Bay Area Bites Guide to 10 Favorite South Bay Sushi Restaurants

The sushi dinner deluxe at Jin Sho.  (Jeff Cianci)

Since the mid-90s, sushi restaurants have enjoyed mainstream popularity in America, serving as both a tasty, quick lunch and date night option. While nigiri and sashimi sushi showcase the simple beauty and taste of fresh, high-quality fish, signature rolls reveal the sushi chef’s creativity with a combination of flavors, colors and textures. In the South Bay Area, there are hundreds of sushi options from high-quality sushi bars to lunchtime buffets. For an even comparison, I worked with a $30 budget for each restaurant and sampled the chef’s daily nigiri special in addition to a signature dish if budget allowed.

Whether you are a purist with a connoisseur’s taste for fine sashimi or you seldom stray from a California roll, this guide will direct you toward a new favorite sushi restaurant in the South Bay. If I missed your go-to sushi restaurant in the South Bay, please be sure to let me know in the comments section.

Jin Sho is run by two former executive chefs of the highly acclaimed Nobu sushi restaurant in New York City. This popular Palo Alto restaurant (reportedly a favorite of Steve Jobs) serves high-quality sushi and Japanese small plates. The sushi dinner deluxe is a great deal with a six piece tuna roll, eight beautiful pieces of nigiri sushi as well as a roll of smoked salmon skins and a salmon roe roll. In addition to sushi, the Black cod with miso is the restaurant’s most popular dish.

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Jin Sho
454 California Ave, Palo Alto [map]
Ph: (650) 321-3454
Hours: Mon-Thu, 11:45am–2pm and 5:30–9:30pm; Fri, 11:45am–2pm and 5:30–9:45pm; Sat, 5:30–9:45pm; Closed Sunday
Facebook: Jin Sho
Twitter: @JIN_SHO
Price Range: $$$$ (Entrees more than $25)

Be prepared to wait upwards of 25 minutes for a table at this popular sushi restaurant in downtown Mountain View. The sushi chefs behind the small bar at Sushi Tomi serve colorful omakase specials featuring uni, salmon toro, kanpachi, amaebi and unagi. The buttery smooth fish tastes as fresh as it is pretty. The popular Tomi special roll features your choice of hamachi, salmon or white tuna which the sushi chefs then briefly sear with a torch.

Sushi Tomi
635 W Dana St, Mountain View [map]
Ph: (650) 968-3227
Hours: Mon-Fri, 11:30am-2pm and 5:30–9:30pm; Sat, 11:30am-2pm and 5–9:30pm; Sun, 11:30am-2pm and 5–9pm
Facebook: Sushi Tomi
Price Range: $$$$ (Entrees more than $25)

This quiet Los Altos Japanese restaurant serves Japanese specialties in a comfortable yet romantic setting. The deluxe nigiri dinner features eight pieces of nigiri alongside a six piece tuna roll. The tasty yet simple signature Akane roll features spicy tuna and avocado garnished with toasted sesame seeds.

Akane Japanese Restaurant
250 3rd St, Los Altos [map]
Ph: (650) 941-8150
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11:30am–2pm and 5:00–9:00 pm; Closed Sunday and Monday
Facebook: Akane Japanese Restaurant
Price Range: $$$$ (Entrees more than $25)

Yuki Sushi has enjoyed a long time fan following in the South Bay, being honored as Silicon Valley’s best sushi restaurant for the past 3 years by Metro Silicon Valley. The restaurant serves a menu of signature rolls, bento boxes and udon noodle soups in a casual setting. The popular Roku roll features a spicy tuna roll topped with avocado, tempura crumbs, spicy sauce and green onions.

Yuki Sushi
1140 Lincoln Ave #8, San Jose [map]
Ph: (408) 287-9854
Hours: Mon-Wed, 11:30am–2pm and 5–9pm; Thu-Fri, 11:30am–2pm and 5–10pm; Sat, 11:30am–10pm; Sun, 5-9pm
Facebook: Yuki Sushi
Twitter: @yukisushiWG
Price Range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

This small Japanese restaurant located near Stanford University serves a menu of sushi specials as well as hibachi and ramen. A seven piece daily sushi special features the chef’s selection of daily fresh fish such as bluefin tuna, tai, sea bream and salmon toro. The tasty fantasy roll features a roll of spicy tuna and cucumber topped with white tuna, tobiko and green onions.

Odori Sushi and Teppanyaki
2111 El Camino Real, Palo Alto [map]
Ph: (650) 327-2222
Hours: Tue-Sat, 11am–2:30pm and 5–9:30pm
Facebook: Odori Sushi and Teppanyaki
Price Range: $$$ Entrees ($18-$24)

Reopened at the beginning of this year with a handsome remodel, Kaizen Japanese Bar & Grill serves high-quality sushi bar creations as well as a collection of Japanese small plates. Jo Yakumi-style nigiri features fresh pieces of fish with special marinades such as bigeye tuna with sake wasabi dressing and garlic ponzu. The nigiri special features the chef’s selection of fresh and velvety pieces of fish.

Kaizen Japanese Bar & Grill
330 E Hamilton Ave #7, Campbell [map]
Ph: (408) 370-1600
Hours: Mon-Sun, 11am–2:30 pm and 5–10pm
Facebook: Kaizen Japanese Bar & Grill
Price Range: $$$ Entrees ($18-$24)

Tucked away in a Cupertino shopping center, Gokaku: Japanese Tapas and Sushi serves an extensive menu of hot and cold Japanese small plates as well as special rolls and sashimi. The toku-jo nigiri special features salmon roe, uni, albacore, squid and yellowtail. A popular item from the hot small plates menu, "the bomb" features fried tofu skins with spicy crab mix and avocado drizzled with a sweet and spicy sauce.

Gokaku: Japanese Tapas and Sushi
Pacific Rim Shopping Center, 10789 S Blaney Ave, Cupertino [map]
Ph: (408) 973-0722
Hours: Tue-Thu, 11:30am–2pm and 6–10:30pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am–2pm and 5:30–11pm; Closed Sunday and Monday
Facebook: Gokaku Restaurant
Price Range: $$$ Entrees ($18-$24)

This popular Campbell Japanese restaurant serves a menu of sushi specials as well as Japanese-Korean fusion dishes. Mizu serves a collection of raw and cooked signature rolls in addition to a menu of tasty hot and cold small plates. If you’re feeling extra hungry, the "signature boat" is a feast of nigiri, sashimi and signature rolls.

Mizu Sushi Bar & Grill
1035 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose [map]
Ph: (408) 260-7200
Hours: Mon-Thu, 11:30am–2:30pm and 5–10pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am–2:30pm and 5–11pm; Sun 5–10pm
Facebook: Mizu Sushi Bar & Grill
Twitter: @MizuSBG
Price Range: $$$ Entrees ($18-$24)

Sushi chefs serve daily specials and signature rolls to customers on a conveyor belt bar at Sushi Maru. The lunchtime chef’s sushi special is a great value with an assortment of nigiri, California rolls and pieces of baked salmon. The popular Nanook nigiri are pieces of fresh salmon that are lightly seared and brushed with a tasty soy dressing.

Sushi Maru
262 Jackson St, San Jose [map]
Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am–2pm and 5:30–9pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am–2pm and 5–9:30pm; Sun, 11:30am–2pm and 5–9pm
Facebook: Sushi Maru
Price range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

This popular sushi restaurant in San Jose’s Japantown features an extensive menu of inexpensive rolls and Japanese specials. The restaurant’s sushi special serves nine nigiri pieces alongside a California roll. If you enjoy over-the-top rolls, the Lion King roll features a baked California roll with shrimp tempura and a special spicy sauce. A little more simple, the Alaskan roll is filled with crab and mayonnaise and topped with smoked salmon and a sliver of lemon.

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Kazoo Restaurant
250 Jackson St, San Jose [map]
Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30am–2pm and 5–9:30pm; Fri 11:30am–2pm and 5–10pm; Sat, 11:30am–2pm and 5–9:30pm; Sun, 11:30am–2pm and 5–9pm
Facebook: Kazoo Japanese Restaurant
Price range: $$ Entrees ($11-$17)

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