Whether you like your sushi fried and crispy, with a little chilli heat to boot, or prepared the traditional Japanese way, these five restaurants in South Africa’s most notable foodie cities are making outstanding sushi. And we like they way that they roll…
The eastern part of Johannesburg, where this sushi bar is located, is just a short drive from OR Tambo International Airport and well-worth the trip for those coming from more far-flung parts of the City of Gold. Opened almost two decades ago, Yamitsuki delivers a unique Japanese dining experience with traditional dishes served on a conveyer system belt sitting comfortably side by side with “fire sushi”.
Recommended Fire sushi is a crisp, golden-exteriored sushi that’s been blowtorched, then flambéed upon presentation before being garnished with aromatic, fresh Asian herbs. Yamitsuki’s dim sum and teppanyaki bowls have a cult following, as do their unique “fire and smoke” cocktails.
Situated in one of Pretoria’s trendy restaurant hubs, The Village in Hazelwood Pretoria, this eatery serves a melange of Eastern-inspired dishes alongside handmade burgers, grills and cocktails. For those who love having a little more heat in everything they eat, the sushi menu is a treat. Besides the rolls with hints of chilli or sweet chilli sauce, there’s Kenjo Sushi made with cooked tuna, sweet chilli and avo rolled in fried rice paper; and the spicy Tacos Salmon – a combination of seared chopped salmon and mayonnaise in tacos, among a number of fiery options.
Recommended If California rolls are more your style, try the Kimono, a tasty vegetarian option made with tamagoyaki, peppadew, cream cheese and chives, and honey and shichimi salsa.
Given its location – in the trendy Gardens suburb of the premiere South African coastal city of Cape Town – this establishment prides itself in offering fresh seafood that’s sourced from the best possible suppliers in various parts of the world – from Mozambique to Alaska. This is why Kyoto Garden is celebrated as one of the Mother City’s best seafood restaurants and has recently won the 2018 Eat Out accolade for Best Seafood Restaurant in Cape Town title. Priced at a higher price point than most sushi establishments, the quality is just as high.
Recommended The sushi rolls are made with the finest ingredients … think quail eggs, Alaskan king crab, flying fish eggs, angel blue prawn from Caledonia and yellowtail Cape Salmon Kabeljou.
Among the slew of cosmopolitan restaurants that have been emerging in Durban’s affluent Umhlanga and Greedy Budd is among those that stand head and shoulders above the rest. Just a stone’s throw away from Gateway, one of Africa’s largest malls, this restaurant boasts a tantalising array of Asian fusion dishes … but the sushi is the winner. For an authentic flavour experience, flavours that are true to the original recipe are used as much as possible with fresh horseradish for the wasabi, dry-roasted sesame seeds, home-pickled daikon, Norwegian salmon that’s been cured with citrus, and free-range eggs for the mayonnaise.
Recommended For a deconstructed sushi experience, try the Sushi Salad – sushi rice mixed with wasabi mayo, coriander pesto, confit baby toms, avo, rocket, pickled ginger, rice crispy’s, soy lime dressing. The Crispy seared Salmon Nigiri, with miso and seared lime, also comes highly recommended.
Nelson Mandela Bay
Nelson Mandela Bay’s Stanley Street in Richmond Hill is the most exciting restaurant hotspot that the Friendly City has to offer. It keeps re-inventing itself to keep up with the times, but has the type of streetside cafés and bistros that make the city the charming and relaxed place it is. Besides tempuras, poke bowls, seafood tapas and various ceviches, Fushin has a sushi menu that ranges from traditional pieces (maki rolls and temaki bars) and nigiri to new-style sashimi and uramaki specials.
Recommended Try the Mangrove Roll comprising Mozambican orange crab with spicy mango salsa or Red Rock Roll (whole grain red rice topped with crispy caper tuna tartare), both of which are uramaki options that turn the idea of traditional sushi-making on its head.
WORDS Thando Ndabezitha