See an updated version ofPhiladelphia's Top Sushi.
116 East Kings Highway
Haddonfield, NJ 08033
Perhaps the best sushi in the Philadelphia area isn't in city proper. A 15 minute ride on a PATCO train will bring you to Japanese native, Matt Ito, and his East-meets-West style in the Fuji kitchen. This is where philebrities sneak away to savor Ito's omakase. It's a miniature shopping mall, which might throw some off, but his sashimi platter, branzino and banana tempura will be right on.
Matsaharu Morimoto turned on the ever-changing neon lights for the first time in 2001. Since then, Morimoto has become a mandatory special event dining experience, whether you live in Philadelphia or are just visiting. Omakase is the way to go, although many complain about letting go of their money. Still, if you're going to spend it on something, it might as well be cuisine conjured up by an original Iron Chef.
For the longest time, the most contemporary restaurant in University City was Stephen Starr's POD, with the city's only sushi conveyor belt, modern lighting and general space odyssey sexiness. Once you get past the aesthetics, the sushi and Japanese cuisine are still worth the trip west of the Walnut St. Bridge. Tuesday is all-you-can-eat after 9 p.m.
533 N. 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130-3130
Located among Fairmount residences, you have to really look for Umai or you'll miss it. The Godzilla roll is the mandatory chopstick grab. Bring a bottle of champers (it's a BYO) and get ready for the pairing of Alexander McCoy's Godzilla Roll--shrimp tempura, sliced avocado and honey drizzled strawberries, topped with crushed macadamia nuts as the perfect top-off!
2035 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Vic is known for affordable rolls with creative flair. The tiny eatery is in a great location, by Helium comedy club and the Adrienne Theatre. They have sweet deals, like a 3-roll special for $10.95. There are 15 rolls you can choose from--any day, any time--but you may have to wait due to the restaurant's small size.
Chef Hiroyuki "Zama" Tanaka, who was at the helm of both the POD and Morimoto kitchens, opened his namesake Izakaya in 2011. The space, a block north of Rittenhouse Square, has more character than it ever had as Loie. When local Philly chefs aren't wearing their whites, Zama's sushi bar is where they want to sit. A signature roll includes the Inside-out California roll, with wasabi tobiko and topped with lobster salad and a jalapeno that's been pickled in soy sauce for 24 hours. On a bar note, since it is an Izakaya, management has brought in beers from Echigo, a Japanese craft brewery that had yet to be imported to the States. The pilsner would pair best, but they also carry a porter and a stout.
Suzanne Woods has resided in Philadelphia since 2001. She's freelance writer, craft beer enthusiast, and is president/founder of the Philadelphia Women's Beer Club. She eats out two meals a day, churns out exotic ice creams as often as she can, and has her records spinning more often than not. You can follow her drinking and dining adventures at www.beerlass.com.
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