Whether you’re a strict traditionalist or you like your salmon roses served with a dollop of mayo and topped with a tempura prawn, we’ve put together a list of some of the best sushi restaurants in South Africa. Serving everything from new-style sashimi to crunchy bamboo rolls, 2017’s best sushi spots will test your chopstick skills with their gloriously fresh selection.
This list comprises the Asian restaurants in the Eat Out 500 that serve sushi, as rated and reviewed by our critics for the 2017 Eat Out magazine, as well as other not-to-be-missed sushi spots around SA.
This local favourite boasts a large, crowd-pleasing menu with options for all palates. Dedicated sushi chefs prepare your favourite options like salmon sashimi, cream-cheese California rolls, prawn tempura and wasabi parcels.
This popular takeaway and sit-down spot offers comforting Asian favourites. Enjoy the classics of sashimi, nigiri, maki, fashion sandwiches and rolls, as well as chefs’ specials of salmon roses, rainbow rolls and tiger rolls.
Big Mouth (Sandton)
Located at Nelson Mandela Square, Big Mouth is a contemporary take on the classic diner, infused with culinary influences and ingredients from around the globe. The extensive sushi menu features everything from sushi bowls and sashimi to classic salmon roses, hand rolls and sandwiches. There’s also a signature list with bamboo rolls, rock shrimp tempura, prawn rolls and Philadelphia cream-cheese rolls.
Catch (Bedford View)
Give yourself enough time to explore the extensive menu of seafood dishes available here. The sushi menu features new-style sashimi with yuzu-seared salmon, fusion rolls such as eel and almond maki, beef maki, and crispy prawn tempura with pineapple. The menu also features classic sushi options and combos.
Momo Baohaus (Greenside)
Aside from bao buns, bowls and tapas, this popular eatery also makes delicious sushi rolls. These include exciting options like Rainbow Revolution with prawns inside, salmon outside, Japanese mayo, sriracha and toasted sesame; the Hot Rock ‘n Roll with spicy salmon and tagarashi spice; the Gardener’s Roll with pickled mushroom and teriyaki; and the Sunset Roll with avo, kimchi mayo and spring onion.
The Orient (Melrose Arch)
If you’re not here to try the dim sum, the perfectly made sushi will also satisfy. The menu features all the favourites as well as some combos. Look out for the Dragon Roll with eel and black mushroom; the Spicy Salmon roll with a chilli sauce; and Futomaki Dream Rolls with prawn, omelette, crab, green bean and cucumber.
So Yum (Hyde Park)
A large Asian menu requires some attentive reading, but the kitchen’s expertise lies in sushi and dim sum. The raw fish offering includes special sushi rolls like crispy salmon California rolls with sweet chilli, tuna roses with mayo and caviar, and hand rolls with prawn, tuna and salmon.
Yamato Japanese Restaurant (Illovo)
A wide selection of dishes will keep the less adventurous as well as the Japanese connoisseur content. Every dish is packed with flavour, texture and aesthetic appeal. Order tasty sushi platters off the set menu, or build your own with options like shiitake hand rolls, crab California inside-out rolls, tempura prawn rainbow rolls, or salmon tataki with grated ginger.
It may be a little worrying when a restaurant offers steak, curry and sushi, but Kream delivers. The well-made sushi features the usual suspects as well as some interesting options like grilled calamari rolls, three-way nigiri with salmon, prawn and avo, and crispy crab fashion sandwiches.
Padbok Thai (Brooklyn)
If you’re not here for Thai food, the sushi is equally good. Enjoy Japanese salads with tuna and seasonal veggies, seabass sashimi, sushi rolls with all the trimmings, and sushi platters that vary in size and options.
Matsuya Restaurant (Morelata Park)
There’s a large menu with an overwhelming range of Asian dishes, but the sushi menu covers all the bases with sushi combos and platters, spicy California rolls, hand rolls, fresh sashimi, fashion sandwiches and bento boxes. The seafood counter showcases all the fresh fish used for the day.
Bamboo Sushi (Umhlanga Rocks)
The all-you-can-eat sushi buffet and killer specials is what draws crowds at this popular spot. The buffet offering includes 30 varieties of sushi (including sashimi) and is offered seven days a week for lunch and dinner. While the conveyor belt churns out all the classics, there’s also some interesting options like sweetened crispy prawns, dorado sashimi, chicken tempura rolls, salmon brûlée nigiri, salmon or tuna tartare bamboo rolls, and smoked marlin sushi.
Catch (Umhlanga Rocks)
The extensive ocean-themed options here range from sushi, dim sum and curry to shellfish and fish burgers. There’s new-style sashimi that will knock your socks off with flavour as well as indulgent rock shrimp tempura. The sushi is fresh, fast and well made.
Daruma (Snell Parade)
Situated on the Snell Parade stretch, this hotel restaurant offers Japanese favourites and top-quality sushi. Expect options such as crab roe, eel, tuna, sea urchin and mackerel as well as the usual salmon and tuna. For an authentic experience, opt for the private dining room where guests are seated at a low table on the floor.
Green Mango (Umhlanga)
This eatery first garnered a reputation for fine Thai and Japanese fare while these cuisines were still gaining popularity. The sushi menu is extensive and features fresh favourites of sashimi, maki, nigiri, California rolls and temaki. There are also chefs’ recommendations of Thai sashimi, chirashi sushi, and bamboo rolls. The covered deck is a popular spot.
Jack Salmon (Glenashley)
Jack Salmon scores big with its fresh-from-the-sea promise. Enjoy the views and tuck into seafood favourites like the Bam Bam Roll with tempura prawn, chilli-bean mayo and fresh cucumber, or the Prawn Fusion California roll with spicy creamy prawns and a sticky soy reduction.
1890 House Sushi and Grill (Claremont)
This is one of the most underrated sushi restaurants in Cape Town, with Japanese food artistry of the highest order. The conveyor belt is convenient for a quick bite, and is always well stocked with favourites like seared tuna salad, spicy prawn on bean curd, and caviar sandwiches.
Active Sushi (Hudson Street)
Fresh, creative sushi combinations are complemented by fast, happy and helpful service here. Value for money and well-made sushi are what keeps diners happy.
Balducci (V&A Waterfront)
This Asian noodle and sushi bar serves up fresh Japanese seafood to tourists and locals. Enjoy the classic options as well as some interesting speciality rolls like the futomaki with prawns, ginger and avo, or the indulgent salmon grenades: Salmon roses filled with chopped spicy salmon dressed in a spicy mayo and topped with crunch tempura bits.
Beluga (Green Point)
The vibey restaurant serve up a range of fresh sushi. It’s known for pleasing locals with its great specials and refreshing cocktails. The tuna crunch rolls are still a top order.
Blowfish Restaurant (Table View)
The main reason to be here is for SASSI green-listed fish and fresh sushi. The offfering of the latter is vast and well known in these parts, with interesting options like citrus-and-soy sashimi, seven-spiced prawn inari, zebra rolls with black and white rice, butterfly rolls with strawberries and prawns, and creamy spicy salmon rolls with a spicy creamy mayo.
Haiku (City Bowl)
The cuisine here is superlative, although portions can be on the sparing side. Highlights include the Haiku sashimi, consisting of a deliciously umami-rich trio of tuna in mild chilli ponzu, salmon in yuzu and halibut with chilli peanuts, and the Dragon Roll with tempura soft-shell crab.
The kitchen at this sea-facing restaurant sends out favourites from the sushi bar. Enjoy California rolls, fashion sandwiches, hand rolls, maki, rainbow rolls, deep-fried futo maki, and new-style sashimi. Undecided? Order one of the generous platters.
Izakaya Matsuri (Green Point)
Chef-patron Arata Koga produces top-quality sushi: fresh fish, perfect portions and interesting options like eel, mackerel and octopus will please. The salmon aburi sushi is simple perfection, scorched with piping-hot sesame oil.
Kitima at The Kronendal (Hout Bay)
The vast menu offers a selection of delicious dim sum and sushi. Test your chopstick skills with the chef’s signature sashimi of yellowfin tuna with spicy miso, or go for classics like fresh seafood rolls and clever sushi sets.
Kobe Sushi Bar (Newlands)
Aside from serving all the usual sushi and sashimi, the skilled chef puts his own spin on Dragon Rolls, Dynamite Rolls and Tiger Rolls. If you like the heat, try the hot, hot, hot box of wasabi parcels.
Kyoto Garden Sushi (Gardens)
Kyoto offers so much more than your average sushi spot: You’ll experience the delicacy, subtlety and enduring flavours of Japanese cuisine. There’s scallops, salmon roe, sea urchin, Alaskan king crab, kabeljou, and toro big-eye tuna. Order it in sushi-style or sashimi, or ask for the chef’s creation.
Nobu Cape Town at One&Only (V&A Waterfront)
The modern Japanese cuisine here plays with textures and flavours in an overwhelming range of innovative dishes. Kick off with arancini-style crispy rice cubes served with hot-buttered soy. The salmon sashimi tacos are delicious, and the new-style sashimi dishes are delicate, light and glorious.
Obi Restaurant (City Bowl)
After Takumi closed, sushi legend Papa San joined forces with chef Ben Bettendorf to open this urban eatery. There are three pages of inside-out sushi rolls organised under the main ingredient (salmon, prawn, vegetarian, tuna) and some Papa San trademarks, sashimi and maki, with enough range to suit the traditionalists as well as the adventurous.
Three Wise Monkeys (Sea Point)
Before tucking into a bowl of ramen or poké, order some good sushi to start. Tuck into fresh seared yellowfin tuna with ponzu, Rainbow Reloaded Rolls, avo maki, California and samurai rolls, salmon roses and nigiri.
Wang Thai (Lagoon Beach)
Beautiful sea views are complemented by a superb range of Asian-infused dishes. The sushi here is top class, with options of sushi salads, maki, sashimi, fashion sandwiches and rolls. If you’re looking for something a little different, opt for the chef’s speciality of yappy maki with cream cheese and smoked salmon, tiger rolls with prawn and avo, or wasabi parcels with salmon, wasabi sauce and caviar.
Willoughby & Co. (V&A Waterfront)
From Cali rolls to the famous 4×4 Rolls with creamy rock shrimp, each bite of sushi is well made and full of freshness and flavour. If you can’t nab a table at this always-buzzing spot, wait in line and enjoy a free wine taster or order a takeaway portion to enjoy by the harbour.
Genki has been winning the hearts of Stellenbosch aficionados for years. Apart from varied sushi that includes new-style sashimi, tataki, hand rolls, reloaded rolls, nigiri and roses, there are platters to delight those with bigger appetites, as well as the popular tempura.
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This list comprises the Asian restaurants in the Eat Out 500 that serve sushi, as rated and reviewed by our critics for the 2017 Eat Out magazine, as well as other not-to-be-missed sushi spots around SA. Have we missed one of your favourite sushi spots? Share the love in the comments below.