Our mountainous, landlocked state probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of sushi. But we’re here to tell you that there’s actually fresh sushi in Utah, extraordinarily fresh. No remorseful, week-old grocery store sushi to be found (at least not in this list). With the wizardry of same-day shipping and dry ice, along with award-winning chefs preparing each dish, you’ll soon be in a personal sushi paradise. So where is this famous sushi we speak of? We’ve taken one for the team by eating our way through Salt Lake City and probably consuming way too much sushi than one should consume to find you the best of the best, and to help you decide which restaurant has exactly what you’re looking for.
18 West Market Street - takashisushi.com
As one of the most popular sushi restaurants in Utah, you’ll find Takashi ranking first among food connoisseurs and publications. So to be expected, there’s usually a bit of a wait to grab a table, but it’s completely worth it. Adventurous eaters and not so adventurous eaters can finally agree on a place to dine because Takashi’s menu varies from traditional tuna rolls to more unique sushi rolls, such as the Caribbean with mango and chili peppers. If the naming conventions of their sushi rolls like Puff The Magic Dragon and Yellow Submarine are indicative of anything, it’s that the restaurant is trendy and casual, but still has that hint of a more formal atmosphere. This is the ultimate first date spot.
What to order: Yellow Submarine and Imagine…
Sapa Sushi Bar and Asian Grill
722 South State Street - sapabarandgrill.com
A little less traditional, Sapa is a fusion kitchen, pulling inspiration from Vietnam and China to create masterful and unique sushi and non-sushi dishes. Coming up with exclusive plates, even so far as to have a secret menu, Sapa takes pride in their fun combinations (look for the filet mignon sushi) and food presentation. We suggest coming hungry or bringing a few people with you, because you’ll want to see as many assorted rolls with beautifully placed toppings as you can, especially during their all-you-can-eat specials Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The variety and impressive display on the table will make for some very satisfying food photos.
And continuing to raise the bar, Sapa also imported 100 year–old authentic Vietnamese teahouses and built a charming koi fish pond in their outdoor seating area, which blends traditional with their more modern interior.
What to order: Blazing Jazz and the Low Rider
1059 East 900 South - tsunamiutah.com
Starting in Sugar House and now expanded to five locations, Tsunami paid tribute to their roots by naming one of their rolls Sugar House. Whether you get the Sugar House roll or grab a Japanese chicken curry, you know you’ll be eating at one of the top restaurants in town that cares about fresh fish in a landlocked state. The freshest of fresh, Tsunami literally flies in fresh seafood on a daily basis. We hear they even special order their salmon from a family-owned boat crew in Alaska. They also make over 40 homemade sauces from wasabi tobikko to jalapeño teriyaki, so you’ll experience a wide-range of flavors for each roll.
What to order: Sugar House and P.D.
1080 East 1300 South - kyotoslc.com
The tall booths and Japanese privacy screens reinforce their traditional feel and elevate the dining experience the minute you walk through the door. This is another one of those places our Salt Lake City locals will argue has the best sushi over any restaurant. No one can definitively agree who takes the number one spot, but this is up there on the list. Although Kyoto is known for more than just their sushi, this traditional Japanese restaurant has more roll, nigiri, and sashimi choices than most specialty sushi restaurants. People really enjoy the gluten free options too.
What to order: Firecracker and Hamachi
Ozora Izakaya Japanese Bar & Tapas
1078 East 2100 South - ozoraizakaya.com
As a newer establishment in town, Ozora is still a bit of a hidden gem. Ozora was inspired by the after-work Japanese bar-restaurants labeled as Izakaya, where co-workers would chat and decompress with small bites and a drink (the ultimate happy hour place). The menu has a good variety of meats, small plates, and sushi, with an impressively large bar. They take the same amount of effort arranging their small plates, so you’ll feel spoiled when you get inside and get to try several dishes at once. And if you’re an indecisive person, this place will make your life easier.
What to order: Triple Sushi Tacos and Rainbow
22 East 100 South - oshucks-ahhsushi.com
If you’ve been in Salt Lake City for a while, you’ve heard the story about the half Japanese sushi restaurant, half Irish pub, located in a basement downtown, that resulted from the most literal marital compromise. It sounds weird. It sounds intriguing. It is. But somehow it works. The owners were conflicted on wanting to run an Irish pub or a traditional sushi restaurant, so they split the space down the middle and created both. Beside the one of a kind space, Ahh Sushi has the best happy hour we’ve found in the city. Prices are half off for the majority of their sushi, and it’s actually good, hand-rolled-in-front-of-you-sushi. We will say, it can get busy depending on the night, so you may have to fight through a crowd to get your half-off sushi. But we say go for it anyways. No regrets.
What to order: Playboy and Funky Charlie
488 East 100 South - hamachislc.com
As a sushi bar and ramen bar, Hamachi gets props for both. We’ve never seen an avocado slice or strip of colorful fish so neatly wrapped around a roll before. Their plating game is superior to the majority of restaurants we’ve seen. They even have sushi that looks like a lollipop, with crab, tuna, yellowtail, salmon, avocado, jalapeño vinaigrette, and a cucumber wrap. If you’re addicted to sushi, but you can’t justify the prices for Monday night dinner, the sushi at Hamachi is reasonably priced for its high-end quality, and their lunch combo is a must.