Dining Picks

Our 14 Favorite Portland Sushi Spots

From sets of adorable round nigiri to deep-fried rice patties topped with avocado and poke, our sushi scene serves excellent fish and rice in traditional and creative ways.

By Katherine Chew Hamilton, Dalila Brent, and Matthew Trueherz

Nigiri from Kaizen

IMAGE: COURTESY KAIZEN

Can’t get enough raw fish and rice? We can relate. From thoughtfully packaged takeout boxes to high-end sushi bars, traditional joints with classic ‘80s charm to creative vegan rolls, our sushi scene has something to offer nearly everyone.

Afuri Izakaya

Buckman, Beaverton

Oregon albacore and unagi nigiri

This Japanese chain might be known for its excellent ramen, made with handmade noodles, but don't sleep on its wide selection of nigiri. We particularly like the clean, crisp bincho (Oregon albacore) and the housemade unagi, which is exceptionally meaty and delicately seasoned, unlike the overly sweet versions you'll find at many other places. Pair them with a sake flight or Afuri's own yuzu lager. Dine indoors or out, or take your food to go. 923 SE 7th Ave, Portland and 12555 SW 1st St, Beaverton —KCH

Bluefin Tuna & Sushi

Irvington 

Sushi is beautiful, yes, but have you ever described it as cute? Bluefin Tuna & Sushi, whose original location opened in Seoul in 2011, offers adorable round temari nigiri that look petite from a bird’s eye view, but pack just as much fish as a normal nigiri by wrapping the fish around a ball of rice. The fish here tastes vibrant and fatty, and hand-written labels on takeout boxes help you keep track of which nigiri is which. Our favorite way to order the temari nigiri is as part of a set, where you get assorted nigiri, a simple roll of your choice, miso soup, and a salad topped with citrusy tuna poke—all for as little as $22. 1337 NE Broadway —KCH

Fish & Rice

Northwest District

No, Fish & Rice is not traditional sushi—it calls itself a Japanese-inspired restaurant—but like the name suggests, this place likes to keep its flavors fresh and simple. We particularly like the Neskowin roll, which combines salmon tataki, avocado, cucumber, and radish sprouts. And while many sushi restaurants don’t even stock real crab, favoring the imitation version, here a wild red crab salad comes on the side of your roll, dressed in honey wasabi aioli. You also can’t go wrong with an order of hamachi or uni nigiri, or choosing from an extensive list of creative poke bowls with ingredients like K-Pop Sauce or pico de gallo. The vegetarian rolls combine ingredients rarely seen in sushi like tomato or guacamole, ensuring there’s something for pretty much anyone. 2332 NW Westover Rd —KCH

Hamono Sushi

Downtown

Nigiri from Hamono Sushi

IMAGE: DALILA BRENT

One of downtown Portland’s best-kept secrets, this quaint spot holds no more than 20 diners. Look up to see a ceiling decorated with cherry blossoms. Glance around at what others are eating, and you’ll quickly realize you’re in good hands no matter what you order. Keep it simple with fresh sashimi or go full throttle with specialty rolls like the Black Samurai—tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, and avocado topped with seared salmon, fish eggs, green onion and black tobiko. Hamono’s true gift is its omakase, with fish ranging from yellowtail toro to bluefin tuna with uni. Or just choose an option from the suggested specials on the sidewalk sign—you can't really go wrong. 620 SW 9th Ave —Dalila Brent

Kazumi

St. Johns

Kazumi's scallop nigiri, fried oyster roll, and Midori roll

Kazumi sits at the corner of the St. Johns Beer Porch food cart pod, featured in the Portland-set Nicolas Cage movie Pig. There, sushi chef Kazumi Boyd slices up creative rolls, while her husband John takes phone and in-person orders for what can be a 30 minute wait (if you’re lucky to get there before they’re sold out). Born in Japan, Boyd was determined to become a sushi chef—but found it nearly impossible to find someone in either Japan or New York who would train a woman. After gaining some experience in NYC, she moved to Portland, where she worked at sushi institutions Masu and Bamboo. At Kazumi, her passion shows in nigiri and creative, carefully executed rolls, all made with sustainable seafood. Try the oyster roll, which combines perfectly crunchy fried oysters, lettuce, lemon, and eel sauce, or the super-fresh, buttery scallop nigiri. 7316 N Lombard St —KCH

Kaizen

Old Town

The Kaizen roll

IMAGE: COURTESY KAIZEN

Relative newcomer Kaizen shines a bright, contrastingly sleek light through Old Town. Brothers Nicolas and Job Martinez worked in Portland sushi spots for a quarter century before opening Kaizen, and it shows. A rotating special of direct-from-Tokyo nigiri and sashimi come from a weekly “mystery box” of the fruits of the famous Tsukiji fish market; a recent visit found delicate bluenose (aka Antarctic butterfish), and a full-flavored, shiso-tinged kampachi, both sitting tenderly atop impeccably cooked rice. Vegan options are broad: the pleasantly chewy preserved Japanese gourd, kampyo, stars in its own roll; there’s a tangy ume plum and shiso number; and for the more adventurous plant-based diners, a roll of fermented soybeans called natto. If you wanted, you could wait in line for Voodoo Doughnuts post-sushi, because it’s next door. Instead, we suggest finishing out your meal the traditional way, with their expertly prepared tamago nigiri. 40 SW 3rd Avenue —Matthew Trueherz

Masu

Downtown

The Nemo roll and tuna tataki from Masu

This second-floor downtown sushi spot feels like an urban treehouse, with wood paneling, lounge decor and big windows that overlook the street. Sip on one of the unusual sakés or a Japanese whiskey from their extensive menu, and whatever sushi you order, be sure to pay a few bucks extra for the smooth, slow-burning real wasabi instead of the harsh green-dyed horseradish that's included (the standard at most sushi spots). We like to pair it with the tangy tuna tataki, the king salmon belly nigiri, or one of the ingredient-heavy rolls like the Nemo (shrimp tempura, Dungeness crab, and avocado topped with snapper, salmon, bonito flakes, and green onion). 406 SW 13th Ave —KCH

Murata

Downtown

Assorted sushi from Murata

This tiny jewel of a traditional Japanese restaurant has been open since 1988. Even today, it has an old-school feel, where the sushi chefs wear ties and playfully chat with customers, and smooth jazz wafts through the air. A small sushi bar and a few tables fill the main room, while tatami rooms offer a private, peaceful place to enjoy a meal. We think you can’t go wrong with a chef’s selection of sushi, but we particularly like their melt-in-your mouth fatty smoked salmon nigiri and the house-pickled mackerel nigiri. 200 SW Market St —KCH

Saburo’s

Sellwood-Moreland

Who says you have to spend a lot of money on sushi to leave feeling stuffed? Saburo’s serves up quality sushi in generous portions at a reasonable price. Nigiri that would cost a pretty penny at other shops—salmon belly and fatty tuna—will run you under $6 for two pieces here, and each piece is so big it takes several bites to finish (not ideal, but comes in handy when you’re craving lots of raw fish). Shoutout to the creamy scallop nigiri and the crispy salmon skin salad—and for roll lovers, there are plenty of options, from traditional to deep-fried. The restaurant is open for dine-in, or order ahead online for takeout—we suggest bringing your haul to the nearby Sellwood Riverfront Park for picnicking at one of their tables. 1667 SE Bybee Blvd —KCH

Sushi Ki-Ichi

Tigard

Ki-ichi's spider roll

Tucked between a Napa Auto Parts and a 7-Eleven, in the back of a sun-bleached strip mall off Tigard’s Hall boulevard is Ki-Ichi, one of the metro area’s best values for sushi. The focus here is solely on food; the restaurant is set mostly for to-go orders, and the sushi counter remains closed, but you’re more than welcome to hang out in the casual dining room and have a Sapporo with your maguro nigiri. Quality is excellent across the large menu of classic nigiri and sashimi, and a range of house rolls. Try the spider roll: its crisp soft shell crab tempura and mix of gobo (burdock), cucumber, daikon sprouts and tobiko make for a great textural contrast. Or choose from the spread of standards like an impressively tender tako and buttery aji. 11940 SW Pacific Hwy Suite G, Tigard —MT

Yoko’s

Creston-Kenilworth

Sushi meets punk rock and a slice of Old Portland at this little Gladstone gem, open for over 30 years. The clipboard waiting list fills with names even on weekday nights, and regulars eagerly greet the sushi chefs from across the room. Forget the soothing, calming music: funky, psychedelic Nigerian tunes floated through the restaurant on my recent visit. A clock with pieces of nigiri replacing numbers ticks away on the wall, a giant fish-shaped kite keeps watch over the restaurant, and Yoko’s mascot, a blowfish with sumo hair and red lipstick, pops up on your teacups and soy sauce dishes. This is a sushi place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Accordingly, the not-so-traditional sushi is killer, from the Taka’s Tuna—a deep-fried triangle rice patty topped with avocado and tuna poké that resembles avocado toast—to the pepper-crusted seared albacore nigiri to the salmon shishito roll topped with lemon slices. 2878 SE Gladstone St —KCH

Yoshi’s

Multnomah Village

In Multnomah Village, second-generation sushi chef and Bamboo Sushi alum Yoshi Ikeda serves creative, refined, uber-fresh and modestly priced sushi out of a cart. Come for stellar nigiri made with thoughtful touches: seared sea scallop with yuzu pepper marmalade, salmon with ginger miso and microgreens, and sweet, fluffy housemade tamago stamped with Yoshi’s name. The rolls deftly balance lots of flavors at once, like the vegan-friendly Lime Green Machine, tying together sesame-crusted spinach, cucumbers, roasted peppers, avocado, and microgreens with ginger miso (who says sushi can’t be your source of daily veggies?). Call ahead and order early, since Ikeda doesn’t accept walk-up orders and often sells out. The pod offers indoor and outdoor seating, though this sushi is also ideal for to-go. 3530 SW Multnomah Rd —KCH

Yuubi Sushi

Beaverton

Nigiri from Yuubi Sushi

This downtown Beaverton newcomer serves hard-to-find seafood, many of them fresh off the plane from Japan, with a modern and creative chef’s touch. Look out for rotating delicacies like the springtime special firefly squid—you can eat them whole, custardy heads and all—or the Hokkaido hairy crab or the dry-aged kanpachi. Go for traditional nigiri, or get ones with special touches like spicy cod roe. The rolls combine ingredients rarely seen together, like salmon-peach or key lime and aged amberjack, while still allowing the fish to shine. Or if you’d just like to stuff your face with choice cuts of fish, ask for the generously-portioned chirashi bowl. 4925 SW Angel Ave Ste 110, Beaverton —KCH

Zilla Sake

Vernon

Originally opened as a sake bar on Alberta, Zilla Sake eventually evolved into one of Portland’s top sushi restaurants with sushi chef and sake expert Kate Koo at the helm. Sip on a sake that’ll open your eyes to what the beverage can be—we particularly like the poetically-named “Cabin in the Snow,” one of Koo’s favorites that’s super-smooth with a lightly fruity finish. Try the super-tender octopus nigiri or the lightly sweet sea eel, and for rolls, order the Tsunami, a bright, zingy combo of yellowtail, ponzu, and green onion on top filled with naturally sweet Dungeness crab and crunchy cucumber. 1806 NE Alberta St —KCH

For further consideration: Nimblefish

Nimblefish is often at the forefront of conversations about Portland’s greatest sushi. And behind the sushi counter was executive chef and co-owner Cody Auger, regarded as one of the stars of the sushi scene not just in Portland, but in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. In January 2022, Auger stepped away from his role as executive chef (while remaining co-owner) to become head chef at Takibi, the new izakaya-inspired restaurant at Snow Peak's Portland headquarters. Nimblefish brought a new chef on board, longtime employee Yasu Tabita. We haven't had a chance to try Nimblefish since Tabita's takeover, and reservations were booked as of press time, but we look forward to reporting back soon on the new omakase menu. 1524 SE 20th Ave

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