The Best Sushi Restaurants In Chicago

Our guide to the greatest sushi spots in Chicago, from incredible a la carte meals to bucket list omakase options.
The Best Sushi Restaurants In Chicago  image

photo credit: Kai Zan

It’s easy to pick a fight with friends in Chicago about the best tacos, burgers, or pizza in the city. But best sushi? That’s an entirely different debate. Ask for the ten best sushi joints, and you’ll get 25 different answers. And then there’s the price to consider—because sometimes you just can’t drop $150 on a Wednesday night omakase outing. So what affordable places are actually great? And which expensive spots are worth the price of admission? We’ve got the answers.


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Momotaro is an upscale Japanese restaurant in the West Loop with a very long menu full of small plates, robata, and (as you probably suspected since it’s on this guide) sushi. Everything is very good, but the sushi is excellent. They have usual suspects like hamachi and salmon to harder-to-find selections like purple sea urchin. And the nigirizushi (their more creative options) are always interesting and delicious. Momotaro is on the more expensive end of the sushi spectrum, but their chef’s choice is a pretty good deal. It comes with about nine pieces for around $80.

Kai Zan in Humboldt Park is a sushi spot that’s been around since 2012, and it has one of the best, most affordable omakase options in the city. For $90 you get 10 courses of delicious sushi and Japanese small plates, including dishes like scallop shooters that you probably won’t see on other menus. If you’re someone who prefers controlling their own destiny, you can order from a separate a la carte menu of sashimi and nigiri instead.

Sushi-san in River North has wooden tables, loud rap music, and the menu is a mix of sushi and Japanese small plates. Sure, it’s a laid-back spot with a poop emoji instead of a bathroom sign, but the sushi here is quite serious—and really really good. Order one of the “San-sets” (an assortment of nigiri, sashimi, and rolls) which are perfect for sharing and range in price from $17-$105. Make sure you get the Japanese pancakes for dessert too.

Sometimes you don’t appreciate a place until it gets taken away from you. That was the case with Juno in Lincoln Park, which closed after a fire in 2014. Thankfully it reopened a year later, and since we’ve only grown to love it more. It’s laid-back, and although it can get expensive (they’re small pieces starting around $5 and it can add up), it doesn’t feel overpriced. This is mainly because of how great everything is, but also because everything is creatively plated—like the smoked fish nigiri that’s presented tableside under a glass dome. Focus on the sashimi and nigiri when you come here, and make sure to order one of the signature maki, like the crispy sake which is filled with fried unagi and topped with spicy salmon.

Q Sushi in Ravenswood has a great $99 seven-course tasting menu with appetizers, nigiri, sashimi, miso soup, and a handroll. But ordering a la carte is just as satisfying. It's a relaxed casual spot with an uptempo hip-hop soundtrack, charismatic chefs, and a mix of more traditional and creative sushi and small plates. The frequently-changing menu has pieces like fatty toro with garlic perched on fluffy rice, innovative options like honey truffle salmon, and a dessert unagi dressed in a chocolate banana glaze that sounds like a bad idea, but combines sweet and savory perfectly.

Omakase Yume in the West Loop is fantastic (and on this list), but committing to a $225 omakase dinner is, well, a commitment. Luckily, Tengoku Aburiya (their sister restaurant next door) is more casual with similarly great sushi. Individual orders of nigiri, sashimi, and maki are all reasonably priced, and their chef-curated combination platters are perfect if decision-making isn’t a personal strength. Their spacious dining room has plenty of tables, a sleek combination of wooden accents, rock walls, and some cozy soft lighting. It can get packed, but the atmosphere is generally relaxed, and has a sushi bar that's great for dining solo.

This casual spot has been in Andersonville since 2004, and the secret to its two-decade reign is the great sushi. They have a wide variety of simpler nigiri and sashimi as well as some tasty-but-pricey loaded signature maki ($27 per roll) with special ingredients like truffle honey and togarashi chili oil. There’s a back dining area that’s perfect for a more relaxed meal, but on a busy night, the front space by the chef’s counter is ideal for dinner with some friends and your favorite six-pack (it’s BYOB).

This casual sushi spot is located in 88 Marketplace on the border of Chinatown and Pilsen. There are several restaurants inside this giant supermarket, but 312 is the only one that has its own seating, which includes a sushi counter. And considering that this place is from a former chef of Sushi-san, it’s not surprising that all their maki, sashimi, and nigiri are really good (and also pretty affordable). You can order one of their platters that has an assortment of everything for takeout, or just sit down and grab a bite during the middle of your weekly grocery shopping. Whatever you do, be sure to get the konbujime medai—the cured snapper has a ton of rich seaweed flavor and is topped with a pop of citrus to round the bite out.

Raisu is a small restaurant in Albany Park, and its fish offerings vary depending on what’s available that day. They have a $120 15-course omakase, ut a la carte is also a great option, with pieces starting at $2.50. If you’re into rolls, they have a few of those, too (the omega maki with fried salmon and shrimp tempura is great), and we’re big fans of their signature nigiri and sashimi. They come with delicate toppings (like shaved apple or fried garlic chips) that enhance the flavor of the fish.

In a neighborhood that’s becoming increasingly more chaotic, Yokocho in the West Loop is blessedly easy. You can walk right in and grab a little wooden booth or seat at the sushi bar. The short menu has mainly handrolls, a few small plates, and about 10 types of simple nigiri or sashimi, with an option to get a piece of each for $62. Nothing is going to make you rethink everything you’ve ever thought about raw fish—the biggest surprise will be the pops of chili crunch in the scallop handroll—but it's worth a visit just to have a quality sushi moment in the West Loop for under $100.

Ora’s dim lighting, upbeat dance playlist, and wave-shaped ceiling design give this BYOB spot a buzzy energy. The Andersonville restaurant’s one-page menu is short and simple (none of the rolls have an ingredient list that reads like an aquarium directory), and the sushi is consistent. They have delicious pieces of nigiri and sashimi like seared trout belly or diver scallop, plus maki like the tako tuna with a balanced mix of spicy tuna and squid. And though their non-sushi options are limited, the sweet and savory oyster motoyaki makes a great starter.

You won’t find a better spot than Lawrence Fish Market in Albany Park for an affordable sushi feast. This seafood market has been around for over 40 years, and has an incredibly long menu filled with delicious (and reasonably priced) nigiri, sashimi, rolls, and trays. Many pieces are less than $2 and most rolls are $4-$9. But the trays are the best value. There are about 30 to choose from, ranging from $45 for 33 pieces to $320 for 86. Just know that it’s cash-only and they only do takeout. So make sure you stop by an ATM beforehand and clear some room on your kitchen counter for the 5,000 pieces of fish you’re about to consume.

Pilsen's Casa Madai may look like any other casual neighborhood sushi spot, but you won't find its Japanese-Mexican takes on nigiri anywhere else in Chicago. Spring for the $150 omakase at the chef’s counter, rather than sticking with a la carte rolls. You'll get 15 courses like hamachi with sautéed jalapeño and brown butter that dissolves in your mouth, or scallops topped with salsa macha hugged in a sheet of nori like a one-bite taco. And while toppings like yuzu-infused sweet miso often feel like costume jewelry at other places, they’re used with restraint here. It's a lot like the restaurant as a whole: low-key with a hint of fun.


photo credit: Kyoten Next Door

The original Kyoten used to be on this guide, but it’s been usurped by its low-key and significantly less expensive sibling in Logan Square, Kyoten Next Door. The $159 18-course omakase involves phenomenal nigiri made with high-quality fish, heavily seasoned large-grained rice, and a piece of blowtorched wagyu that puts your favorite steakhouse to shame. Just don’t plan on eating here without making a reservation first—there are only 10 seats, with two seatings per night.

Omakase Yume is another omakase-only sushi spot in the West Loop. And it’s also a calm oasis among the crowds and pervasive clip-clopping of heels that dominate the West Loop. This is where you come for a relaxed but still fancy special occasion dinner. The space is simple, the atmosphere is quiet, and the sushi menu is full of expertly prepared usual suspects (i.e. pieces of sake, hirame, and otoro). It’s $225 for around 16 courses, but dinner here is almost all small pieces of nigiri. This means that unless this is your second dinner, you’ll probably still be hungry at the end. If that’s the case, just order more a la carte.

This place is from the same chef as Juno and charges $195 for around 15 courses of delicious nigiri, sashimi, and small plates (like braised abalone with roasted gingko nut). Compared to the other omakase-only spots in the West Loop, Mako is the largest (it seats 22 people, with 12 at the bar and the rest at tables), and dinner here is long—about three hours. Plan on a very expensive and enjoyable experience. It’s also worth noting that they offer omakase to-go if you prefer to have that experience on your couch.

Originally from California (with locations in Texas, Seattle, and Miami), Sushi By Scratch is known for its non-traditional omakase. The $165 Chicago experience is no different—this great sushi spot is hidden behind a password-protected door in the basement of The Drop In bar. An amuse-bouche in a tiny waiting room kicks things off, and the 17-course event happens at a 10-seat chef's counter. The omakase has personable chefs and a delicious mix of simple and less conventional nigiri (like unagi with melted bone marrow), making it worth spending two hours in a basement.

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