Break out the chopsticks, it’s sushi time. Maybe you’re looking for a nice date spot and you want the whole experience — a lovely bottle of sake, the chef’s sampler, mood lighting, ambiance. Maybe it’s a Tuesday night, you’re a party of one, and you want a maki roll all to yourself, without having to throw down the big bucks. No matter the situation, the budget, the level of sharing you’re comfortable with, you’ll want something that is sure to satisfy. Conveniently, the North Bay is very close to the Pacific Ocean and thus very close to high quality, locally-caught seafood. So whether you like yours rolled, bowled, or naked (i.e. sashimi), you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
From Marin to Sebastopol, these are our North Bay Best Sushi winners for 2023, selected by our editors — look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience.
Feature Photo: Sushi Kosho
Sausalito – Mill Valley – Tiburon
Robata Grill & Sushi
Expect appetizers meant for tasting and sharing and a friendly atmosphere. Robata, meaning “by the fireside,” embraces the traditional northern Japanese fisherman cooking style — fresh caught and cooked over open flame. Crispy soft shell crab, avocado, cucumber and tobiko compose their namesake roll. Split multiple dishes family-style to get the full effect. Open weekdays 11:30am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 8:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 5pm to 8:30pm. robatagrill.com
Behind the facade of a charming bungalow in the heart of Old Town Sausalito, is a Zagat top-5 best Bay Area restaurant known for its exquisite, inventive Japanese-Pacific fusion cuisine and dining experience. It has a beautiful, thoughtfully-designed space and fresh, flavorful fish dishes, each quality alone is worth the price of entry. Try the soft shell crab roll — with daikon radish, kaiware (daikon sprouts), avocado, asparagus, umami tobiko (roe) — and the salmon skin roll — with pickled cucumber, green onions, bonito flakes, shiso and sprouts. You also can’t go wrong with the chirashi bowl. Open Monday through Thursday 5pm to 9:30pm, Friday and Saturday 12pm to 2:30pm and 5pm to 10pm, Sunday 12pm to 2:30pm and 5pm to 9pm. sushiran.com
Corte Madera – Larkspur – Kentfield – Ross – Fairfax – San Anselmo – San Rafael
Shiro Kuma Sushi
Chef Yasuo Shigeyoshi, who has over 30 years of experience in Japanese cuisine, is committed to fresh ingredients, authenticity, and — no big deal — perfection. Thus, Shiro Kuma Sushi is not just another neighborhood sushi spot. Expect a cozy, low key atmosphere with flavorful combinations of the freshest fish, veggies and other Japanese fare. Overwhelmed by what to choose? Order from the Selection portion of the menu and leave it to the chef to decide — bravery not required, we promise. Yasuo has your back. Open daily 4pm to 9pm. sushishirokuma.com
In true Fairfax fashion, the environment Village Sake cultivates is friendly, fun and welcoming. Their parklet, strung with market lights, is heated and maintains the organic aesthetic of the restaurant’s interior. From sushi to izakaya fare, sake and craft beer, this casual spot is a local favorite. Everything is made to share, so bring friends, order up and enjoy. But before we send you off, it must be said that 1) the Village Roll with spicy tuna, tempura shrimp, crab and aonori is a thing of beauty and 2) donut holes with miso caramel sauce exist… okay, class dismissed. Open Wednesday through Sunday 5pm to 8:30pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday. villagesake.com
A Japanese-owned, fine sake and high-quality sushi spot with an elegant interior. Executive Chef Eiji Ando, hailing from Aichi, Japan, prepares traditional Japanese cuisine with unique flavors and ingredients specific to his hometown. And, as the name suggests, there’s an extensive list of sake for pairing with your meal. Aptly named rolls such as the Melt in Your Mouth — spicy tuna, avocado, salmon and ponzu sauce — and the Firecracker — deep fried spicy Hamachi and green onion, topped with garlic eggplant and spicy sauce — should be on your hit list. Getting evening take-out? Wait by their heated pick up spot while your food is prepared. Open Monday through Thursday 5pm to 9pm, Friday and Saturday 5pm to 9:30pm. Closed Sunday. sake107.com
A zen-like outdoor garden space is the extension of this casual yet refined Asian fusion restaurant. Inside, a gallery kitchen infuses the air with open-fire grilling and sauteing, giving all senses entertainment while waiting for your meal. Try the creamy and bright Salmon Citrus roll — packed with snow crab mix and cucumber, topped with salmon and thin lime slices — and you’ll leave wanting those slices of lime on everything. The Sesame Chicken Donburi, although it’s not sushi, deserves an honorary mention. Open daily 12pm to 8pm. sushikoshotogo.com