By Allison Neri
Don’t know sukiyaki from teppanyaki or sushi from sashimi, fear not. We’re here to school you on the “raw” truth. In honor of International Sushi Day on Monday, June 18, Phoenix.org takes you on a tour of some of the Valley’s most celebrated sushi destinations, as well as a few lesser-known pearls. What we present to you here, in alphabetical order, are some fantastic Japanese cuisine options to explore, most with full menus of cooked and raw foods so anyone can find what they like.
Sapporo beer is the No. 1 Asian brand sold in America and is served at almost all sushi restaurants, as well as countless places throughout town that know good beer. As a stand-alone brew with a crisp, clean taste, it complements Asian food, but most of these featured restaurants also serve it with sake, creating some of the best happy hours around. No matter where you get your sushi, or your Sapporo, they do pair up quite well. So, give it a try.
1919 S. Gilbert Road, Mesa
Ah-So’s sushi is “ah, so good!” with tempura, special, baked and fresh rolls on the menu. For those who want a little flair with their meals, teppanyaki is available, too. Ah-So doesn’t have a happy hour, but Sapporo beer is free flowing.
6744 E. McDowell Road, Suite 102, Mesa
Providing more than your typical sushi, Got Sushi? offers Korean barbecue. With a hope to leave every customer satisfied, the Northeast Mesa restaurant offers a wide variety of food items on its menu. Those with the daring palate can try prime beef tongue and squid salad. Happy hour is 2 to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, with special appetizers starting at $3.25, sushi rolls $4, and Japanese beer at $4.95.
9393 N. 90th Street, Scottsdale
Serving traditional sushi for lunch and dinner, this cozy spot is tucked away just east of the Loop 101 on Via Linda in Scottsdale. Rave reviews and a stunning presentation highlight Hiro Sushi. Sake and wine are served, along with Sapporo beer.
Kabuki Japanese Restaurant
6770 N. Sunrise Boulevard, Westgate Entertainment District, Glendale
2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe Marketplace, Tempe
Kabuki showcases traditional and innovative Japanese cuisine, creative cocktails and contemporary interior designs. When the Kabuki menu is in your hand, prepare for tough decisions. Items include an array of small plates, vegetable and seafood salads, sushi, sashimi, rolls, specialty rolls, teriyaki, sukiyaki, tempura, combinations, wagyu beef, noodles and rice dishes. Kabuki’s happy hour menu (available 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday; 9 to 10:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday) features a lineup of small plates, salads, sushi and rolls, plus cocktails, sake, wine and our favorite beer, Sapporo! Try an ice-cold Sapporo beer by the mug ($5.50 regular, $4.50 happy hour), pitcher ($25.95 regular, $21.50 happy hour) or “KI Bomb” ($8.95 regular, $7.50 happy hour).
5310 E. High Street, Suite 101, Phoenix
3111 W. Chandler Boulevard, Chandler
2224 E. Williams Field Road, Gilbert
7014 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale
Kona Grill is an Arizona staple, serving guests freshly prepared food and personalized service, all within a contemporary setting. Besides the standard pizzas, sandwiches and salads, Kona Grill offers a wide selection of award-winning sushi, including sashimi, traditional favorites and several proprietary dishes. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and all day Sunday. Reverse happy hour is 9 to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and all day Sunday.
10115 E. Bell Road, Suite 48, Scottsdale
Desert Ridge Marketplace, 21001 N. Tatum Boulevard, Suite 48, Phoenix
Local sushi genius Hyunwook Lee founded Nori Sushi, which offers premium dishes from land and sea. Along with a cutting-edge organic cocktail program, Nori has succeeded by offering something for everyone. Lee supports a fusion of classic sushi cuisine with jaw-dropping modern twists. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Ohya Sushi, Korean Kitchen & Bar
4920 W. Thunderbird Road, Suite 117, Glendale
7000 E. Mayo Boulevard, Suite 1090, Phoenix
Founded 12 years ago as Chuhgajib Korean Barbecue, Ohya Sushi, Korean Kitchen& Bar up the ante on fun. They have two karaoke rooms for private parties, a small room for up to eight people, and a larger facility for 20. The locations also boast sushi bars, yakitori and teppan grill bars, as well as libations like Sapporo beer. Happy hour is all day.
2430 S. Gilbert Road, Suite 5, Chandler
Otaku offers artfully prepared, traditional Asian cuisine. Fresh maki (rolls) sushi, sashimi, noodle dishes and Omakase are just the beginning of this incredible dining experience. The eatery serves a wide variety of sake and specialty drinks, including Sapporo beer. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and all day Sunday.
Pure Sushi Colony
5538 N. Seventh Street, Phoenix
Founded in 2016, the owners of Pure Sushi Colony have a key focus on providing the freshest fish possible and a menu suited for everyone. Happy hour is every day from 3 to 6 p.m., offering prices like $6 Sapporo and $8 sake bomber to help wind down. Sushi prices start at $3 to poke at $7.
4921 E. Ray Rd., Phoenix
13802 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 176, Scottsdale
71652 S. Val Vista Drive, Suite 101, Mesa
3815 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
411 S. Mill Avenue, Tempe
La Encantada, 2905 E. Skyline Drive, Tucson
Locals know RA means party! There’s a reason they have six Arizona locations: The food is excellent and the drink variety is crazy good. Sushi includes maki, sashimi, nigiri, hand rolls, specialty rolls and samplers. Non-sushi mongers will enjoy katsu, teriyaki, chicken yakisoba, black pepper steak and other dishes, along with a variety of desserts. Happy hour is 3 to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and again 10 p.m. to close. Sundays you can get happy 3 p.m. to close.
5061 E. Elliot Road, Phoenix
20250 N. 59th Avenue, Glendale
6989 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale
1853 S. Power Road, Mesa
Sakana has been serving outstanding sushi and Japanese cuisine in the Valley since 1994. It has a simple lunch or dinner menu that features fresh fish flown in regularly from around the world. Sushi varieties come in nigiri and maki styles and a complete menu of cooked items (entrees, noodles, teriyaki, tempura, salads, soups) is available, too, many with gluten-free options.
14344 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Sapporo of Scottsdale has long been a popular destination, not just for excellent food, but for a great bar experience. Sapporo is in a word, popular, thanks to its full slate of teppanyaki meals, extensive sushi offerings and expert bartenders mixing up exotic libations. Pricing is downright reasonable, and its happy hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. seven days a week, with reverse happy hour 10 p.m. to close, Thursday through Saturday in the bar. A variety of libations, including Sapporo beer, is priced to keep you engaged and having a great time. Between the sushi, teppan and wide selection of dinner items, there is something for everyone at Sapporo.
2051 W. Warner Road, Chandler
Shimogamo specializes in small plates, but it scores big points with hearty entrees like its ribeye, salmon, black snapper and teriyaki spare ribs. Happy hour is easy to remember: every day from 5 to 7 p.m. A large Sapporo beer is only $4.50 and sake bombs for only $7. Sushi is discounted as low as $2.50 and rolls, $4.
9947 W. Happy Valley Road, Phoenix
CityScape, 2 E. Jefferson Street, Phoenix
Late-night sushi-cravers rejoice. Here’s a place to get sushi as late as 2 a.m. Squid Ink is a fusion concept with items ranging from pot stickers, ramen and chicken wings to coconut curry shrimp. The sushi menu serves up just about every crowd-pleasing sushi, rolls, and sashimi one could want, including many house specialty rolls. Happy hour daily from 3 to 7 p.m. Sapporo beer is on the menu.
6560 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
At SumoMaya Mexican-Asian Kitchen, tasty tapas-style small plates meet the big, bold ﬂavors of Latin America and the Far East. SumoMaya’s menu features only the ﬁnest, freshest ingredients and boldest ﬂavors from across Latin America and the Far East. The modern restaurant serves up a wide variety of drinks, so diners can get not only their Sapporo beer and sake, but tequila and margaritas. The social hour is 2 to 6 p.m. Monday to Sunday, and a late-night happy hour in the bar only from 9 to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 10 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
920 E. University Drive, Suite D-101, Tempe
Sushi 101 has been schooling Valley residents for more than 15 years. Founded by siblings with true talent for entrepreneurship and a passion for sushi, Sushi 101 has taken great strides to ensure only the best quality ingredients are used by expertly trained chefs. Happy hour is 3 to 7 p.m. daily, with reverse happy hour from 9 p.m. to close, so you can sip on different beers, like Sapporo beer.
9301 E. Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale
Serving up tasty sushi since 1995, Sushi Ko has a full menu of appetizers, as well as soups and salads. Tempura, teriyaki, noodle and Katsu dishes as well as a list of house specialty seafood dishes are recommended. Got kiddos? Bring them here for a child’s menu and a wide variety of simple desserts. Sapporo beer and sake are served, along with other adult beverages. Prices are reasonable at Sushi Ko, which is tucked away next to Chompie’s.
Desert Ridge Marketplace, 20910 N. Tatum Boulevard, Suite 150, Phoenix
The Kaiten Sushi, also known as “conveyor belt sushi,” concept comes to the Valley from Japan, making dining an adventure. The menu isn’t limited to raw fish, though. Various fully cooked rolls, dumplings, hand-battered tempura and other dishes are served. Happy hour is 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, during which time sushi starts at $1.50 and drinks like Sapporo beer are discounted.
3957 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
The sheer size of Sushiholic’s roll selection is overwhelming—as is the purveyor’s sense of humor. With names (and pictures!) like Shrimp Killer, Booty Booty, Godzilla Roll, Tootsie Roll, Second Climax and Viva Las Vegas Roll, you can’t help but be curious about all of them. Specialty cocktails like the Naughty Ninja and Sinful Geisha continue the fun. Salads, tempura, teriyaki, appetizers and even a kid’s menu cover all family members. Happy hour virtually never ends with 2 to 8 p.m. for standard happy hour and reverse happy hour from 8 p.m. to close.
7000 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix
The chefs at Yoshi Bento not only fill bento boxes with teriyakis, tempuras and salads. They roll sushi creations and simmer pots of Japanese noodle soups. Specialty rolls include the Las Vegas roll laden with fried salmon, crabmeat and eel, and the Scottsdale roll dusted with crunchy powder and a crown of spicy mayo. Sapporo is on the drink list, in addition to wine, sake and green tea.