When raw cravings hit, find the best sushi in Chicago at these top-rated restaurants
When it comes to sushi restaurants, Chicago has more great options than you’d expect in a city so far from the ocean. The best sushi in Chicago runs the gamut from grab-and-go cheap eats to high-end omakase menus that are loaded with decadent ingredients like wagyu and fatty tuna. No matter your budget, you don’t have to look far to find pristine seafood at some of the best Japanese restaurants Chicago has to offer. When sushi cravings hit, gobble up delicate pieces of sashimi and nigiri, loaded maki rolls and tasty hand rolls at these top-rated spots. Chopsticks at the ready! Here’s where to find the best sushi in Chicago.
When you’re craving something refined, Naoki Sushi is the place to go. The warmly lit speakeasy-style spot is helmed by chef Naoki Nakashima, who also runs the sushi program at Shaw’s. On the menu, you’ll find classic selections like yellowtail, scallop, salmon and sea urchin alongside specialty rolls like hamachi with scallion, cucumber and yuzu. But the star of the menu is a selection of Naoki-style sashimi plates: Slabs of pristine raw fish are served in flower formations and adorned with tasty, simplistic ingredients like ponzu, black truffle and yuzu.
You’re in good hands with sushi star Kaze Chan (Kaze, Momotaro), who’s crafted a menu of hits using super-fresh ingredients and wildly simple techniques. For a full understanding of Chan’s skills, splurge on a San-Set, consisting of portioned collections of nigiri, sashimi and rolls that are designed to share. For a totally different experience, grab a seat at the hand roll bar, where fresh pockets of crispy seaweed, warm rice and pristine fish are served directly to you from the chefs behind the counter. Chan argues that this type of sushi should be gobbled up as soon as it’s constructed; even a 30-second delay in service could spoil the experience.
Dishing out maki rolls and teishoku (Japanese set meals), this Streeterville restaurant from Lettuce Entertain You is an ideal lunch destination when sushi cravings hit. Though the rolls here are competitively priced (five for $7 or 10 for $12), the combo meals are where it’s at. Each box includes a collection of rolls or sashimi, poke, edamame, miso soup and salad. To really get a feel for chef Kaze Chan’s prowess with raw fish, order the Sushi Lover teishoku box with three pieces of sashimi, a rainbow roll, tuna avocado poke, roasted edamame, miso soup and house salad.
Shaw’s Crab House
Shaw’s is one of our go-to spots for oysters and lobster rolls, but the sushi menu is also worth exploring. Given how serious Shaw’s is about seafood, it’s not surprising that its takes on sushi are simple and well-executed. There are neatly rolled and balanced maki, including combinations like Alaskan King crab, avocado, cucumber and masago, while the slices of salmon, tuna and yellowtail sashimi are precisely cut.