From unique specialty rolls to your classic salmon sashimi, these sushi restaurants have it all. The combination of the light, refreshing dishes of Japanese fare and the intimate settings of sushi restaurants in downtown Raleigh make these spots ideal for date night. So check out these seven sushi spots for date night in Raleigh, North Carolina, and go wine and dine your person.
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315 Blake St | Fayetteville Street | citymarketsushi.net
Sometimes you don’t want to upgrade to specialty rolls to keep your tab down, but City Market Sushi in Fayetteville Street has some specialty rolls you just can’t turn down.
Specialty rolls like the Kamikaze roll and the Green Machine roll go for only $12. The Kamikaze specialty roll has tuna, salmon, cream cheese, and tempura fried avocado on the inside and sriracha aioli, tobiko, and eel sauce on the outside, while the Green Machine roll contains avocado, asparagus, and cucumber and is topped with fried tofu and a sweet soy reduction.
But don’t worry, they also have classic rolls, nigiri, and sashimi if none of the specialty rolls are calling your name. There are also select options for those who aren’t big on sushi, such as Kobe sliders and Crispy Pork Belly.
Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, City Market sells a variety of lunch boxes for under $18. So, if you don’t have the chance to stop in on date night, you can at least grab a delicious lunch to make up for it.
“The atmosphere is sleek but laid back, and the tables are far enough apart that you get a good amount of privacy. The quality of the fish is what really stands out, and they're not overly sauced or packed with a bunch of rice. I will definitely be back soon!” - Yelp Review
2603-155 Glenwood Ave | Cartier Place | hakosushinc.com
This extensive sushi and hibachi menu is enough to make your mouth water, but the signature sake cocktails really take it over the top.
The Ginger Cosmopolitan is one drink that catches our eye. It’s made with ginger-infused sake, pickled ginger, cranberry juice, and triple sec. If that’s not to your liking, check out the Asia Sunrise (think Tequila Sunrise, but with sake!). It’s made of sake, fresh orange juice, and grenadine and served on the rocks.
For dinner, try out the Rock & Roll Roll (yes, we meant to say that twice) with shrimp tempura, eel, cream cheese, avocado, and topped with fish eggs and the Green Dragon Roll with eel, cucumber, avocados, tempura bits, and fish eggs on the outside. These specialty rolls are 8 pieces each, which will surely keep you fuller than rolls at other Japanese restaurants.
You can also opt for a Hibachi Entree with select protein choices (Salmon, Tofu, Steak, etc.) served with fried rice and cooked with sauteed broccoli, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots if you aren’t feeling sushi that night.
There are a bunch of other feature drinks, appetizers, and special desserts. Thanks to Hako, we’re reminded it’s okay to splurge on date night!
“To start I got the spicy miso soup which was so good. Definitely a unique option. I also got the chief roll which is mainly cucumber and good if you're looking for a healthier option. The scary jerry was delicious. Very low key atmosphere. Will be returning.” - Yelp Review
301 Glenwood Ave | North Boylan | sushibluescafe.com
With an outdoor patio for beautiful nights, live music, weekly drink specials, and fresh sushi, Sushi Blues Cafe is more than a meal - it’s an experience. If you want a lively atmosphere for your date, 10/10 would recommend this lively restaurant in the heart of Raleigh.
They boast of having something on their menu for everyone, and it’s true. They have Makimono, Specialty, and Vegetarian Rolls (with all rolls buy one get one free!) as well as dinner entrees like Stir Fry and Katsu.
We recommend the Lennon, a Vegetarian Roll with fried tofu, tempura sweet potato, avocado, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Who said vegetarians can’t have more fun? The Vegetarian Rolls on the menu are literally to die for!
And as is fitting for an atmosphere such as this one, they have an extensive cocktail list. Think Al Green, made with stoli, match nigori sake, cucumber and mint infused green tea, simple syrup, freshly squeezed lime juice, and shaken with fresh mint, for a traditional sushi pairing and the Big Band Margarita, with Jose Cuervo, freshly squeezed lime juice, triple sec, sour mix, topped with Grand Marnier floater, and a salt rim, if you’re just looking for a good time.
And save room for dessert! Finish the night off with a Peanut Butter Latte made with Screwball peanut butter whiskey, Stoli Vanil, Kahlua, Godiva, and cream with a chocolate drizzle.
“I love Sushi Blues. I just moved here and have been looking for a local affordable sushi spot and they KILLED it. We went for the buy one, get one free deal and it’s a killer deal. It was also $3 draft night so we splurged on that too. This place is DEFINITELY worth a try!” - Yelp Review
1305 NW Maynard Rd | Cary | oisosushi.com
If you’re craving Korean pancakes and a spicy tuna roll, you’ve come to the right place.
This Raleigh restaurant serves both sushi and Korean food with fresh ingredients and incredible flavor - perfect for the couple who can’t decide on what type of food to eat for date night.
Try Bibimbap (mixed rice with vegetables, fried egg, and choice of meat), Dolsot (Bibimbap mixed rice served in a hot stone bowl), or Korean BBQ from the kitchen, or get the Dancing Eel or Evergreen roll from the sushi bar. The Dancing Eel roll is essentially a california roll topped with baked eel, avocado, and eel sauce, while the Evergreen roll is made of avocado, cucumber, and crab and topped with seaweed salad and a wasabi dressing.
You of course can’t go wrong with a classic California roll, but you might have to try something new here. Opt for the Korean Pancake, either the Vegetable Pancake or Seafood Pancake - it won’t disappoint.
“Why am I just NOW finding this place?!?! Their food is amazingly prepared and you get your money's worth. I am already dreaming of what I will be ordering next time.” - Yelp Review
8521 Brier Creek Pkwy | Brier Creek | champathaisushi.com
The food at Champa Thai & Sushi reflects the owners’ home province in Northern Thailand that shares its borders with countries Laos and Myanmar. The fare of this region is heavily influenced by each of these bordering nations, adding a uniqueness to their Thai dishes that you won’t find at many other Thai restaurants.
They serve Curries, Stir Fry, Noodle Bowls, Specialty Dishes, and of course, sushi.
Start your meal with Edamame and Miso Soup, have a few pieces of their vegetarian Mango Madness Roll, and then dive into their Pad Thai made with their house Sab Lai Lai sauce.
Don’t hesitate to ask for their dessert menu, these too are influenced by their roots in Northern Thailand. We recommend you try their Thai Custard, Mango Sticky Rice, or Mochi Ice Cream.
“The meal overall was good! I couldn't keep myself from ordering the crab angles as an appetizer-yum! I would definitely return again in the future.” - Yelp Review
8470 Honeycutt Rd | Lafayette Village | sushioneraleighnc.com
With a lovely outdoor dining area and top grade fish, this is the perfect sushi spot for a casual date night where the focus is on the food.
Try some of the Chef’s Specialty Rolls like the Maguro Tartas, which is a spicy seafood mix and tempura flakes, topped with seared tuna and served with creamy eel sauce, hot sauce, and scallions or the Sushi Special Rolls such as the Oyster Roll made with fried oyster, cucumber, and avocado topped with masago, shrimp tempura, wasabi, and eel sauce.
There are also Hibachi, Tempura, Yakisoba (egg noodles with your choice of meat cooked in their house soy ginger based soba sauce), and Thai entrees if you’re not in the mood for sushi.
To spice up your date night, we suggest getting the Flaming Volcano for Two, a larger than life cocktail made with rum, Bacardi 151, brandy, vodka, light grenadine, and orange juice.
“This place is awesome! I was greeted by friendly staff at the sushi bar where I could watch the chefs make the sushi for customers. Our server, Matt, was one of the nicest waiters we ever had and helped to recommend foods and answer questions about the menu. Will be returning again!” - Yelp Review
411 W Hargett St | Raleigh | o-kusushi.com
So, we might have saved the best for last. But that’s only because we don’t want you to forget about this one.
O-Ku Sushi has been raved about by the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Esquire, and more, the Chicago Tribune calling it the “must-try sushi restaurant in every state” as it has locations in Charlotte, Atlanta, Washington DC, Nashville,
the original in Charleston, and, of course, Raleigh.
O-Ku creates authentic Asian cuisine with a southern approach. Chefs Eric Hill, Jack Fang, Michael Chanthavong, and Richard Fong use unique ingredients, the freshest fish from the world’s finest fish markets, and sustainable locally sourced produce.
You can try some of the Chef’s Specialties like Lobster Temaki, which is poached lobster with asparagus, chives, and black volcanic rock salt, or Otoro Spoons with o-toro, uni, pickled wasabi, caviar, and ponzu. However, you can’t go wrong with Nigiri or a Signature Maki roll like Salmon & Lemon, which is made of crab, avocado, cucumber, salmon, lemon aioli, and yuzu tobiko.
Don’t forget to start your night off strong with a Lychee Cosmopolitan with Picker's vodka, lychee puree, citrus, and lychee rim, and finish the night with Sata Andagi, Okinawan style donut holes coated in ginger sugar and miso caramel and an after dinner cordial.
“My two rolls were very flavorful. My drinks were the best part of the meal! They were delicious and extremely well made. It made it very easy to continue ordering more. Overall, this was a great experience for me and my friend! We will be back soon.” - Yelp Review
5910 Duraleigh Rd | Raleigh | warajijapaneserestaurant.com
Waraji Japanese Restaurant has some of the freshest sushi available in Raleigh. They offer sushi, sashimi, and other authentic Japanese foods, as well as the largest sake collection in North Carolina!
The founder and chef, known as “Chef Masa,” was born in a fishing village in Japan and came to the U.S. decades ago and started his first sushi bar. He is passionate about high quality Japanese food, and you can see it in the food you find at Waraji. On top of offering a long list of traditional and specialty rolls, they also have a list of other great Japanese foods like teriyaki, tempura, and katsu.
“Came here on a Friday evening and had some of the best sushi ever. The Shawny and The Mary rolls were incredible. The ambiance was great and the staff were all very helpful and friendly. We will definitely be back often!”–Yelp Review
3800 Glenwood Ave Ste 100 | Raleigh | sushimonraleigh.com
Sushi Mon is known for having some of the best sushi in town. They have traditional sushi and sashimi as well as special rolls. Some of their special rolls include crunch salmon with mango and sweet chili, a truffle tuna roll with truffle oil and ponzu, and the kiss of fire with spicy tuna and serrano peppers.
They also serve spicy garlic edamame, chicken teriyaki, miso black cod, and 24 hour pork belly. You can also get bento boxes and combo meals that come with sides. This restaurant is in a small and elegant space that makes guests feel comfortable, and they also offer quick and friendly service. Everything from their food’s flavor to its presentation is great, so you’ll appreciate the fact that you tried it!
“I ordered some sushi for takeout and it was solid. Beautifully presented too, even in the to-go box. I think I had ordered an omakase, truffle tuna roll, and like a regular salmon roll but wound up with two truffle tuna rolls. A lucky mix up for me! Also their miso soup is legit! It has actual fish in it and is richer with more body and depth of flavor than you usually get as a side. Very impressed.”–Yelp Review
319 Fayetteville St Ste 101 | Downtown Raleigh | sonoraleigh.com
Sono Sushi is a vibrant Japanese restaurant with world class sushi and amazing service. Right in the heart of Downtown Raleigh, Sono Sushi is the destination every food lover should consider visiting. It makes a great date spot because of its gorgeous interior, talented chefs, and huge cocktail and sake menu. This is a restaurant that will make your date night hard to forget. You will remember the ambiance for years to come.
Sono serves fresh fish from around the world. They even serve daily chef specials that are made using seasonal ingredients. The talented head chef has inspired a menu full of high quality sushi, bento boxes, ramen, and an 8-course chef selection. All the food is authentic, creative, and full of passion. They truly have something for anyone fortunate enough to walk through their doors!
“We booked this spot for my Husband's birthday. We had a nice large table in the back of the restaurant near the chefs! Our server was polite and took note for any food allergies. The food was fresh, the drinks were delicious and everyone enjoyed their dishes. Great downtown spot for sushi!”–Yelp Review
427 Woodburn Rd | Raleigh | ajisai3.com
Ajisai Japanese Fusion showers customers with quality Japanese food. Everything there is uniquely made. Their food looks just as unique as it tastes thanks to the chefs’ creativity. They use different types of fish, make several different sauces, and like to add multi-colored roe. And the atmosphere is just as interesting as the food.
At Ajisai you will find katsu, tempura, teriyaki, noodle dishes, and of course, lots of sushi. Their sushi bar appetizer menu includes unique creations like mini pizza which includes spicy tuna, salmon, and a special sauce, truffle salmon which includes salmon and truffle sauce, and wasabi tuna dumpling which includes avocado, king crab, and tuna. This restaurant is sure to take your tastebuds on a journey.
“Delicious sushi! We loved every roll we got! Don't forget to get the pickled wasabi that was a great addition to the soy sauce. The mochi ice cream treat at the end was a nice surprise too! Our server was spot on with recommendations also! They set the girl on fire roll on.”–Yelp Review
4208 Six Forks Rd Ste 100 | Raleigh | thecowfish.com
The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar is a unique restaurant that will make date night something to remember. They serve the unique combination of sushi and burgers, and even serve a wild creation known as the “burgushi.” So if you have a tough time deciding between burgers and sushi on date night, you can go to a restaurant where you can have both!
The Cowfish makes sure that every customer has a crazy good experience. Once you walk in, you will get a glimpse of their ultra large fish tanks filled with cowfish and other exotic fish, technicolor walls, and offbeat artwork. And the food is just as vivid as the atmosphere. When you visit the Cowfish, every element combines to give you the best time possible.
On the menu, you will find specialty bento boxes, sushi rolls, and burgers. If you want a burger, you can try the apple, berry, & brie turkey burger, black truffle cheeseburger, and the stout burger with Guinness mustard aioli. And if you want to go all out and try the burgushi, you can go with the cowfish bento box or the fusion specialty bento box.
“Food is incredible! One of the best burgers I've ever had! The sushi options were amazing and the fried pickles appetizer was amazing! I love this place! The ambiance is very cool and interesting: posters themed to the restaurant and the giant fish tank, the TVs , and even the outdoor seating area. The service is spot on - fast and efficient.”–Yelp Review
Date night is about many things, but if you’re a foodie, you can’t help but consider the food you’ll be eating on your date of the utmost importance. And that’s perfectly okay! That’s one reason why we’ve composed this list, so that you can worry about the more important things.