Chicago is famous across the country for its deep dish pizza and its hot dogs. Sushi? Not so much. However, the City of Big Shoulders has developed a delicious variety of sushi bars and restaurants for diners whose tastes don’t favor more traditional Chicago fare.
The first five establishments described below are drawn from the 2012 Zagat’s ranking of Chicago’s best sushi restaurants, and are listed according to their order on the Zagat’s list. The remaining five establishments included below were compiled from multiple listings of the best sushi that Chicago and the surrounding region have to offer and are included in no particular order.
The best sushi in Chicago, according to Zagat’s, can be found at Katsu, located at 2651 West Peterson Avenue. Named after its owner and chef, Katsu Imamura, this Northwest Side favorite serves sushi that regulars rave as being “utterly authentic.”
Second on Zagat’s list of the best sushi in Chicago, Arami is located at 1829 West Chicago Avenue. The food at this West Town establishment is described by regulars as “exceptionally fresh, amazingly creative.” The attentive service is also a hit with diners.
3. Sai Café
Ranking at number three on Zagat’s list, Sai Café is located at 2010 North Sheffield Avenue. This Lincoln Park favorite stands out in an area of town where residents are spoiled for choice in restaurant fare. Regulars praise that Sai is “all about the fish,” which is described as “pristinely fresh.”
4. Mirai Sushi
Mirai Sushi is ranked number four on Zagat’s list and is located at 2020 West Division Street in the hot Wicker Park neighborhood. Regulars rave that the excellent food, good wine and sake and trendy ambiance make Mirai Sushi a great spot for a special date.
5. Macku Sushi
Ranking at number five on Zagat’s list, Macku Sushi is located at 2239 North Clybourn Avenue. This Lincoln Park eatery features fare so fresh that patrons speculate that the fish market must be located “in the backyard”. Patrons also praise the clean, modern décor.
6. Coast Sushi Bar
Coast Sushi Bar, located at 2045 North Damen Avenue is located in the now-trendy Bucktown neighborhood and features great food and outstanding service. The BYOB establishment is extremely popular, especially on weekends. There are two other Coast locations, one in the South Loop, the other in Evanston.
7. Bob San
Bob San, located at 1805 West Division Street on the Near North Side, features delicious sushi and an excellent wine list. The menu also includes sashimi and tempura, teriyaki, beef and vegetable dishes. A hot night spot, Bob San draws a dressy clientele, which makes for excellent for people watching.
Another favorite among Lincoln Park eateries, Ringo is located at 2507 North Lincoln Avenue. The sushi offered at Ringo is stuffed with fresh ingredients and is described as being well-prepared. A BYOB establishment, Ringo also features tasty Japanese and Asian cuisine if you don’t happen to be in the mood for sushi.
Kuni’s is located at 511 Main Street in south Evanston on the affluent North Shore, located just north of the city. Besides generous portions of fresh sushi and sashimi, Kuni’s also serves tempura beef, chicken teriyaki along with Japanese beers and sake. Unusual dessert offerings include green tea and red bean ice cream.
Located at 4514 North Lincoln Avenue in the Lincoln Square neighborhood on the north side of the city, Tank gives patrons the choice of sitting at the bar and watching their dishes being prepared, or choosing a booth for more privacy. Tank also offers mixed alcoholic drinks and “big plates’ for diners whose tastes don’t favor sushi.