New York's Enigmatic Japanese Restaurants Will Have You Saying "Arigato"

No matter who you are, New York has the food and the corners that feel like they are precisely made for you. Whether you like to break out of every mold or you want to blend into the crowd, New York is the city that allows you to be yourself.

But what if yourself is a person who is intensely craving sushi and sashimi? With the largest Japanese population on the East coast of the United States, we don't worry about you for a second.

We forget that the assortment of food options in America is relatively new. Japanese restaurants were almost unknown in America until after World War II. Now the main problem is the scale of choice. It is so mighty that you may occasionally consider giving up the whole eating thing. There will be someone on a cleanse in your office who will be happy to have you join their team.

We want to help. This list is designed to help you find Japanese food that is fresh, creative and delicious. Consider the inventive multi-course meals at Brushstroke, which masters such delicate dishes as Lobster and Chanterelles Mushroom Chawan-mushi Truffle Ankake. Or indulge in Sushi Yasuda's masterful and delightfully fresh fish that tastes like it swam from the ocean to your plate. Find your way to the hidden gem Sakagura tucked away in a corporate office building or rely on one of the early pioneer restaurants, Hatsuhana in midtown for a solid Japanese fix.

These restaurants are worth your hard earned dollars. In exchange, you will be mouthing the words "tasty" and "terrific" in between noble efforts to make rice balance on your chopsticks. You'll get it one day.

Union Square


Chef Marco Moreira wants to make sure you never eat "fake sushi" again. If you have been getting by with faux crab legs and extra spicy mayo, the upscale 15 East will put your sushi expectations in their place. 15 East has won numerous awards...  Read More



Exclusion does one of two things to people: 1) It makes you not even care because you're too cool for it anyway. 2) It makes you want in. Really, really, bad. If you are in camp 2, there is no judgment, but there is a restaurant for you. The...  Read More



Mark this hidden gem in the basement of a corporate office building in the Grand Central Terminal and United Nations neighborhood. A nondescript sign is tacked on the wall outside but otherwise you need a guide to get you here and you won't be...  Read More

Financial District


Even if you don't hail from New York City, you have likely heard of many of the monuments, street names and even restaurants. Nobu makes that list as one of New York's most recognized Japanese restaurants. Its fame is punctuated by frequent...  Read More

EN Japanese Brasserie


In the West village, EN Japanese Brasserie takes carefully selected local and Japanese ingredients and elevates them to something far greater than what they would be alone. Tofu is made in-house and is prepared six times a night. It is...  Read More

East Village


In the age of social media and oversharing, Kyo Ya doesn't even have a website. This quiet confidence extends to its food with small plates that are perfectly executed. Try the Alaskan kinki or the sea urchan on tofu skin. Vegetarian sides...  Read More



If you have never tried sushi, start your journey here at Hatsuhana. Ever since it opened its doors in 1976, it has become the go-to place for those who have never tried sushi, sashimi or any of the delightfully fresh-in-your-mouth dishes that...  Read More



While the Upper West side location might have you assuming an expensive pricetag, Sushi Yasaka is committed to delicious Japanese food that doesn't break the bank. Open since 2011, the diverse menu is clustered into groups, from noodles to maki...  Read More



We're not going to lie to you and tell you that eating at Brushstroke is a financially sound decision. Nor are we going to play on words by telling you that it is a "stroke" of good fortune to eat here (although for a writer, that is difficult...  Read More


Meet Maria Lisella

No matter how many countries Maria Lisella has visited (62), this native New Yorker finds the world at her doorstep in amazing Queens where its residents speak 138 languages.

Maria writes...  More About Maria