Being a native of San Diego, California, sushi runs in my blood. I ate my first salmon roll when I was two and I’ve been in absolute love with the food ever since then. Although my appetite for raw fish started with simple California rolls (which don’t actually have any raw fish), I have grown to love all types of the Japanese delicacy.
Locations that are relatively close to the ocean will almost always have the advantage to “good sushi”, simply because the fish is fresher. Certain vendors at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, catch fish every morning and sell it to the crowds mere hours later. Blue Ribbon Sushi in the East Village of New York City flies in fresh fish from Japan daily. Restaurants with easy access or proximity may always be the best sushi places.
That being said, rice with raw fish and seaweed can be found pretty much anywhere in the country. When I moved to Raleigh, I simply refused to give up my sushi affinity. Therefore, I’ve spent years culminating a list of my favorite Japanese places in the triangle area.
- Hayashi Japanese Restaurant (13200 Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh, NC 27614)
Nestled right in North Raleigh, Hayashi hides in the Wakefield Crossings Shopping Center. When I first moved to North Carolina, this was the first sushi restaurant that my mom, fellow sushi connoisseur, and I went to. Not only was the food rather impressive but the service was great as well. Normally, sushi served inland in the United States has a piscine taste and feels rather rubbery. At Hayashi, all of the sushi and sashimi (fish on top of rice) that I was served felt rather smooth and tasted delicious. My go-to order is a bento box, a dish with both grilled meat and raw fish that completely satisfies the taste buds.
- Sushi One (8470 Honeycutt Rd, Raleigh, NC 27615)
Lafayette Village, also in North Raleigh, features many different types of cuisines including southern comfort food and Italian. Just in between Driftwood Southern Kitchen and Farina rests Sushi One. Of course, the sushi here is great. Every roll I’ve ordered has had great flavor and I am continuously impressed. My favorite part of Sushi One is the atmosphere of the restaurant. Windows around the restaurant and high ceilings create a very open and welcome feeling. Both the vibe of the restaurant and the rather extensive menu make Sushi One a great Japanese “getaway” from the streets of Raleigh.
- Mura (4121 Main St #110, Raleigh, NC 27609)
In North Hills, Mura Sushi serves exquisite rolls and diverse cuisine. Different from other sushi restaurants in the area, Mura also serves steaks, chicken, and multiple types of noodles. The outdoor patio, centered right by a beautiful water fountain, is the perfect place to enjoy sushi with friends. Although I have only been a handful of times, Mura remains one of my favorite places in Raleigh. The 919 roll has spice, crunch, and immense flavor all mixed into one and is definitely my favorite order.
As mentioned before, Raleigh may never be able to compare to the standards of sushi in places like Southern California. Luckily, places like Hayashi, Sushi One, and Mura have lifted sushi lovers’ hopes for a treat in the capital city of North Carolina.