The best sushi on the Upper West Side is some of the best in NYC! Sushi is a healthy and delicious food that can be enjoyed in many-course omakase or quickly at a bar, sushi is as much an Upper West Side food as pizza or bagels. There are sushi places everywhere you go, and many are quite good. Here are a few sushi restaurants on the Upper West Side I particularly recommend.
244 West 72nd Street
We’re going to start with the newest Sushi place in the neighborhood. Sushi Kaito opened in June of 2017 and has since made headlines in the NYC food scene. They were listed among The Infatuation’s list of the best new restaurants during the winter of 2018. There are only two dinner options (12 piece of 16 piece) so you won’t be troubled with a tough decision. Most of their product comes straight from Japan, and their reviews are just as strong as they were when we first wrote about them.
Sushi of Gari
370 Columbus Ave
We start our tour of sushi on the Upper West Side at Gari, which is widely known to have a superior sushi list: no one seems to carry more different species, and all super fresh. This is definitely the place for sushi purists: few crazy roll creations here, but tons of smooth, soft, perfectly sliced and placed little bits of sashimi.
I asked the chef to choose some fish for me, and although this was pricier than Mike’s similarly sized and also excellent regular sashimi dinner, the delicately prepared fatty tuna, yellowtail, poached lobster and grilled butterfish were all just lovely, and somewhat unusual, and the giant single raw oyster was exceptional. We also enjoyed the hijiki salad.
427 Amsterdam Ave
My personal favorite sushi on the Upper West Side comes from Momoya, on Amsterdam and 81st. I love their modern looking natural-materials decor, the outside seating, the hip vibe and, of course, the food. They seem to have really maximized creativity in their menu without creating a flavor profile that could be accused of being anything but Japanese.
Their 6-seaweed salad is a very tasty educational experience, their edamame dumplings feel luxurious in your mouth, and their kanpachi with yuzu is another great way to begin the meal. Although I lean towards Chirashi (which is great), their rolls have tempted me too — a recent special was a crab and avocado roll topped with spicy scallop and shrimp, which had an amazing sauce on it and some little crunchy bits on top, and it was fabulous and very filling (that was a one-roll meal!) They also have enough non-sushi deliciousness that I can drag our Dad there with no complaints.
Mimi Restaurant uses only seasonal ingredients, with a special menu showcasing their chef’s daily choice of fresh fish, meat and vegetables. In May of 2017, Mimi welcomed a new head chef with over 30 years of Japanese culinary experience, resulting in a brand new menu. The new menu features appetizers including seared scallop topped with sea urchin, salmon carpaccio, spicy pork belly, and rib eye steak.
1280 Amsterdam Ave
This location, all the way at the upper end of our neighborhood at 123rd and Amsterdam in Morningside Heights, deserves recognition for it’s excellent variety: they have one side for sushi, and another side for hibachi, plus a whole Chinese and Thai menu. Their decor is a little odd (blue lights coming from the floor?) and they have no website but thankfully seamless web has their menu. The shocking thing is that their food is all really good — all of it.
The sushi is reliably very fresh, with both excellent conventional nigiri and rolls and several delicious combos — try the valentine roll — and their Hibachi, if a little silly, is a fun evening out with your less raw-fish-amenable friends. The Thai food is good too – they have mix-and-match style Thai ordering which didn’t make the shrimp with “mango cuisine style” any less enjoyable. So for sushi uptown, or sushi when not everyone agrees, this is my pick.
251 West 72nd Street
(Description by Stacey Harris)
Sushi Yasaka, located at 251 West 72nd Street, is a popular spot for seafood and sushi on the Upper West Side. Many people call it their go-to spot for neighborhood sushi, and I can see why! With its simple, classic offerings and consistently friendly and attentive service, it can often be crowded, so I recommend you make reservations.
For dinner, try the Omakase for two (twelve pieces, chef’s choice), for a unique sushi experience. For lunch, there is a Mini Omakase available. The pieces are melt-in-your-mouth soft and buttery, and the price is right. There is also a beautiful selection of hot and cold appetizers, sashimi, sushi, and tempura a la carte, and traditional maki and hand rolls. The ambiance at Sushi Yasaka is casual, calming, and pleasant, and most importantly, the fish is fresh and delicious. It can be hard to find such tasty, quality sushi at these prices, so Yasaka is a true catch.
285 Columbus Ave
(Description by Mike Mishkin)
Tenzan has a large, sleek space with floor-to-ceiling windows and several TV screens.
Popular items include their inside-out Alaska roll with salmon, avocado and cucumber, as well as their shrimp tempura rolls. The steamed shrimp dumplings are also a hit.
Here are some links for you to check out their reviews:
433 Amsterdam Ave
(Description by Mike Mishkin)
Haru Sushi has six New York City locations, but their Upper West Side restaurant is the original (it opened in 1996). They have an extensive list of specialty rolls named after NYC neighborhoods.
The “Park Ave” is spicy red and white tuna, mango, avocado and tempura flakes, topped with gold leaf.
They offer some pretty unique sushi creations as well, like their “Strawberry Fin” which is a crunchy spicy yellowtail with jalapeno, mango, scallops, wasabi and strawberry on top!
100 West 82nd Street
(Description by Mike Mishkin)
Going to Flame is the equivalent to both dinner AND a movie. This Upper West Side sushi restaurant is also a hibachi restaurant, which means you get to watch the chefs live! It’s a great venue for a first date, as there’s plenty of built-in conversation consisting of “wow!” and “look at that!”. And maybe as your confidence grows, some “I can probably do that”.
The menu at Flame includes house made dim sum options, like beef potstickers and mushroom dumplings. And a massive sushi and sashimi menu with all kinds of combinations.
Do you have a favorite sushi place I don’t know about? Please tell me. I’m a sushi fiend! Of course, you could always roll your own, like I sometimes do.