photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Hayakawa image

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West MidtownWestside

$$$$Perfect For:Special OccasionsBirthdays
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Sushi Hayakawa was a Buford Highway staple for nearly 20 years. Now, going the Usher route, Hayakawa is leaning into single-name energy after moving ITP to West Midtown, switching to omakase only, and commanding nearly $500 per person for a sushi and sake meal.

But this isn't one of those "gone Hollywood" tales. Hayakawa, named after its chef and owner, has elevated their old specialties by featuring fish imported from Japan and minimalist platings, where a sliver of whelk will stand out like a lone Picasso on a bare gallery wall. It’s one of the city’s most memorable and flavorful dinners. And yet it’s the chillest fine dining atmosphere we’ve ever experienced, and that’s what we like most.

Hayakawa image

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

This 16-course dinner starts at $315—but that number isn't a pre-paid entry into some ostentatious millionaire’s secret underworld. Luxuriously thick purple curtains peel back to unveil an elegant wood-paneled room, table vases overflowing with orchids, and the chef's family kakejiku art. It all comes together to create a warmth and ambiance solid enough to impress a city socialite or to envelop you if you're on a solo outing.

This eight-seat counter isn’t just a strong addition to the list of the best Westside sushi restaurants. Hayakawa is near the front of that crowd with a few standout pre-nigiri courses (like tender, sliced scallop drenched in a kiwi puree with miso paste). The restaurant cuts their globally imported, top-grade fish selections into thick slabs—a meatier nigiri style that reflects the chef’s hometown preference in Japan. Though a single bite is a mouthful, the buttery, delicate fish nearly melts away.

Hayakawa image

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Hayakawa’s casual approach to fine dining sets up an atmosphere where dad jokes fly around like beach balls and where you might get dragged into larger table conversation. If the chef stops near the end of the service to start taking selfies with dinner guests, just know it's part of the flow here (and be sure to check if there's a speck of yellowtail in your teeth).

As each course rolls out with a new story or shift in a conversational direction, it’s easy to get lost in a good time. The only bad moment here is when servers ask about parking validation, and you realize that your two-hour dinner at one of the city’s best omakase spots is over.

Food Rundown

Hayakawa image

photo credit: Amy Sinclair


Hayakawa offers thicker cuts of Japanese-imported selections like bluefin tuna, yellowtail, and striped bass. But it’s really the early courses on this 16-course menu that stand out most—velvety, seasoned chicken pate cubes and the nutty watercress with a punchy wasabi oil feel like a suspenseful story that keeps you stimulated until the very last bite.
Hayakawa image

photo credit: Amy Sinclair

Sake Flight

The $68 tasting flight is made of three small pours of sakes, which range from light- to full-bodied. From the chef’s hometown of Hokkaido, Japan, the sakes are all smooth and enjoyable with the full-bodied, sweeter Tokubetsu Junmai being our favorite. There's also Sapporo beer, wine options, and you can BYOB for a $50 corking fee.

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