While the Japanese cuisine has been around for centuries, the U.S. didn’t see sushi in it’s restaurants until 1970, when advances in refrigeration technology made it possible to ship fresh fish overseas.
The first American sushi bar was opened in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles and began spreading to other major American cities, such as New York and Chicago.
Because of this expansion and the ever-changing preparation and serving techniques, Pittsburgh now hosts its own variety of sushi restaurants. If you want to try the dish but aren’t ready to roll it yourself, be sure to check out one of these great spots.
What better reason to go out than a free lunch? Treat a friend or loved one to a Giftya of any amount, giving them up to $100 to any merchant you choose. Send it with a personalized message right to the recipient’s phone. Choose any of these sushi restaurants for a gift and have your fellow Pittsburgher bring you with them.
Whooley’s Market sushi stand in the Strip District
1711 Penn Ave
Andy’s sushi is made by Andy himself, a funny and exciting sushi chef. His sushi bar is located inside of Wholey’s Market in the Strip, which opened in 1959. The original Robert Wholey Company started in 1912 in McKees Rocks and has been serving fresh poultry ever since.
After picking up some of Andy’s sushi, be sure to explore the rest of the market. Wholey’s offers a selection of soups, fudge, and peanut butter, among the rest of their seafood selection, which includes fish fillets, seafood steaks, and squid. Since it is a stand, there isn’t seating right next to Andy, but the market does have a seating area upstairs.
“Hands down my favorite sushi spot in Pittsburgh. It's been over a year since I started going to Andy to fulfill my undying need for sushi and sashimi and each visit is just as pleasant as the next.” -Yelp review
128 Oakland Ave
Stop by Mount Everest if you ever find yourself on Pitt’s campus for an excellent sushi roll. A few minutes from the Cathedral of Learning, Mount Everest offers a la carte options, specialty rolls, and hand rolls (such as a California or eel avocado roll).
If you’re feeling adventurous, opt for one of the chef’s specials, such as the sushi donut or the sushi crispy taco for a different way to consume the largely traditional dish—in this case with your hands. Mount Everest also offers poke bowls, which are chopped raw fish over rice with veggies.
Order online, over the phone, or in person for takeout, or sit down upstairs to be served something of off the versatile menu. You can also have it delivered via Grubhub or Postmates. \
“This place is my go-to sushi place in all of Pittsburgh. I have tried other places but nothing comes close to Mount Everest. Everything is always fresh and the staff is so friendly.” -Yelp review
202 38th St
Named after the fifth category of food taste—and the Japanese word for deliciousness—is on the third floor of a Lawrenceville building on 28th St. Umami is an izakaya, or Japanese Pub, dedicated to umami flavors, which are the rich and salty tastes of foods like cheese and cooked meat.
Umami’s menu offers nigiri (raw fish over pressed rice), sashimi (thin pieces of raw fish/meat) and sushi hand rolls. Top off your late lunch/dinner with some fried ice cream or shredded chocolate cake for dessert.
While the sushi bar closes at 10pm during the week, Umami serves drinks until as late as 2am. In addition to their house and cold sake, this place offers fun cocktails, beer, and wine to go with your meal. Make a reservation for this fun sushi joint today!
“Umami makes Japanese food right-- they have an amazing variety of food, each spiced with a careful hand and presented beautifully. This is one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh, and my go-to when I'm craving Japanese food.” -Yelp review
116 East Carson Street
10636 Perry Highway
Visit either of the two Nakama locations, or order it to your door via Uber Eats or Postmates. Nakama is a classic japanese steakhouse and sushi bar in Pittsburgh. Their lengthy sushi menu can satisfy any craving, and get in the Yinzer spirit with a signature roll, such as the South Side, Pittsburgh Penguins, or Steelers rolls.
Nakama has hibachi as well—the perfect fun outing for a birthday or similar celebration, even entertaining for kids. Try one of their signature martinis to pair with your meal, or a specialty drink in a souvenir ceramic mug.
The @nakamafoodtruck is perfect for parties or corporate functions, bringing with it Nakama’s seasonal sushi rolls, egg rolls, and hibachi options.
“My favorite hibachi place in Pittsburgh! Nakama combines a great experience and atmosphere with delicious food and drinks. I have never had a bad experience here.” -Yelp review
3450 William Penn Hwy
Mon-Thurs: 11am-3pm, 4-10pm
Another hibachi and sushi bar in Pittsburgh with a great, versatile menu. Their sushi bar offers a la carte options, traditional rolls, and a make-your-own roll. The hibachi menu has a single item dinner option, as well as a combination dinner of your design and a list of tempura desserts to end the meal. Up to 50% off select sushi when you dine in on Wednesdays!
If you’re not dining in, you can get Yamato for takeout or have them cater a local party. They also have a banquet room you can rent out for special events.
“I love Yamato!!! Everything I have ever gotten here has been fantastic. I usually get hibachi & my friend gets various sushi’s, and we’ve never had any complaints about our food. The service is also always pleasant and on-par. Definitely my favorite Japanese restaurant - no doubt.” -TripAdvisor review
5849 Ellsworth Ave
Another climb up the stairs, Umi is also on the third floor (but they do offer dining areas on the first floor by request). Stop in Umi for sushi, sashimi or maki (hand rolls available upon request). For an interesting date night, try omakase. It is Japanese for “to entrust” and gives the diner a unique seven or eleven course meal, plus dessert. Sushi chef Mr. Shu makes it a meal to remember.
“Several of us were unsure of these exotic foods when we sat down for our evening out. We were quickly convinced! The black cod melted our hearts as it melted in our mouths. Rock shrimp Tempura: WOW, taste & texture impressed! And the ebi stuffed shiitake were so delicious. Sorbet for dessert stunned tastebuds. A memorable birthday celebration!” -Tripadvisor review
2032 Murray Ave
This Squirrel Hill sushi restaurant is a BYOB, perfect for date night. Chaya offers nigiri and a long list of sushi rolls. They also have omakase dinner, as well as Nabemono—a sampling of hot pot dishes—available October through March, and matsutake mushroom seven-course dinners from October through December.
“Chaya is my favourite restaurant in Pittsburgh. It has the most authentic and delicious Japanese food in the area. The owners are great people and they provide the best service.” -Facebook review
4374 Liberty Ave
Ginza Japanese prides itself on serving simple and fresh high-quality sushi with a “refreshingly unassuming” atmosphere, price, and location. Their menu is classic, offering rolls and bento boxes, which include a six-piece California role, two pieces of Friced shumai dumplings, and rice. Pair it with a beverage of your choice at this BYOB for a quick tasty meal.
“Service was polite. The food is affordable. There's no fuss here. It's quality food, accessible from various bus lines and parts of the city, and an experience I look forward to having in the future.” -Yelp review
With all of these great sushi options in the Burgh, it can be hard to choose where to go. Be sure to treat a friend to a Giftya to any of these restaurants and hope he or she insists on taking you with them.
Where else do you like to get sushi in Pittsburgh? Let us know in the comments!