The Absolute Best Sushi Restaurants in DC
From over-the-top omakase to intimate sushi counters and reliable takeout.
Washington, DC has no shortage of great sushi restaurants. In fact, some of them are considered the best restaurants in DC, period. From classic rolls and inventive creations for takeout to high-end sushi bars offering sashimi, nigiri, and temaki, sushi restaurants in the DC area offer must-have eating experiences that display the serious talent of local chefs who specialize in the art of sushi—some of whom have trained with some of the best sushi chefs in the world like Jiro Ono, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, and more.
So whether you’re looking to order sushi a la carte for a great takeout meal or want to sit back and enjoy an omakase feast of epic proportions, there’s a spot for you on this list of the best sushi restaurants in DC right now.
At this new addition to the downtown area, SHŌTŌ serves a contemporary twist on the traditional Japanese izakaya style of informal dining. The space includes a vibey dining room where you can share a la carte sushi, robata skewers, tempura, and other appetizers and entrees from the kitchen with a group. At the wrap-around sushi bar, you’ll find executive sushi chef Kwang Kim, who’s worked with all the cuisine’s greats including Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto) and Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa (Nobu). Omakase dinners start at $95 per person and elegant dishes like toro caviar with fatty tuna topped with kizami wasabi and a seared Hokkaido scallop with brown butter and freshly shaved truffle are also available for a decadent a la carte experience.
How to book: Via website
Blink and you might miss Izakaya Seki—it's tucked away off U Street on a quiet block among residential rowhomes but inside, the dining space stands in stark contrast to the traditional DC edifice. The two-story minimalist space offers a menu of small plates, noodle dishes, a la carte sushi, and affordable omakase starting at less than $20 for three pieces to supplement your meal and climbing to $48 for a 10-piece experience. Before heading out, be sure to check Instagram for the daily hand-drawn menu of options available that night.
Whether you’re looking for takeout on the couch or a date night spot, Nama Sushi Bar offers an experience that is both approachable and delectable until the very last bite. Chef Young Oh serves up small plates and Japanese classics at this eatery in Mount Vernon Triangle. Start with a warm bowl of miso soup or seaweed salad, followed by a selection of fresh sashimi, nigiri, or maki rolls. To finish off your meal, the must-order dessert is the matcha shortcake, made to order by pastry chef Alex Levin.
Waterfront and monument views from the sleek dining room at this sushi spot can only be beat by Nara-Ya’s menu, which features Japanese cuisine and whiskey. The menu is centered on both modern and classic dishes. Take for instance the umami-laden tofu and shitake mushroom steak, marinated in a lemongrass miso glaze, or the colorful vegetable futomaki, a mosaic-style sushi roll made with seasonal vegetables. Sake and Japanese whiskey tastings are also popular thanks to a versatile and extensive list.
Daisuke Utagawa and executive chef Piter Tjan are the dynamic duo behind this Japanese restaurant that has stood the test of time in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The approach at Sushiko focuses on tradition as an art form with sushi. On the menu, you’ll find colorful bento boxes, creative services, and donburi bowls arranged as intricately for takeout as you would expect for dine-in service. Tjan’s mantra is to focus on the freshest ingredients and techniques, without losing sight of the preparation of Japanese tradition, and he does just that with the menu at Sushiko.
Let’s begin with the absolute ultimate in omakase menus. The Sushi Nakazawa experience is bucket-list dining, and it channels the sleek looks of an elegant sushi bar in Tokyo. This Nigiri-exclusive menu consists of almost two dozen pieces of sushi, with several seafood cuts sourced directly from Japan and flown in daily. Partner Alessandro Borgognone and chef Daisuke Nakazawa are the forces behind this destination restaurant. It just so happens the latter apprenticed at Sukiyabashi Jiro, under Jiro Ono of Jiro Dreams of Sushi himself. The omakase experience is worth the splurge at $180 per person at the counter and $150 in the dining room. And be sure to try the optional sake pairings to truly knock your socks off.
In an unassuming location above a CVS in Dupont Circle, Sushi Taro offers some of the best sushi in the city. The restaurant provides a kaiseki experience where you’ll experience top-notch Japanese fine dining through eight courses, as well as a lauded omakase experience you won’t soon forget. That option will run you a cool $250 per person with several courses that change by the day so no two visits are the same and range in decadent delight from A5 Wagyu beef to lobster and fatty tuna. Beyond expert-crafted sushi, you’ll also get a front-row seat to the expertise of chef Nobu Yamazaki’s technical skills—watching as he prepares dishes like grilled marinated tuna cheek followed by stacks of boxes containing generous cuts of fish, which creates different textures and temperatures for the palate.
It’s a bit of a drive to the Northern Virginia suburbs, but this tiny sushi restaurant nestled in a nondescript strip mall has gained a loyal following among those who want to savor sushi at an affordable rate. For $40, the “fresh cuts of the day” includes a 10-piece nigiri platter, plus a sushi roll, and is more than enough to serve two people. Meanwhile, the chirashi bowl ($20) is as tasty as it is easy on the eyes, featuring a colorful mix of fresh sushi, rice, and vegetables. So if you find yourself in Falls Church, detour to Takumi for a sushi feast.