Washington DC never use to be a sushi destination but the recent onset of new restaurants is giving this city one of the best sushi dining scenes in the United States. From elegant omakase menus to trendy sushi restaurants with fun maki rolls, some of the best sushi restaurants can be found in DC. These sushi spots have good food, fresh ingredients, and innovative menu items. Raw fish fans will be happy to know that Washington DC has some of the best sushi places on the east coast.
Best Sushi In Washington DC: Trendy Dining
There are several trendy sushi restaurants in Washington DC that offer unique and creative sushi rolls, modern decor, and a lively atmosphere.
Shoto DC – Good For Private Dining
Shoto DC opened to rave reviews and has a Nobu like vibe. Reservations here are difficult to get so if you plan to walk in with a large party you may not have much luck. Dining at the bar with one or two other people will probably be more doable.
This restaurant is definitely a vibe and has a very trendy atmosphere. It is packed on the weekend nights including Sunday nights. If you are looking for a scene, go on the weekend. If you’re looking to eat in peace, head there when it opens earlier in the week. You can also dine at the sushi bar if you want to see where the action happens.
Menu highlights include the spicy tuna roll, wagyu taco, tuna taco, blue crab taco, eggplant taco, chilean sea bass and calamari. This restaurant also has a private dining area for large groups.
Moonraker DC – Top Pick!
Moonraker is a signature rooftop bar and restaurant located on the 14th floor of the Pendry Washington DC-The Wharf hotel in Washington, DC. It is a Japanese-inspired lounge that serves light bites, sushi, and handcrafted cocktails.
Moonraker is open from Monday to Thursday from 4:00pm to 10:00pm, Friday and Saturday from 4:00pm to 10:00pm, and Sunday from 2:00pm to 8:00pm. Reservations are recommended since the restaurant can be quite busy especially when the weather is nice.
Nobu DC – Sushi Staple
Nobu DC has been a staple for several years. Since Shoto and Moonraker have come about, Nobu has become one of many trendy sushi spots in the the DC area. However, it is still a solid dining destination and very popular.
Especially if you are on the West End or in the Georgetown area, Nobu is a great option as Shoto and Moonraker will be quite far. Nobu’s design has a welcoming atmosphere and a large bar as well if you want to walk in to dine. In addition to having inventive sushi rolls, Nobu also has plenty of private event space to host a private party or host a special occasion.
Kyojin Georgetown – New!
Kyojin in Georgetown is a newcomer to the DC sushi scene. In this sleek underground space you will not only find some incredible sushi but also some amazing craft cocktails as well.
Kyojin transforms as the night progresses from trendy sushi spot to a lively space with great music. Though not technically a supper club, this is a great place to stay after dinner as the vibe is very lively and so in the music.
Best Sushi In Washington DC: Omakase Experience
Omakase is a Japanese word that means “I’ll leave it up to you” or “chef’s selection” in English. In the context of sushi, omakase refers to a style of dining where the chef selects and prepares a multi-course meal of the freshest and highest quality fish and seafood available. The chef creates a unique and personalized menu based on the diner’s preferences, dietary restrictions, and the ingredients that are in season and available.
The meal typically begins with lighter dishes, such as sashimi or small appetizers, and gradually progresses to more substantial sushi courses. The chef may also provide commentary and explanations about the dishes and the ingredients used, creating a personalized and immersive dining experience. Omakase is often considered a luxurious and high-end dining experience, and it can be a great way to sample the best sushi that a restaurant has to offer.
Here are the top picks when it comes to having a spectacular omakase experience in the nation’s capital.
Sushi Nakazawa – 1 Michelin Star
Sushi Nakazawa is known for using the finest and freshest ingredients available for their sushi. It is likely why they have earned themselves a Michelin star. The restaurant’s owner, Chef Daisuke Nakazawa, is committed to sourcing high quality fish and seafood from trusted suppliers and markets around the world. Chef Nakazawa has trained extensively in the art of sushi-making and is known for his attention to detail and commitment to using only the best ingredients. The restaurant’s omakase menu changes regularly based on what ingredients are in season and available, ensuring that diners at this Japanese restaurant are always getting the freshest and most flavorful sushi possible.
Sushi Nakazawa serves a Nigiri-sushi exclusive “Omakase” menu consisting of approximately Twenty pieces of Nigiri. The restaurant sources their fish and shellfish globally, with a special focus on Japan. The Omakase Menu is priced at $180 at the Sushi Counter. The Dining Room offers the same Omakase priced at $150.
Reservations are available 14 days in advance for parties of up to 8 people. Reservations can be made through Resy or by calling the restaurant at (202) 289-3515. You will need a credit card to secure your reservation. The full price of the omakase is usually charged to the card on file for changes made with less than 48 hours’ notice.
Sushi Ogawa is a Japanese restaurant located in Washington, DC that offers several options for omakase, a traditional Japanese dining experience where the chef selects and prepares a series of dishes for the customer. The omakase counter here is quite intimate and this restaurant has been a long time favorite sushi restaurant for many diners in the Washington DC area (over 50 years!).
Chef Minoru Ogawa is a second-generation sushi chef and the owner of Sushi Ogawa, a Japanese restaurant located in Washington, DC. He trained under his father in the Nippori section of Tokyo before moving to the United States. Chef Ogawa has decades of experience in the sushi industry, and his father and brother are also master sushi chefs in Japan. He is known for his skill in preparing traditional Japanese sushi and for offering several options for omakase, a traditional Japanese dining experience where the chef selects and prepares a series of dishes for the customer. Chef Ogawa has received positive reviews for his sushi and omakase offerings, and has been recognized as one of the top sushi chefs in Washington, DC.
A spectacular omakase experience comes at a fine dining price. The Sushi Bar Chef Omakase is priced at $240, Premium Omakase with six courses for $200, Regular Omakase with four courses for $120, and a Walk-in Dining Room option for a la carte or sushi assortment. Sushi Ogawa has a partner restaurant called Zeppelin which is more casual and you can read about it below.
Best Sushi In Washington DC: Affordable Sushi
Are you looking for great sushi in a casual sushi restaurant vibe? One of the best parts about living in DC is that there are also a variety of casual sushi restaurants. These dining spots have high quality sushi at a great price. Check out these affordable roll stops below.
Zeppelin DC: Casual Sushi Restaurant
Zeppelin serves modern Japanese cuisine in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC. The restaurant serves Edomae-style sushi and kushiyaki grill, and offers a variety of sushi rolls, sashimi, and nigiri specials. Zeppelin also has a cocktail bar and a large patio. One of the best features is that the restaurant has karaoke every night after 10pm. The restaurant has received positive reviews for its food, with some reviewers praising the quality and freshness of the sushi.
Additionally, the restaurant has a cozy and intimate atmosphere, and offers happy hour specials and half-priced bottle sake on Tuesdays. Minoru Ogawa’s Omakase and sushi bar is also located on the second floor of Zeppelin if you are looking for a special experience and more secluded from the bustling dining and bar scene. Overall, Zeppelin is a great spot for sushi and Japanese cuisine in Washington, DC. The restaurant also partners with delivery companies so that you can have the delicious items delivered to your door.
Sushi Taro: Great Sushi Happy Hour
Now in most cases, Sushi Taro would not be considered a casual sushi restaurant or fall under the affordable category. However, not many people know that Sushi Taro has a fantastic happy hour where you can get a discount on some of their amazing à la carte menus. There are great deals on fresh fish but also on drinks as well. So head to Sushi Taro Tuesday to Friday from 5 to 7 PM and take advantage of 25% off sushi and drinks. The friendly staff will likely convince you to stay longer and you may have a hard time leaving this classic sushi spot.
Sushi Taro also has an omakase tasting menu as well and it’s one of the few spots with omakase that offers it’s sushi menu at a discount during happy hour. Be sure to try some of their specialty rolls that are going to make your taste buds very happy.
Perry’s: Great For Sushi Happy Hour & Outdoor Dining
Perry’s in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington DC also has a great sushi happy hour from 4 to 7 pm at their bar counter. If the weather is nice you can also enjoy a meal on their fabulous rooftop patio. If you’re looking to party, head there on the weekend for their very popular drag brunch, which usually sells out a week in advance.
Perry’s also offers an omakase tasting for less than $100 per person and if this is your first time having omakase this could be a good way to check it out. No one will judge you here for putting some soy sauce on your rolls.
The Hamilton: Sushi Happy Hour
The Hamilton is a classic establishment in Downtown DC around the corner from Warner Theatre and National Theatre. Many people don’t know that this restaurant which serves pasta and burgers also has sushi.
On the Hamilton sushi menu you will find your classic rolls like Spicy Tuna and Yellowtail Jalapeno. There is also an option for sashimi as well as a small sake menu. If you want a deal, the Hamilton has a sushi happy hour every single day from 2 PM to 5 PM. If you want sushi at night on Fridays and Saturdays this happy hour also runs from 11 PM to 1 AM and the rest of the week from 10 PM to 1 AM.
Izakaya Seki: Sashimi Omakase
Izakaya Seki is located on V street, very close to the many popular bars and restaurants of the nearby U street corridor. This traditional Japanese restaurant is well known for its sashimi omakase and fresh dishes.
Reservations here are a must and parking in this area can be challenging so plan accordingly. The menu here is quite authentic so if you are looking for dressed up sushi rolls, this is not the right place for you. If you want an authentic Japanese sashimi in a cozy, be sure to check it out.
Best Sushi In Washington DC
For omakase the best sushi in Washington DC is Sushi Nakazawa, which is the only sushi restaurant in DC with a Michelin Star. Sushi Ogawa is also a popular omakase for serious sushi diners. For trendy sushi dining that includes a great vibe and fantastic food, check out Shoto, Moonraker, and Nobu. If you are looking for a more casual vibe and maybe some late-night karaoke, Zeppelin is also a great choice. Zeppelin is a sister restaurant to the very popular Sushi Ogawa and has great sushi at great prices. The best sushi happy hours are at Sushi Taro and Perry’s. Both of these restaurants also offer an omakase, with Perry’s omakase being the most affordable in the district.