touch of sweetness unlike any you’ll find elsewhere. But should your tastes not include raw fish, there’s also a bounty of wonderfully cooked items on offer, including grilled baby octopus, coriander-crusted calamari and Asian-style short ribs.

  1. 1915 I Street, NW, (between 19th & 20th Streets)
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