Best Sushi in the East Bay

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Almost no one walks into a Pizzeria and says, “Tell the chef to surprise me.” And yet that’s exactly the spirit of “omakase”— asking the guy with the really sharp knife to give you a completely new experience with sushi. We all have our favorites, but the nature of sushi, whether it’s chef’s choice or a piece of mysterious nigiri drifting by on a conveyor belt, is to try new things. Often, that creation on a tiny rectangular plate is just too beautiful to pass up. As luck would have it, the culinary wonderland that is the East Bay offers an extraordinary range of experiences with Japanese cuisine, from the traditional sushi restaurant with authentic decor and service, to takeout rolls that are surprisingly great. With a range of styles and price in mind, here are our East Bay Best Sushi winners for 2023, selected by our editors — look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience.

Feature Photo: Mujiri, @shamstah

In and Around Richmond

A rectangular white plate holds several pieces of deep-fried sushi rolls, often hailed as the best sushi in the East Bay. The rolls are topped with a drizzle of dark sauce, garnished with green onions, sesame seeds, and tempura flakes. The presentation is visually appealing, with a focus on texture and color.
Photo: Courtesy of Nori Roll

Nori Roll

10178 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito
510.529.4778

If you’re in the mood for high-quality sushi, but don’t need the elaborate Japanese decor, the rustic earthenware platters or a seat with a view of the chefs, then Nori Roll is the place. This family owned pick-up-only place in an El Cerrito strip mall specializes in generous portions of fresh sashimi, nigiri and maki for surprisingly low prices. Most rolls range from about $6 to $12, including the Baked Philly, Deep-Fried California and Angry Bird, with the most expensive Golden Gate Roll topping out at $13. All of the 8-piece sashimi orders are under $15. There are a few frills, including the Baked Mussels and the Salmon Skin Salad, but mostly it’s about fast, affordable sushi to enjoy at home. Open Tuesday through Sunday 11am to 2:30pm and 4pm to 9pm. Closed Monday. noriroll.net

In and Around Berkeley

A close-up view of the best sushi in the East Bay arranged in a box showcases an assortment of colorful pieces. The sushi includes various types of fish, shrimp, and sea urchin, each placed on small portions of rice. Garnishes like sesame seeds and green herbs adorn a few pieces.
Photo: Courtesy of Fish & Bird

Fish & Bird Sousaku Izakaya

2451 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley
510.705.1539

Izakaya-style restaurant (small plates) that specializes in hot meat and seafood dishes, as well as tabletop grilling, but that pivoted during the pandemic to include more traditional sushi and bento boxes. The menu is a modern interpretation of Japanese cuisine that is “relevant in metropolitan Japan today,” according to the chefs. Among the highlights are the Kaki Fry, panko-crusted deep fried oysters served with ume shiso tartar sauce, and Chicken Karaage, deep-fried marinated chicken served with curry sansho salt. Open Monday, Thursday and Friday 5pm to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 9pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. fishbirdizakaya.com

A plate of assorted sashimi, including slices of raw tuna, garnished with leaf greens and shredded daikon. Accompaniments include cucumber slices, a lime rind twist, a scoop of wasabi, and a piece of seared fish topped with sesame seeds; truly the best sushi in the East Bay.
Photo: Courtesy of Iyasare

Iyasare

1830 Fourth Street, Berkeley
510.845.8100

Rustic, contemporary restaurant serving selections of excellent tempura, donburi, ramen and grilled dishes with creative twists, such as the Poppo Yaki, marinated and grilled Japanese whole squid with tempura tentacles. The menu includes a variety of maki rolls, including the usual suspects. Dragon roll, anybody? You could also take things up a notch with the “VERY SPICY” kazan roll: snow crab wrapped up with cucumber and avocado, all topped with torched salmon, tobiko and habanero sauce. Nigiri, sashimi and omakase are also available, depending on the season. Open Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. then 5:30–8 p.m., and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. then 5–7 p.m. iyasare-berkeley.com

In and Around Oakland

A rectangular ceramic plate holds four pieces of sushi with different types of fish, artfully arranged in a linear fashion. Each sushi piece features fresh, vibrant-colored fish atop a small mound of rice, garnished with a touch of sauce and seasoning—the best sushi in the East Bay.
Photo: Courtesy of Delage

Delage

536 9th Street, Oakland
510.823.2050

Delage is a prix fixe omakase (chef’s choice) only restaurant that focuses on incredibly creative takes on California-inspired Japanese fare. A typical meal is eight courses, including an amuse-bouche and salad at the start, dessert at the end and several courses of two- and four-piece sets of fresh nigiri and sushi in bamboo leaf sprinkled throughout. Also in the middle are courses of small plates such as Yasai veggies-stuffed dumplings in chili and shiso oil, and the Mini Chirashi Combination, two small bowls of fresh fish and vegetables over rice. Note: Some courses are vegan and/or dairy-free, but there aren’t vegan substitutions for the meat dishes. Open Wednesday through Sunday 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday. delageoakland.com

A hand holding a wooden tray with the best sushi in the East Bay, featuring assorted sushi rolls wrapped in seaweed and filled with various ingredients, along with nigiri topped with fresh slices of tuna and salmon. Pink flowers and greenery are displayed beautifully in the background.
Photo: @mayayolonde

Mujiri

6501 San Pablo Ave., Suite B, Oakland
510.879.6597

This no-frills hole-in-the-wall sushi joint with outdoor dining specializes in customizable seven-piece nigiri boxes for just $25 and 16-piece sashimi boxes for just $35. And the more expensive options such as toro (bluefin fatty tuna), iwana (Atlantic char) and hamachi (yellowtail tuna) don’t cost extra, although the Santa Barbara uni is $10 extra, but is still a bargain. There also are plenty of a la carte maki and nigiri options on the menu as well as an impressive selection of Japanese beer and sake. Open Monday through Saturday 11:30am to 2:30pm and 5:30pm to 9pm. Closed Sunday. mujiri-oakland.com

A rectangular plate showcasing the best sushi in the East Bay, featuring an assortment of sushi pieces. This includes various nigiri with fish like salmon, tuna, and shrimp, garnished with roe and green leaves. At the front, there's a small pile of wasabi and a serving of pickled ginger.
Photo: Cary L./Yelp

Uzen Japanese

5415 College Ave., Oakland
510.654.7753

Small, modern restaurant with a good reputation for reasonably priced sushi that’s authentic and fresh. The straightforward menu includes two omakase (chef’s choice) options as well as sashimi and nigiri a la carte, a couple of teriyaki dishes, shrimp or vegetable tempura, a pork tonkatsu and barbecued eel over rice. Open Monday through Friday 11am to 1pm and 5pm to 8:30pm, and Saturday 5pm to 8:30pm Saturday. Closed Sunday. uzenrestaurant.com

More Local Favorites in the East Bay

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Meet our always-hungry team of foodies who compiled this list.
Please let us know if we’ve missed your favorite eat@localgetaway2.wpengine.com.

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