Nov 18, 2022 - News

16 best sushi restaurants in Charlotte

best sushi in charlotte

best sushi in charlotte

Craving sushi? Here’s a list of Charlotte’s 16 best sushi restaurants and what to order at each.

Of note: Charlotte’s best sushi restaurants are listed below in no specific order (this is not a ranking).

O-Ku

Vibe: O-Ku is a beautiful restaurant with a romantic, date night vibe in South End’s Atherton Mill, Axios’ Danielle Chemtob writes.

What to order: The tuna wrapped roll ($15), salmon and lemon roll ($14), mermaid roll ($13), rainbow roll ($15), potato roll ($13) and the Black Magic Hakozushi AKA box-style sushi ($23).

Deal: O-Ku has a great deal on Mondays and Wednesdays with half-priced sushi between 5-7pm.

Danielle’s thought bubble: Highlights include the salmon and lemon, which was light and refreshing, the potato-wrapped roll, which was crunchy and sweet, and the tuna-wrapped roll with incredibly fresh tuna. The spicy aioli and eel sauce paired perfectly with it.

Details: O-Ku is located at 2000 South Blvd. 

  • It’s open 4-10pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-10pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5-11pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 5-9pm on Sundays.
O-Ku
O-Ku sushi roll assortment. Photo: Danielle Chemtob/Axios

New Zealand Cafe

Vibe: We recently named New Zealand Cafe one of Charlotte’s best restaurants. It’s located in an unpretentious shopping center off Sardis Road. Inside New Zealand Cafe, you’ll find a small bar, high-top tables and a few larger tables.

What to order: They have a huge selection of rolls. We love their classic rainbow roll ($11.95) — a California roll draped with tuna, salmon, white fish, shrimp and smelt roe. If you order enough, you’ll get the fun added bonus of eating them out of a sushi boat.

Deal: $1 sushi every day.

Details: New Zealand Cafe is located at 1717 Sardis Road.

  • It’s open 11am-9:30pm Monday-Thursday, 11am-10pm on Fridays, 12-10pm on Saturdays, 12-9pm on Sundays.

Danielle’s thought bubble: New Zealand Cafe in east Charlotte has some of the best value, fresh sushi in the city. The menu has a variety of options, and if you order enough it comes in a sushi boat – so go with friends and order enough to share.

New Zealand Cafe
Assortment of sushi rolls from New Zealand Cafe. Photo: Danielle Chemtob/Axios

Ru San’s

Vibe: This no-frills restaurant in Dilworth with clubby music was popping on a Sunday night, Axios’ Alex Sands writes.

What to order: The Atomic Salmon roll ($11.95) with shrimp tempura and avocado, topped with salmon, jalapeño and Sriracha mayo.

  • The “Kiss of Fire” ($11.95), a roll of tuna, cucumber, tempura crunch, salmon and an avocado top, drizzled with spicy mayo and eel sauce.
  • LOL Roll ($12.95), which comes with avocado roll rice, panko, tiger shrimp and a drizzle of varying sauces.
  • Double Deck Roll ($13.95): spicy tuna, avocado, bluefin tuna, yellowtail, salmon, BBQ eel and Kabayaki sauce.

Details: Ru Sans is located at 2440 Park Road. 

  • It’s open 11:30am-9:30pm Monday-Thursday, 11:30am-10pm Friday-Saturday and 3-9:30pm on Sundays.
Ru Sans
Assortment of sushi rolls from Ru Sans. Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

Nikko

Vibe: An upscale, trendy restaurant in the heart of South End.

What to order: The sushi boat for two ($68). It came with the tuna roll, California roll, spider roll and sashimi, plus sauces for dipping.

Deal: Your choice of two rolls for $18 on their lunch menu

Details: Nikko is located at 325 Arlington Ave. 

  • It’s open for lunch Monday-Friday from 11:30am-2:30pm and dinner from 5-10pm Sunday-Tuesday, 5-11pm Wednesday-Thursday, 5-midnight Friday and Saturday.
Nikko
Sushi boat from Nikko. Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

Cowfish

Vibe: Bustling sushi and burger bar near SouthPark mall that’s suitable for large groups and those looking for expansive food options, Axios’ McKenzie Rankin writes. 

What to order: The classic Firecracker Roll ($18) — Shrimp tempura, kani inside coated with tempura flakes, topped with yellowtail, salmon, spicy mayo, masago, tobiko, scallions and sesame seeds with ponzu dipping sauce.

  • The Roll That Love Built ($22) — Tempura shrimp and kani inside, coated with tempura flakes, topped with tuna, hamachi, eel sauce, Japanese mayo and tobiko. with ponzu dipping sauce.
  • The All-American Bacon Double Cheeseburgooshi ($18) — Seasoned Certified Angus Beef, yellow cheddar cheese, white cheddar cheese, applewood bacon, and red onion, wrapped in soy paper and potato strings then flash fried.
  • Mark’s Roll ($17) — fresh tuna, jalapeño, cream cheese, kani, scallions inside, coated with panko and flash fried. Topped with Japanese mayo and sriracha. Served with ponzu dipping sauce.

Deal: Any sushi roll can be ordered in half for half the price. McKenzie ordered half Firecracker Roll and half The Roll That Love Built for $20 total.

McKenzie’s thought bubble: Think Cheesecake Factory menu but for sushi and burgers.

Details: Cowfish is located at 4310 Sharon Road. 

  • It’s open 11am-9:30pm Sunday-Thursday and 11am-10pm Friday and Saturday.
Cowfish
The classic Firecracker Roll from Cowfish. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Yamazaru Sushi & Sake

Vibe: Cozy, intimate spot in South End with reasonable prices and indoor and outdoor seating. “This spot is great for affordable sushi and a date night,” Axios’ Alexis Clinton writes.

What to order: Their most popular roll is the Yamazaru roll ($13) — crab salad, avocado, tuna, tempura crunches, soy paper, topped spicy baked eel and scallop, smelt roe, eel sauce.

  • Hamachi Lover Roll ($14.50) – Negi hamachi with kimchi aioli, crunchy hamachi wrap, jalapeño, ikura and wasabi yuzu sauce.
  • Other popular rolls include their Gladiator roll (shrimp tempura) and Yamazaru roll (crab salad, tuna and spicy baked eel).
  • Wash it all down with their Spicy Mule made with homemade ginger beer.

Details: Yamazaru is located at 2173 Hawkins St.

  • It’s open Mondays 5-10pm, Tuesday-Thursday 5-10:30pm, Fridays 5-11pm, Saturdays 11:30am-11pm, Sundays 3-10pm.

[Related Axios story: South End’s new sushi spot Yamazaru is now open]

Yamazaru roll
Yamazaru roll ($13) from Yamazaru. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Baku

Vibe: Upscale and stylish Japanese restaurant across from SouthPark mall. Excellent sake selection as well. “The food and service were solid, but you’re definitely paying for the atmosphere at this SouthPark restaurant,” Axios’ Ashley Mahoney writes. 

What to order: Queen kappa ($18) — bluefin tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado & tomago in a cucumber wrap, topped with wasabi pea dust and truffle ponzu.

  • The tsurai yellowtail ($20) — spicy yellowtail, avocado topped with fresh yellowtail, serrano pepper and chili aioli.

Details: Baku is located at 4515 Sharon Road.

  • It’s open 5-10pm Monday-Thursday, 5-11pm Friday-Saturday, closed on Sunday.
Baku
Baku’s queen kappa (left) and tsurai yellowtail (right). Photo: Ashely Mahoney/Axios

YUME Ramen Sushi & Bar

Vibe: Casual sushi spot in South End’s Gold District with high-quality and reasonably priced fresh sushi.

What to order: Spicy crunchy roll ($14) — crab salad, avocado and tempura shrimp inside, topped with crunches, spicy mayo & eel sauce and the avocado maki ($7). It’s filling for one person.

  • Sakura ($15) – flower-shaped roll with tuna, crab salad, cucumber and green tobiko.

Deal: YUME has lunch specials weekdays 12-2:30pm and happy hour Monday, Wednesday-Friday 4-6:30pm. 

  • All lunch special combinations come with miso soup and house salad with ginger dressing.

Details: YUME is located at 1508 S. Mint St. 

  • Open for lunch Monday, Wednesday-Friday from 12-2:30pm and dinner Monday, Wednesday-Friday 4-10:30pm. Saturday from 12-10:30pm and Sunday from 12-9:30pm. Closed on Tuesdays.

[Related Axios story: Yume sushi and ramen now open in South End — view menu and go inside]

Yume
Spicy crunchy roll and sakura roll from Yume. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Zukku Sushi

Vibe: This Tampa-based sushi spot has a stall inside Optimist Hall. It’s a little pricier, but the sushi delivers.

Alexis’ thought bubble: The best part about this place is that you’re able to customize sushi rolls or even opt for burritos. The service is also really fast.

What to order: Queen’s Lobster Roll ($24.95-$29.95) — spicy tuna, asparagus, crab mix, avocado, topped with tempura fried whole lobster tail tossed in spicy mayo, finished with masago, green onions, sesame seeds and eel sauce. 

Details: Zukku is located at 1115 N Brevard St. 

  • It’s open 7am-9pm Monday-Thursday, 7am-10pm Fridays, 8am-10pm Saturdays and 8am-9pm Sundays.
Zukku Sushi
Queen’s Lobster Roll ( $24.95-$29.95) from Zukku Sushi. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

CO

Vibe: Upscale sushi spot in Park Road Shopping Center that considers itself a modern take on Southeast Asian cuisine. Find everything from specialty sushi rolls to banh mi.

What to order:Bang-Bang Shrimp Roll ($17) — Essentially a California Roll with shrimp tossed with spicy chili sauce, spring mix and scallions.

  • Tiger Roll ($16.50) — Shrimp, surimi salad, scallions, cucumber, yamagobo, avocado, unagi sauce and spicy aioli.

Deal: $6 mango summer rolls, edamame spring rolls and fresh summer rolls Monday-Friday from 4-7pm.

Details: CO has two Charlotte locations — Park Road Shopping Center and Waverly.

  • Both are open Sunday-Thursday: 11am-10pm, Friday-Saturday: 11am-11pm. 
CO_Tiger Roll
CO Tiger Roll. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Koishi

Vibe: Low-key neighborhood restaurant in an old Pizza Hut located in the heart of Cotswold.

What to order: Spicy Tuna Roll ($7.95) and the crunchy California roll ($9.95).

Deal: Koishi has three sushi lunch deals — “A” ($11.95): choose any two maki rolls, “B” ($12.95): choose any 1 maki roll and four pieces of nigiri, and “C” ($13.95): choose any one maki roll served with three pieces of shrimp tempura and an assortment of vegetables.

  • Sushi lunch specials are served with a spring roll and choice of house salad or soup. 

Details: Koishi is located at 120 North Sharon Amity Road

  • It’s open 11am-10pm Monday-Thursday, 11am-11pm Friday, 11:30am-11pm Saturday, 11:30am-10pm Sunday.
koishi
Spicy Tuna Roll and the crunchy California roll from Koishi. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Blue Orchid Sushi & Asian Bistro

Vibe: Off the beaten path, but well worth the drive, Ashley writes. The service is wonderful, and the value was spot on.

What to order: Peppered tuna roll ($17) — with spicy tuna, cream cheese and avocado, topped with seared blackened tuna, wasabi cream sauce, sriracha and green onions.

  • Grand Canyon ($17) — salmon, cilantro and jalapeños, topped with spicy tuna, crunchy flakes and spicy mayo. It has a slight kick.
  • Mango tango ($12) — mango, shrimp tempura and crunchy flakes. The wasabi creme sauce and sweet soy sauce were a big hit.
  • Lollipop: ($16) — tuna, yellowtail, salmon, crab and avocado wrapped in cucumber and served with a spicy soy vinaigrette. Another option for those who want the sushi experience without rice.

Details: Find Blue Orchid at 8170 S Tryon.

  • It’s open for lunch from 11am-2:50pm Monday-Saturday and 5-9:20pm for dinner. Closed on Sunday.
Blue orchid
Blue Orchid’s peppered tuna roll (left), Grand Canyon roll (back right), mango tango (center right) and lollipop (bottom right). Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Saku Yakitori and Sushi Bar 

Vibe: After spending a few years in San Francisco and Japan studying the food scene, the Charlotte owners — Dao Nguyen, Sopha Lim and Richard Tang — wanted to incorporate what they learned into their restaurant, Alexis writes. Expect authentic Japanese cuisine and beautiful interior design in the two-story restaurant. 

What to order: Earth & Sea roll ($26) — Tempura lobster, asparagus, avocado, cucumber, topped with seared filet mignon, spicy aioli, eel sauce, scallions, tobiko.

Deal: Saku has three sushi lunch deals served in Bento boxes: “A” ($15): chef’s choice of three-piece nigiri, three-piece hosomaki, and four-piece Cali roll. “B” ($25): chef’s choice of five-piece nigiri, three-piece hosomaki and four-piece Philly roll. “C” ($25) choice of two skewers, teppan rice or garlic noodles, plus chef’s choice of three-piece nigiri and four-piece Cali roll.

  • Lunch special is served with a side salad or roasted miso soup.

Details: Saku is located at 123 E. 5th St. Suite 100. 

  • It’s open for lunch Tuesday-Friday 11am-2:30pm, dinner from 5-10pm Sunday, Tuesday-Thursday, 5-11pm on Saturday and 5-10pm on Sunday. Closed on Mondays.

[Related Axios story: New sushi restaurant Saku opens soon in Uptown]

saku
Grilled pineapple is one item coked on Japanese charcoal.

YUNTA

Vibe: The vibes are always fun at this top Charlotte restaurant but different depending on whether you go on a weekday or weekend. If you’re looking for a more chill vibe, opt for a weekday reservation.

What to order: The beef nigiri ($15) — torched tenderloin, truffle chimichurri, lime.

  • Gratin nigiri ($15) — shrimp gratin, roasted garlic rocoto, pisco, parmesan cheese. 

Details: Yunta is located at 2201 South Blvd., next to Wine Loft where Five Guys used to be.

  • It’s open 5-10pm Tuesday through Thursday, 12-11pm Friday and Saturday, 12-10pm Sunday and closed on Monday. 

[Related Axios story: Ceviche and house music are recipe for cool at new Charlotte hotspot Yunta]

YUNTA
Beef Nigiri from YUNTA. Photo: Ted Williams/Axios

Mizu

Vibe: This Asian-inspired seafood restaurant located atop SouthPark’s Hyatt Centric hotel rightfully made it to our list of best new restaurants in 2021.

What to order: The sunset Maki roll ($22) — tuna, avocado, cucumber, ebi, yuzu tobiko, spicy aioli, eel sauce.

  • The iron man ($20) — spicy tuna, cucumber, shiso pesto, torched gyu, ponzu, togarashi.

Details: Mizu is located at 3100 Apex Dr. on the ninth floor of SouthPark’s Hyatt Centric hotel.

  • It’s open 5-10pm on Sunday through Thursday, 5-11pm on Friday and Saturday.

[Related Axios story: Rooftop restaurant by O-Ku chef now open in SouthPark]

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Ginbu 401

Vibe: Ginbu 401 in Myers Park is a small but always bustling restaurant, popular both as a sit-down date night spot or as a to-go option for a cozy night in, Axios’ Katie Peralta Soloff writes.

What to order: For a variety, go for the Ginbu deluxe sampler, which comes with a rainbow roll (avocado, cucumber, crabmeat and tuna, salmon, yellowtail on top), six pieces of nigiri, six pieces of sashimi and the chef’s selection ($28). If you’re still hungry, try their maguro (tuna nigiri; $6), a king tuna roll ($12) or a spicy salmon hand roll ($6).

Deal: Choose from a variety of sushi combinations on their lunch menu ranging from $12-$20.

  • All combinations come with your choice of miso soup or house salad with ginger dressing.

Details: Ginbu is located at 401 Providence Road.

  • It’s open 11am-9:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11am-10:30pm Fridays, 12-10:30pm Saturdays, 4-9:30pm Sundays. Closed on Tuesdays.
Ginbu
Ginbu sushi assortment. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

Editor’s note: This story was last updated in November 2022. 

Looking for more Charlotte food and drink guides? Here’s a complete list of Axios guides including best burgers, best bars, best pizza, best cocktail bars, and best brunch.

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