Living Here Guide

The 10 best sushi spots in Charlotte — and what you should order at each one

An assortment of sushi delights at Baku.
An assortment of sushi delights at Baku. Michael C. Hernandez Photography

Wasabi. Soy sauce. Rice and seafood and veggies. Some days, what more do you need? Good thing Charlotte has us covered for our sushi cravings.

Here are our 10 favorite sushi spots in Charlotte (in no particular order).

Bonsai Fusion

225 E. 6th St. (Inside 7th Street Public Market)

Why: Bonsai may have started as strictly sushi, but its latest additions of sushi burritos (order the OG) and poke bowls make this order-at-the-counter spot a must for any raw fish aficionado. Pro tip: Its location inside 7th Street Market means you should order first and then pull up a stool at Tank’s Tap for a craft beer to sip with your sushi.

Must order: The OG aka Hulk Burrito.

Ru San’s

2440 Park Road

Why: Our social media manager has probably spoken about Ru San’s 10,000 times during her one year in Charlotte. She thinks it’s that good. From the unlimited sushi lunch buffet to the servers’ “Why Soy Serious” T-shirts, it’s easy to find this understated place endearing.

Must order: The Caterpillar roll, The Gladiator roll and The Westwood roll are good places to start.

O-Ku

2000 South Blvd., Suite 510

Why: This is a lovely place to take a date or take your friends. If there’s a wait, you don’t worry about it. Peruse the drink list at the bar and survey the open dining room, or walk around Atherton Mill and browse the shops.

Must order: The Lobster Temaki is ideal when paired with the Lychee Martini, no matter who you’re with.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

4310 Sharon Road

Why: Meet the Burgushi, a fusion of burgers and sushi. Think a roll with filet or pulled pork. Feeling less adventurous? The menu splits off with a burger list and sushi list to simplify the situation. If you encounter a long wait, belly up to the bar and gaze at the aquarium over a drink.

Must order: The Spicy Tuna Roll. A classic.

New Zealand Cafe

1717 N. Sardis Road, Suite 6A

Why: It isn’t trendy and it isn’t in a “hip” part of town, but this hole-in-the-wall sushi spot in a southeast Charlotte strip mall offers one of the best bangs for your buck in town. Get a boat of sushi to share and wash it down with a big Sapporo. The best part — the specialty rolls come in at less than $10 each, so you won’t break the bank.

And the secret’s out on this tiny spot, so expect to wait on the weekend. It’s worth it.

Must order: The H.O.T. Roll (Spicy tuna, cream cheese, jalapeño, lightly battered tempura.)

BAKU

4515 Sharon Road

Why: The patio here is an elegant oasis to lounge in with a few sushi rolls (especially during Queen’s Feast: Charlotte Restaurant Week) curated for the seafood- and veggie-lover alike. You also have permission to stray a little off course with Robata skewers and kimchi.

Must order: Baku Signature Nigiri and the Niwa Roll.

Soul Gastrolounge

1500 Central Ave.

Why: The sashimi eel is a great go-to. Beyond the sashimi, the classic and original rolls are worth ordering. Try a featured vegan roll if you please, and get a side of the seaweed salad for a lighter taste of the sea. You won’t be disappointed.

Must order: Eel Sashimi, the Crunch Roll and Seaweed Salad.

Upstream

6902 Phillips Place

Why: Step inside this higher end space for fresh catch and fresh dayboat seafood, sashimi and specialty rolls. There are ample appetizers, rolls and side dishes for both the fish and non-fish eater. As for ambiance, the restaurant was named one of “15 Must-Try Romantic Restaurants” by Dream Vacation Magazine.

Must order: Veggie Roll. (Sounds lame, we know, but it’s delicious.)

Room 112

112 S Tryon St.

Why: If you’re feeling sushi for lunch, head on over to Room 112. They have super cheap specialty rolls, a modern dining atmosphere and very friendly staff. Pro tip: Wear sweatpants because this place is going to fill you up, quick.

Must order: The Super Crunchy and Cherry Blossom rolls.

Pisces Sushi

1100 E Metropolitan Ave., Suite 120

Why: The inventive but accessible rolls and classic nigiris are always reliable and the sushi and sashimi combo options add some extra pizzazz to your choices. Bonus: There are all-you-can-eat lunch specials. And the cocktails are great, day or night.

Must order: All you can eat lunch, duh.

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