When we first arrived in Oahu, my boyfriend and I were excited to try all the different cuisine the island had. And, of course, as we both love Japanese food, sushi was at the top of our list.
We quickly realized that finding a good sushi restaurant in Oahu was no easy task. With over 2 million search results, it felt like we were swimming in a sea of options.
Being self-proclaimed foodies, we researched the city’s top restaurants. After reading about all the different places, we decided to try them all!
And I wasn’t disappointed! There were some great sushi restaurants in Oahu. Each restaurant had its own unique charm and offered a delicious and fresh selection of sushi rolls.
Out of the ten sushi restaurants we tried, these six stood out as the best on the island. So if you’re looking for some delicious sushi while you’re in Oahu, be sure to check out these six spots!
#1. Banzai Sushi Bar – Best Sushi Spot on the Island
This is a great modern restaurant. It’s locally owned and operated and has a somewhat hipster vibe. As a bonus, outside seating (surrounded by palm trees) and a full bar! The taste of the food here definitely won me over.
I made the reservation for dinner a day in advance and requested outside seating. We got a pretty cozy table with traditional floor seating (so wear appropriate clothing if this is your thing!) Our waiter was very helpful, and we did not wait much for anything.
I had the cucumber salad and sashimi trio (big eye ahi, king salmon, and Japanese yellowtail). My boyfriend had the Ahi Tataki (big eye ahi, asparagus, ginger dressing, and smoked soy sauce).
They have a delicious specialty sashimi menu so that you can try something delicious and creative. The fish was super fresh, and the dish was creative with interesting flavor combinations. If you are a vegetarian, there are also great options.
This restaurant is my pick because of its creative flavor and freshness. Also, the menu is varied, and there is something for everyone. The cocktail list is diverse, and I recommend the Tokyo Mule or Lychee martini.
Don’t miss the banana tempura with cinnamon and coconut ice cream for dessert.
Here is my number one pick because:
- The seating area is fun and creative, giving the restaurant a lively atmosphere.
- The sushi is well done, unique, modern, and fresh.
- The menu is diverse and friendly for the whole family.
- They have a great bar and service.
#2. Doraku Sushi – Best Date Night Restaurant
Doraku has three locations (Miami, Waikiki and Kakaako). We visited the Waikiki location, and it was delicious! The modern restaurant offers great crafted drinks with fresh, innovative sushi options. They have both inside and outside seating, depending on your mood.
We made reservations for dinner the day before and asked for a secluded table. We didn’t wait at all, and our servers were super friendly. This place is perfect for a special occasion (or our romantic date night!)
It was the first time I tried (and loved) eggplant miso. It tasted fresh and was perfectly seasoned. I highly recommend the Hamachi garlic roll and spicy tuna roll with kabayaki. The rolls were beautifully presented, and the fish had an excellent texture. My boyfriend and I loved the slight spiciness and seasoning.
For dessert, choose the ice cream tempura (green tea ice cream with fresh fruit, Japanese bread, and caramel sauce). I also tried the Butterfly Saketini cocktail. It was one of a kind. But if cocktails aren’t your thing – they have a nice pinot grigio.
Note: There is a takeout option to order online. But the true experience is in the great atmosphere of the restaurant.
It’s a worthwhile restaurant to visit because:
- There is an overall positive atmosphere, just right for date night or a special occasion.
- The food is creative, the presentation is clean, and the food is super fresh,
- The menu has something for everyone.
- The bar is well prepared to pair the right drink with your meal.
#3. Local Boy Sushi – Best Sushi in Kaneohe [Hidden Gem]
Locals try to keep this hole in the wall a secret! It offers a variety of food for the whole family. I think it is the only place where you can get extremely fresh poke sushi and an original Lee’s cheeseburger.
I had seen a long line the day before, so we called in our to-go order. We planned a delicious beach picnic, and the food was perfectly packed. I ordered the Ahi pack with ahi nigiri and poke sushi. The fish was fresh, and the rice was perfectly cooked. The set included soy sauce, wasabi, chopsticks, and a fork.
My boyfriend had the LBS combo pack, which included Ahi poke, spice ahi, smoked salmon, and California rolls. For dessert, we shared bread pudding. We bought our cold beers on the way to the beach.
The prices are very reasonable here. I liked that the to-go food was well packed, and the presentation was nice. Everything we had was fresh and of high quality. Next time we hope to try the burgers too, we heard from the returning customers that they are the best!
It is a funky sushi spot because:
- The fish is fresh and well prepared.
- There are many options on the menu for lovers of sushi, barbeque, or burgers.
- The to-go food is nicely packed and has everything you need for lunch at the beach or park.
#4. Imanas TEI Restaurant – Authentic Japanese Tradition
I love this place because it serves traditional Japanese cuisine and sushi. Every meal is authentic in preparation and taste. If you close your eyes, you may find yourself in Japan!
We ordered two different assorted sushi plates, and they included (maguro, salmon, Hamachi, albacore, Ebi Ika, and more..) The portions were substantial, and the price was reasonable. If you want to try something completely different but don’t want to risk the whole meal, there is a tasty sushi ala-carte option. You can order 2 pieces of over twenty sushi and sashimi options.
All the fish was fresh and well cut. The fish was not overwhelmed with seasoning and sauces. There is no mayo here! It was classical and simple, bringing out the taste of the fish. The wasabi and soy sauce have a homemade taste.
They did not have any interesting dessert options, so we skipped them. But it didn’t diminish our experience at all.
They have a tasty grill and fry menu for non-sushi eaters.
Don’t miss dining in this restaurant because:
- It is the most authentic traditional sushi on the island.
- The menu is huge and filled with many traditional Japanese dishes.
- There is a large tasting menu if you are looking to experiment.
- This is a family-friendly place.
#5. Sushi ii – Best Rainy Day Lunch
This is a small hidden restaurant in a strip mall area. If you don’t look for it, you will miss it. Though the outside is not impressive, the inside is a beautifully decorated, clean, and pleasant seating area. The chef and staff are friendly but professional.
It was my boyfriend’s favorite lunch. I loved hearing the specials and some background information about the fish. We ordered sushi Omakase (chef’s choice) and the Negi Hamachi roll (yellowtail and green onions). The plates are beautifully plated and the portions are generous.
I loved the privacy each table had, and we had some great conversations during our meal. The waiter was attentive but didn’t rush us. After the wonderful meal, we had Vanilla beans, Panna Cotta, matcha sauce, and Oolong Tea.
This modern, cozy bistro was perfect for a rainy day. The sushi was fresh and nicely cut, showing the chef’s skill.
Here’s why this sushi spot is worth a visit:
- The food is well prepared and tasty with lots of diverse options.
- The atmosphere is private, quiet, and suitable for a relaxing lunch or rainy day.
- The sushi is top quality and done skillfully, without overpowering sauces. It showcased the fish.
- The staff is super friendly and helpful.
#6. Yanagi Sushi – Best Tokyo-Style Sushi
This small sushi spot has lasted the test of time. The owner and master chef has served the locals here since the 70s. That’s why the flavor here is similar to an authentic Tokyo restaurant. True to the local spirit, this restaurant offers an awesome late-night menu from 9 pm to 1 am.
We opted for dinner and made a reservation a day ahead. There was no waiting, we were promptly seated, and our waiter was attentive and knowledgeable about the food.
The menu and the food were by far the most impressive. I highly recommend the combo fresh seafood platter (salmon and ahi sashimi and oysters). Also, the Toro (Ahi belly) was buttery and flavorful. There are many delicious sushi and sashimi options for those trying out Japanese cuisine. There are over 20 sushi roll options.
For dessert, I had the mango sherbet and Azuki Bean Paste. My boyfriend had the coffee ice cream (and I ate half of his too!)
Make sure to visit this great restaurant because:
- The restaurant has stood the test of time with local owners and employees.
- The food is authentic, and the produce is fresh, clean-cut, and well served.
- There is a huge sushi and sashimi option.
- This is a family-friendly restaurant with something for everyone.
Oahu had some of the most delicious sushi I’ve ever tasted. It made my trip. I loved how the restaurants were diverse, from the street corner (Local Boy Sushi) to high dining (Banzai Sushi Bar and Doraku Sushi). The restaurants I picked are all full of local traditions and ingredients.
The awesome part is that you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy this food (but you can also be an expert and still find the food exquisite).
Make sure to check these restaurants out and share my post!
Until next time. Bon appetite.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What is high-end sushi called?
Most high-end sushi restaurants have an Omakase sushi tasting menu. It consists of 10 to 15 courses served one by one, according to the chef’s choice. The chef gives a background on each tasting, including the ingredients, preparation, and the right way to taste.
What is the rarest sushi?
The rarest and most unusual sushi is usually made of the most exotic fish. This includes Akamutsu (deep sea perch), Mizudako (Hokkaido octopus), and Kinmedai (golden eye snapper). You can find all three of these rare sushi types on the menu of Sushi ii.
What’s in a Hawaii roll sushi?
Depending on the chef’s preference, there are many variations in making the Hawaii sushi roll. Most Hawaii rolls start with nori, sushi rice, avocado, ham, and asparagus. Additions to the classic include mango, lobster, ginger tofu, and spicy mayo for seasoning.
Last Updated on January 10, 2023 by Brigitte