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Photograph: Elan Fleisher Oishii

The best sushi restaurants in Boston

Find fresh, innovative maki, nigiri and sashimi at these top Boston area sushi restaurants

By Gerrish Lopez, Time Out Boston Staff and Eric Grossman

From tiny takeout joints and high-end Japanese restaurants to expense account destinations, Boston offers ample choices for fresh, delicious sushi. Whether you’re looking for the “wow factor” of creative rolls with exotic flavors or simple, expertly-prepared sashimi, these sushi spots will fill the bill with exceptional ingredients and skilled chefs. Check out a lunch special or go all out at one of the expensive options — when you’re craving sushi, this guide will help you find the best in Boston. If youre not feeling like sushi but want to keep it light, check out the best restaurants for vegans and vegetarians in Boston, or the best seafood restaurants in Boston

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

The best sushi spots in Boston

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Oishii Boston

1. Oishii

Restaurants Japanese South End

Oishii’s South End location and swank interior suits the luxe sushi served within. High-concept and high-priced, each piece is like a work of art. Toro, hamachi, wagyu — all fish and other ingredients are exceptionally fresh. Creative rolls feature truffle and caviar, microgreens, and delicate sauces. Seared, torched, or tempura fried, you can’t go wrong when your sushi is the hands of Oishii’s highly-skilled chefs.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/May D.

2. Uni

Restaurants Japanese Back Bay

Uni built its reputation on incredible sashimi offerings, and the sushi menu still shines. Creative sushi rolls like the lobster BLT roll and whitefish taco roll are worth a try. More traditional sashimi and nigiri also feature innovative twists, like sea bream with watermelon aguachile soda, pickled rind, and coconut furikake or striped jack with yellow chive and crispy kale. The saké list is impressive as well, with unfiltered and unpasteurized options.

Cafe Sushi
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Rosie Q.

3. Cafe Sushi

Restaurants Japanese Harvard Sq

Cafe Sushi has produced high-quality, reasonably-priced sushi since the 80s. Maki and nigiri are fresh and beautifully assembled, and signature rolls offer something different. Try ceviche maki (tako and shrimp topped with tomato and lime juice), hamachi ssam jang temaki (a handroll of yellowtail, oshinko, iced onion, shiso, korean miso), summer vegetable (marinated eggplant, oshinko, avocado, wasabi oil, grape tomato, balsamic, truffle salt), or oshi-zushi (pressed sushi). After checking out the innovative specials and reasonable prices, you may become one of the loyal regulars too.

O Ya
Photograph: Gentl and Hyers

4. o ya

Restaurants Japanese Leather District

Clear out your bank account and then clear your weekend, because o ya’s singular dining experience is one to be savored. Owners Tim and Nancy Cushman set a new bar for special-event dining with o ya’s opening in 2007; even today the restaurant regularly wins accolades as one of the best restaurants in all of New England. The sushi and omakase menu is a marvel of both flavor and presentation, with every morsel—from the foie gras nigiri to the bluefin tuna and smoked salmon sashimi—a delectable work of art. 

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Bruce K.

5. FuGaKyu Japanese Cuisine

Restaurants Japanese

This Brookline standby is always packed for good reason. Sit in a booth, a table, the tatami room, or the sushi bar and choose from an extensive menu of standard and creative sushi offerings. Go traditional with rich salmon sashimi, daring with foie gras nigiri (foie gras with spicy daikon radish, scallion, sesame, ponzu sauce), or cute with ladybug maki (spicy seafood salad and sweet potato tempura inside, cherry tomato and black tobiko outside). A menu of cooked appetizers and entrees is available too, for sushi-averse dining companions.

Pabu Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Pabu Boston

6. PABU Boston

Restaurants Japanese Downtown

This Downtown Crossing spot — courtesy of the celeb chef Michael Mina — is an elegant spot for impressive, izakaya-style Japanese cuisine, but the high-end sushi menu alone is worth a date-night visit. The sashimi and nigiri list includes more exotic options like horse mackerel, cuttlefish, bigeye tuna, and wagyu beef. Rolls feature the same fresh fish delicately assembled with burdock, kanpyo, ikura, and other quality ingredients.

Basho Japanese Brasserie
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Basho Japanese Brasserie

7. Basho Japanese Brasserie

Restaurants Japanese Fenway/Kenmore

Basho serves up super fresh sushi in a sleek and modern setting. Make friends at a communal table, eat privately in the “cocoon,” or watch the sushi artists at work at the sushi bar. The sushi offerings are fairly straightforward — traditional sashimi and rolls alongside creative rolls like the Fenway, honoring the neighborhood — but with high-quality ingredients and slick decor, Basho stands out.

Fuji at Ink Block
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Fuji at Ink Block

8. Fuji at Ink Block

Restaurants Japanese South End

Sleek but accessible, the sushi menu at Fuji is refined and innovative. The “Finer Nigiri” section of the menu features composed bites like tuna with mustard ponzu, black truffle, fresh wasabi, and scallions. “Finer Maki” selections include luxurious options like the the Queen’s roll (spicy tuna and popcorn shoots inside, Wagyu beef, caviar, and jalapeno outside) or the Shogun maki (seared calamari, cucumber, scallion inside, uni, ikura, and gold flakes outside, topped with a sweet pepper sauce). For groups, Fuji offers elaborate boats with up to 64 pieces of sashimi, nigiri, and maki.

Photograph: Courtesy Douzo

9. Douzo

Restaurants Japanese South End

Combining sushi bar fare with a cocktail lounge vibe, Duozo is a popular date spot. Elegant nooks and sleek lighting set the stage for standout sushi. The sashimi, sushi, and maki menu is straightforward; classic special rolls like the rainbow and the spider don’t disappoint, while unique specials like the Back Bay (asparagus, cucumber, and avocado wrapped with seared tuna) and the Douzo Special (shrimp tempura, seafood salad, tobiko, eel sauce, sriracha, and avocado, wrapped with tuna and soy paper) offer a tasty change of pace.

New Ginza
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/New Ginza

10. New Ginza

Restaurants Japanese

An affordable, high-quality sushi selection brings people to this Watertown spot. You’ll find both raw and cooked options on the menu of specialty rolls, plus fun creations such as the Patriots roll (egg, avocado, and scallions topped with torched miso salmon and black flying fish roe), the Samba maki (shrimp tempura, papaya, spicy tuna, coconut flake), and the Amazing Black Forest Maki (unagi, sweet potato, black tobiko). The friendly staff make dining in a treat, but takeout and delivery are also available.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Empire Asian Restaurant & Lounge

11. Empire

Restaurants Contemporary Asian Seaport District

This Seaport stalwart offers specialty nigiri and signature maki with interesting ingredients including marinated chinese celery, Wild Sockeye salmon, and yellow pepper sauce. A highlight for sushi-lovers is the unlimited sushi menu available on Wednesdays starting at 5pm. Get more than your fill of some of the most popular rolls plus some smaller bites from the regular menu. For those who can’t get enough sushi, this is the spot.

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