If you’ve ever been to Chicago, you know the city is full of amazing food! One of the most famous dishes the city has to offer is, of course, sushi. But while the city’s sushi scene has grown considerably in recent years, it can be difficult to know exactly where to go for the best sushi experience. With an abundance of sushi restaurants to choose from, it’s important to know what to look for when deciding where to go and which ones to avoid. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on the best sushi bars in Chicago – from traditional to creative rolls – to help make sure you eat the freshest and most delicious sushi in the city. So prepare your chopsticks and follow us as we explore some of the city’s tastiest sushi spots!
Quick Answer to Key Question
Katsu, Sugoi Sushi, and Kai Zan are all highly rated sushi restaurants in Chicago. If you’re looking for a more casual experience, try Kraken or Wasabi Sushi.
The Finest Sushi Bars in Chicago
When it comes to finding the very best sushi bars in Chicago, you really can’t go wrong with the selection available. From classic authentic restaurants to chic trendy hotspots, there’s something for everyone – no matter what their palate may be. Here are some of the finest sushi bars the city has to offer.
Kamehachi is widely known as one of the best sushi spots in town, and for good reason. This old school institution has been serving up quality sushi since 1976 and offers popular dishes like salmon sashimi, Yellowtail scallion roll, and Godzilla roll. They also serve a variety of sake that pairs perfectly with their fishy creations.
If it’s traditional Japanese dishes you’re after, then Sushi-Rama is your spot. Trained by a top chef in Tokyo, this restaurant prides itself on offering an authentic experience. Their signature item is Tamanishiki Oshi Machi Tuna – impeccably presented and bursting with flavor. Everything here is made from scratch daily and they use only the freshest ingredients. It’s definitely worth trying!
The modern appeal of Omakase Yume draws in people from all over the city. Located in Lincoln Park, this eatery also serves up traditional Japanese cuisine but with a modern twist – think Salmon Ceviche or Foie Gras Gunkan Maki. Their impressive selection of craft beers pairs well with their creative menu items, making it a great place for date night or even just a casual lunch outing.
Some people prefer to avoid the usual crowd favorite spots and instead opt for more unique experiences. If that’s what you’re looking for then consider BellyQ; its innovative cuisine and trendy atmosphere will transport you into another world. Some of its specialties include Bulgogi Tartare and Parmesan Enoki Mushrooms; perfect if you want something out of the ordinary!
Chicago certainly isn’t short on fantastic sushi bars and these are just a few recommendations that rival the best offerings across Japan. Although opinions may differ on exactly which ones are truly top-notch, one thing’s certain: each and every establishment delivers an exquisite culinary experience that will satisfy anyone’s cravings for sushi – no matter what style they prefer! Now let’s take a look at how some of these establishments offer an authentic Japanese atmosphere…
Authentic Japanese Atmosphere
For the most authentic Japanese sushi bar experience, many locals will opt for one of the traditional spots throughout the city. Sushi bars that have been around for years are well-known in the area to provide a taste of true Japan and its cuisine. These restaurants often have a more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere than some of their trendier counterparts, allowing for a truly immersive cultural experience. It’s these same traditional sushi bars that are known among experienced foodies to serve some of the highest quality sushi and sashimi. The downside, however, is that these establishments can feel intimidating to first-time visitors because of the strict conventions they carry – like proper etiquette and dress code.
Yet, this shouldn’t detract from your experience. Many locals enjoy the upholding of tradition – from polite communication to gratitude– as part of the culture. Authentic Japanese atmospheres offer an interactive snapshot into another world – an opportunity for exploration into unfamiliar cultural nuances.
Next up in our guide is Experience Delicious Fresh Seafood: Chicago’s sushi bars use only the freshest seafood and ingredients to give you a taste you won’t find anywhere else!
Experience Delicious Fresh Seafood
If you’re a fan of raw fish, you’re in luck! Chicago has some of the freshest seafood available. The many sushi bars highlight the deliciously fresh and flavorful catches of the day. Whether you prefer light or full bodied fish and other seafood items, there’s sure to be something that hits the spot.
When considering a sushi bar and their use of fresh ingredients, debate arises as to whether a selection of fresh-frozen fish should be offered or if ice-cube stored fish should be the standard. Fans of the latter argue that freezing preserves flavor better but detractors state that freezing can mask flavor nuances and hamper texture quality. At Chicago’s best sushi bars, patrons will benefit from immaculate standards in storage and practice to ensure freshness without sacrificing high-grade taste.
Onward from experiencing delicious fresh seafood, we turn to exploring favorite Japanese dishes. From classic recipes with meals made from scratch, prepare for some delightful surprises as we delve further into our local guide for discovering Chicago’s best sushi bars.
Favorite Japanese Dishes
Japanese cuisine is vast and varied, offering diners an endless supply of delicious dishes to explore. Among the many dishes to discover are sushi, tempura, ramen, and gyoza.
To begin with, sushi is a popular choice among all sorts of crowd. It consists of vinegared rice topped with various ingredients such as fish, vegetables, or egg. There are different types of sushi, from nigiri and sashimi to maki and hand rolls. For beginners, it is best to start with the more traditional pieces before exploring variations and combinations that present a wider range of flavors.
Tempura is another classic dish. Vegetables are cut up into bite-sized pieces before being battered and shallow-fried until golden brown. The combination of light batter and crunchy vegetables make tempura both satisfying and healthy at the same time, becoming a favorite among health conscious diners.
Ramen is another type of Japanese dish that commonly comes in noodle soup form. The broth often consists of pork bone boiled for hours on end until it releases its flavor fully into the liquid. Traditional ramen toppings include seaweed slices, boiled eggs, fishcakes, and mushrooms among many others that every cook will add according to their preference.
Gyoza are dumplings that are similar to Chinese potstickers but lighter in texture because the skin typically consists of slightly thinner dough than potstickers – leading these dumplings to become increasingly popular amongst eaters who crave something crunchy but not too heavy.
With such an impressive lineup of Japanese dishes available in Chicago’s sushi bars, diners can bring out the best out of authentic Japanese flavors without having to travel half way around the world! With that in mind, let’s now move to explore “Creative Specialties of Chicago Sushi Bars”.
Creative Specialties of Chicago Sushi Bars
When discussing the best sushi bars in Chicago, it’s impossible not to bring up the city’s various creative specialties. Depending on where you go, you can find some really inventive spins on traditional Japanese dishes. On one hand, tradition-minded sushi lovers might argue that these wild dishes detract from the time-tested values of classic sushi. But for others, offerings like sushi cheesecake and pizza rolls are a chance to experience something truly unique.
No matter what your preference is, Chicago’s most innovative sushi bars offer a smorgasbord of unique dishes. Yuzu Sushi & Robatayaki in Ravenswood offers an interesting take on their signature Dragon Roll, which features tempura shrimp and spicy mayo on top of sushi rice and avocado slices. At RA Sushi Bar Restaurant in River North, patrons can try their Crispy Red Beard roll, a seaweed wrap with spicy tuna, crispy onion, jalapeno and garlic ponzu sauce. And over at Café Ibarra in West Loop, don’t miss out on their Heart Attack Roll — seared beef strip steak marinated with sake soy sauce and garlic chips.
Looking for something even more creative? Hot Woks Cool Sushi in Avondale serves up their own version of sushi lasagna; ko-kon-raku in Lakeview has their Fanta’stic Roll that combines fried shrimp tempura with eel avocado cream cheese; and Rainforest Café has their Spicy Poké Seafood bowl—a combination of Hawaiian yellowfin poke, cucumber and avocado rolled into seaweed wraps atop sushi rice—for those seeking a true flavor adventure.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal taste when choosing which specialties to sample while exploring your favorite local sushi bars in Chicago. Up next: we’ll cover some of the most innovative sushi-bar rolling techniques being used by chefs across the Windy City.
Innovative Sushi-Bar Rolling Techniques
Discovering the best sushi bars in Chicago begins with recognizing the unique rolling techniques that contribute to a delicious experience. Although some may argue that traditional sushi-rolling is the only way to make great sushi, there are those who appreciate the innovative approaches used in the modern sushi bar. Using both classic and disruptive rolling techniques, skilled chefs are able to create contemporary and inventive dishes that satisfy even the most refined palate.
For example, many of the cutting-edge sushi bars in Chicago incorporate a technique known as “inside-out” rolling. This style involves flipping a typical maki roll inside out so that the fish and vegetables appear on the outside. Furthermore, sushi burritos – which feature traditional ingredients like tuna, salmon, or eel – are becoming all the rage in top-tier eateries across town.
At its core, innovative sushi-bar rolling techniques are all about creating an exciting, savory experience that can’t be found elsewhere. By layering flavors and textures in creative ways, restaurants bring a touch of modernity to age-old recipes while still honoring Japanese tradition.
A popular way to celebrate this marriage of tradition and innovation is through omakase menus: chef’s choice meals that contain several courses of unique dishes prepared with time-tested techniques. With more and more sushi bars in Chicago offering these types of limited menus, it’s easy for adventurous eaters to sample multiple rolls in one sitting for maximum flavor exploration.
From inside out rolls to omakase menus, Chicago’s best sushi bars provide consumers with endless options for discovering new flavor combinations and textures. In our next section we’ll take a look at some of the most popular places throughout the city where you can satisfy your craving for tantalizing rolls.
Popular Chicago Sushi-Bars People Enjoy
Chicago is home to some of the most delicious sushi restaurants in the country, from high-end establishments to hole-in-the-wall spots that serve up fantastic rolls. Many people have their favorite go-to sushi spots – from the classic Chicago restaurant to the place with creative rolls.
Popular Chicago Sushi-Bars People Enjoy includes: Kamehachi – located on Wells Street, this spot has been around since 1972, serving up traditional Japanese dishes and sushi; Yuzu – American and Japanese fusion flavors come alive with guests favorites like Dynamite Salmon Specials; Arami – this stylish eatery offers innovative sushi dishes made with local ingredients; and Shikago’s – an upscale spot boasting a chic atmosphere and ground breaking creations like shrimp tempura and yellowtail roll, as well as its signature ‘Black Pig’ roll.
Debate among Chicago locals also exists regarding which sushi spots are the best. Some prefer to get their fix on the South Side while others head North for their favorite flavor combinations, proving that there is something for everyone throughout the city.
The range of options isn’t exclusive to the type of diner either – high end restaurants often offer the same quality sushi you might find at a mom-and-pop joint for a fraction of the cost. Ultimately, it comes down to preference when selecting which sushi bar in Chicago hits all the right notes for each guest.
Now that we have an overview of some of Chicago’s most popular sushi bars, let’s dive deeper and discover the best places according to locals in our next section: Locals’ Guide to the Best Sushi Bars in Chicago.
Locals’ Guide to the Best Sushi Bars in Chicago
Chicago’s sushi-dining scene is full of wildly diverse options, so choosing the best amongst the many excellent sushi bars can be a daunting task. Fortunately, locals know plenty about the city’s sushi bars, from tiny ramen shops to upscale fine-dining destinations. Here’s a guide to some of the best sushi bars in Chicago for anyone looking for an unforgettable meal.
For high-end experiences, Kamehachi has been called “the granddaddy of all Japanese restaurants in the city” and offers both classic Japanese dishes and inventive sushi rolls. For those that enjoy creative sushi combinations, Urbanbelly has been praised for their presentation, flavors and inviting atmosphere. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a classic understanding of traditional sushi culture, seaside shack Arami is renowned for serving up some of the freshest fish available in town.
No matter your preference or dietary constraints, there are plenty of incredible options for local Chicagoans when it comes to finding a great spot for sushi. But when it comes down to it, quality of ingredients, technique and skill are all extremely important components for a truly satisfying experience. Let’s now explore the mini details that go into making every sushi bar unique by looking at the overall experience offered in Chicago’s most beloved establishments.
Overall Experience in Chicago Sushi-Bars
Chicago has an incredibly rich and diverse sushi scene, likely rivaled only by a few other cities in the country. From traditional to modern, high-end to low-key, there’s something for everyone in the Windy City. The overall experience in Chicago sushi bars ranges from intimate, highly personalized dining experiences to fast-casual buffet options.
For those looking for the most personalized experience in a Chicago sushi bar, Makato Sushi offers an upscale omakase style of dining. Omakase translates to “I’ll leave it up to you”, which is exactly what the chef does at Makato – they craft each dish based on your individual taste preferences and dietary restrictions. By working directly with the chef, diners are able to customize their meals and ask questions about specific dishes while enjoying top-notch delicacies.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, diners looking for more of a casual sushi experience, can find just that at one of Chicago’s favorite all-you-can-eat sushi buffets. Genki Sushi offers a wide selection of delicious items like hand rolls and sashimi that are served right away – no waiting! Although not as specialized or specialized and personalized as Makato, Genki still offers a great value and allows patrons to sample many different items quickly and easily.
Overall, no matter what type of experience you’re looking for when it comes to sushi in Chicago, you’re sure to find something that suits your tastes. Those looking for an intimate culinary adventure may want to look into Makato Sushi whereas those wanting something more laid-back may prefer Genki Sushi – either way you’re sure to have a great time!
Answers to Common Questions with Detailed Explanations
What qualities make a sushi bar “the best” in Chicago?
The best sushi bars in Chicago should have several qualities that make them stand out from the competition. First, they should source their fish and ingredients from local suppliers to ensure the highest quality and freshness. Second, their chefs should have a proven track record of creating innovative sushi dishes. Third, the atmosphere should be cozy and inviting, with a knowledgeable staff that can help customers make informed choices about what to order. Finally, generous portions and reasonable prices are always a plus when considering the “best” sushi bars in Chicago. If a sushi bar meets these criteria and has good reviews from fellow diners, it could justifiably be considered one of the top sushi bars in the city.
What differentiates local sushi bars from each other?
Local sushi bars differ from each other in a number of ways, including the quality of fish and ingredients used, the type and variety of sushi offered, the atmosphere and ambiance of the restaurant, and the service provided.
When it comes to quality, some sushi bars serve fresh, high-grade fish and ingredients while others use more affordable options. Similarly, some restaurants feature an extensive menu that offers different types of sushi – from traditional rolls and sashimi to more experimental combinations – while others focus on more familiar options.
The atmosphere and ambiance of a sushi bar can also vary significantly. From casual spots with counter seating to upscale restaurants with full service, there’s a local sushi bar for every occasion. Finally, no matter the setting or price range, great service is always essential. Professional waitstaff who are knowledgeable about their menu items can help make your experience all the better.
In sum, there are many factors that differentiate local sushi bars from each other – from quality of ingredients to atmosphere to service. While some may focus on more familiar flavors, others may prioritize freshness and experimentation. Ultimately, when it comes to finding the best sushi bar in Chicago, locals know that differentiating details matter.
What are the must-try dishes at the top sushi bars in Chicago?
The must-try dishes at the top sushi bars in Chicago depend on the individual preference of the diner. However, the following dishes are some of the most popular choices:
1. Nigiri: Nigiri is a type of sushi usually composed of a slice of raw fish atop seasoned rice. It can be found in many traditional sushi bars and is often made with fresh, high-quality ingredients.
2. Sashimi: This classic dish consists of thinly sliced slices of raw fish, which can be any number of varieties. It is often served elegantly arranged on skewers with daikon radish or other garnishes.
3. Temaki: Temaki are hand rolls of seaweed filled with fish and other ingredients like cucumber and avocado. They are usually served with a hot chili sauce that gives them an extra flavor kick.
4. Gunkan-maki: Also known as battleship rolls, gunkan-maki consist of a nori sheet filled with sashimi, mayonnaise-based sauces, and other ingredients. They provide an interesting combination of textures and flavors in one bite.
5. Unagi: Unagi is eel cooked over charcoal and glazed with a sweet sauce made from sake and soy sauce. It’s an iconic presence in many top sushi bars in Chicago and can make for an unexpected surprise for adventurous diners who haven’t tried it before.