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Everyone knows Chicago, Illinois for its deep-dish pizza and hot dogs, but what about sushi? A little secret about the Chicagoland area is that it is home to some of the most tantalizingly sushi around. Here are the best places to try.
Nestled in a small restaurant in Rogers Park, Katsu is a true diamond in the rough for sushi. It is a place only for those looking for the authentic sushi experience similar to what customers would get in Japan. Katsu does not sport the familiar California rolls and exotic creations with cream cheese. Rather, customers are served sushi that is nothing short of a testimony of the craftsmanship and experience of a master sushi chef. Best quality fish, high quality ingredients, and mouthwatering aji mackerel flown straight from Japan are waiting for those who aren’t intimidated by Katsu’s prices. For the indecisive few, ordering the omakase (chef’s choice of tasting menu) is always a safe option to get the most of your sushi experience. Katsu is the go-to place for the tourists or curious locals looking for high-quality sushi where every bite takes you to the Sanriku coast.
Katsu, 2651 W Peterson Ave. Chicago, IL, USA (773) 784-3383
This quaint little restaurant in West Chicago gives everything that its humble establishment promises: good sushi in a low-key restaurant. The vibe you get at Arami is one of comfort. It has some rare sushi dishes that the average tourist will be hard pressed to find elsewhere. The biggest reason to go Arami is for their uni shooters and sashimi. The uni shooter is a cucumber with wasabi tobiko and soy along with fresh uni. When you’re at Arami, you are in uni heaven. The uni is so buttery and fresh that it practically melts in your mouth. It is absolutely a must when you go to Arami. At this place, customers need to be aware that they are paying for a more expensive meal. However, this restaurant is well worth it for the sashimi and uni.
Arami, 1829 W Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL, USA, (312) 243-1535
Right in the heart of Grant Park is a local favorite known as Toro Sushi. For those in the city enjoying the sights and looking for affordable and delicious sushi, look no further. Mitch and his staff offer impeccable customer service and innovative sushi creations. Toro Sushi even offers samples of the fish or new rolls they are developing on occasion. However, it is recommended not to bring more than four people at a time due to the fact that it is a small intimate restaurant that doesn’t take reservations. If you manage to snag a table though, enjoy the creative sushi creations such as the Oh My God Roll that only Toro Sushi can offer.
Toro Sushi, 2546 N Clark Street Chicago, IL, USA, (773)-348-7255
Store-bought sushi has a reputation for being pretty awful. However, in the suburbs of Chicago there is a real treasure that offers the best store-bought sushi available. Tensuke Market and Sushi Café is a hidden gem that only locals know about. What separates Tensuke Market and Sushi Café from its competitors is that it is both a sushi cafe and a small Japanese grocery store. The sushi that they serve is made fresh every day with the ingredients that the grocery store gets. This symbiotic relationship creates an ideal place for those who want good high-quality sushi, but don’t want to spend a lot of money and time at a restaurant. There is a sit down option, but keep in mind, it is small. The preferred option is to order high-quality specialty rolls to go or pick from the array of delicious options already prepared.
A place just outside of Chicago is Sushi Kushi Toyo. The sushi is affordable, the restaurant has a large open space, and it provides the full Chicago dining experience without having to go down to the city. Sushi Kushi Toyo has been around for 22 years and has consistently given customers reason to refer to it as the best sushi on the North Shore. Their black tiger rolls and moon rolls are simply must-haves. All food is prepared by handpicked sushi chefs by the owner, whom customers can see walking around on some nights talking to the customers. From the presentation to the taste, Sushi Kushi Toyo is hands-down the most reasonably priced high-quality sushi restaurant in the Chicagoland area. In fact, the restaurant has expanded to two other locations on the North Shore. However, the original Sushi Kushi Toyo is the place to be. Making reservations is highly recommended as it can get very busy, very fast.
Sushi Kushi Toyo, 825 S Waukegan Rd. Lake Forest, IL, USA (847) 234-9950