The Four Best Sushi Restaurants In Raleigh, North Carolina

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Hi everyone… happy fall or just the idea of it if you live in North Carolina or the Southeast and you’re still experiencing 90 degree days… no complaints from me ?

A quick post today after a long hiatus from blogging. I wanted to share the best four sushi restaurants in Raleigh. I have been very lucky to have received great recommendations from friends and family, specifically my dad, who has been to Japan multiple times on business and has experienced first hand true nigiri, sashimi, maki, etc. One thing he told me that I keep in mind is the mark of a real sushi restaurant, that is,

“You should never smell the fish.” In Japan, the sushi is normally brought in fresh daily or hourly, cut and served immediately so there’s never time for that classic fish smell we all hate to appear.

I am constantly surprised and disappointed at the number of friends or family who don’t like sushi because they’ve had bad experiences – normally this is because the fish they ate wasn’t fresh or high quality OR they’ve paid a lot of money to dine at a restaurant that served $15 rolls that consisted of 80% cream cheese and tiny pieces of fish.. no names here but feel free to send me a message if you’re curious about some of the less than ideal sushi experiences I’ve had in the Triangle.

Good Sushi Should Have Three Components:

  1. Fresh Fish
  2. Limited Fillers (ex: if you order a tuna roll the majority of the roll should be tuna, not cheap fillers like cucumber, cream cheese, scallions, etc.)
  3. Less Trendy, More Fresh, Simple Ingredients – Steamed Rice, Avocado, Roe, etc.

Sushi Tsune 

Located on Hillsborough Street near NC State, Tsune is an older and family-owned restaurant. I recommend the Udon, Pork Shogayaki, or a classic California Roll. Sushi Tsune’s California Roll is one of the best I’ve ever had.

Kashin (Not Technically in Raleigh but it is the best of the best):

Kashin is a tiny restaurant and one of my all-time favorites. Seriously, it is so good. I recommend the Dynamite Role, Yummy Yummy Role and Yellow Jacket Role. You could also try the aburri salmon (flame-torched (!!) seared salmon with a house sauce on top)

Waraji on Duraleigh Road:

Waraji is a great option if you really care about an abundance of fresh fish in addition to a wide variety of unique fish. I recommend trying several types of nigiri or a sashimi platter. Waraji really goes above and beyond and I’ve spent birthdays as well as nights out here and never ever been disappointed.

City Market Sushi Downtown:

The sushi at City Market is great quality with added points for presentation and style. I also love the extensive sake menu. The ambience and atmosphere at this restaurant is also a bit dressier if you’re looking for a night out.