Charleston, South Carolina is one of those places that has loads of Old World charm. The weather is typically warm, the moss is hanging off the trees and there are countless numbers of opportunities for you to enjoy various activities that are native to the area.
The same goes with fine dining. Truth be told, it doesn't matter if you're looking for a true fine dining opportunity or if you just want to grab a quick lunch, there are certain places in Charleston that are simply unforgettable.
That's especially true if you're in the mood for sushi. Don't think for one minute that you can't get excellent sushi in the Deep South, because you definitely can.
These Sushi 20 restaurants prove that fact and they’ll have you coming back for more again and again.
20. O-Ku (463 King St)
The first thing you'll notice when you walk into this location is the exposed brick, complete with branches growing in certain locations. That aesthetic, coupled with the high ceilings, gives us a very trendy vibe. It almost makes the restaurant feel somewhat upscale without it actually being so upscale that it's uncomfortable. You don't need to dress up to come here, but simply come as you are. It's also a place that allows you to simply relax and be yourself, all while enjoying great food. Rest assured, the food served here is just as trendy as the environment. They do serve traditional sushi dishes, but they're not afraid to try new creations and after you taste their food, you won't be either.
19. SHIKI (334 E Bay St)
This is a rather small restaurant located in Annsborough Square. Truth be told, the location itself is quite humble but that doesn't mean that the food they serve isn't second to none. You won't find anybody taking reservations here, nor is there a need to wear a suit and tie just to eat lunch. The truth of the matter is that you can get great sushi here at a price that's more than fair, even if you've been working outdoors all day long. They specialize in traditional Japanese dishes. Make sure to try out their sashimi and of course, sample their wide array of sushi rolls.
18. Sushi-Wa (1503 King St Ext)
This is not a stand-alone location, but an eatery that's actually located in another retail outlet. In this specific case, it's located in Pacific Box & Crate. The restaurant is only open in the evenings, usually opening at 5 pm. They don't have delivery, nor do they allow take out but that shouldn't stop you from eating there. It is an unpretentious location that serves truly good food. As a matter of fact, it's often hard to get in because the line stretches around the block. After all, there's a reason that this restaurant routinely receives 5 stars on various online reviews. It's definitely worth checking out. If you plan on eating there, it's best to get there early so you don't have to spend hours waiting in line for a table.
17. Sushi Bar (289 E Bay St)
Just as the name implies here, this is a sushi restaurant that often lays out its most popular creations on a conveyor belt. You, as the customer, have the opportunity to go through and choose the items you want, pay for them and then enjoy your meal. If you want something that's a bit more obscure, you can order from their menu. Even though they have food items available for viewing, it's all prepared fresh. They stay so busy that nothing lasts on the conveyor belt for more than a few minutes at a time.
16. Fuji Sushi Upper King (585 King St)
This is a more upscale sushi restaurant that has both traditional and more innovative dishes. If you plan on coming, you do need to make a reservation first and you should dress business casual. They have excellent sushi that's made from only the freshest ingredients and their atmosphere is both cozy and more upscale than a lot of the other restaurants in the area. They only open for dinner but they do also offer takeout and delivery. If you're in the mood for their food but you're not in the mood to dress up and go get a table, you can always enjoy it at home.
15. Hachiya Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar (688 Citadel Haven Dr)
The first thing you will likely think of when you walk into this restaurant is that it looks very upscale. Remember, looks can be deceiving. The food there is absolutely top-notch, but you don't need to worry about this place being so upscale that it can't be family friendly. As a matter of fact, they pride themselves on being one of the most family friendly restaurants of their type in the area. You can enjoy steak and a wide range of traditional Japanese dishes including hibachi style cooking, teppanyaki and tempura.
14. Aji Asian Bistro (1011 Harbor View Rd)
They don't do delivery here but this is hands down one of the most unique neighborhood friendly restaurants in the entire city. In fact, practically everyone in the neighborhood loves them, many to the point of eating there several times a week. They serve all kinds of sushi including Bento boxes. They also have noodles, fried rice and hibachi items on the menu.
13. Kings Sushi (1119 Wappoo Rd, #H)
This restaurant, located in Ashley Oaks Plaza, looks rather unassuming. That being said, the food there is absolutely spectacular. They serve mostly traditional sushi dishes, including rolls. It's a rather low-key restaurant, so you never have to worry about spending more than necessary or going through the need to dress up or make reservations in order to eat there. Simply come as you are and enjoy.
12. Zen Asian Fusion (2037 Sam Rittenberg Blvd)
They have all kinds of traditional sushi dishes as well as some trendier Japanese dishes. However, the thing this restaurant is most famous for is its bar, which runs practically throughout the entire length of the facility. They also have a happy hour that people come far and wide for. If you enjoy good drinks with some truly delicious sushi, this is the place to be.
11. Ichiban Steakhouse & Asian Fusion (1716 Old Towne Rd)
There are a lot of things that set this particular restaurant apart from its competition. For starters, it's more upscale than most. It's also a little bit different when it comes to the things that they serve. While they do serve plenty of sushi and they have a wide range of hibachi items on the menu, they also serve more than their fair share of pan-Asian dishes, something that you're not terribly likely to find in many places throughout Charleston. For that reason alone, they are an extremely popular location.
10. Kanji Sushi Hibachi- West Ashley (1300 Savannah Hwy, #1)
This is one of the more upscale locations in the city but they're not so upscale that anyone wouldn't be comfortable eating there. While it's recommended that you don't come in a t-shirt and shorts, virtually everything else is accepted. In addition, they have some of the more complex sushi creations in the city. If you're looking for something that's a little bit different, this is a great place to start.
9. MESU (570 King St)
Who wouldn't want to eat fantastic sushi in a historic building that is actually a central part of the downtown historic district? That's exactly what you get when you come here, as the restaurant is located in Hyatt House, one of the most well-known historic buildings in Charleston. It's a rather upscale location. It's also very busy, so it's best to make a reservation. If you want some of the best traditional sushi that you'll ever eat, this is definitely the place to go. Being able to enjoy the atmosphere is simply icing on the cake.
8. FishBowl (433 King St)
You probably wouldn't think about being able to sit down at a table and enjoy a meal at a restaurant that's actually located inside a grocery store, but that's exactly what you'll get here. If there is any perceived discomfort with the idea of a restaurant that sits inside a grocery store, that will all fade away as soon as your meal comes and you take the first bite. Of course, you can also get very well priced traditional sushi as take out or even through no contact delivery.
7. Sushi 101 King (306 King St)
This is one of the more traditional Japanese restaurants in the city. They have a tendency to stick to a menu that is almost entirely filled with the most traditional dishes. It's a slightly upscale location, but it's nothing that you can’t enjoy after a normal day of work. They're actually located inside Croghan's Jewel Box, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere while running other errands. After you eat there once, you'll definitely be coming back for more. You might even find yourself making excuses to run errands in the area, just so you can eat the spectacular food prepared here.
6. Wasabi of Daniel Island (194 Seven Farms Dr)
Here you have one of the more modern restaurants in the entire city. As opposed to relying on the city's natural Old World charm, they've decided to go in the opposite direction with things and create an atmosphere that is completely futuristic. It's also one of the most upscale locations in the city. As far as the items served there are concerned, you can enjoy traditional Thai food, sushi rolls and other types of traditional Japanese entrees.
5. Locals West Ashley (1680 Old Towne Rd)
This is a location that can be found in the Northbridge Shopping Center, one that is well known to be both delicious and family-friendly. They have a lot of different items on the menu, most of them traditional Japanese dishes. If sushi rolls are your thing, then you have definitely come to the right place. It's also worth noting that their sushi has actually won a number of awards, so if you're in the mood for something that is considered by many experts to be some of the best in the country, you’d be doing yourself a favor to stop in and give it a try.
4. HOKKAIDO Sushi & Hibachi (99 Westedge St, #1600)
If you haven't already figured it out, Charleston is famous for placing restaurants and other types of retail outlets inside other buildings, effectively making the most out of the space they have available. This one is no exception. It is actually located inside the Caroline Apartment Complex. That's good news for the people that live there, because it's some of the best traditional sushi that you'll ever eat. They have dine-in, takeout and delivery. More importantly, their service is fast and friendly. Of course, you can eat there whether you live in the apartment complex or not. That being said, there is little doubt that those who do live there make this one of their staples on at least a weekly basis.
3. Kobe Grill (1836 Ashley River Rd)
This is easily one of the most relaxed eateries in the entire city. Instead of a traditional dining room, they have a large counter and nothing more. Just in case that's not your style, they also allow take out and offer delivery. They also serve some of the best sushi in the city. Just in case sushi isn't something that you're in the mood for, they also have steaks and other types of seafood.
2. Bushido Japanese Restaurant (1975 Magwood Dr)
Eating here gives you an opportunity to enjoy traditional sushi with a bit of a western flair. All of the chefs who prepare food there are highly experienced and they often create their own menu items. The location is well-known for its sushi as well as tempura. It's definitely one that you don't want to miss out on.
1. Ginza Japanese Grill- West Ashley (946 Orleans Rd, #G1)
It doesn't matter if you prefer traditional sushi, tempura or hibachi items, this place has it all. They prepare the overwhelming majority of the food right in front of you and you have the option to enjoy a casual, unpretentious atmosphere while you dine in. If you prefer, you can also enjoy both takeout and delivery.
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Written by Liz Flynn
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