Best Sushi in the South Bay

Best Sushi in the South Bay

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Clean Plate Club

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Basic sushi ingredients tend to be pretty simple: rice, vinegar, vegetables, and raw or grilled fish. But when they meet at the crossroads of Japanese culture, creativity and culinary skill, the result is often delicious, edible art. In the South Bay, sushi spots ranging from upscale and elegant to casual and unpretentious are in high demand, whether you’re in the mood for a classic spicy tuna roll or a creative “sushi taco.” These are our South Bay Best Sushi picks in the Peninsula, Silicon Valley, San Jose and the coast, selected by our editors — look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience.

Feature Photo: Cha Cha

In and Around the Peninsula

Photo: Courtesy of Fuki Sushi

Founded in 1978, family-owned Fuki Sushi takes pride in its heritage as the first Japanese restaurant in Palo Alto, and it’s stood the test of time for good reason. The extensive menu includes sushi and sashimi, ramen, udon, sukiyaki, teriyaki, tempura and many more traditional Japanese favorites, including plenty of vegetarian options, all of which are expertly prepared with the freshest ingredients available. Take your pick of dining experiences in the restaurant’s beautifully appointed spaces: at the sushi bar, in the aptly named “sun room,” in a shoji-framed window booth in the main dining room, or in one of the private tatami rooms for groups from four to 20.

Photo: Courtesy of Kanpai Sushi

There are plenty of options to choose from on the bountiful sushi menu at this family-owned, homey and welcoming spot that draws a local crowd. Regulars enjoy the Japanese classics here as well though, including teriyaki, steaming hot udon noodle bowls and tempura.

San Mateo.Sushi Sam's Edomata.sushi.1200x800.@sushi.sams
Photo: Courtesy of @sushi.sams
218 E 3rd Ave., San Mateo

From ramen shops to izakaya dens, San Mateo is known throughout the Bay Area for its many Japanese restaurants reflecting different regional styles and flavors. Among the city’s many sushi spots, however, Sushi Sam’s Edomata is a classic destination not to be missed. Sure, the casual restaurant, open since the early 1990s, offers many of the sushi standards you’d expect to find — albeit made with the incredibly fresh seafood at reasonable prices — but it’s the focus on hard-to-find, seasonal ingredients like sweet blue shrimp and snow crab, best experienced by ordering the eight-piece omakase set, that really make this a special spot. 

In and around Silicon Valley

Campbell.Kyoto Palace.sushi.1200x800.@kyotopalace
Photo: Courtesy of @kyotopalace
1875 South Bascom Avenue, Campbell

While many diners visit Kyoto Palace to experience a teppanyaki meal grilled by a chef at their table, locals head to the bar, a destination in its own right where you can order from a lounge menu of classic and creative sushi rolls, sushi tacos, sashimi and nigiri, as well as hibachi and poke bowls. For groups, sushi boats in various sizes are stocked with multiple types of sushi, along with gyoza and edamame. Wash it all down with one of Kyoto Palace’s potent signature or seasonal cocktails. 

Cupertino, San Jose.Kura Revolving Sushi Bar.sushi.1200x800.@kurasushi_usa
Photo: Courtesy of @kurasushi_usa
Multiple South Bay locations: Cupertino, San Jose
408.861.0155; 408.675.3332

A visit to this fun, entertaining sushi bar with more than 500 locations across Japan, Taiwan and the U.S., including two in the South Bay, involves snagging freshly prepared sushi dishes off of a revolving conveyer belt, with an express lane and touchscreen for specific orders; drinks delivered by a robot; and self-service plate bussing through a slot in the table, with prizes earned for every 15 plates. Sushi plates are $3.70 each, including spicy tuna rolls, real crab California rolls, yellowtail nigiri and the spider hand roll, but you can also order from an array of sides, soups and noodle options, including tempura, ramen and udon.

In and around San Jose

Photo: Courtesy of Cha Cha

Cha Cha

This unpretentious sushi restaurant isn’t all that impressive at first glance, but when you see the sheer size of the menu, you’ll get why it’s so popular. The family-owned and -operated Cha Cha, opened by chef/owner Hanson Cha in 2008, offers high-quality maki, nigiri and sashimi at reasonable prices, as well as dishes from all the other greatest hits of Japanese cuisine — from tempura, udon and yakitori to donburi, teriyaki and stir-fried noodles. The online menu lists 47 different rolls, including a few that reflect Chef Hanson’s love of local sports: Sharks roll, Red and Gold roll, Splash Brothers roll and MVP, a salmon, cream cheese and jalapeno roll, deep fried in panko crumbs. Open Monday through Saturday 11am to 9pm.

Photo: Courtesy of Izaka-Ya


Down-to-earth family-owned Japanese restaurant with an authentic vibe and a solid menu of fresh fish, quality rolls and plenty of combo options to help mix and match. Along with the usual sashimi and nigiri assortments and the 10-piece omakase (chef’s choice) options, there are the two-person Sushi Boat A or B, the latter with 16 pieces of nigiri, 11 pieces of sashimi, a California roll and a tuna roll. There’s a good selection of appetizers and fried and grilled plates as well.

Photo: Courtesy of Tamara Groves


617 N 6th St, San Jose

Minato is the oldest operating Japanese restaurant in San Jose and is a staple to hungry Bay Area locals. Since its opening in 1961, Minato has been serving up traditional Japanese dishes like chicken katsu, donburi, bento boxes, and udon, to name a few. A noteworthy addition to this beloved spot is that it was once featured in Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown, where the chef/television personality enjoyed lunch with Minato’s owner Curt Fukuda. After a meal at Minato, it is an absolute must to check out Japantown’s mom-and-pop shops, historical museum, and temple.

Mizu Sushi Bar
Photo: @mizusbg

Mizu Sushi Bar & Grill

Large modern restaurant with a menu that emphasizes a delicious lineup of inventive specialty rolls, some of which, it should be said, are also creatively named. Among the favorites here are: the Yami Yami, deep-fried seasoned white fish topped with chopped tuna, salmon and spicy yellowtail; the Titanic Fire, with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and cucumber topped with albacore and avocado; and the popular Crazy Dragon, with spicy crab, cucumber and avocado topped with eel, avocado and tempura flakes. The menu includes a few Korean dishes, including beef, spicy pork and chicken bulgogi.

Sanraku sushi
Photo: Courtesy of Sanraku

Never mind that Sanraku is a chain and that this one is in the Oakridge Westfield Mall. Once inside, the decor and service are authentic Japanese, the fish is fresh and well prepared, and the beer and sake selection is excellent. There are a number of good “chef’s choice” options for ordering nigiri and sashimi, including the Sushi Tokujo platter, the chef’s best selection of 7 pieces of nigiri and a 6-piece bluefin tuna roll. If you’re looking for small plates, the appetizer menu is lengthy and eclectic, including items such as garlic octopus, sake- and soy-braised duck breast, and deep-fried breaded oysters.

Photo: Courtesy of Seven Seas

Seven Seas

Modest, cozy downtown sushi joint with a great reputation for fresh seafood and other staples of Japanese cuisine. The menu emphasizes the long list of specialty rolls, including many with new twists, and more than a few that bring the heat. Highlights include: The Inferno, with spicy salmon, tuna, avocado, topped with hot chili, bluefin tuna and tobiko; the Iceland Volcano, with bluefin tuna and avocado, topped with super white tuna and jalapeño; and the Vegi Mango, with mango, cucumber and avocado.


Sushi Confidential

26 N San Pedro St, San Jose

If you’re looking for a Japanese restaurant that takes a fun approach to how they do business and has an extensive creative food menu, Sushi Confidential is for you. This place is perfect for your next after-work meetup or meal before a night out because it’s right smack in downtown San Jose’s San Pedro Square. You can find almost anything and everything on the menu at this local spot. From vegan rolls to refreshing cocktails to nigiri made from local wild-caught fish, you’ll never have to worry about going hungry here. So, bring the whole party and enjoy what Sushi Confidential has to offer.

Sushi Maru
Photo: @sushimaru_id

Sushi Maru

Casual, cozy restaurant in San Jose’s Japantown that’s family friendly and affordable. While the menu of high-quality sushi is pretty straightforward, there’s a wide range of Japanese cuisine with plenty of teriyaki and tempura options, as well as a good selection of hot and cold noodle bowls with udon, soba or ramen. Open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 11:30am to 1:45pm and 5pm to 7:45pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30am to 1:45pm and 5:30pm to 8:15pm, and Sunday 11:30am to 1:45pm and 5:30pm to 8pm. Closed Tuesday. ​​

In and Around the Coast

Half Moon Bay.Hangetsu.sushi.1200x800.@hangetsu_sushi
Photo: Courtesy of @hangetsu_sushi
2810 Cabrillo Hwy N, Half Moon Bay

Specializing in “Kuzushi Kaiseki” — a combination of Kaiseki cuisine and omakase sashimi and sushi, Hangetsu takes pride in offering an unconventional approach to Japanese food, and in its use of a scorching technique to draw out the umami of meats. Order an omakase sushi or sashimi combination and let the chef choose your meal, or opt for an inventive roll like the dream girl, shrimp tempura, avocado topped with spicy albacore tuna, tobiko and spicy may, or even a deep-fried roll. An assortment of grilled meat and vegetable skewers and rice and noodle bowls are also available. 

Half Moon Bay.Sushi on Main Street.sushi.1200x800.courtesy of Sushi on Main Street website
Photo: Courtesy of Sushi on Main Street
696 Mill Street Half Moon Bay

Stepping through the intricately carved wood-framed entrance, diners at Sushi on Main Street in Half Moon Bay at once appreciate the restaurant’s warm, earthy yet casually elegant atmosphere, whether seated at the extralong sushi bar or at one of the intimate tables. Since 1986, this local standby has been catering to sushi lovers with favorites like hamachi sashimi and rainbow and spider rolls, as well as creative options like the Half Moon Bay roll with artichoke hearts, avocado and radish sprouts. A selection of kitchen entrees including teriyaki, hot pots and rice bowls, along with plenty of vegetarian options, rounds out the menu. 

More Local Favorites in the South Bay

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