One doesn't usually put "airport cuisine" and "delicious sushi" in the same sentence, but One Flew South breaks the stereotype and serves up impressive food in an atmosphere that allows you to forget you're in an airport. The restaurant enjoys semi-privacy from passersby through a slatted wood plank wall. The white leather seating is equally luxurious. An 18-foot marble back bar greets solitary diners and provides an ample perch while waiting for prepared food-to-go. Serving more than sushi, guests also devour the scallops or the pork belly. Popular rolls include the kamikaze and traditional tuna roll. Suddenly an extended layover is not such bad news, after all.
Recommended for Sushi because: This premier Atlanta sushi spot sits within the Atlanta-Hartsfield airport. Upscale sushi + airport cuisine – you don't hear those two things together often, if ever.
Lesli's expert tip: Can't stop to dine? Take-away options are also available.
Yoon Sushi is hiding in the outskirts of Atlanta Metro, within a non-distinct strip mall. Don't let this fool you; it's the local's best kept secret. Whether your first visit or your 31st, the staff treat visitors like family. Look for daily fish specials posted subtly above the sushi bar. Here you will find the very best selection of market fish that other sushi restaurants might not carry. Star players include the Hamachi Sashimi and the Tuna Tower: seasoned yellow fin tuna, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil on top of diced avocado with spicy mayo and ponzu sauce, all topped with a baked cream cheese white mousse. While it's not sushi, you still don't want to miss the Ramen Bowl with spicy flavors that warm you to the bone.
Recommended for Sushi because: Dynamic sushi selections delight your senses in the popular "hole-in-the-wall" hiding in the burbs.
Lesli's expert tip: Ask if the Otoro tuna is available. It isn't on the menu, but you don't want to miss it.
Doraku Sushi is the latest addition to the Atlanta dining scene within Buckhead Atlanta. The intimate establishment offers a refined twist on traditional Japanese fare, drawing inspiration from Asian and Latin flavor profiles. The menu boasts a vast mix of popular sushi and Asian-fusion dishes, all prepared with seasonal fresh, hand-picked ingredients as well as a unique variety of specialty fish from both local and global markets such as live scallops and uni, sea urchin. Signature items from the menu include tuna tataki made with seared tuna served over a wakame daikon salad and garnished with garlic aioli and ponzu sauce or the doraku roll with Maine lobster, masago, bell pepper, tomato and cucumber all topped with king crab. Additionally, Doraku Sushi's highly acclaimed sake menu is one of the most extensive lists in the country.
Recommended for Sushi because: Not your typical sushi restaurant, you can enjoy delightful Japanese cuisine with a fusion twist. Thumbs up for creativity that doesn't sacrifice flavor.
Lesli's expert tip: Experience Doraku with a 5-course meal available every Monday. Tataki, Eggplant Miso, Firecracker Shrimp, Chicken Teriyaki and Brownie Tempura, all for $25.
Tomo Naito moved to Atlanta with a desire to run his own kitchen. He opened TOMO with one basic idea.... To do contemporary Japanese food with the absolute finest hand picked ingredients from all over the world. Unmatched in quality, TOMO's fish is flown in twice weekly from Japan's Tsukiji Fish Market. Unsure of what to order? Try the sampler meal which includes the freshest selection with dishes like the shrimp, asparagus and shiso spring roll or shrimp and veggie tempura. Of course, if you are ready to splurge, do not miss the traditional omakase, offered to only a few customers each night. TOMO is located in the heart of posh Buckhead, at the Ritz-Carlton Residences. Leave the kids at home, and plan on a bit of haughty attitude with your sashimi- it is worth the reward.
Recommended for Sushi because: Two times on Atlanta Magazine's 50 Best Restaurant list and fish flown straight from the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo make this a must-try.
Lesli's expert tip: Tomo offers complimentary valet parking for both lunch and dinner, a unique treat in Buckhead.
Chef Fuyuhiko Ito is a master at his craft and dishes elegant presentations that taste every bit as sensational as they look. The best seat in the house? The sushi counter; the omakase is a must. Heavenly goshinamori is the restaurant's most popular sashimi selection, and rightfully so. It's not all sushi, though - the hot entrees really stand out, too. Seafood lovers will melt for the Lobster Toban-yaki, which comes drenched in miso butter, finished at the table. If you're looking for something hearty, try the duck confit. Chef Ito showcases his French culinary education with this divine fusion dish. Umi also delivers hand-crafted cocktails, an extensive sake list and delicious desserts made by Ito's pastry chef wife. Even the staff will tell you that the Chocolate Bento Box is the most indulgent selection. Don't miss a cup of Umi-blend Lamill coffee, served is traditional Japanese V60 pour-over style.
Recommended for Sushi because: Fantastically fresh sushi, craft cocktails and a knowledgeable staff make Umi a must-visit for sushi-lovers.
Jennifer's expert tip: There's more to this intimate, upscale restaurant than just sushi. Make sure to save room for the green tea souffle. Order it when your last savory dish arrives, as it takes about 15 minutes to prepare.
After a brief hiatus, MF Sushi is back in Atlanta, and this time it is in Inman Park. This sushi bar's initials stand for "Magic Fingers," which is Chef Chris Kinjo's well-deserved nickname. Sushi is all the restaurant serves. But, oh, what sushi it is, presented in a stylish place of pale woods, exotic lighting and rhythmic music. Perfectly composed morsels are beautiful, fashioned from premium seafood, and are exemplary models of the genre. Fresh wasabi, terrific sakes and knowledgeable servers up the ante on quality. Crafting the sushi does take time, so be prepared for some anticipation. Open for lunch or dinner.
Recommended for Sushi because: An elegant atmosphere and high quality fish make this a top-notch selection.
Lesli's expert tip: Being seated with warm towels to clean our hands reminded me of being back in Tokyo.
Traditionalists notice immediately that O-Ku thoughtfully omits California Rolls from the primary menu, giving only a slight nod to Americanized sushi rolls on a short secondary list. The gracious menu features starters, chefs specials, aburi (slightly cook fished,) signature nigiri and creative hot entrees. Chef Chang's Otoro Spoons showcase sophisticated flavor combinations, with Otoro tartare, fresh uni, soy, scallion and caviar alluringly arranged on five silver spoons adorning a shiso leaf. The Ahi poke excites your tastebuds with marinated tuna, shiso, onion and a spicy mustard dressing bringing an intense piquant flavor. Other chef's creations include red snapper nigiri with sweet marmalade, decadent wagyu beef with scallions and Japanese barbecue, or otoro with truffle shavings and caviar. Regardless of which creation tempts your palate, the fresh fish and creative nigiri raises the bar in Atlanta's sushi scene.
Recommended for Sushi because: Traditional selections, creative and delicious, feature fresh fish in a sleek and sexy atmosphere.
Lesli's expert tip: Don't miss the rooftop dining and bar, with excellent views of the Midtown skyline.