10 Great Sushi Spots In Houston guide image


10 Great Sushi Spots In Houston

Where to go if you like it raw.

There are like 20 sushi restaurants per capita in Houston, and more open all the time. Seriously, Houston is basically a clown car stuffed with sushi restaurants. That also means that whatever you’re looking for—high end joints, cheap Happy Hours, exclusive omakases—Houston can provide. Our list can help narrow down whichever kind of sushi adventure you’d like to go on. Here are nine great sushi restaurants in Houston.


Kata Robata

On any given night, the sushi counter at Kata Robata in Upper Kirby is always packed. Raw fish freaks know Kata fires on all cylinders when it comes to nigiri, sashimi, or the coveted omakase experience (which you have to specifically reserve). Sushi is all about temperature, and Kata nails it. Here, no matter if you’re sitting at the sushi bar or one of the dreamy sunken booths across the restaurant, the vinegar-sweet sushi rice always arrives slightly warm, the expertly cut fish always slightly cool—the perfect bite. 

The 16-course omakase at the tiny restaurant Neo HTX is one of Houston’s best sushi experiences. Even though it all happens in the back of a Montrose townhouse turned couture clothing store, you stop caring once the first dish lands. Not only do you get perfectly sliced pieces of Japanese sea bream, tuna belly, and torched A5 wagyu, but also free pairings of saké all night. Every piece of nigiri is so delicious, thoughtful, and beautifully presented, that when asked to add caviar on top of the ice cream scoop for dessert, you almost can’t resist. Neo knows how to make every bite worth it, even at a minimum $175 person, which could be considered a relative bargain.

A meal at Uchi, the Austin import that first hit Montrose in 2002, is the kind you save for birthdays or anniversaries. But a strategic Happy Hour is just as fabulous (just get there before 6pm). The menu here is jam-packed, and picking what to order feels like sitting down for a test you didn’t study for. Instead of busting out the ‘ole “close your eyes and point” method to decide, try the omakase. Or better yet, let your server captain the meal and guide you through scores of nigiri, rolls, seasonal specials, cool-tastings, and hot-tasting options with ease.

Mash up a sushi restaurant with some infomercial salesman charm, and you’ve got 5Kinokawa in The Heights, a $150 omakase-only spot that’s open from Friday to Sunday. While the dining room is conspicuously filled with just as many carpentry tools as species of fish, you’re here to enjoy sushi. Nigiri pieces like flounder fin muscle, Santa Barbara spot prawn topped in caviar, and binchotan charcoal torch-seared A5 wagyu float out between the chef’s would-be standup special. The addition of high-end boozy cocktails and intermittent injections of cooked dishes like cod sperm dumplings (you ready that correctly), makes the experience zip by.

From the outside, what looks like a modest home with an adorable porch, is actually Handies Douzo, a sushi restaurant in The Heights that specializes in hand rolls. The inside of Handies is entirely made up of a wraparound counter with chefs in the center wheeling and dealing out hand rolls like cool sushi dealers. You should definitely get the buttery BGB salmon sake hand roll or the refreshing crab hand roll (or get a double hit of both). You can also order sake that comes in a cute juice box, in case you want to unlock your inner child while you’re eating thickly cut slices of hamachi.

Waiting in line for sushi at Oishii is a Houston right of passage. The tiny spot in Greenway is an institution—order the same custom maki roll enough, and your questionable taste could make it to the menu permanently. Oishii exists in a permanent liminal space where time and inflation fears have collapsed, with the same rock-bottom prices for years. You can still get Happy Hour BOGO $5 appetizers six days a week, lunch combos for $10, and nigiri pieces for as low as $1 (what the f*ck?). This is truly the future all sushi lovers want.

The Austin import Soto is a sushi restaurant with a friendly and peer-pressure-focused staff that will definitely make sure you’re drinking if you aren’t already, given the length of the saké list. As far as food goes, skip over most of the hot and cold plates—except the uni pasta, which is a reason to visit in and of itself—and go for nigiri and sashimi. Pieces topped with dainty micro greens and citrus zest are tasty, even if they don’t have the same finesse as some other places around town. But at some point, you will have had too much saké to notice.

The vibes at Hokkaido in Chinatown are immaculate. The Tatami-mat lined space, bathed in yellow light, feels like slipping into someone’s imagined ideal of a sushi restaurant. Order everything, like combinations of reasonably-priced nigiri and sashimi and makimono rolls, at the counter. Soon after, a genuinely nice person working there will, somehow, miraculously deliver exactly what you ordered to you, no matter where you sit. How they accomplish this feat remains a mystery. Perhaps the last person to order is likely the least blissed out from the yellow light therapy? Come here for lunch or dinner, solo or with a friend or two, and split some inexpensive, well-made sushi and imagine your own reality.

Nippon in Montrose opened in 1986 and remains a reliable sushi spot in the neighborhood. While it might be tiny, the menu runs deep. Known for serving a fleet of handrolls, Nippon’s also offers a full menu page of makimono rolls, nearly two dozen kinds of nigiri and sashimi, and a chirashi bowl for only $32. You could eat like a medium-wealthy king here, either at the sushi bar or sitting on the often breezy side patio.

Sushi By Hidden, from the team behind Hidden Omakase, is a 30-minute omakase in Rice Village. The tiny, hidden sushi bar only fits 10 people, which means you’ll be elbow-to-elbow with some strangers. But small talk isn’t really the point here—you’ll need every second of the half-hour experience to focus on throwing back pieces of madai snapper and kanpachi. Since it takes longer to get an oil change than to dine at Sushi By Hidden, there’s plenty of time afterward to take a leisurely stroll through the NFT gallery that this place is hidden behind.

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photo credit: Richard Casteel

10 Great Sushi Spots In Houston guide image