There’s no shortage of fresh caught flavor with well over 20 sushi restaurants between Issaquah, Redmond, and Bellevue alone. With so many to choose from, how does one know where to begin? While any sushi experience depends not just on the restaurant offerings, but any particular person’s taste and preferences, we’ve had consistently good experiences (echoed by recommendations from friends) for the following spots. With that, here are eight tried and true sushi restaurants for the seafood loving Eastsider to discover.
Aji Sushi & Grill, Issaquah
The head chef at Aji has over 20 years experience in the industry, and it shows. Aji has been our go-to date night spot for the last couple years, and as such we’ve sampled a huge variety of their menu items and have yet to be disappointed. They have one of the most extensive menus of the restaurants on our list, and are a popular spot on the Highlands so we recommend showing up early to avoid a wait.
Must try dish: If you enjoy sushi rolls with all bells and whistles, don’t leave without trying their signature Aji Roll – comprised of rolled salmon, tuna, tempura shrimp, krab, and avacado, topped with crunch flakes, fish eggs, wasabi mayo, and eel sauce.
Chinoise Cafe, Issaquah
Also on the Issaquah Highlands, Chinoise is a sushi bar and Asian grill fusion restaurant, specializing in Pan-Pacific Rim cuisines including: an impressive full sushi menu, pho and udon noodle dishes, wok fare, fried rice dishes and more. They have a beautiful restaurant and there is a noticeable attention to detail in the dining environment. Come for the sushi, stay for the full experience.
Must try dish: One of the things we love about Chinoise is that they offer both pristine and simple nigiri and maki rolls, but also some unique combinations we don’t see elsewhere. We recommend giving their Caribbean Roll a try – this combination of coconut shrimp and snow crab, topped with avocado, black tobiko and jalapeno, served with a mint chili dipping sauce, will transport you to that summer state of mind even on a rainy PNW evening.
Orenji Sushi & Noodles, Issaquah
Down the hill from the highlands in Downtown Issaquah you’ll find Orenji Sushi & Noodles. The hidden gem of our list, Orenji Sushi & Noodles serves both traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes including sushi entrees, rolls, sashimi, nigiri, ramen and udon. This family owned restaurant, opened in 2017, is a true testament of owners that take great pride in their establishment – from the casual but impeccably well kept dining area, the kindest staff, and instagram worthy menu selections, Orenji should be a stop on any Eastside sushi lover’s list.
Must try dish: Their signature roll, the Orenji Dragon, is filled with shrimp tempura, krab and cucmber, then topped with seared salmon, aioli, tobiko, scallions and unagi. Sampling this roll was the first time we had tried a dish with seared salmon, and we have been craving the unique flavor ever since!
Oto Sushi, Redmond and Kirkland
Oto Sushi has two Eastside locations, our favorite being the charming little hideaway tucked in a strip mall in Downtown Redmond. Don’t let the outside fool you – the ambiance here is fabulous and the sushi even better. I worked within a dangerously close walking distance from Oto Redmond for two years and was there frequently for after work happy hours or lunch time celebrations with colleagues. During pregnancy I ate just about every one of their vegetarian selections and was never disappointed, making Oto a great spot for those that prefer not to eat raw sushi offerings or dining with vegetarian friends. Oto also has a second location in Kirkland that doesn’t have near the ambiance of their Redmond site, but an extensive menu and wonderful food none the less. Attend with those expectations in mind and you won’t be disappointed.
Must try dish: Because you’re not always in the mood for seafood, and Oto has one of the best veggie rolls we’ve found, we have to give a shout out to their Veggie-Lover Roll: yam, jalapeno, and asparagus are all deep fried and put into a traditional rice roll, then topped cream cheese, eel, and spicy mayo sauces. For a fully vegetarian or vegan roll request to remove the sauces.
Boasting daily happy hours from 11:30-5:30 and located right in the heart of downtown Bellevue, Japonessa is a perfect spot for a weekend lunch or early dinner to accompany an outing to Bellevue Square, the Bellevue Arts Museum, or a walk around the gorgeous Downtown Bellevue Park. They definitely have the most upscale feel of any of the places on our list, and in addition to their extensive sushi menu also offer a popular line-up of seasonal cocktails, wine and sake.
Must try dish: Salmon being a quintessential Seattle seafood offering, any fish loving visitor or resident to the Pacific Northwest ought to give their Seattle Roll a try – a simple healthy combination of salmon, avocado, and cucumber, and tobiko.
Located off the main Bellevue Way drag, just a couple of blocks from Downtown Bellevue’s city center, you’ll find Minamoto bringing the true art of sushi to life. Featuring premium quality ingredients, a focus on traditional Japanese cuisine, and their signature Omakase, the Minamoto experience is stunning from start to finish.
Must try dish: Omakase, meaning “chef’s choice,” is offered as an entree or a 15 to 18 course meal including various appetizers, sashimi, entrees, and desserts that are designed to showcase seasonal ingredients and an incredible arrangement of flavor, color, texture, and temperature. This is a splurge that won’t dissapoint.
I Love Sushi, Bellevue
Locatd just off of 405 in downtown Bellevue, is Bellevue’s first sushi restaurant, I Love Sushi. In operation for over 30 years, I Love Sushi has stood the test of time, and has expanded their menu to include donburi (bowls) and bento (variety platters) in addition to their sushi offerings. They have the most casual atmospheres of the spots on our list, making it a great spot for families. The slightly odd location in a business park area has the added bonus of a view of Lake Bellevue.
Must try dish: Anything on their Nigiri or Sashimi lists! There is a reason Yelpers consistently call out their traditional sushi offerings – with a focus on seafood sourced both locally and flown in from Japan weekly, the focus on quality ingredients is evident.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that consuming raw or undercooked seafood or shell fish can cause foodborne illness, and is done at the own risk of our readers.