Food & Drink

The 10 Best Sushi Restaurants in Boston

Published On 05/04/2015 Published On 05/04/2015
Courtesy of Empire
Cafe Sushi
Avana Sushi
Courtesy of Empire
Courtesy of Haru
Courtesy of Itadaki
Oishii Boston
Flickr/ Jan Mark Holzer
Uni Sashimi Bar
Flickr/Todd Van Hoosear
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1. Cafe Sushi 1105 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

The constantly rotating menu and elegant presentations keep Café Sushi devotees coming back early and often. For the adventurous, savor something exotic with anything in season (nigiri or sashimi) such as Aji (Japanese horse mackerel) or Kamasau (Japanese barracuda). The ceviche maki is a Latin/Japanese mashup with tako, shrimp, salmon, grape tomato, and avocado dazzled with lime juice. But since it's all about what’s new, the omakase tasting spree ensures you experience Chef Seizi Imura’s daily magic.

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2. Avana Sushi 42 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

Avana ditches the frills for a straight-up sushi experience. Grab a spot at one of the sturdier tables and dive into Spicy Caterpillar maki, a unique combo of eel, avocado, spicy mayo, and eel sauce. Or try the hometown celebration Spicy Red Sox maki with crabstick, spicy tuna, and “crunch.” Your best bet is to bring pals and get the gargantuan 58-piece sushi & maki platter loaded with specialty rolls (Salmon Cheese Avo maki) and exotic selections (Surf Clam).

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3. Empire One Marina Park Dr, Boston, MA 02210

Immediately stop eating those Reduced Fat Parmesan & Garlic Cheez-Its sitting on the bar, and opt for better post-work eats thanks to Empire's "Izakaya" menu, available Mon to Fri, 5 to 7p, and featuring a selection of Japanese small plates so choice, you'll undoubtedly exclaim, "this selection of Japanese small plates is so choice!".

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4. FuGaKyu Japanese Cuisine 1280 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

For many moons, the Brookline fave "house of exquisite excellence" has been the go-to spot for all things sushi. Still is. Reserve an official tatami room and rejoice in the sashimi taco trio, a flavor party of tuna, salmon, and lump crab meat in crispy gyoza skin shells. FuGaKyu also gets funky with seasonal sushi treats like tuna belly and foie gras with spicy daikon radish. Deciding is hard, so you might opt for a set dinner (mini kaiseki or the full six-course blowout) for the chef’s limited-edition creations.

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5. Haru Sushi 55 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02199

Chain darling Haru Sushi’s Back Bay location offers all of the usual sushi, sashimi suspects, alongside an extensive selection of high-quality Japanese sides. The menu is comprised of salads, soups, hot entrees (try the Crispy Duck with ginger-scallion pancakes and black plum hoisin), and specialty rolls, like the Boston Uncommon, with crunchy spicy salmon, tuna, avocado, mango black tobiko, and gold lead (only available at the Boston location, so Haru snobs, you most definitely have a reason to come here). The restaurant’s cocktail concoction highlights include fun, fruity options -- like the tropical Svedka Mango-Pineapple and hibiscus syrup-mixed Tiki Taki Martini -- to bolster its colorful and fresh array of sushi and seafood.

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6. Itadaki 269 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02116

Open on Newbury St, this Japanese izakaya has a full liquor license, and Chef Fuji is rolling out unique bites and fusion flavors (including SUSHI PIZZA!), with over 30 types of sake and 15 shochus to wash it all down.

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7. Oishii Boston 1166 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

Another long-time local sushi stronghold, Chef Ting Yen’s Oishii balances old school, father-to-son training, with new school flavors. The broad a la carte slate boasts 12 tunas and 10 shellfish (for starters), and its sea urchin is pure art. For specialty rolls, The Maki incorporates asparagus, bonito flakes, and toro that get torched for some smoky mojo. A trip to Oishii is incomplete without The Coconut Sphere dessert, a literal sphere of coconut ice cream topped with coffee mousse, yuzu sherbet, and chocolate.

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8. O Ya 9 East St, Boston, MA 02111

James Beard Award-winner Tim Cushman's O Ya is home to upscale Japanese cuisine, lavish omakase-style dining, and one of Boston's most impressive sake collections. Cushman fuses unexpected ingredients into his 18- or 24-course menus; and the resulting nigiri and sashimi combinations include hamachi topped with a banana pepper, nori-wrapped rice with foie gras, and a Hokkaido scallop with black truffle, sake-sea urchin jus, and chervil. The menu reaches far beyond sushi too, with categories dedicated to beef, truffles and eggs, somen and soba, tempura, and “other stuff.”

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9. UNI Sashimi Bar 370 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

Ken Oringer's crown jewel of a sashimi bar made a name for itself when it was tucked into Clio, the Back Bay French restaurant that used to occupy the Eliot Hotel. Once Clio closed, Uni expanded into the entire space. Aside from stunning raw fish dishes, the restaurant serves adventurous hot plates and a late-night ramen menu. All the fish is sourced from Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market or New England fishermen.

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10. Thelonious Monkfish 524 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

Cleverly playing off the name of the famed American pianist while boasting the tagline "jazz for the palate", TM's a 49-seat sushi/Asian fusion joint (from the guy behind the literally-right-around-the-corner Pepper Sky's Thai Sensation) situated in a for