Philadelphian chefs can serve up scrumptious bites from every corner of the Earth. When visiting this multicultural hub of dining, if you crave it, you’ll find it, including crave-worthy Japanese cuisine and sushi.
A melting pot of a city, Philadelphia is filled with bustling, historic neighborhoods whose immigrant roots are reflected in the local fare, paying homage to the past. As such, Philly’s Asian food scene showcases the varied culinary experiences offered across the continent, each with its own heritage and intricacies. So, what can you find if it’s Japanese cuisine and sushi you’re after? The following are our top picks.
Chef Morimoto—the original Iron Chef and Food Network superstar—opened his Philadelphia location alongside restaurateur Stephen Starr. Since, the eatery has received high praise from many national and international publications. The modern and vibrant interior complements the ever-exciting Japanese cuisine. Expect plenty of seafood, including sushi and a raw bar.
723 Chestnut St.
Chef Corey Baver from Morimoto took the reins of a different establishment with his move to Izumi. Baver has plenty of history working with top Asian restaurants in the city, experience he brings to Izumi. The sushi is as gorgeous at as it is scrumptious. Izumi has been called an essential restaurant to try while you’re in Philadelphia, whether you feast on some of the best sushi in the city or opt for a non-seafood menu item.
1601 East Passyunk Ave.
You could spend an entire day at this Japanese restaurant by Michael Schulson. Start with coffee, tea and hot drinks in fun varieties, like the kabocha squash latte. Indulge in a selection from the matcha bar. Pair your beverage with a lunch plate, which comes with your selection of a protein and starch or salad, topped with cabbage, pickled carrots, daikon, mint and cilantro. Stick around for dinner, which ranges from sushi and sashimi to something completely new, like tempura cheese curds. Top it off with a cocktail featuring a Japanese whisky, followed by a dessert.
120 South 13th St.
Spend any luxury travel time in Philadelphia and you’ll likely end up at or around Rittenhouse Square, a preferred spot for higher-end dining and accommodations. There you’ll find Zama, the project of Chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka, one of the city’s best sushi chefs. His talent shows: the establishment is frequently recognized not only as the city’s best sushi restaurant, but also one of the best restaurants overall.
128 South 19th St.
Vango Lounge and Sky Bar
Vango Lounge & Sky Bar is an expansive retreat from everyday life, where the invigorating atmosphere is fueled by top-notch DJs and chefs. The amazing decor is topped off with spectacular views. From the fiber optic chandelier to the year-round roof deck, there are plenty of spots to either hide away or see and be seen. In the kitchen, you’ll find previous Nobu chef Michael Fee creating Japanese Continental fair served alongside specialty cocktails.
116 South 18th St.
1225RAW Sushi & Sake Lounge
Another lounge-type experience, 1225RAW offers both indoor and outdoor dining. The former is filled with mood lighting, red accents and overhanging lanterns, while the latter supplies more of a courtyard setting. Beyond the sushi, you’ll find other favorites like robatayaki (charcoal-grilled meats and veggies), udon noodles, ramen and donburi (bowls). As one might expect, the sake list is extensive.
1225 Sansom St.
A newer restaurant on this list, Tuna Bar opened up in 2017, with Chef Kenneth Sze departing from his family’s sushi restaurant, Yokahama, to strike out on his own. The light and airy interior is refreshing compared to typical high-end Japanese restaurant decorative styles. On the menu, find an array of sushi options, plus deliciousness for non-sushi eaters too, like the chef’s grandmother’s wonton soup.
205 Race St.