The 10 Best Sushi Restaurants In Boston guide image


The 10 Best Sushi Restaurants In Boston

Sushi is always a good idea. Especially at one of these spots.

Boston is a seafood town, and sushi is seafood. In fact, if you go to a high-end sushi place in Tokyo, you might see something on the menu labeled as “Boston maguro” - and yes, that is a piece of tuna that was driven through the Ted Williams Tunnel and flown out of Logan that morning.

Which is why it’s unfortunate that through some kind of Craigslist-style missed connection, sushi has not become something we’re known for. But that doesn’t mean that the 8 spots on this guide aren’t worth knowing about. From high-end places that provide some of the best special-occasion meals in town, to neighborhood spots that you’d consider going to two days in a row, these are the best sushi restaurants in Boston.

The Spots

O Ya

The grand omakase at O Ya in the Leather District will run you $250 per person before tax, tip, and drinks. Yes, that’s a lot of money, but if $250 is about what you spend every year on streaming services that you forgot to cancel after the free seven-day trial, then it’s absolutely worth it. The sushi at O Ya is stunningly good - perfectly cut and so flavorful you’ll chew each bite as slowly as possible. Keep O Ya in mind the next time you have something really special to celebrate, like a new job, a new kid, a breakup, or a divorce.

Oishii in the South End is your spot if (1) you like your high-end omakase experience to have more variety than just nigiri, or (2) you’re celebrating a major life change but can’t get into O Ya (Oishii can usually accommodate walk-ins). The omakase here is $225 for six courses - which is less than you get at O Ya, but each course tends to be bigger and features more things, like crispy rice with spicy tuna, tempura, and poached lobster. It isn’t two hours of simple raw fish, but it is outstanding, and you also have the option of ordering a la carte if you want more control.

When you walk into Laughing Monk in Mission Hill and see people eating pad thai while CNN flashes on the TV in the corner, you probably won’t expect that they also serve delicate pieces of nigiri with things like charcoal, pickled figs, and truffles. But that’s exactly what you’ll find at the six-person sushi counter. For about $149 (the price changes depending on what ingredients are involved that day) you’ll get 10 courses, and you’ll struggle to decide which one was your favorite at the end of the night. You also have an a la carte menu that includes some of the same stuff you’d get with the omakase.

If you like your sushi to also come with a scavenger hunt, then No Relation is your best bet. This nine-seat sushi counter is hidden in the back of a South End tiki bar, which itself is hidden a few flights below street level. If you find it without walking in on someone in the bathroom, then you’ll get 14 courses for around $150. It’s great and every piece feels particularly special.

Like No Relation, Umami in North Cambridge is exclusively an omakase place. Unlike No Relation, it actually has room for more people than can fit in a van. They offer a 18-course omakase experience for $158 during the week and $168 on the weekend. You get your share of wagyu beef, truffles, and caviar, and almost everything is in fun, bite-sized nigiri pieces.

If your friends don’t like sushi, then we recommend that you get new friends. But if that’s not an option because of pesky little things like a lifetime of trust and shared experiences (and you happen to be in a sushi mood) then taking them to Hojoko is the next best option. Hojoko is more of an izakaya than a sushi place, so your friends can start with the dumplings and shrimp toast while you attack the rolls. Eventually, you’ll convince them to give the spicy salmon roll a shot and that’s basically a gateway drug to maki.

Uni is an outstanding place to order a la carte. The fish is excellent and made with all kinds of ingredients that we have no idea where to buy, like bee pollen and spicy jicama. And the rest of the izakaya menu includes a lot of things like duck confit gyoza that go great with the rolls.

Ebi in Union Square might be the perfect neighborhood sushi restaurant. It’s very good, very casual, and cheap enough that you could pop in once a week without having to renegotiate your rent. Either grab a few of your favorite rolls, or sit at the bar for 10-courses of nigiri for just $52. You won’t get caviar, otoro, or long, personalized descriptions of each course like you do at places like O Ya and Umami, but you will get some great topped with things like smoked lemon and honey.

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photo credit: Natalie Schaefer

The 10 Best Sushi Restaurants In Boston guide image