Rolling Over: Top 5 Sushi Bars in Honolulu

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Hawaii’s food scene is heavily influenced by Asian cultures. So it’s no surprise Honolulu has got a robust list of eateries boasting fresh and eclectic sushi offerings, from five-star restaurants to hidden izakaya (Japanese taverns).

Here are our Top 5 picks for sushi — and trust us, it was tough narrowing it down:

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1 Sushi Sasabune

The sign outside this sushi bar says it all: “Today’s special: trust me.” Enter the world of omakase, the Japanese style of noshing where you leave it up to the sushi chef to choose what you eat.  Don’t let its modest façade fool you: this is one of the priciest sushi bars in Hawaii. Figure you’ll spend more than $100 and that’s before you order beer or sake. The sashimi melts in your mouth, the rice is top grade, and you’ll be treated to exotic dishes such as fresh abalone in shells, uni (sea urchin) and monk fish liver.

1417 S. King. St.

Honolulu, HI 96814


2 Mitch’s Fish Market & Sushi Bar

This is a true hole-in-the-wall, a hidden gem near the Honolulu International Airport that serves some of the best sushi around. Owner Craig Mitchell ran a seafood company before opening this sushi bar in 2004. So he knows fresh. And this place serves up some of the freshest seafood around, from live lobster to the prized toro (fatty tuna). Like Sasabune, Mitch’s has an omakase dinner for $105 per person that’s worth every penny.

524 Ohohia St.

Honolulu, HI 96819


3 Doraku Sushi

You want thoughtful sushi, head to Doraku Sushi in the Royal Hawaiian Center, which offers a variety of unique Asian/Cuban fare. Each sushi roll here has a distinct flavor and texture; you won’t get bored here. Its happy hour is stellar, too.

2233 Kalakaua Ave.

Honolulu, HI 96815


4 Morimoto Waikiki

If Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is going to work behind the sushi counter, you know the sushi has to be good. While this isn’t just a sushi bar — it’s the signature restaurant at the chic new Modern Honolulu — it does offer an excellent selection of sushi dishes including toro and hamachi tartare, raw oysters, chirashi sushi and Morimoto-style poke with avocado wasabi sorbet. Interesting flavors with high-quality ingredients make this a favorite among sushi aficionados.

The Modern Honolulu, 1775 Ala Moana Blvd.

Honolulu, HI 96815


5 Sansei Restaurant & Sushi Bar

The sushi rolls at this award-winning restaurant by chef D.K. Kodama are both delicious and creative, offering something for any eater. The chefs here are highly imaginative, coming up with signature rolls such as the panko-crusted ahi roll, Kapalua Butterfly roll (with salmon, crab, shiromi and fresh veggies) and the Asian shrimp cake with ginger lime butter and cilantro pesto.

2552 Kalakaua Ave.

Honolulu, HI 96815


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