The Best Sushi In NYC guide image


The Best Sushi In NYC

From our favorite places to eat omakase sushi to some top-tier neighborhood spots, here's where to have a big night out.

When you’re looking for the top sushi in NYC, here’s where to go. Our guide includes omakase spots where you’ll feel like you’re at a day spa, neighborhood sushi staples that go above and beyond, and the restaurants where you can and should be celebrating birthdays. Are some of these places wildly expensive? Absolutely. But there are also a few options on this list where you can get out for under $50. No matter what you’re paying, you can be confident that it’s worth it at these sushi restaurants.



Rosella almost exclusively uses ingredients found within the United States, serving up bluefin tuna from North Carolina, black bass from Rhode Island, and smoked steelhead trout from New York. If you’ve been carrying around the misconception that American fish is only for guys on Hinge to pose with in their profile pictures, come here, eat some Washington state arctic char over a bed of California-grown rice, and be proven wrong. A a la carte meal at this little spot with ocean-colored walls and a long wooden bar will be the highlight of your week, and it'll run you around $50 per person.

At $480 a pop (gratuity included), Shion 69 Leonard Street is one of the most expensive omakases in the city. But the restaurant delivers on everything it absolutely must for the price: skillfully prepared fish, impeccable service, and enough food to not have to get a secret second dinner at McDonald’s. But what makes the two-hour meal truly outstanding is the seven-plate otsumami course in the first half, with signature dishes like butterfish in hot ponzu, a cold horsehair crab salad, and tilefish with deep-fried scales. Come to this restaurant for a special occasion, but know that throwing back sake and singing "Happy Birthday" here would be akin to doing TikTok dances in a museum.

In order to get to Studio 151, you enter a door that's marked with a single red lightbulb, then walk up a red-lit staircase and ring a tiny buzzer. This Alphabet City restaurant is technically a speakeasy, and it's located in a cavernous space reminiscent of a ‘90s art loft. You can grab a high-top or a couch and eat some à la carte sushi—but we suggest you reserve one of the four seats at the chef’s counter and try the exceptional $80 omakase. The style is minimal but modern: a buttery scallop comes seasoned with two kinds of salt, lemon zest, and yuzu juice, and Japanese sea bream arrives with a pinch of ume shiso tucked underneath.

This party spot in Jackson Heights runs four nightly sushi omakase seatings, each with 15 pieces of nigiri, a couple of appetizers, and unlimited sake for $89 in cold hard cash (or Venmo). A meal here doesn’t so much feel like a typical omakase experience as it does a brief, reckless basement party with songs like “Sweet Home Alabama” blasting from the speakers. Whenever a diner’s cup empties, it's immediately refilled. After about two pours, the people sitting next to you at the sushi bar will begin to loosen up. Then you can all sing along to “Because I Got High” together while you eat some "smoked" salmon.

There's plenty of good sushi on the Upper West Side, but we love the 14-course omakase at Kaito ($115). Every two or three rounds of nigiri will be broken up by a cooked dish like tempurafried hake in a mushroom broth, and maybe a smoked goldeneye snapper collar if you’re lucky. The sushi tends to lean traditional here, but the chefs behind the 10-seat counter slice the fish notably thicker than most places. When you’re eating hefty pieces of king salmon, Japanese mackerel with ginger, or sweet shrimp with yuzu zest, you’ll really feel like you’re getting your money’s worth (and also like your mouth has an entire fish in it).

When Sushi Nakazawa opened in 2013, $150 still felt like an intimidating price tag for an omakase. Now, there are a ton of spots where you can easily spend $300 or more. This puts us in the awkward position of having to tell you that—at $180 for 21 courses—Sushi Nakazawa is now actually a pretty good deal. Don’t tell anyone we said that, but do come here for your next special occasion. The gallery-like black-and-white space is starting to feel a bit dated, but the fine-dining-style service (servers in suits, wine pairings, etc.) is still excellent, and the simply dressed nigiri is perfect. 

This place in Prospect Heights with a shoji screen and a little bonsai tree looks like hundreds of other neighborhood sushi spots, but that’s where the similarities end. Sushi Lin is serving some of the best sushi in the city—not just for a casual spot, but for any spot. The focus here is on quality fish, and for $33, you get nine pieces of thick-cut nigiri along with soup and a negi toro roll. It’s a deal that should cause lines around the block. There are three other locations, including an omakase-only spot in Soho.

We always recommend Sushi Katsuei to anyone looking for a terrific, creative omakase that they can eat without feeling like Mr. Monopoly. This Park Slope restaurant opened in 2014, and then expanded to the West Village in 2017. Omakases at both locations start around $60 for nine pieces and a handroll, often highlighting unusual pieces like firefly squid or barracuda (plus more typical fan favorites like toro or uni). You could always order à la carte or level up and try the 15-ish course omakase for around $120, but the $60 deal feels sweetest to us.

Tanoshi used to be a far walk from any train, but now this sushi restaurant on the Upper East Side is one of the best excuses to take advantage of the 72nd Street Q station. As soon as you sit down, you’ll be asked if you need glassware—this place is BYOB, and that’s a big part of why we like it. The space here is tight, but as you get into your $106 omakase, you’ll quickly forget about your surroundings. We encourage you to order at least one of the add-ons, which are displayed via large placards on the wall. You might see shad or crab brain, but if the slightly torched and fatty black throat is available, that should be the first extra piece you try.

The most luxurious of sushiyas tend to be very minimalist, serving nigiri with little to no toppings and strict one-stroke soy sauce policies. We’ve spent many dollars at these spots thinking very deeply about the brine on our uni. But when we want to have fun, we go to Sushi Seki. Sushi Seki doesn’t shy away from fun toppings—but their pieces don't go into truffle overload. For the ideal experience, order some of their special pieces, or go for one of the omakase options ($120-$180). Must-orders include the fatty tuna with pickled radish and the longtime fan favorite salmon with seared tomato. Seki is packed any night of the week, so you can throw back sake in a lively scene and speak at whatever volume you’d like.

This “sushi speakeasy” requires you to decode an email before you can enter the East Village restaurant. That might sound annoying, but we promise it's not. (And it’s really easy). This omakase is based around a loose plot in which you've been invited by the eccentric and reclusive Mr. Moto to dine amongst his collection of Japanese antiques. But the lightly themed dinner theater isn’t there to distract from any flaws. Mr. Moto hosts one of the best omakases in Manhattan. The 21-course meal ($195) is focused on hyper-seasonal ingredients, so expect pieces like shirako, or red gurnard, which you usually won’t find at other spots in this price range. Stop by the lounge for a drink after dinner and listen to the vintage player piano.

There are sushi spots in the city that seem more like a party, but Kosaka in the West Village lives at the opposite end of the spectrum. The tranquil dining room here makes you feel like somebody is about to place cucumber slices over your eyes and give you a massage. Only one omakase is offered ($225 or $250 depending on where you sit), and it consists of an amuse, sashimi, 12 sushi courses (including one toro scallion handroll with pickled radish), soup, and a dessert with tea. Service here is faultless, so instead of booking a spa day, come here for your next big night out, and feel just as pampered as you would getting a cryotherapy facial and a vitamin drip.

The chef at Sushi Jin is the sushi godfather of the Upper East Side. And for the hour you’re sitting at his omakase counter, you’re officially part of his crew. After 40 years of working at NYC sushi restaurants, he knows which chefs are leaving their restaurants, which places have slipped from greatness, who doesn’t serve their fish at the right temperatures, and where you should go next. The selection at Sushi Jin changes based on whatever is seasonal, but some atypical pieces might include a subtly sweet cherry sea bream, giant squid that tastes as creamy as a milkshake, and our favorite, a delicate and buttery Japanese tilefish. The omakase starts around $145.

Sometimes, we get tired of sushi costumes. You know the ones: unidentifiable crunchy bits, truffle uni painted with edible gold, and hills of roe that shimmer like sequins on a prom dress. Accessories like these are the sushi equivalents of sparkly eyeliner, statement hats, or (worst-case scenario) vanity license plates. Douska on the LES doesn’t bother with costumes. Instead, this casual spot specializes in to-the-point handrolls that bring together fresh yellowtail, a few rogue scallions, and warm vinegary rice in a little hug of crispy nori. Eating at Douska is a laidback experience, and the handroll sets start around $17.

There are always new omakase options in NYC, but it’s hard to find spots that focus on high-quality, relatively affordable stuff (read: under $50 per person). Gouie falls into this bucket, and it’s a place anybody should try if they like raw fish. Their sweeping counter in The Market Line on the LES has a $45 seven piece special that’s just that: special (and not only because of the price point). All the fish you’ll try here is silky, the rice is seasoned with just a kiss of vinegar, and the half-roll that accompanies the special comes filled with a crunchy braised gourd that tastes kind of funky and sweet.

You can usually fit sushi places into one of a few categories. They range from “it’s a Tuesday and this place on Seamless seemed fine last time” to “this might impact my ability to pay rent, but I want to eat like Jeff Bezos for just one day.” Domodomo is unique in that it’s hard to place neatly into a tier. Aesthetically, the restaurant feels very upscale, but the $102 signature Domokase comes with more than most would expect (10 pieces of sushi, miso Chilean sea bass, a tuna cone with truffle oil, and more). Ultimately, “it’s not my birthday or anniversary, but I still want high quality sushi tonight” is the category that best suits this casual-but-great place.

You can’t debate the best sushi on the Upper East Side without mentioning Sushi Of Gari, a small spot on 78th Street that's been around since 1997. The omakase here includes what is by now a legendary combination of sautéed tomato over perfectly chilled, buttery salmon. Even if you don’t personally understand what “umami” is supposed to taste like, you will after this bite. All of Sushi Of Gari’s pieces are brushed with sauces, and most are topped with additional garments. If you live in the area or you want to better understand the sushi scene in NYC, spend your money here.

The number of high-end omakase sushi restaurants in NYC seems to proliferate week by week. But Nakaji has a few distinctions in the fancy sushi landscape. First, there’s the setting. This place is located in a little alley running between Bowery and Elizabeth in Chinatown, so you’re probably going to walk around confused for a few minutes before you find the doorway. The menu ($295 before tax and tip) also stands out from its peers, mainly through its dedication to seasonality. If you’re more likely to be impressed by the chance to try shirako (a.k.a. cod sperm) during its short season than by a torched piece of wagyu, get Nakaji on your list.

When the apocalypse eventually comes for New York City, you’re going to have to find a good basement to bunker down. We’re partial to Sushi Azabu, an upscale spot in Tribeca. The chef’s omakase is an impressive selection of incredible food that involves small appetizers, soup, sashimi, a “toro tasting,” nigiri, dessert, and a little dish in the middle called “grilled king crab with miso,” which is one of the best single pieces of food we’ve eaten. The meal costs $200, and the sushi pieces are good enough that you’ll find yourself wanting to write down the names of the fish in your Notes app, just to remember.

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