Hand roll, inside out roll, nigiri, sashimi… There’s no wrong way to enjoy this Japanese gift to the world. Every year, a plethora of sushi restaurants in Sydney open their doors, and we have to judge them for their ability to make us so happy that we want to tell all of our friends, that’s you guys. So every year we update this list so no sub-par sushi passes your lips.
And because everyone has a different way to enjoy the best sushi in Sydney, we have included many different options, from sushi trains to hole-in-the-wall joints, as well as special occasion Japanese restaurants with master sushi chefs behind the counter.
Cue Oprah voice… You get some sushi, you get some sushi, eeeeevverryybody gets some sushi.
Sushi On Stanley
If you haven’t yet experienced the magic of Darlinghurst eatery Sushi on Stanley, then you need to rectify this situation, stat. One of the original Sydney cheap eats, this place serves up no-fuss, all-flavour Japanese cuisine with a smile. The sushi is always made to order, so it’s perfectly fresh and delicious, and they have an epic selection of set menus for when you can’t decide between sushi and hot food, so you go both.
The Rocks and Double Bay
Still not visited this heavenly restaurant? Time to get on that. With some of the best chefs in the business, these guys will blow your sushi-loving socks off and have you addicted after one visit. One of Sydney’s best occasion restaurants, Sake has locations in The Rocks and Double Bay, and it’s really up to you how much cashola you fork out. Feel free to take a seat at the sushi bar, give the friendly sushi chefs a budget, and get ready for a top-notch experience of the sushi kind. Don’t forget to check out the game-changing Sake Jr. if you’re in a hurry.
Locals might send me a bit of hate mail for revealing this place to you, but it’s too damn good not to share. Sue me. Mona Vale’s Rainbow Sushi delivers deliciousness in two forms: a sushi train for the gal or guy that likes to make their food sweat before they choose to eat it, and a cute little restaurant for those that like a bit more of a menu situation. The selection is classic, and the service is friendly. Everything you could want from a sushi joint. Just go, okay?
Have fun trying to pronounce that one! But once you do, you’ll be singing from the rooftops about this epic sushi restaurant in Crows Nest. Seating just 12 people, Sashimi Shinsengumi is the closest thing to Jiro’s Sushi this side of Japan. It’s the chef’s choice every night, so don’t try to perve on the menu before you arrive. Just book early (seriously), pick a nice wine as it’s BYO, and get ready to be completely blown away by the 16-20 courses of kick-you-in-the-crotch-spit-on-your-neck fantastic sushi they serve up.
Makoto takes the best parts of a sushi train (y’know, convenience, great service and all), with the menu of a top-notch Japanese restaurant. The ideal spot for pre-cinema, mid-shop, or simply when you feel like awesome sushi, Chatswood’s uber-popular Makoto offers delicious sashimi, sushi, hand rolls, and specials like udon and tempura, as well as an enthusiastic ‘Irasshaimase!’ upon arrival.
The best thing about working in Sydney’s CBD (or just being there, really) is the plethora of awesome dining options, no matter what mood you’re in. Umi Kaiten-Zushi on Pitt Street in Haymarket is one of these awesome dining options. Plus, it has an extensive menu of delicious sushi options for you to enjoy. If you’re a hand roll kind of person, there are plenty to whet your appetite; as well as countless nigiri options to sink your teeth into.
Places that have screens you can order from are great because there’s very little room for error, and you don’t have to do the whole awkward neck crane wave thing when you want someone’s attention. Of course, this is a sushi train, so most of the options are floating past you, but if there’s something you’re craving then it’s yours to order. Because sometimes you want a side of takoyaki with your salmon skin roll, you know?
As if we’d leave a Merivale classic off this list! Something of a silent favourite, Sushi e is renowned with city slickers and lovers of delicious, authentic Japanese food alike. It’s a little on the pricier side, but a must if you want to see what years of training as a sushi chef look like on your plate. Thinking of stepping up your roll game? Splash out on the balmain bug roll, it’s crunchy, refreshing, and perfectly decadent. Oh Justin Hemmes, what would we do without you?
Sosumi Sushi Train
Who doesn’t love a sushi train that’s a little on the fancier side? Sosumi if I do *forces laugh*. Sosumi Sushi Train in Martin Place is the home of deliciously fresh, expertly made sushi that rotates in front of you and pretty much yells out at you to enjoy it. It’s a little on the pricier side, but guarantees delicious, fresh bites from the train and plenty of freshly cooked goodies if that’s your jam.
I know, I know, chains are a little bit done. But I guarantee you the Sushi Train in Newtown is worth every second you spend looking for a park and then waiting for a coveted spot on the train. Never before has a train delivered such epic sushi from smiling, professional chefs. Never. If you can, try to go with a group and nab the four-person table at the front. The aburi salmon will have you all in a delicious tizz, and the tiger roll is filled with plump, crispy prawn, not that skinny crap others try to pass off.
This is another one of the places that people might get annoyed at me for letting the public know about. But please let me add, with heartfelt sympathy and all the love in the world, that I really and truly don’t care. Now, onto the sushi. It’s really delicious and you would be lucky to have it in your stomach. There’s a sashimi bar with all of your raw favourites, big-ass rolls chock full of your favourite things, and more fresh nigiri than you can poke a chopstick at. Go for the rainbow roll if you like a bit of everything, and don’t skimp on the sake, either.
You had better believe I want this place in and around my mouth at all times, and you will too. Sitting across the road from The Orpheum in Cremorne, it’s well known among locals for their delicious, creative Japanese food and friendly service. Apart from your usual favourites, you’ve got to try the selection of aburi sushi, freshly flame grilled and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Others will be smitten with the vegetarian potato wrap, an avocado and pumpkin tempura inside out roll covered in potato salad. It’s the food equivalent of the 100 emoji.
After a milk fix with a twist? Try a spiked shake.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie