Chicago Sushi:

Ten Places to Use Chopsticks

While it originated in 8th-century Asia as a means of preserving fish with fermented rice, sushi has since emerged as both a working-class street food and a gourmet cuisine. Chicago may be half a world away from Tokyo, but here you’ll find Michelin-recommended restaurants serving decadent signature rolls and trendy sake lounges. But the city also rewards those willing to try a simple laid-back sushi bar or a small BYOB hot spot.
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#1

Toro Sushi 2546 N. Clark St

Lincoln Park: Oversize Maki with BYOB

Chef Mitch Kim takes great pride in his sushi preparations, telling Metromix that Toro Sushi practices "one-and-half day turnover on our fish." The result is extraordinarily fresh maki at a great price. There's almost always a wait at this no-reservations spot, but you can give the hostess your cell-phone number and wait at a nearby watering hole.

#2

Macku 2239 N. Clybourn Avenue

Lincoln Park: Gourmet Daily Specials

The Chan family has made a name over the last 15 years with their sophisticated Japanese cuisine at Mirai Sushi. Their latest spot is Macku, named one of Chicago magazine’s best new restaurants in 2010. Sashimi and sushi rolls are dressed up with truffle oil and foie gras, and daily specials include ceviche with kumquat and fried pineapple.

#3

Arami 1829 W. Chicago Ave

Ukrainian Village: Bon Appetit 2012 Selection

Named one of country’s top-ten sushi restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit magazine in 2012, Arami is a study in elegant simplicity. Traditional torii gates open to a garden-themed dining room, and diners enjoy uni shooters, sashimi plates, and maki rolls. Edible orchids and decorative seashells pay homage to the owner's Hawaiian heritage.

#4

Tank Sushi 4514 N. Lincoln Ave.

Lincoln Square: A New York Times Favorite

When the outdoor patio is closed at this laidback spot, diners grab a spot at the sushi bar to watch chefs prepare freshest fish. Hand rolls and non-traditional small plates such as kobe beef sliders and goat-cheese tempura have caught the attention of The New York Times, which called the food "pristine," "expertly formed," and "outstanding."

#5

Mirai Sushi 2020 W. Division St.

Wicker Park: Trendy Sushi and Sake Lounge

Fish is flown in daily to this stylish see-and-be-seen spot, which Zagat named one of Chicago’s top five Japanese restaurants in 2012. Well-dressed guests sample exotic sushi creations such as thinly sliced squid and monk fish foie gras, then sip on a selection from the impressive sake list.

#6

Yoshi's Cafe 3257 N. Halsted St.

Lakeview: Haute Fusion Cuisine

After more than 20 years, this French-Asian fusion spot is still garnering praise from the culinary aficionados at Gourmet MagazineZagat, and Chicago magazine, which named it one of the top 40 Chicago restaurants ever. Chef Yoshi Katsumura has earned a reputation for putting innovative twists on classic dishes, such as tuna tartare and shrimp tempura maki.

#7

Ora Sushi 5143 N. Clark St.

Andersonville: Sashimi Sans Soy Sauce

The chef at this neighborhood spot recommends eating his sushi creations without soy sauce, a sign that Ora’s seafood is of the highest quality. For the freshest (and often the most adventurous) fare, opt for the chef's choice sushi platter, which might include the Scottish salmon belly sashimi.

#8

Seadog 1500 W. Division St

Noble Square: Award-Winning Maki Roll

A combination of sweet potatoes, salmon, and "spicy dynamite sauce" earned Seadog’s Triple S maki roll a spot on Time Out Chicago's "best things we ate (and drank)" list in 2011. Bring a bottle of wine and settle into a cozy booth to sample Michelin Guide-recommended creations, such as tuna and jalapeno temaki.

#9

Kai Zan 2557 1/2 W. Chicago Avenue

Humboldt Park: BYOB with Omakase Menu

It's been hard to nab a table at this Melvin and Carlo Vizconde spot since it opened in June 2012, thanks to a 22-seat capacity and the "sushi twins" recognizable name. A spot on Chicago Eater's "Where to Eat Right Now" list won't make that easier, but the flaming tuna roll, an omakase menu, and a BYOB policy make it worth the wait.

#10

Sushi O Sushi 346 W. Armitage Ave.

Lincoln Park: Spirited Sake-Bomb Parties

Sushi O Sushi’s Chef Andy is a legend in Chicago's sushi scene, since he personally greets every customer who walks through the door and challenges patrons to chugging contests during unlimited sake-bomb parties. This festive atmosphere, captured in photos on a "hall-of-fame" sake-bombing wall, comes with sophisticated sushi such as the fresh-tuna-topped Armitage roll.

Deal or no deal, our editors strongly recommend these businesses based on their reputation, popularity, and quality of service.

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