It's no surprise that Portland, a city with its own Asian enclave and a wide variety of excellent eats from the Far East, has so many great sushi options that it can be hard to pick the best ones. Thankfully we've gone and assembled a list of Stumptown's sweetest sushi spots, because 1) we like alliteration (!), and 2) because... well, it's our job, so here's all 12 of PDX's best raw fish options:
Sure its got the best outdoor patio, killer cocktails, some of our favorite wings, AND tasty snacks but did you know it also has sushi!? Top Chef runner-up Chef Gregory Gourdet does it all! Check out his new house smoked salmon roll with yuzu kosho, miso-sesame, scallion, and cucumber.
One of the pricier options in town, Masu is an upscale, quiet little spot on the edge of the Pearl and around the corner from American Apparel. The sushi, as well as the cocktails, are top notch. Most of the rolls are eight pieces, so if you want to try a few things, bring a friend. Just be prepared for a steep bill.
Yama Sushi is an upscale version of that chain of Yukis you see everywhere you go. Not surprisingly, it has the same owner, who sells it as an izakaya as well, so it's got a full, if not exactly authentic, menu with rolls named the Big Easy and Flaming Jack, but hey, that’s what everyone calls your parents and we still love 'em.
Sustainability is the cornerstone of this growing chain of restaurants. With locations in almost all of our quadrants (Downtown’s coming soon, you can feel it), Bamboo ensures sushi-lovers don’t have to worry about ethically caught seafood. That would be noble enough, but it doesn’t hurt that its whimsical take on the omakase might be the best way to spend $100 on a date. (Unless your date wants the burger.)
Bold Japanese flavors made with Northwest ingredients in a small, understated building off of Belmont. Its omakase is probably the best in town, and is surprisingly only $60 for five courses. No wonder it’s one of the 21 Best Sushi Spots in America.
One of last year’s eleven best new restaurants, Nodoguro doesn’t always keep itself confined to sushi, but occasionally Chef Ryan Roadhouse manages to source some of the freshest and strangest food to come out of the sea for what he calls “hardcore sushi night.” If you manage to score a coveted reservation go with an open mind. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.
One of the busiest restaurants in town doesn’t get that much press, but it consistently has a line rivaling some of our most epic brunch lines (believe us, it’s definitely worth waiting for). Maybe it’s because it sounds a lot like your favorite childhood mall pizza, maybe it's because its all the way in Sellwood, we don’t know why people don’t really talk about it. Either way it doesn't seem to matter since lines start forming well before 5pm to get some of the best and cheapest nigiri in Portland.
Central Eastside/Industrial District
One of the city’s best ramen joints also happens to put out some of the city’s best Japanese fare period. We don’t have the stats, but Chef Hiro Ikegaya might be the oldest and most qualified sushi chef in town. It shows in the delicate way he prepares even some of his whacky rolls, like the Spicy Dynamite Roll, a balanced blend of chopped yellowtail and tuna with romaine, cucumber, and spicy sesame miso.
One of the most Japanese-feeling locations on this list, Daruma excels at maintaining a laborious pace that lends itself to long waits. But go between 9-10pm and not only has much of the neighborhood gone to bed, but the menu format has also changed. For one hour Chef Yuki Yamada switches to a pay what you want and choose how adventurous you’re feeling, omakase-style that’s sure to please.
Another cramped little spot that’ll force you to wait if you show up at the wrong time, Yoko’s has built a great neighborhood following with fresh sashimi and wildly creative rolls. One of our favorites, is the Bat Man Roll, with barbecued eel, cucumber, avocado, and cream cheese. Sure, it’s not traditional, but it tastes damn good.
This Shigezo offshoot on Division separates itself from its Downtown sister by offering a slightly more upscale izakaya feel. (Only slightly though, as they both feature bidets, which is obviously reason enough to go). The menu is a nice collection of sushi, ramen, and tapas, but what you should make sure to get every time are the oshi rolls. The seared mackerel with shiso, gari, green onion, chili pepper, and sesame seeds is a particular favorite.
This is some of the brightest, most flavorful sushi in the city. And yes, those are fried grasshoppers. And don’t think your eyes are deceiving you, those are Pop Rocks perched atop the roll at the next table. And your server’s right, the roll with caviar and hot sauce is to die for.
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1. Departure Restaurant & Lounge525 SW Morrison St, Portland
2. Masu Sushi406 SW 13th Ave, Portland
3. Bamboo Sushi NW836 NW 23rd Ave, Portland
4. Hokusei4246 SE Belmont st, Portland
5. nodoguro3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
6. Saburo's Sushi House1667 SE Bybee Blvd, Portland
7. Mirakutei536 E Burnside, Portland
8. Daruma3520 NE 42nd Avenue, Portland
9. Yoko’s Japanese Restaurant2878 SE Gladstone St, Portland
10. Yataimura Maru3810 SE Division St, Portland
11. Sushi Mazi2126 SE Division St, Portland
Located in the Nines Hotel, The Departure serves authentic pan-Asian cuisine -- such as sushi, dim sum, and kushiyaki, along with vegan and gluten-free items-- and creative cocktails in a scenic, double balconied setting with a great outdoor seating area and sweeping views of downtown PDX. Try the Tasho Macho, the venue's longest-surviving drink, which is an Asian fusion take on the Moscow mule.
One of the pricier options in town, Masu is an upscale spot on the edge of the Pearl. The sushi, as well as the cocktails, are top notch. Most of the rolls are eight pieces so if you want to try a few things, bring a friend.
This place is all about sustainable sushi, using responsibly-sourced ingredients while also supporting marine stewardship organizations such as Salmon Nation, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Blue Ocean Institute. But, as important as wildlife conservancy is, Bamboo Sushi's green initiative extends beyond sourcing and advocacy to include close monitoring of power and water use, as well as the use of biodegradable containers. This commitment has garnered Bamboo Sushi "Certified Green Restaurant" status with the Green Restaurant Association, which is pretty darn impressive in our book.
This restaurant saves you the trouble of hopping a cargo ship to Hokkaido by serving up fresh, authentic Japanese sushi right in South Portland. The full bar features a host of specialty cocktails and enough saki to make a samurai weep, and there are also a number of Japanese and locally-brewed beers available on tap.
A wildly popular Japanese pop-up experience went brick-and-mortar in Hawthorne's Nodoguro, but that doesn't mean things are getting predictable. Ticketed themed omakase feasts are full of surprises, with frequently changing menus that cater to the truest of hardcore sushi fans. There are three central types of experiences: Sousaka, Hardcore (19 courses), and SupaHardcore (21 courses), where diners should expect both traditional sushi and out-there experimental plates.
If you want to be part of the first seating at this intimate sushi spot you can’t be afraid to be a door buster, because raw-fish-lovers are often lined up an hour before opening (even in the pouring rain).
Just opened on lower Burnside, slickly modern, tiny Mirakutei's a late night noodle/sushi spot from the owner of NW PDX's famed Hiroshi, rocking a brief but impressive menu of Asian imbibables like shochu, and eats like octopus carpaccio, spicy scallop ro
This teensy raw-fishery serves up good sushi, but your best bet is the omakase, at an unbelievably low $30.
Yoko’s has built a great neighborhood following with fresh sashimi and wildly creative rolls.
Yataimura Mura is set up to look like a Tokyo alleyway, adorned with paper doors, flags, and paper lanters. The sushi restaurant lends an izakaya pub vibe to the ever-growing Division, offering up small plates, ramen, and a ton of roll options.
This place has some of the brightest, most flavorful sushi in the city. And yes, those are fried grasshoppers. And don’t think your eyes are deceiving you, those are Pop Rocks perched atop the roll at the next table.