Whether you're a California roll fan or a diehard sushi diner, this city offers plenty of options for your raw fish fix. Just because we live in the middle of the desert doesn't mean we have to suffer mediocre maki rolls loaded up with cream cheese and imitation crab. Our list of the best sushi restaurants in Phoenix includes options for everyone. The Valley is home to some of best Japanese and sushi restaurants in the country and even for those who aren't interested in fresh amaebi there are a number of local spots that deliver sushi in high style.
Shimogamo Sushi Restaurant
Even a spicy tuna roll at Shimogamo in Chandler is elevated to include fresh fish mixed with ponzu, Sriracha, chili oil, masago, and cucumber. The restaurant comes courtesy of owner Yoshio Otomo and has been serving the southeast Valley for more than a decade. In addition to "traditional" sushi offerings, you'll find some unique items on the menu such as the Kanpyo Roll with sweet pickled squash wrapped in seaweed and rice. As with most sushi spots, the best seats are at the bar, where you can sit and chat with the friendly sushi chefs.
Hana Japanese Eatery
Since 2007 Hana Japanese Eatery has been bringing fresh sushi and Japanese food to the central Phoenix neighborhood. Brother and sister team Lori and "Chef Koji" Hashimoto are dedicated to sourcing the freshest fish possible and oftentimes you can catch Chef Koji carving up a whole fish right before your eyes. If you're a fan of sushi rolls, Hana has a selection of familiar and signature offerings including the Hana Roll with shrimp, crab and pickled root with tempura flakes. Make sure to check the special boards for the extra menu items such as ankimo (monkfish liver) and aji (Spanish mackerel).
Yasu Sushi Bistro
From the outside you'd never know this strip mall restaurant is actually a cozy, upscale neighborhood stop that happens to serve some of the best sushi in town. At Yasu Sushi Bistro chef and owner Yasu Hashino offers up all sorts of sushi, from nigiri and sashimi to a list of specialty rolls. Regulars can attest that the best options are probably those found on the separate menu of daily specials. That's where Hashino showcases an interesting array of fresh options like blue crab handrolls and sanma (mackerel pike).
The focal point of this restaurant is definitely its robata, or giant charcoal grill, but that doesn't mean Roka Akor doesn't also offer great sushi. There's a small but satisfying section of the menu dedicated to nigiri, sashimi, and maki rolls, as well as few quite memorable cold plates. One of our favorite dishes is the Butterfish Tataki with White Asparagus and Yuzu, which features thinly sliced fish and a drizzle of yuzu sauce. For a more impressive dinner go for the Deluxe Sashimi Platter, which features thick pieces of fish artfully arranged atop a mountain of ice.
This stylish spot in north Scottsdale may not be the most authentic sushi experience in town, but PURE Sushi will do a good job of satisfying your sushi fix. The sushi menu includes a lengthy list of nigiri sushi such as toro (tuna belly), uni (sea urchin), and uzura (quail egg). Less adventurous diners can opt for familiar sushi rolls including California Roll (with or without smelt egg), yellowtail with scallions, and spicy salmon. The specialty rolls are interesting creations like the Fire Dragon Roll, which features shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, cucumber, fresh tuna, cilantro, and jalapeno.
Pallets Food and Bar
There are places with better sushi offerings than Pallets Food and Bar but the affordability and atmosphere at this downtown spot make it a neighborhood favorite. The restaurant and bar also serves Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine, but the sushi menu is the largest of all. There are all the favorites like spicy tuna and salmon rolls, as well as handrolls, sashimi, and nigri sushi. The best part is that the restaurant offers 15 different types of craft beer, so you can wash your meal down with a cold brew of your choice.
At ShinBay in Scottsdale James Beard Award nominated chef Shinji Kurita creates impressive Japanese cuisine unlike that found anywhere else in town. For a complete experience you'll want to go for the Chef's Course dinner, which starts at $100 for five courses all selected in advance by the chef. Almost always the menu includes a Tsukuri Six, or a plate of six small seafood bites. It's as beautiful as it is delicious and often features fresh octopus, Kumamoto oyster, and tuna tartare. For a smaller and more affordable experience you can also opt for three or four course menus.
For a sushi dinner that's less about style and more about great food, Hiro Sushi really can't be beat. The mom and pop restaurant comes courtesy of chef-owner Hiro Nakano, who honed his skills in Japan for more than 25 years before opening his restaurant in north Scottsdale. It's a cozy place with a long sushi bar where chefs dish up excellent sushi in all forms. Be sure to read the special boards that hang behind the bar, as that's where you'll find features like hamachi kama (yellowtail collar) or conch dressed in a sweet miso sauce.
If you find yourself on the west side of town, be sure to keep Fresh Wasabi in mind. The Glendale restaurant serves fresh fish and an incredibly long list of specialty rolls. The unique creations sometimes bear sexy names including the Booty Booty Roll with shrimp tempura, cream cheese, avocado, and eel. The sushi combos are a simpler option -- for example the Chirashi Sushi combo, which includes a variety of sashimi over a bowl of rice, as well as miso soup and salad.
There are lots of places for dinner in Scottsdale, but even in the area's crowded dining scene Sushi Roku stands out. The restaurant's atmosphere transports you to a different place -- namely, to Las Vegas -- with it's over the top décor and uber good-looking staff. Oh, and the sushi isn't bad either. During happy hour the restaurant becomes remarkably more affordable, with $3 hand rolls and $5 cut rolls. We particularly enjoy the spicy scallop handroll.