Where to Dine Out for the Best Sushi in Boston

By Eric Twardzik
Where to Go for the Best Sushi in Boston
O Ya: Hamachi Banana Pepper

New England prides itself on fresh seafood, so it’s no surprise that some of Boston’s best restaurants are sushi spots. A delicious art form and Japanese cuisine combining pristine fish with a chef’s finesse, sushi is a meal worthy of special occasions as well as average weeknights. Next time you want to go out and savor maki rolls and nigiri, check out this curated list of the best sushi restaurants around Boston. (Heads’ up: Our longtime favorite Cafe Sushi is takeout-only these days, in case you’re missing them on this list of places to dine in.)

Where to Go for the Best Sushi in Boston - UNI

One of Boston’s most notable restaurants is Uni, founded by chef Ken Oringer in 2002, the year after he won his James Beard award for Best Chef: Northeast. It was originally a tiny underground sashimi bar in the Eliot Hotel downstairs from the chef’s acclaimed Clio, but it proved so popular that it took over the Back Bay restaurant space entirely in 2016. Today’s Uni is greater both in square footage and in menu, with an impressive roster of sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi plus izakaya-inspired small plates (and awesome cocktails). Unwilling to be fenced in by tradition, Oringer and his team of chefs enliven their offerings with unusual and indulgent accompaniments like black truffle and pork belly croutons. The signature Maine Uni Spoon is among the city’s most memorable bites, featuring the namesake sea creature cozied up with a quail egg and caviar; and we love the decadent menu items featuring foie gras, such as Toro (fatty tuna nigiri) seasoned with foie gras miso. 

Ebi Sushi

Ebi Sushi | Where to Go for the Best Sushi in Boston

We love sushi too much to save it only for a special occasion, which is why we love the casual Ebi Sushi. This affordable neighborhood spot in Somerville’s Union Square recently renovated with a stylish new sushi bar, cool wall murals, and other upgrades, but Ebi remains an unpretentious local favorite for high-quality seafood. The large menu serves everything from beautiful sashimi to non-sushi Japanese fare that’s wide-ranging and done well, such as shrimp tempura, curry plates, and mochi ice cream, and takeout’s available, too. A 10-piece omakase of creative nigiri lands under $50, and we love to come here with friends to set sail with a sushi boat, an upgrade they’ll arrange for any order of five-plus maki rolls or 30 more pieces of nigiri. Don’t miss the Miso Salmon Roll, a crispy California-style roll with torched salmon, sweet miso paste, scallion, and black truffle mayo. 

O Ya sushi Boston

For those special-occasion moments—or annual splurge—that require a no-holds-barred sushi experience placing taste above all else, look no further than O Ya. Chef Tim and Nancy Cushman of Cushman Concepts (later the creators of Hojoko in Fenway and Bianca in Chestnut Hill) debuted this certified stunner in the Financial District more than a decade ago. O Ya has since racked up national awards and recognition from the likes of the James Beard Foundation and Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds—for good reason. A menu devoid of maki rolls instead promotes bite-sized delights brimming with indulgent flavor, such as a blow-torched Hamachi nigiri with banana pepper, the seasonal local Usuzukuri (whitefish) sashimi with citrusy ponzu and finger lime, or the deliciously different Potato Chip Nigiri with black truffle. To experience O Ya at its extravagant best, opt for the 20-course omakase experience (chef’s choice menu), which is unmatched anywhere in Boston.

Shore Leave

Shore Leave | Where to Go for the Best Sushi in Boston

Shore Leave is not a Japanese restaurant; it bills itself as a tropical oasis in the South End. You’re probably in this well-decorated basement lounge for the drinks, like the signature Shore Leave Cocktail or a Mai Tai for the Table. Shore Leave is a Boston-inspired tiki bar—think: Query’s Rum Manhattan, which gets added richness from Somerville-invented marshmallow Fluff—but considering it’s from the same owners as two of our favorite spots for raw seafood in Boston (Black Lamb and Bar Mezzana), you should not overlook the lengthy sushi menu. Chef Colin Lynch balances each shareable maki roll and bite of nigiri and with the same modern finesse that makes his tuna poke and crudo stand out at his other restaurants. The eponymous Shore Leave Roll matches fried shrimp tempura with fresh hamachi, pickled pineapple, serrano, cilantro, and aji amarillo for a refreshing mouthful; and bold accents like a truffle-shiitake relish on medium-fatty tuna nigiri make a meal here a memorable parade of flavors. 

Momi Nomni

Momi Nomni sushi
Momi Nonmi

Plan ahead (and follow Instagram) to experience Momi Nonmi’s omakase ambitions in-person. The Inman Square restaurant is open most nights with a reservation-only chef’s choice menu, ranging from premium nigiri with light appetizers to the Ultimate Grand Slam Omakase of 25 courses plus dessert. Chef-owner and Honolulu native Chris Chung, an alum of Uni, also shares weekly-changing takeout options from his izakaya-style Japanese restaurant. A la carte sashimi is sliced to order, fresh from the world’s best markets, and there are chirashi bowls, edamame and other gluten-free appetizers, and Hawaiian-style dishes like Onigiri and Huli Huli chicken with rice. The sake selection is top-shelf at Momi Nonmi too, so ask your server for pairings in-house or inquire about the reserve sake list available alongside your takeout order.

Umami Omakase

Umami Omakase sushi

True to its name, Umami Omakase specializes in set menus—which makes it a great date-night spot in Cambridge. Sit back and enjoy the company while 18 courses are headed your way for a beautifully plated meal. Light miso soup begins the progression of assorted sashimi and sushi, including Langoustine and Japanese A5 wagyu. Secure a pair of seats at the light wood sushi bar for a fully transportive omakase experience where the food really shines. But as a matter of survival, the 2019-founded Umami Omakase also indulges diners who prefer takeout: A la carte options are available to-go based on availability, with pre-orders required. There are a number of omakase combinations packed with premium, seasonal slices of seafood and nigiri, including Wagyu foie gras, king crab, and other exceptional choices. Besides the well-lit sushi bar, at home may be the next-best place to savor this sushi.

Updated by Jacqueline Cain

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