There are more than 4,000 sushi restaurants in the U.S. today. This popular trend started in the 1960s, when Americans, fresh off the restrictions of WWII, began to show a greater interest in trying international cuisines. What started as a couple of restaurants in places like New York and Los Angeles quickly spread, and even drew new, young immigrants from places like Japan and China, eager to cash in on the trend.
Today, sushi remains a popular choice for date nights, take-out, and those looking for fresh, healthy options. But while there's no shortage of sushi restaurants across the U.S., finding good spots to dine in smaller cities can sometimes be a challenge. Knoxville, Tennessee is no exception.
But while the Marble City may not be known for its sushi, it is still home to a handful of hidden treasures offering fresh, tasty rolls to visitors and tourists alike. Whether you're looking for tonight's dinner for yourself or the perfect spot to purchase a virtual GiftYa card to for a friend, keep reading. We've compiled a list of the top sushi restaurants in Knoxville, Tennessee that you have to try!
Dig into freshly made sushi and Japanese grill favorites. Image courtesy of Yelp.
10918 Spring Bluff Way, Knoxville, TN 37932 (http://www.mikatajapanesegrill.com)
Don't let the strip mall location fool you; Mikata Japanese Grill is one of Knoxville, Tennessee's hidden secrets. The colorful interior and friendly staff will instantly make you feel welcome from the moment you walk in the door. The menu features a variety of classic Japanese grill items and fresh-made sushi. While there aren't quite as many sushi options on the menu as you might find at other restaurants, you'll find all of your favorite classics, like Nigiri, avocado rolls, and more. Their reasonable prices are a big part of what makes them a hotspot among locals, with nearly every menu item coming in at less than $10.
With great prices and even better food, it should come as no surprise that this restaurant draws a crowd. Expect a short wait on busy weekend nights, but rest assured that your food will come out steaming hot and fast!
"It's a really small restaurant slapped in the middle of a strip mall that is by the far the best value anywhere around. My fiancé and I go pretty much every week. Their prices are very good for the massive servings they bring you. Each entree comes with rice, noodles, and vegetables that are all terrific. Besides that, they are some of the friendliest employees and they are extremely quick for how busy they almost always are. Even when there's a lot of people waiting, you'll still be seated very quickly since they get your food out to you so fast." -Yelp Review
Dine on some of the freshest sushi selections in town. Image courtesy of Yelp.
4009 Chapman Hwy, Knoxville, TN 37920 (http://osakagrillsushi.com)
Whether you're hungry and looking for a great deal or in search of your favorite hard-to-find sushi options, Osaka Hibachi & Sushi is the place to go. Their oversized menu of sushi includes a wide variety of rolls, including popular favorites like their Crazy Salmon Roll and the Angel Wing Roll. Platters of fresh sushi fill the buffet, offering a wide selection to suit your tastes. Their hibachi menu offers a selection of Asian Fusion dishes like Magnolian Steak and Governor Chicken. The rest of the menu is a mix of classic Asian dishes, with plenty of seafood to choose from.
"Can't find better Chinese buffet!
Selection of foods is by far best out of others that we've tried. Their trays are always filled and fresh.
Fresh fruit, seafood, ok variety of rolls. Staff is nice. We've been there many times and I haven't gotten anything negative to say so far. Sucks we moved away 40 minuets but trying local Chinese buffets makes me think that it might worth a drive." -Yelp Review
3349 Sutherland Ave, Knoxville, TN 37919 (https://osakahibachi.net/28913)
Don't let the names fool you; while they may be similar, this restaurant and the one that we mentioned above are unique, separate establishments. Osaka Hibachi & Sushi specializes in both a wide range of sushi rolls and a selection of Japanese hibachi favorites. Another signature section on their menu that has made this small restaurant a local favorite is their Korean food. Tough to find in the Knoxville area, they offer a variety of Korean favorites like Kimchi Jeon and sides like hard-boiled marinated egg and pickled cabbage with carrot.
"If you want authentic korean food in Knoxville, this is the place to go. There's a Korean menu at the back of the menu and I highly recommend them at this restaurant. My go-to dish for stew is the jjambbong which is a spicy seafood stew (mussels, shrimp, squid) filled with noodles and a delicious broth. I also enjoy the soondubu jjigae! Your meal comes with delicious side dishes (egg, kimchi, cabbage, and potato salad). The lady there is so so so nice and I look forward to seeing her everytime I come here. A really wonderful restaurant overall in Knoxville." -Yelp Review
601 James Agee St, Knoxville, TN 37916 (http://www.chaiyosrestaurant.com)
Thai and sushi don't always go hand in hand at American restaurants. But Chaiyo Thai & Sushi Bar proves that this combo is definitely delicious! Dine on fresh Thai favorites like Drunken Noodles, Pad Thai, and Red Curry, alongside hand-rolled sushi made with the freshest ingredients. Chaiyo Thai & Sushi Bar's talented chefs are constantly looking for new sushi combos to delight the appetite. Dine in to enjoy their friendly service, or order a platter or a few dishes to enjoy at home.
"Really good food! Seems super authentic, I have been numerous times. I have ordered sushi and it was great. I also have tried their red and green curry multiple times, but most recently I got the pho. It was great! I was very impressed by it, considering they don't specialize in pho. Definitely will be back!" -Yelp Review
506 S Gay St, Knoxville, TN 37902 (https://namasushibar.com/locations/)
While many of the restaurants on this list offer a selection of sushi alongside Japanese, Chinese, or even Korean cuisine, this next option specializes in sushi. Nama Sushi Bar has three locations in the Knoxville, Tennessee area to choose from, including their downtown location. They offer a wide variety of trendy, decadent rolls made with fresh ingredients and platted beautifully. The modern, trendy decor makes this a great spot for a night out, while the outdoor patio makes this the perfect place for a fun summer date night out.
"The presentation was very nice. The food was very good. We had an appetizer of the cheesy crab dip. The mixed salad had a great salad dressing. I had the Atlantic roll but with tuna instead of salmon. We also split a tempura roll. It was all fresh and good. Sitting outside was fun because you can see all the passerby's on Gay Street." -Yelp Review
When you're in the mood for something unique for dinner or for your favorite sushi roll, you can't go wrong with one of these top choices in Knoxville, Tennessee. Try them for yourself today, or pick one and purchase a virtual gift card to for a friend or loved one to mark that special occasion and give them the perfect excuse to dine on some delicious takeout or to plan a special evening out!