Philadelphia has long been a town known for its vibrant dining scene and for being ahead of the curve on food trends, from upscale vegan cuisine to fine Middle Eastern fare. That also goes for sushi; the city’s roster of excellent sushi spots come in all shapes and sizes, some classic, some trend-forward, pretty much all of which serve the iconic Philly roll.
1. Azie on Main
University towns are known for good food, and that goes double for Villanova, whose students and professors flock to the tasty and affordable Azie on Main. The eponymous signature roll combines some of our favorite flavors: spicy tuna, scallion, avocado, tempura crunch, and eel sauce. PS: One of the most popular dishes, the Kobe Beef Fried Rice, is a must-order dish.
2. Fat Salmon
Brothers Sean and Jack Yoo run the sleek, modern-looking Fat Salmon, one of the most consistently crowded spot in Old Town. About that name? On their website they explain it like this: “You might think the name Fat Salmon is funny, but nothing is finer than a thick, fatty center-cut piece of salmon.” So order whatever strikes your fancy — shrimp tempura rolls, edamame — but include some salmon, perhaps topped on fried planks of crispy rice.
3. Bleu Sushi
Bleu Sushi brings the tastes of Japan right to Center City. Get things started with the crispy-creamy crab cream croquettes and add on sushi — perhaps the fabulously over-the-top Sushi and Sashimi Boat, 10 pieces of sushi, 24 pieces of sashimi with two rolls and two salads or soups, all indeed served on a boat. The Japanese import menu features an ever-changing rotation of unique specialties that are only available for a limited time, like mandarin and yuzu juices. Check out the reasonably priced lunchtime specials, too.
An Old City gem, Tomo serves up traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern touch and a flair for vegan and vegetarian specialties, like the veggie buns and gyoza. Tomo has a long menu packed with all your sushi favorites plus 11 kinds of ramen, about half of which are vegetarian or vegan, and one of which (the vegan miso ramen) can be made gluten-free.
Sushi and hibachi are the cornerstones of the cuisine at this West Philly restaurant, but you can also enjoy chef’s specials hot out of the kitchen, such as the chicken katsu, mango chicken, and shrimp yaki udon. There’s a long vegetarian roll menu, from simple (sweet potato tempura, peanut avocado) to complex (the vegetarian tempura roll is stuffed with asparagus, seaweed salad, tofu, and avocado before the whole thing is dunked into a fryer). Whatever you order, the spicy salmon pizza appetizer (fresh salmon, guacamole, spicy mayo, and eel sauce atop a scallion pancake) is a stunning way to start your meal.
6. Sushi Land
Bryn Mawr’s Sushi Land has been serving sushi on the Mainline for nearly 20 years. A community favorite, Sushi Land offers all the sushi classics plus some lesser-seen offerings, like Japanese pickles, and udon and soba noodle entrees. The deluxe bento box with miso soup, salad, tempura, gyoza, sashimi, and a California roll is a solid way to sample the menu.
7. Crazy Sushi
If you’re with a group and you can’t quite decide between sushi, udon, or teriyaki, and one friend has a strong craving for pad Thai, we have good news for you. Located in Center City West, Crazy Sushi has it all. One of the most popular items is the eponymous roll, generously stuffed with shrimp tempura, both spicy crunchy tuna and spicy crunchy lobster, masago, and avocado. Crazy, indeed.
8. Fat Tuna
Located near St. Joseph’s University, Fat Tuna (no relation to #2, Fat Salmon!) has a menu that will make any sushi aficionado smile. There are all the usual suspects, plus a long list of inventive signature rolls; standouts include the Pink Forest (lobster salad atop a spicy salmon-laden California roll) and Volcano (shrimp tempura, avocado, spicy tuna). Ramen dishes and hard-to-find Japanese sodas round out the menu.
You may come for the sushi (and you absolutely should; we like the sampler platter), but you’d be remiss not to add a rich bowl of authentic Hakata-style Tonkotsu ramen. The deeply flavored broth is steeped for 24 hours. After just one sip, you’ll understand on a visceral level the name of the dish (and the restaurant!): Aki Nom Nom.
Opened in the Voorhees Town Center in 2013, Elena Wu has received accolades from Zagat as well as local media. They serve Chinese fare both classic (honey walnut chicken) and modern (Chinese Pizza on a scallion pancake) in addition to classic sushi rolls and nigiri. Whichever road you choose, add an order of egg rolls; they come with homemade duck sauce.
11. Tsuki Sushi
Tsuki in Rittenhouse offers high-quality sushi at prices that won’t leave you with sticker shock. They offer nearly 30 classic rolls, any of which you could order as a hand roll. The sushi bar entrées are particularly good deals, whether you order one for yourself or a variety for a party.
Chef Joseph Kim hails from New Jersey by way of Korea, but he came to love sushi as a kid, and after a stint in culinary school and two decades of honing his craft, he opened Dawa in – where else? – Fishtown. DaWa has a cult following for its sushi rolls and sashimi and deservedly so, consistently earning praise from the likes of Philadelphia Inquirer and Thrillist. Pro tip: Their ramen is delicious as well.
13. Sushi & Poke
There’s even more to Sushi & Poke than the name suggests. Sushi comes in all forms here, with plenty of vegetarian rolls, and there are poke bowls and even burritos (wrapped in seaweed and delicious!). They also have hot kitchen appetizers (the deep-fried scallop Bang Bang absolutely bangs) and ramen, making this another ideal pick for groups.
In addition to the epic sushi selections at Drexel Hill’s Masami, there are pan-fried noodles, teriyaki, tempura, hot pots, and bento boxes. Our advice? Mix things up with a few creative rolls (Gozilla is deep-fried, with spicy tuna and avocado) plus an order of hibachi filet mignon. Masami also has one of the city’s best kid’s menus: The Kid’s Hibachi Dinners include a freshly fired protein (chicken, steak, shrimp, or salmon) plus miso soup, salad, shrimp appetizer, and veggie fried rice.
A Spring Garden darling, Kenshin from restaurateur Kenny Poon (Tango) serves sushi that’s a true feast for the eye as well as the palate. See the Ken Shin roll with imitation crab, avocado, tuna, and masago, wrapped in thin slices of cucumber and speared so they look like little sushi popsicles. Hand rolls, maki, nigiri, and sushi entrees fill out the menu.
You don’t have to be in Philadelphia proper to score some first-rate sushi. Haddonfield’s Megu is a crown jewel in the town’s culinary crown. If you’re ordering for a group, the generous Love Boats are the way to go, as they let you sample your way through Megu’s finest cuts of sashimi as well as sushi, rolls, miso soup, and salad. The delicately steamed shrimp shumai elevate any order.
Suburban Vorhees lays claim to a top sushi spot in the Philadelphia area. Akira serves a complete menu of all things sushi in addition to noodle dishes and larger-format hibachi meals. The Unmatched roll is true to its name; the eel-avocado sushi roll is topped with spicy tuna and crab, but it’s the onion crunch that puts it over the edge.
18. Hakata Inc.
The ramen at Hakata Inc. in Wayne put this spot on the town’s culinary map, but their sushi has helped it stay there. They serve dozens of signature rolls as well as sushi and sashimi, plus buns, rice bowls, poke bowls, mini tacos, and more. Whichever direction you go in, the small plates, especially the caramelized cauliflower, deserve a place at your table.
19. DK Sushi
A sister restaurant to the undeniably cool underground izakaya Double Knot, DK Sushi is a boon to the UPenn campus. While it might not be in as cool a spot, the attitude remains. See the Have Your Fish & Eat It Too section; we not only like the cheeky name but the samplings of rolls and sushi with edamame at prices that even students can afford.
20. Kabuki Sushi
There’s nothing theatrical about Kabuki near Reading Terminal Market. Instead, you’ll find simple, straightforward Japanese dishes like sashimi, gyoza, and bento boxes – plus a long menu of signature rolls. If you have a Japanese hankering around lunchtime, this is your spot. Their lunchtime bento boxes and sushi combos will satisfy your craving (and your appetite!) at a thrifty price.
21. Sushi King
Speaking of, the price is always right at Sushi King in Cherry Hill. You can easily put together a modest-yet-delicious lunch or go all out for you and your friends with large-format party trays. In addition to their raw fish offerings, they serve udon soups and stirfrys and kitchen specialties, such as crispy calamari, rib eye negimaki, and chicken katsu.
If you find yourself in Glenside and in the mood for superb Japanese fare, you’re in good hands at Nagomi. The choices here seem endless in the best possible way, and every last thing is thoughtfully prepared. They have lunch specials and affordable dinner combos, like the choose-any-three rolls. That’s the most popular order; others include the shrimp tempura roll, the spicy crunchy tuna roll, and crab rangoon.
Somerdale’s sushi scene has it going on, all thanks to Umi. This is the place to get a Philadelphia roll. (And what better city to do it?) With smoked salmon, cucumber, and cream cheese, it has the perfect ratio of the three foundational ingredients. Make it a meal by adding a bowl of udon soup, assorted Japanese pickles (oshinko), and crispy tofu with dipping sauce.
Tsunami is another suburban sushi restaurant that proves you can find standout sushi outside city limits. This one serves Thai dishes in addition to an impressive menu of sushi and sashimi. Mix and match: Start with the Thai chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce and then move on to the maki combo (your choice of three rolls plus miso or salad). Add a Thai iced tea or coffee, because you can.
25. Zushi Dozo
Let chef Jae Shin take you on a sushi journey that’ll make you feel far away from this Cherry Hill restaurant. We like starting with one of the excellent salads, like the Ocean Breeze with seaweed, crispy salmon skin, and shallots, dressed in (here’s the kicker) sriracha vinaigrette. It’s particularly fun to choose from Shin’s specialty rolls, some of which aren’t even rolls! We’re talking about the crunchy spicy tuna sandwich, which combines sushi with a finger sandwich to create something extra fun and tasty.
26. Temaki Sushi
They had us at spicy tuna jalapeño popper. This Media, Pennsylvania, ramen and sushi establishment has a menu of sushi’s greatest hits as well as teriyaki and udon; however, the appetizers are where we have the toughest time picking just one. Get the poppers and the deep-fried Tuna Bomb, wrapped in pastry shell and served with guacamole.
27. SUSHI X
X marks the spot for fabulous sushi in Hatboro. The oshizushi, or pressed sushi, will draw you back time and again. If this is your first foray, may we recommend the Koto Oshi with tuna, salmon, spicy tuna, spicy salmon, avocado, and miso sauce? Creative types can also build their own roll, with 30-plus ingredients to choose from. Get inspired by the rolls at the bottom of the menu that were created by customers: The Lynn includes yellowtail, mango, and spicy ponzu sauce. If there are kids around, treat them to adorable animal-shaped kids’ chopsticks and bottles of Japanese soda.
Local foodies have their eye on this Phoenixville spot. It’s a spot-on pick any time – but particularly if the group is craving a broad menu of Asian favorites. Mizu serves a selection of Chinese, Japanese, and Thai, so everyone will be happy, the sushi fans in particular. The sushi bar entrees come with miso soup or a salad and generous portions.
You will love the Love Boat for Two from Audoban’s Futomaki. With 10 pieces of sushi and 25 pieces of sashimi plus a rainbow roll and a dragon roll, this spread is fit for two diners who have reached their daily 10,000 steps. If you’re hosting a crowd, you could go for one of the laden party trays, or order a variety: perhaps a few sushi burritos (oh, it’s exactly what you think it is, and it’s delicious), a plate or two of beef teriyaki and chicken katsu and salmon hibachi. You get the gist: The menu is long and full of hearty, tasty fare.
30. Hibachi 2 Go
Sushi is actually the star at Hibachi 2 Go in West Passyunk. There are eight hibachi meals to choose from, but the rest of the long menu is chock full of all things sushi. The vegetable sushi options at Hibachi are impressive; even meat eaters will enjoy the honey-roasted peanut avocado roll; even raw-fish-adverse will love the tempura rolls. As for the fish fans, they’ll be the happiest of all. The sashimi is incredibly fresh and reasonably priced: One order comes with three slices.
31. Bamboo Bistro
Swarthmore’s most beloved sushi spot is versatile. Yes, it has incredible sushi, but Bamboo has much more than that. Our go-to order? Begin with the fried pork dumplings, add the spider roll (soft shell crab), and then choose a Thai curry or the tangy orange chicken. If you want to stick to sushi, there’s a variety of affordable sushi entrees and platters.
32. Mr Sushi
Formerly known as Makiman Sushi, the only thing that’s changed at this Japanese restaurant and sushi bar in Northeast Philadelphia is the name. Mr Sushi prides itself (as Makiman did) on serving fresh fish and terrific rolls (the Ex-Girlfriend has shrimp tempura inside, crab meat outside, and eel sauce and tempura flakes all over). The Donburi (rice bowl) menu includes Korean-sushi fusion like the sashimi-grade tuna bi bim bap. There’s a long dessert menu, too, that includes brownies with ice cream and green tea tiramisu.
33. Tokyo Bleu
This south Jersey spot in Cinnaminson hits all the notes you want in a sushi joint. They have hot kitchen appetizers and entrees, like katsu and tempura, but sushi is the star here — both the full menu of the usual suspects and the special sushi appetizers. We especially love the Tuna Dumpling with king crab, avocado, and wasabi tobiko, all wrapped in thin slices of tuna.
A classic sushi spot located in Upper Darby, Tomo has a focused menu that will pass muster with even the most discerning of sushi connoisseurs. Pick a few starters, such as the bright ginger salad and crispy shrimp tempura, and then curate your ultimate sushi order with some sashimi and one of their tasty, creative rolls, such as the Playboy (yellowtail and avocado topped with jalapeño, masago, and spicy mayo).
Restaurateur Quanren Lin has decades of experience in crafting memorable dining experiences, and Volcano in West Berlin, New Jersey, lives up to his reputation. Volcano is named for hibachi’s fiery cooking method, although you will find stellar sushi here as well. The Scorpion King roll, crafted with shrimp tempura roll and soft shell crab roll topped with shrimp and eel sauce, is worthy of The Rock himself.