Where to Find the Best (Affordable!) Sushi
Great and cheap aren’t typically two words you hear in the same sentence when it comes to sushi, but we promise you, it does exist. Affordable and delicious, the high-quality, freshly caught fish at these popular establishments is sourced from local markets and served under the skilled hands of well-trained sushi chefs, while eschewing the pomp and theatrics found in most luxury sushi restaurants. These are the top sushi bars in the country you can visit on a budget.
(New York City and Los Angeles)
The reason there’s a line out the door at this celebrated bicoastal sushi spot: $23 lunch omakase (and shockingly affordable dinner omakase, too). Master sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa has been charming sushi purists and the masses alike with his Trust Me-style sushi using high-quality fish beyond the basics (you won’t find California rolls, spicy tuna rolls or teriyaki here), no-show prep (rolls are made BOH) and no-tipping policy. There’s even curated omakase takeout that comes with the same care and attention as the in-house experience.
Rolls rule the house at Elephant Sushi. Frequenters of the mom-and-pop Russian Hill sushi bar clamor for the double albacore ($16), packing white tuna inside and outside the roll with honey mustard, and the Ya Man Roll ($13), made with king salmon, cucumber, scallion, fried red onion chips and pesto ponzu sauce. As with all things delicious and affordable, there is usually a bit of a wait for these generously sized rolls.
This hole-in-the-wall sushi counter in Albany Park is the local hush-hush spot for the best take-out sushi. It’s standing room only and looks like a hybrid between a supply closet and someone’s living room. Rolls start at $2 and tap out at $10.95 (for the larger-than-life Godzilla Roll). So for a little more than $20, you can load up on two spicy salmon rolls, two rainbow rolls and a tuna roll—all beautifully plated. There's even dollar nigiri. If there were ever a place to go nuts, it’s here.
The place might be tiny, but Sushi Enya in Little Tokyo offers generously rolled portions presented on dizzyingly long white plates. Chef Kimiyasu Enya trained for more than a decade in Japan and sources fresh fish daily from local markets. Special rolls, like the popular Cherry Blossom (spicy tuna wrapped with crabmeat topped with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, green onion and avocado), average $14.80 and are more than enough to leave you with a full sushi belly.
Sashimi for $2? Lunchtime bento boxes for $10? We’ll see you at Matsuri, the popular Coral Gables sushi establishment—located in a strip mall—that draws a crowd. Matsuri is clean, neat and has a bit of a humorous side (take, for instance, one of its roll combos the Mr. Bush at 3PM, which in addition to the tuna and wasabi mayo, includes a pretzel if you get the joke). Pro tip: Be sure to call and make a reservation as it’s almost always packed.
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