Seattle Dining Guide

The Best Sushi Restaurants in Seattle

From omakase to happy hour to conveyor belts.

By Allecia Vermillion and Seattle Met Staff March 14, 2023

Drama runs high throughout the tasting menu at Sushi by Scratch.

Image: Amber Fouts

Decades of strong ties with Japan, an abundance of great seafood. A puckish guy by the name of Shiro Kashiba. A host of forces built Seattle’s exemplary landscape of sushi restaurants, where you can sit before a chef and submit to a traditionalist Edomae-style omakase. Or spend happy hour in the company of a cilantro-flecked tres diablos roll and a yuzu margarita—even summon nigiri via a robot. Over the past year, a wave of newcomers (and an affluent population with a jones for high-end raw fish) made this great sushi city even better.

Sushi by Scratch Restaurants


The cannoli-shaped hand roll that starts each meal serves as official notice: This 10-seat sushi bar throws tradition out the window (not that this dark, hidden-away room has any windows). Telegenic restaurateur Phillip Frankland Lee earned a Michelin star for this concept’s location in Montecito. He knows how to mine a sushi bar’s inherent drama, whether it’s the speakeasy-style setup or the signature course of eel nigiri drenched in rendered bone marrow. Lee favors ingredients from his California roots—sweet corn and sourdough breadcrumbs, poblano peppers—but maps out the menu with serious intent. This place isn't for purists, but beneath the theater, the sushi holds its own.

Once Sushi by Scratch customers find their pre-ordained seats, head chef Julian Tham regales the counter with fresh fish and well-honed anecdotes.

Image: Amber Fouts

Sushi Kappo Tamura


The personable Taichi Kitamura reigns behind the sushi bar in his sleek Eastlake dining room. So does his deep knowledge of fish. Everything from sashimi platters to the traditional chef’s omakase vibrates with seasonal, sustainable excellence. SKT’s cooked dishes rise to the same level—especially he chawan mushi and the grilled black cod—and the sushi menu includes an entire section of vegetarian rolls. These are special occasion­–level meals served at a neighborhood restaurant frequency.


Madison Valley

There are showier sushi restaurants and omakases in the city, but this serene, art- and linen-draped dining room in Madison Park can deliver a lineup of pristine nigiri, then turn around and serve you dollops of spicy salmon tartare atop crisped rice or maki that successfully cross-pollinate foie gras and seared tuna. The menu’s vast, the clientele mostly devoted regulars, and the buzz level not nearly as loud as what this circa-1995 spot deserves.

Ltd Edition Sushi

Capitol Hill

Hidden away behind a mondo apartment complex, Sushi Kashiba alum Keiji Tsukasaki presides over eight seats and one astonishing omakase . No a la carte here, just that unlikely combo demanded of great sushi chefs: surgeon-level fish skills and the hosting warmth of both Martha and Snoop. He offers up seasonal treasures like aged sea bass and side-by-side uni from Hokkaido and Santa Barbara, each bite perked with hits of fresh wasabi root that languishes on its large grater like a nightmareish artichoke. There’s a lot of talent (and a lot of Shiro Kashiba gestalt) behind this counter, but Ltd. Edition makes high-end sushi feel surprisingly casual—with help from some fun drink pairings.

Ltd Edition Sushi's nightly omakase hides in a small room across from Cal Anderson Park.

Sushi Suzuki

Madison Park

Follow a near-invisible sign down a passageway to find a 10-seat sushi bar and a newcomer to Seattle’s cadre of “that meal just blew my mind” sushi experiences. Chef Yasutaka Suzuki oversees a space so small, you might mistake it for someone’s personal kitchen. His 20-course survey of raw fish and seasoned rice embraces seasonal rarities like ankimo and firefly squid. Suzuki adjusts the temperature on pristine rice to show off the particular attributes of a fish—amber jack, luxe otoro, even gleaming iwashi sardine—and is fond of pairing uni with other delicacies, like a spot prawn or bit of wagyu. Diners leave this hideaway on a high from the final-course tamago, so tender and flan-like that it’s served with a tiny fork. All this restrained elegance makes the restroom (and its US president theme) even more improbably delightful.

Takai by Kashiba

Downtown Bellevue

Sushi titan Shiro Kashiba partnered with his longtime apprentice, Jun Takai, to give the Eastside its very own flagship of capital-S Serious sushi. Kashiba lent his name and celeb status (and makes the occasional cameo to say hi in the dining room), but this food is absolutely chef Jun’s. The omakase at his 10-seat sushi bar contains more courses than the one available in the dining room; both make liberal use of aged fish and a dash of whimsy in courses like soup or octopus karaage. Drink pairings range from luxe grower champagne (did I mention "takai" also means "expensive" in Japanese?) to a very thoughtful N/A sequence of teas.

Jun Takai oversees his own sushi bar, and his own fan base, with a pleasantly mellow energy.

Image: Amber Fouts

Image: Amber Fouts


West Seattle

In 2009, Hajime Sato unleashed the city’s first all-sustainable sushi restaurant. These days, three longtime employees own and run this tiny dining room and continue its essential presence in the neighborhood. The menu—a lengthy compendium of sashimi, rolls, combo options, and cooked dishes—remains a thoroughly vetted ode to sustainable seafood. But the kitchen has added more housemade ingredients and, even better, online reservations. The broad menu includes a section devoted to vegan rolls.

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar


A robot brings your water and wasabi; plates of rainbow rolls and salmon nigiri flow past tables and thread along counter seats. This Japanese conveyor belt sushi chain landed with a splash in Bellevue in 2021, automating a sushi meal like nowhere else in town. Customers can request hot dishes, drinks, or a specific plate of sushi using a touch screen mounted over each seat. Customers discard empty plates into a discreet slot; consume 15 plates from the conveyor belt and you earn a prize. The sushi itself is perfectly fine, a procession that includes hot and cold, maki and nigiri, blinged-up and unadorned—plus the occasional slice of cheesecake or dish of watermelon. The most welcome technological enhancement might be the waitlist app, especially given the crowds during prime dining hours.



This circa-1904 legend could easily coast on lore alone, from surviving war and incarceration to the motherly order imposed by longtime stewards Jean Nakayama and Fusae “Mom” Yokoyama. It’s the food, however, driving the legend. Maneki, and Shiro Kashiba, gave Seattle its first-ever sushi bar; while its soul resides in more comforting Japanese fare like that famed black cod collar, maki and sashimi and nigiri are still a welcome part of the equation.

Tatami dining rooms and great food made Maneki a Seattle icon.

Sushi Kashiba

Pike Place Market

The man who gave Seattle its very first sushi bar is now in his 80s and still showing up to work most nights behind his 14-seat counter. Shiro Kashiba came out of an ill-fitting retirement to open a showcase restaurant devoted to Edomae-style sushi (a good fit given Pike Place Market’s emphasis on local producers). Peerless fish, cut by masters, drives the menu, and beverage director Keenan Ahlo matches these creations with smart pairings. Sushi Kashiba hides in a small courtyard with a fountain; you can make reservations for tables in the dining room, but the queue starts early to snag seats at the sushi bar, especially the handful of chairs in front of the master himself.

Shiro's Sushi


This Belltown haunt has been around since 1994; namesake Shiro Kashiba sold the place two decades later. And still there’s a line of sushi fans waiting outside pretty much every day. Such is the staying power of a restaurant built on the philosophy of edomae sushi, but not blind to the appeal of a well-crafted rainbow roll—Kashiba’s original purist ban on avocado has long since lifted.


Madison Valley

Hand roll bars have recently been reinvigorated in cities like New York and Los Angeles. The Seattle area has a few now; Uminori is the one with the most soul, the freshest fish, and a rock-solid pedigree (owner Kyu Han also runs Kisaku). Uminori offers temaki, or hand rolls, in the familiar flavor canon (spicy tuna, salmon and avocado) but also unexpected takes like ikura with yuzu crème fraiche or wagyu and Asian pear. The quality’s impeccable but the experience feels more casual and raucous than most higher-end sushi dinners. The foie gras nigiri topped with a pink puff of cotton candy is more nuanced (and less gimmicky) than you’d expect.

Image: Amber Fouts

Uminori mixes a menu of casual temaki with small plates where chef Kyu Han flexes his creative abilities.

Image: Amber Fouts



Edmonds’ joy that chef Ryuichi Nakano relocated here glows like the neta that fills his sushi counter’s glass case. The former Kisaku chef partnered with uber-restaurateur Shubert Ho to create a legit sushi destination. At SanKai, sashimi is every bit as pure and stunning as you’d hope, and specialty rolls taste more inspired than over-adorned. The menu includes a few omakase platters, but call the restaurant directly to book the six seats directly in front of Nakano-san, where he hands creations over directly.

Kisaku and Umigawa

Wallingford, Kirkland

Kyu Han, an alum of Tyson Cole’s Uchi in Texas, took over Kisaku in 2018 and retained the many charms of a sushi bar equally suited to a special occasion or a casual weeknight family hang. Han knows his sushi traditions, but also considers it a vehicle for creativity. This is evident in the fresh sheet at Kisaku, but even more in his newer spot, Umigawa, in Totem Lake. While Umigawa’s menu is geared for versatility and value-seeking shoppers, the appetizer menu harbors Han’s creative flexes; the fresh sheet feels like a great omakase broken down as a la carte.

Japonessa Sushi Cocina

Downtown, Bellevue

Is this a destination for thoughtful, minimalist creations, presented in a zen-like setting? Nope. But this duo of rollicking spots make an art of happy hour cocktails, warm service, and rolls festooned with cilantro, strawberry-jalapeno sauce, or the occasional fried garlic chili flakes. As the name implies, Latin flavor influences punctuate a vast menu of raw creations and cooked dishes.


Capitol Hill, South Lake Union

An expansive sushi menu meets a truly stunning dining room, hidden behind a relatively staid Auto Row–era facade. Momiji excels at late-night and happy hour menus (and a ton of Japanese whiskey), served in a series of dining rooms that surround a tranquil central courtyard. The newer South Lake Union outpost recasts this formula into a more standard new construction setting, swapping late night for a great happy hour and a handful of covered patio tables.

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