While the Midwest may not immediately come to mind when one thinks of sushi spots, the truth of the matter is there are some great spots to please anyone’s fresh fish cravings here in the Twin Cities.
I’m still in the process of rediscovering all the sushi havens that we have in the metro area, but so far in my journey, I can safely say our fine cities haven’t disappointed. While some may think there aren’t even 10 places to list, from my experience and suggestions of others, it seems it’s actually tougher to narrow it down to just 10.
I’ve also learned that sushi can be a touchy subject among enthusiasts. With some rating a place based on its fish freshness and others giving high marks depending on the crunchiness of its tempura, there’s no easy way to score a place across the board.
So I went with a few of my personal favorites — and some highly noted extras from sushi specialists. I won’t even pretend to have checked out every sushi spot in the Twin Cities, so inevitably there will be a few that I’ve missed. (I somehow have still not made it to Midori’s or Bagu, for shame, I know.) But that’s why this is more of a sushi conversation. So, let’s start talkin’.
Origami has about as many sushi options as it does awards. The cozy restaurant in Minneapolis has a lower dining room for a bit more of a romantic spot and an upstairs lounge great for groups. The sushi here is fantastic, especially the ever-changing special maki rolls. Order the Nine and A Half roll, you won’t regret it.
Nami’s list of sushi is sure to please any palate. Between fresh nigiri and delicious specialty rolls, Nami has a great selection of different flavors. They’re also known for going beyond the old staples of specialty rolls. Case in point, the Crazy Hawaiian roll with cucumber, avocado, pineapple and cooked spicy salmon. Yum!
Seven – Sushi Ultralounge and Skybar
For sushi downtown with a great view, Seven is one of my faves. I’d recommend the maki rolls during happy hour, when large portions combine with cheap prices. Plus, there’s nothing better than sitting on a rooftop patio enjoying seaweed creations. Try the “Seven” roll or the White Ninja roll.
Wasabi’s a great place to grab sushi before or after a show at the Guthrie — or if you’re looking to skip the vendor food before a Minnesota Vikings game. I’ll admit, the service here leaves something to be desired but the sushi that it’s serving up is quite good.
10060 Citywalk Drive
Shanghai Bistro, formerly known as Giapponese, is definitely one of my favorite places to get sushi. The flavors are bold, there’s not a bad thing on the menu and the combinations within the sushi rolls are fantastic. Stop by for happy hour for great deals on simple rolls. (And check out their delicious and expansive non-sushi menu for your more timid friends.) Plus, there’s another location in Stillwater!
Fuji Ya has a great variety of specialty rolls for prices that won’t break the bank. In my experiences, the sushi is the same at each location but the atmosphere is 100 times better at the Uptown spot. The dragon roll is probably one of the best I’ve had.
Sakura’s location makes it ideal for a stop before an event at the Xcel Center. Though, truth be told, the sushi here is definitely good enough to merit a trip on its own. The sushi menu may not be the biggest in the Twin Cities but it certainly contains some of the biggest flavor. This is especially true with the lobster and asparagus roll.
Tiger Sushi II
One of the best things about Tiger Sushi II in Uptown is the sushi bar, which is located in the center of the restaurant. It’s one of the larger bars I’ve seen and provides for great entertainment when one chooses to saddle up. When the weather cooperates, the patio outside Tiger is awesome for a combination of outdoor views and fresh maki rolls.
The atmosphere of Saji-Ya is totally modern and chic, to the point you almost feel transported to a small cafe in Japan. The sushi bar is lit up in a glow-like fashion with plenty of seating both indoors and out to cater to any mood. The tempura is some of the best with its ability to balance a light, non-greasy crunch with crisp flavors.
Wakame is a great spot for happy hour sushi — mostly because they offer HH prices all day until 6 p.m. and even late night happy hour for those night owls. The selection of signature rolls and fresh sashimi is great, with plenty of options for any type of sushi lover. Plus they’ve even got weekend happy hours (yes, Sundays, too) — bonus!
Mt. Fuji Restaurant
Mt. Fuji gets an honorable mention, because let’s face it — I’m lazy. Sometimes I sit on my couch and dream of sushi and just wish it would magically come to my door — and that’s when Mt. Fuji says, “Be there in 30 to 45 minutes.” This is where sushi meets sweatpants, and for that, I must give them props.
-Sara Boyd is a Web Producer at WCCO.com.