SF Bay Area
Food and drink that has us seeing gold
While Philadelphia is known as the city of brotherly, it is also known as a city of aspiring foodies. Aside from our famous sandwich, Philly offers an abundant variety of eats that leave locals and visitors a culinary experience to remember (or never forget). Among the growing number of good grubs lie one particular type of food that has ‘foodnatics’ raving: Sushi. It’s no secret sushi has steadily become a trendy and sought after cuisine in many cities across the country—Philly being no exception. Many who call themselves sushi aficionados, myself included, will tell you that Philly does sushi right.
If you live in the Philadelphia area or are visiting and you want to check out our food scene, including sushi on your list is a must. Check out these top ten sushi places (in no particular order) offering bites of Grade A fish that will guarantee explosions of flavors in your mouth.
The Flaming Dragon Roll (my favorite), is a must try for sushi lovers who live and die for spicy tuna. The roll has a crunchy spicy tuna inside and is wrapped with avocado and eel and topped with tobiko.
Zento is top of the list when it comes to flavor and ambiance.
There are many solid sushi choices to choose from in this city and Morimoto is proof that Philly really does care about sushi. Located in Washington Square West, this upscale restaurant specializes in sushi bites that are meant to blow your taste palette away. The menu is prepared by Food Network star and Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto. This sushi place, though it comes with a steep price, will leave you in culinary heaven. Treat yourself.
Bubblefish, famous for their sushi burger (Yes, I said burger), have sushi fanatics from all over the city and beyond coming to dine at this spot in Chinatown. Bubblefish offers a variety of sashimi and sushi specials daily. If you’re in the mood to pair your sushi with a cold and made-to-order bubble tea, this place won’t let you down. It is well-deserving of being in Philly’s top ten sushi restaurants.
Now that we got the burger out of the way, let’s talk about the burrito. Hai Street is the first and only food joint in Philadelphia that serves sushi in burrito form. They’re pretty much the Chipotle of sushi burrito. Their storefronts in Rittenhouse Square and University City serve both raw and cooked sushi burritos, bowls and salads—perfect for first-time sushi goers and veterans.
Vic, located in Center City, is a great spot for sushi lovers who want quality rolls, but are on a budget. The restaurant has been serving the area for almost a decade and has won the ‘Smashingest Specialty Rolls’ by City Paper Choice Awards. If you’re looking for a good, decadent specialty roll drenched in spicy mayo and eel sauce, Vic’s got your back.
Nothing pairs better with a good piece of sashimi than a nice cup of sake. At 1225Raw, modern sushi bar meets à la mode taste. The restaurant serves an array of fresh fish and sake options—basically, there’s something for everyone. Feel like eating sushi late night? 1225Raw is open until 2 a.m. (Try their new pumpkin sake). Bottoms up.
Another favorite sushi spot that seems to do sushi right. Umai Umai is located in Fairmount and creates rolls that have locals rolling back for more. This intimate restaurant is BYO and is praised by foodies for their incredibly fresh fish and seafood. If you’re looking for Grade A taste on a Grade C budget, Umai Umai will satisfy your needs.
Five words. All. You. Can. Eat. Sushi. I know what you’re thinking. Sushi served buffet style isn’t the most appealing idea. But don’t put the idea down until you’ve been to Aki. This sushi restaurant in Center City has a 27 dollar all-you-can-eat sushi deal. Shower yourself with endless specialty rolls. It’s worth the money, I promise. But, if you’re still not feeling the buffet, the restaurant also offers a full menu.
Fat Salmon is for those who love trying new, adventurous rolls. The Japanese restaurant offers your classic sushi choices, but just recently started offering four new crazy rolls—combinations from salmon & mussel, kimchi & yam tempura, eggplant & cream cheese and chicken & cabbage will have you feeling some type of way. It’s a no brainer that Fat Salmon is top ten.
Last, but not least, we have Zama. Chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka, is one of the Philadelphia’s most venerated sushi chefs, and is famed for his sushi craftsmanship. Zama was named in Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants list and is distinguished as one of the Best Sushi restaurants by Zagat. If you’re looking for a dining experience that’s been vetted by sushi connoisseurs across the city, Zama’s the top dog.
Binh Nguyen is a guest contributor for Chowhound by day and self-proclaimed food fanatic by night. Follow her on Twitter.