When a sushi craving strikes in Washington, D.C., diners can take their pick from various restaurants, ranging from hole-in-the wall haunts to date-ready destinations. The District’s popular Barracks Row is home to several sushi standbys, including neighborhood favorites Sushi Hachi and Torai Sushi, in addition to the buzzy pop-up-turned-standalone-spot Omakase. From inventive rolls to sushi boats to reservation-only tasting menus, D.C. has plenty to offer raw fish enthusiasts. Here are the 10 best sushi restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area that are strong contenders for any foodie’s must-visit list.
For those seeking a tasty meal that’s reliably speedy (ideal for a high-powered D.C. lunch), head to Sushi Hachi. Helmed by restaurateur Steve Yoon, the rolls here are bursting with flavor. The deep-fried Capitol, a crowd favorite, is made with yellowtail, jalapeño cream cheese and sweet miso. Be sure to order a shrimp tempura for the table, and the nigiri and chef’s platters are also not to be missed.
Wagyu is in the spotlight at Kappo, the newly opened 21-seat restaurant in Palisades from master sushi chef Minoru Ogawa. Formerly home to the beloved Sakedokoro Makoto until 2018, the intimate, swanky atmosphere at Kappo is ideal for enjoying dishes like Wagyu sushi and seared tataki or Miyazaki beef paired with fish and vegetables sourced directly from Japan. The eight-course meal ($150 per person) is available by reservation only, and two or three seatings are open per night — so consider booking early.
Go the cozy route at Torai Sushi, a mom-and-pop sushi shop with a casual environment and limited seating capacity. What it lacks in appearance it makes up for in tasty Japanese food — regulars swear by the affordable lunch specials and rave about the quality cuts of fish. if you’re planning dinner for two, The Love Boat ($55) will do the trick; it includes 18 pieces of nigiri, two chef’s special rolls and two miso soups.
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Tucked inside The Roost, the popular Capitol Hill food hall, Ako features a rotating selection of nigiri, sashimi and chef’s selection chirashi bowls. The sushi and omakase counter has signature makimonos, like the Mid-Atlantic-inspired Old Bae, made with lump crabmeat, avocado, scallion and Old Bay crispy potato. Vegetarian options include crunchy spicy avocado and cucumber and roasted asparagus.
Indecisive diners may be in for a tough time at Chef Makoto Okuwa’s Love, Makoto, which houses three concepts in one. Dear Sushi stands out with its omakase menu ($85 per person) that features snacks — like a winter salad made with daikon, watermelon radish and yuzu vinaigrette — handrolls, nigiri prepared using both “old school” and “new school” techniques, and a sake pairing for $40. Vegetarian and gluten free options are available upon request.
This Union Market hotspot is focused on Japanese robata-style dishes and sushi in a sleek setting. Try the multicourse omakase menu ($150) or order a la carte with standout dishes including the toro tartare and snow king roll. In the second floor lounge, patrons can enjoy a sizable and rare assortment of Japanese whisky along with various specialty cocktails, premium sake, wine and local beers. Happy hour is Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Located in the Waldorf Astoria, this is the second iteration of Chef Daisuke Nakazawa’s celebrated namesake sushi shop. The dimly lit haven features rich, dark wood accents paired with gleaming gold details. Throughout the indulgent 20-piece omakase ($150 in the dining room, $180 at the sushi counter), diners may try dishes like Japanese sumi ika with shiso and pickled plum sauce and kama toro with spicy daikon.
Step into Le DeSales and be transported to a chic Parisian brasserie. It’s not exactly the atmosphere you might have in mind for delicious sushi, but this lively French restaurant actually boasts creative handrolls like SOS — salmon, strawberry, cucumber, avocado and orange miso — and the fish and chips roll with red onion, white fish, olive oil, malt vinegar wasabi tartare and potato crisps. Happy hour is Monday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.
Discover Omakase at Barracks Row, where Chef Yi “Ricky” Wang, a former student of the legendary Sushi Nakazawa, orchestrates a 21-course omakase offering. Imagine tender slices of toro, sea urchin bursting with briny essence and expertly seasoned rice. The intimacy of the small counter fosters a sense of culinary curiosity among diners, so be prepared to leave with an awakened palate and appreciation for unexpected takes on sushi.
Stepping into Nama Ko, guests see jewel-toned velvet curtains that shimmer under dim lighting, deep blue walls and marble countertops with golden accents. Chef Derek Watson blends tradition with playful innovation, crafting dishes like the signature lobster dynamite maki with spicy tuna and tempura crunch. Vegetarians won’t be left out, with creative riffs like shiitake mushroom tacos and crispy tofu bites glazed in yuzu kosho.
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