The Best Sushi Restaurants in DC

From incredible a la carte meals to splurge-worthy omakase.
The Best Sushi Restaurants in DC image

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

Face it, we’re spoiled. DC serves some seriously great sushi, so unlike the average Washington sports fan, our expectations are set high. But even the best fall short sometimes and there’s nothing worse than mediocre California rolls and lukewarm fish. To spare you from the disappointment, we’ve put together a list of our favorite spots. From omakase experiences that will run you back $200 to quick rolls under $20, here are the best sushi restaurants in DC.


photo credit: Sushi Nakazawa




$$$$Perfect For:Fine DiningSpecial Occasions
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The $180 omakase at downtown’s Sushi Nakazawa costs the same as your favorite hi-tech headphones, but that’s the cost of joy in a rapidly inflated economy, right? Besides, the upscale restaurant delivers by serving some of the best sushi in the city (and as our New York friends like to remind us, quality omakase for $180 is actually a really good deal). Enjoy some 20 pieces of nigiri, including cuts of otoro shipped straight from Japan and seared unagi that might make you (obnoxiously) gasp out loud. End the meal with caramel custard and a glass of green tea and you’ll begin to understand just why Sushi Nakazawa is the best Japanese restaurant in DC.

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight Dinner

Akeno Sushi Bar and Thai is the kind of place you take your friends to on a Friday night, where everyone can grab a round of drinks from the restaurant's tiki bar-esque cocktail menu while contemplating the chances of a federal shutdown. Again. But it’s not until you try the sushi, that you’ll really start paying attention to this Capitol Hill spot. The restaurant's sushi specials—like the Akeno roll, made with a decadent and crispy soft-shell crab tempura—can make any conversation, even the ones about government antics, appealing. 

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo


Hi-Lo Poke and Sushi in Adams Morgan punches way above its weight. It’s the most budget-friendly restaurant on this list (rolls start at $12.95), and it serves as a friendly reminder that you don't need all the fancy bells and whistles for good eats, just great food... and kooky decor? When you step into the restaurant, you'll enter a world of mismatched hanging lanterns, a mural of animated koi fish, and walls adorned in popping shades of pink and green. It’s over the top, in a charmingly offbeat way that might just earn this place a high spot on your list.

photo credit: Claire Menary

$$$$Perfect For:See And Be Seen


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While you might not find A-list celebrities at this Nobu as you would in New York or LA, you’re definitely going to stumble on congressional nepo-babies and D-league basketball players looking to burn the last hundred dollars of their game checks. And that’s because the trendy downtown restaurant delivers an exceptionally good meal. As expected, the prices are on the steep side ($100 per person at minimum) but it's hard not to love the diverse array of dishes on the menu. The yellowtail and scallion rolls, cold cuts of sashimi, and the buttery rockfish tempura are all very very good. 

On weeknights, Shōtō is packed. There are mostly professional types here—often formally dressed co-workers enjoying an endless stream of sake while patiently waiting for their clients to handle the bill. It comes as no surprise then that this downtown Japanese steakhouse knows how to keep a crowd. And while the sushi here is good, great even, the sashimi is absolutely outstanding. Opt for the omakase, which will run you around $125, or order a la carte, though you’re likely to spend around the same amount with pieces averaging anywhere from $18-32.

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

$$$$Perfect For:Lunch

Torai Sushi in Capitol Hill is the Wegmans of sushi spots, it delivers high quality food at incredibly low prices (Wegmans hive stand up). With a capacity of just about 15 people, don’t expect much from the restaurant's interior—there’s basic counter seating and black malt tables. It's the kind of place where you can roll in with a friend for a low-key lunch, and it’s practically guaranteed you’ll both leave well-fed and within budget. Their sushi deluxe lunch special includes six pieces of sushi, a California roll, and your choice of either soup or salad for $13. 

photo credit: Nina Palazzolo

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight Dinner

Some things are just reliable, like your alarm clock going off at 8:59 am or the food at Sushi Hachi. This modern Japanese restaurant in Capitol Hill is a local favorite, and rightfully so, as the brick walls and sleek silver light fixtures feel more like a hip DC row house than a bustling dining room. Forget the appetizers like the chicken kara-age and the shrimp tempura—they aren't very good—and go all-in on the sushi. The specialty rolls and nigiri steal the spotlight here, but so does the wagyu nigiri which is particularly good.

At Ama Ami, sushi is an art form. The platters at this takeout spot in Georgetown are masterfully crafted with elegant gold flakes on thick cuts of hokkaido scallops, sea urchin, and fatty tuna tartare. Each bowl looks like a work of art with flavors that match up to the presentation. So much so, in fact, that the best cuts of salmon sashimi in DC right now are found here (argue with your mom). Each cut holds just the right balance of richness and melt-in-the-mouth tenderness. Portions here lean on the smaller side, so be prepared to double up and order two of everything. 

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