It wasn’t long before sushi restaurants were everywhere in Cape Town.
Sure, there once was a time when the mere mention of eating raw fish drew blank stares, overseas travellers bringing back tales of the exotic dish – but these days there are so many sushi options it’s a little overwhelming when asked to suggest your favourite.
So we headed off to The Inside Guide for their list of best sushi restaurants in Cape Town because, you know, you can’t go wrong with their suggestions.
Here are our favs:
1. Kyoto Garden Sushi
If you’re looking for impeccably prepared sushi that’s uncompromising on quality and freshness, book a table at this serene and sophisticated gem on Kloofnek Road.
What is it Named Best Asian Restaurant in 2014, this discreet restaurant sits cheek by jowl with a whole lot of hipster haunts in Tamboerskloof.
Why we rate it This is pared-down Japanese cuisine at its finest: the chefs are dedicated to their craft, the ingredients are fastidiously sourced, and the taste is nothing short of exquisite.
2. OBI RESTAURANT
If you’re looking for the one and only Papa San (formerly Takumi, Minato and Tokyo), come on in.
What is it A no-frills eatery on Lower Long Street co-owned by chef Hatsushiro Muraoka (Papa San) and his protégé Ben Bettendorf, where the sushi (not the decor), rightfully, steals the show.
Why we rate it The chefs’ dedication to their craft (they travelled to Japan for two weeks to brainstorm the menu) is evident in Obi’s top-class food offerings. We also love the fuss-free food philosophy.
3. GENKI SUSHI BAR & TAPAS
If you’re looking for outstanding, sustainably sourced sushi, without the hefty price tag and pretentious crowds, this hidden gem is a good bet.
What is it A cosy eatery in a treed courtyard, just off Stellenbosch’s happening Church Street, that does heavenly Japanese sushi and tapas. No wonder SA’s top chef Gregory Czarnecki and Majeka House’s Lucas Carstens both rate it as a must-visit gem! The intimate lantern-lit inside section seats 18 people, but you really want to sit in the outside section (yes, even in winter), under the oaks, rubbing shoulders with diners from the other eateries on the square.
If you’re looking for a cool and quirky street bar by the sea, you’ve found it.
What is it With its prime location on the Mouille Point mile, this fun restaurant tastefully blends Asian pop culture with street food, providing a delicious assortment of snacks (such as wonton crackers) and mains (such as miso-cured grilled salmon, with shiitake and mirin broth).
Why we rate it Its sea-facing location, with uninterrupted views of the promenade and the ocean, is a drawcard. Once you’re in, you’ll be impressed by the eclectic menu, offering classics and modern twists.
5. 1890 House Sushi And Grill
If you’re looking for a small neighbourhood restaurant with good-quality sushi at reasonable prices, this one fits the bill – and then some.
What is it A gem of a restaurant in an Observatory side street where busy chefs turn out beautifully presented sushi at very reasonable prices. It’s a favourite among locals who are greeted by name by the friendly waitresses, sushi chefs and owner. You can order Thai and Chinese dishes, but with sushi this good, why bother? A word of caution: phone ahead to book, or get there early, as it gets very busy from 6.30pm.
Why we rate it The instant gratification of it all – that’s if you sit at the rotating carousel and pluck off whichever plates take your fancy.