Where to Eat the Best Sushi in Seattle

10/03/2022 | by BuildUp | Bars & Restaurants

Succulent buttery slices of soft pink salmon, fresh briny red roe, and hot fried slices of crispy rice topped with ground spicy tuna. A sushi menu has something for everyone. But if you’re venturing out into the world to eat some raw underwater sea animals it’s important that you choose a high-quality restaurant or at least a place that knows what it’s doing.

With so many great restaurants in Seattle and with their proximity to the sea, it’s no surprise that the city has its fair share of delectable sushi joints.

Let’s take a look at the best sushi restaurants in Seattle where you’ll find that perfect mouth-watering bite. Many of these are located near your vacation rental home, so be it a walk or a quick drive away, you won’t be far from these delicious sushi spots.

Quick Glossary of Sushi Terms

Barrio Sushi can be complicated. But I’m here to make it digestible. Here are the most common Japanese terms you’ll see on any sushi menu in Seattle.

Omakase: A Japanese phrase meaning “I’ll leave it up to you”. This is a set menu chosen by the sushi chef and is common in high-end establishments.

Edomae-Style: Fresh seafood caught near Tokyo or prepared in the Tokyo-style.

Sashimi: Raw fish sliced thinly and most commonly served with soy sauce.

Nigiri: A large piece of raw fish laid atop vinegar rice without the addition of seaweed or other wrappings.

Kaiseki: Traditional Japanese small plated multi-course meal as much focused on presentation as it is taste. When a menu says Kaiseki-style you can expect the most beautiful bite-sized dishes to be sent your way.

The Best Sushi in Seattle

Sushi, when done correctly, is a cultural experience— an evening about more than just really good raw fish. It’s about the presentation, precise cuts, ambiance, and excellent service. Which explains why it often comes with such a high price-tag. This list of the best sushi in Seattle will have a variety of great sushi places at a variety of price points for every kind of diner.

Sushi Kashiba in Pike’s Place Market ($$$)

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86 Pine St Suite #1, Seattle, WA

It’s not by luck of the draw that this specific restaurant lands in spot number one on this list. It’s not just great sushi. Sushi Kashiba is the best sushi restaurant in Seattle—hands down.

Shiro Kashiba, the executive chef of Sushi Kashiba and the genius credited with bringing Edomae-style sushi to Seattle, has been nominated for three James Beard awards and trained nearly every other sushi master in the city. With his prime location at pier 57, near Pike Place Market continues to delight sushi lovers from all over the world.

It’s recommended you let the “Sushi Sensei” do what he does best and get the full dining experience at the sushi counter. But if price is a concern— the black cod off his a la carte menu is to die for.

Sushi Kappo Tamura in Eastlake ($$$)

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2968 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA

Executive chef Taichi Kitamura takes a slightly different approach than rival and former master, Shiro Kashiba, in his menu.

Instead of focusing on the traditional Japanese classics at Sushi Kappo Tamura, he has cultivated a relationship with all the local fishermen and prominent seafood purveyors such as Taylor Shellfish and Skagit River Ranch, claiming the best catches in the icy waters of the Pacific and presenting a menu that could only be procured in the Pacific Northwest. He too has been a James Beard Award finalist and stands out with his sushi brunch on the weekends.

Takai By Kashiba in Bellevue ($$$)

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180 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA

I’m not done raving about Shiro Kashiba just yet. Freshly opened in 2022, this new Seattle sushi spot, Takai, is sponsored by Kashiba himself. While Sushi Kashiba I mentioned above, is widely known as the best sushi restaurant in the city, this 22-course omakase experience complete with sake, wine, and tea pairings is run by one of his longest-running proteges. It’s well worth a visit.

Ten Sushi in Chinatown International District ($)

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500 Mercer St #2b, Seattle, WA

One of the most affordable great sushi joints in Seattle. Ten Sushi is simple, no-frills, and serves no-fuss sushi a la carte. Sitting just outside Japantown in the international district Ten Sushi is known for its Ebisu bento boxes filled with crispy Karaage chicken.

Fremont Bowl in Fremont ($)

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4258 Fremont Ave N Ste #4262, Seattle, WA

Fremont Bowl is another no-so-traditional local favorite for simple chirashi bowls. Think mountains of sushi piled onto a heaping bowl of rice. You can also enjoy their homestyle Japanese favorites and poke. One of the most economical spots in the city and a favorite among UW college students.

Ku Sushi and Izakaya ($)

5210 University Way NE, Seattle, WA

Got a late-night hankering for good sushi? Ku Sushi and Izakaya has your raw fish fix. Spicy baked mussels, handmade noodles, and a handful of Japanese-Korean fusion dishes pad the late-night menu to soak up their extensive list of beer, sake, and soju. Few Izakaya’s in Seattle can also offer good sushi to their guests in addition to the traditional small plates of Japanese cuisine meant to be enjoyed after a night out.

Kisaku Sushi in Tangletown ($$)

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2101 N 55th St Suite 100, Seattle, WA

Enjoy their signature roll, a neighborhood favorite, the Green Lake Roll with salmon, asparagus, and flying fish eggs. Kisaku Sushi is the spot to enjoy excellent nigiri and sashimi or for those with larger budgets, take advantage of one of their two tasting menus with exciting dishes filled with exotic ingredients lent from other Asian cultures. The hamachi is a fan favorite.

Nishino in Madison Park ($$)

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3130 E Madison St, Seattle, WA

Hailing from Kyoto, rather than Tokyo, the chef at Nishino has crafted an innovative menu with “new-style sashimi” made with arugula and toro tuna tartar and white sturgeon caviar alongside a handful of Japanese classics. You’ll find dishes like broiled black cod marinated with saikyo miso and Dungeness Crab on the menu as well.

This is a higher-end neighborhood in Seattle and that is reflected in the presentation of the dishes.

Taneda in Capitol Hill ($$$)

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219 Broadway E #14, Seattle, WA

If you can sneak your way into one of the 9-seats at this bite-sized sushi counter in one of Seattle’s hottest neighborhoods, you’ll be rewarded with chef Hideaki Taneda’s excellent Edomae-style sushi preparations. Capitol Hill is well-known for its one-of-a-kind restaurants and Taneda is certainly no exception to the rule.

At Taneda, only a course menu is available but totally worth it for the two-week dry-aged tuna and a handful of the Ryokan-worthy kaiseki-style plates. This special space was built in 1918 and really draws on the Tokyo style of sushi served fast-paced and made right in front of each customer.

I Love Sushi in Lake Union ($$)

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1001 Fairview Ave N, Seattle, WA

I Love Sushi is known for its breathtaking views of Lake Union as much as its Edomae-style sushi and a la carte kaiseki platters with only the best seasonal fish. For those who aren’t super adventurous eaters, I Love Sushi also has American-style rolls like spicy tuna and an array of deep-fried rolls. But don’t be fooled by the array of Americanized rolls; they also have excellent nigiri and sashimi options.

Umi Sake House in Belltown ($$)

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2230 1st Ave, Seattle, WA

If classic Japanese drinks are as important to you as the food venture to Umi Sake House for an array of Japanese whisky and over 70 different varieties of imported sake. The Omakase menu here is affordable for all and the a la carte menu is packed with unique specialty rolls lined with shishito peppers and exceptional black cod and hamachi dishes.

Even better, it’s open until midnight on the weekends and has a great discounted happy hour.

Tsukushinbo in Japantown ($$)

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515 South Main St, Seattle, WA

Even though this Japantown legend is due to close as it passes on to a new generation, it is worthy of any “best sushi in Seattle” list. Fortunately, as Tsukushinbo closes it’s due to make way for a slightly different concept owned by the same family. As it’s still sushi-focused, we can only assume it will be equally as iconic and delicious.

Made famous for its weekly homemade ramen, this new spot will boast a two-story building with a quaint bar and elegant sushi counter. Pay Tsukushinbo a visit before it’s gone!

Shiro’s Sushi in Belltown ($$)

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2401 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA

A familiar name? Shiro Kashiba is at it again. This guy truly is the sushi master. Come to Shiro’s Sushi for the dine-in omakase or crispy rice sushi burgers. As with all his restaurants, most of the menu is locally-sourced fish of the freshest variety prepared carefully and enjoyed in a traditional Japanese setting.

You can also get adventurous and order the Spring Platter, packed with fish flown in from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market for a pretty penny and a 24-hour advance notice.

Mashiko in West Seattle ($$$)

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4725 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA

If ethical, sustainable fishing is wildly important to you – Mashiko has the sushi you are looking for. This West Seattle staple only procures ethically-sourced meats that are completely traceable which guarantees they were fished properly. In addition to sushi, Mashiko also offers a few random menu items (like boar) as the chefs love to let their creative flag fly and craft unique Japanese-influenced dishes.

Maneki in Chinatown International District ($-$$)

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304 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA

Opened in 1904, this is the single oldest sushi restaurant in Seattle. The history behind Maneki’s survival is reason enough to plan a meal here. The owner of this successful Japanese comfort food and sushi spot was forcibly interned during WWII forcing the temporary closure of his shop. Today, the famous tatami rooms have shelves to display the vast collection of Maneki cats the restaurant is named for while you enjoy the hand-crafted sushi rolls.

Sushi by Scratch Restaurants in Downtown Seattle

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2331 6th Ave, Seattle, WA

Sushi by Scratch is actually originally a California restaurant. But after being awarded a coveted Michelin star they expanded their budding empire into colder waters. This is one of the most difficult restaurants in Seattle to score a reservation, but if you can finesse it you can enjoy the 17-course omakase menu. Six of the dishes are staples from their California menu but the other eleven are Seattle-centric plates of King Salmon and Goeyduck.

Musashi’s in Wallingford ($)

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1400 N 45th St, Seattle, WA

Although they have a second newer location in the international district, the Wallingford spot just does it better. At Musashi’s, you can buy completely a la cart with single pieces of sushi (like the koho salmon) starting at $2.15. This is a great place to sample an array of fish and get a feel for sushi at a beginner level without breaking the bank. Other favorites here include the Chirashi bowls and Teriyaki plates.

Wataru Sushi in Ravenna ($$$)

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2400 NE 65th St, Seattle, WA

While Edomae-style sushi is popular in Seattle, it simply means done in Tokyo-style, and no one takes it quite as far as Wataru. With all their specialty fish flown in directly from Tokyo, this is truly the closest to authentic Edomae-style sushi you can get outside of Japan. Reservations for the omakase sushi bar start a month in advance and fill up quickly.

Momiji Seattle in Capitol Hill ($$)

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1522 12th Ave, Seattle, WA

While the classic dinner menu items like Temari crispy rice topped with roe keep customers coming back to Momiji, it’s really the exceptional happy hour specials that bring in new customers. The prices are super affordable and the rolls are high quality. You can even enjoy a nice glass of rose alongside your garlic short ribs, agedashi tofu, and salmon sashimi.

Ltd Edition Sushi in Capitol Hill ($$$)

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1641 Nagle Pl Suite 006, Seattle, WA

Whether you’re dining at the counter or at a table the set menus ring in at $120-140 per person and boast the best Otoro in town. Ltd Edition Sushi offers one single omakase menu that rotates based on the season and freshness of the fish. You can add a sake pairing as well for an additional $45 or just order them by the glass.

Don’t have time to dine in? LTD Edition Sushi offers kaiseki-style takeout boxes for you to bring back and eat in comfort at your vacation rental.

The Best Japanese Restaurants in Seattle

Not all of the best Japanese food in Seattle is sushi. Here’s a quick look at the best Japanese Izakaya, Bento Boxes, and confectionaries to get your Japan fix.

Issian Stone Grill in Wallingford ($)

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1618 N 45th St, Seattle, WA

A true Japanese izakaya, Issian Stone Grill won’t disappoint. Small plates of grilled mackerel, fried chicken cartilage, and tonkatsu paired with $16 bento boxes make this a delicious and affordable late-night destination. It also has a killer happy hour with Yakitori skewers starting at $1.60 per stick.

Kamonegi in Fremont ($$)

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1054 N 39th St, Seattle, WA

Kamonegi was voted one of the best new Seattle restaurants and as it also has a small offering of high-quality sushi it’s only fair it lands on this list. Known for its Soba noodles and excellent tempura, this is a great place for people who want a taste of Japan without going fully raw.

Enjoy the Best Sushi in Seattle

With this extensive list, you can see that Seattle means business when it comes to sushi. With a wide variety of price points and great restaurants scattered throughout the city, you’ll be sure to find a delicious sushi restaurant nearby and within budget.

Featured Image Credit: Natalia Lisovskaya