Great metro Phoenix sushi spots for everything from classic sashimi to over-the-top rolls

Andi Berlin
Arizona Republic

When someone asks me if I want to get sushi, my answer is always, "Yes! What kind?" 

Sushi is so embedded in American culture that it means a million different things. You can get it from a full-service Japanese restaurant, a supermarket or a robot conveyer belt at places like Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, which recently opened in midtown Phoenix. And while I relish the opportunity to eat the Valley's finest omakase dinners, known for their ethical sourcing and master chefs, I also love the regular weeknight sushi joint that offers sake bombs and deep-fried Sex and the City rolls. 

This list includes a wide variety of sushi experiences that will appeal to both the purist and the casual sushi lover. Here are five great spots for sushi in metro Phoenix.


The sashimi platter at Daruma in Mesa comes with (clockwise from top left): albacore, salmon, yellowtail and tuna.

With wood paneled walls and the atmosphere of a Japanese ramen house, this newish restaurant across from the Asiana market in Mesa serves high quality sushi at affordable prices. Daruma's sashimi combo is my go-to. It comes with real wasabi root, rather than the more common artificial green paste that gets its pucker from horseradish. This stuff is so good it'll make you want to eat more fish just to dip it in the sauce. For the sashimi combo, salmon, yellowtail, tuna and albacore are sliced into fat, generous pieces. It's a standard combination that offers a perfect balance of buttery, bright flavors. 

Details: 1116 S. Dobson Road, suite 113, Mesa. 480-590-7979,

Hana Japanese Eatery

Assorted nigiri at Hana (clockwise from top left): uni, ikura, crab, mackerel,  scallop, tuna and octopus.

Hana is a bustling neighborhood restaurant that rises above the rest. Chef Lori Hashimoto pushes traditional cultural boundaries by employing female sushi chefs for what has historically been seen as a male role. They consistently turn out some of the best sushi in the Valley. Hana's amaebi features deep fried shrimp heads served alongside sweet shrimp so raw they're almost translucent. The uni strikes the perfect balance of creaminess and brine. And the restaurant also puts out some super creative rolls, like the Hana Pride that uses a cucumber slice to enclose a rainbow of yellowtail, tuna, salmon and crab.

Details: 5524 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix. 602-973-1238,


The Alaskan King roll and the Dragon roll with eel and fried shrimp at Kaizen.

Kaizen is the sushi spot to see and be seen in downtown Phoenix. With its open floor plan on the bottom level of The Lawrence Building, a vintage warehouse office space, this restaurant exudes urban sophistication. Chef Gustavo Muñoz draws inspiration from his native Mexico to create a menu of seafood made with pan-Latin flourishes like Peruvian octopus tiraditos, tomato ceviche and scallop aguachile with a yuzu chile sauce. I found these hybrids less successful than the straightforward sushi rolls and nigiri, which were high quality and expertly prepared. The place is stylish and fun and I liked it so much, I even went there on my birthday. 

Details: 515 E. Grant St., Suite 100, Phoenix. 602-432-0752,


Assorted nigiri at Shimogamo include uni sea urchin, raw escolar with soy jalapeno and akamatsu, a rosy seabass.

For the sushi purist, this minimalist sushi bar elevates and delivers some of the state's best Japanese food from its Chandler strip mall location. The restaurant excels in its nigiri with immaculate sourcing techniques that bring in harder-to-find fish like katsuo skipjack tuna and akamatsu rosy seabass. I recommend ordering the truffled amberjack, which features a touch of the oil that plays well with a salty, soy-based ponzu sauce. The mushroom-based elixir coats the clean, mildly fatty yellowtail in a sensual dance of land and sea. 

Details: 2051 W. Warner Road, Chandler. 480-899-7191,

Kodo Sushi Sake

The mini roll combo at Kodo comes with your choice of three rolls for $17.

A sister restaurant to the popular Harumi in downtown Phoenix, Kodo is a playful, unassuming sushi joint that consistently delivers a fun night out. People come for the purple rice, which is said to have health benefits like antioxidants. I found it a bit unwieldy and less sophisticated than white rice, but worth it for the visuals alone. Kodo has some great deals, like $17 for a large plate of three mini sushi rolls the likes of super crunch shrimp and the deep-fried Sex and the City roll made with spicy tuna, crab salad, cream cheese and avocado wrapped in soy paper and topped with eel sauce and spicy mayo. Aside from the party rolls, Kodo is also a place where you can get traditional items like real wasabi and a bowl of natto, the sticky fermented soybean mixture considered a delicacy in Japan. Salty and funky, it's a treat for the adventurous.

Details: Two locations 15040 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-821-3908. And 2430 S. Gilbert Road, Suite 5, Chandler. 480-275-2811,

Reach reporter Andi Berlin at Follow her on Facebook @andiberlin,  Instagram @andiberlin or Twitter @andiberlin

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