Discovering Downtown Boston’s Thriving Sushi Scene

Posted July 7, 2015 by Jon Erik Christianson in Eat & Drink
Sushi Downtown Boston

When people think of New England cuisine, seafood is usually one of the first things to come to mind. Maybe it’s an image of people cracking open some delicious Maine lobsters, or of families enjoying some famous New England clam chowder on the shores of Cape Cod. Many people, however, do not think of sushi.

The Japanese take on seafood has exploded in popularity over the past few years, and downtown Boston has grown to accommodate that demand. The city boasts several exemplary sushi restaurants that each bring something new to the table, quite literally.

O Ya Restaurant

Voted by Boston Magazine as the Best Sushi in the city in 2007, O Ya Restaurant has carved out its unmistakable place on the culinary landscape. Many lesser-quality sushi places just pander to mainstream conceptions of sushi; basically rolls, rolls, and even more rolls.

O Ya specializes in sashimi (raw meat or fish cut into thin pieces) and nigiri (fish over rice). With this specialization, the restaurant is able to offer unique, flavorful options with conch, big-eye red snapper, and even Santa Barbara spot prawn. Chef and owner Tim Cushman designs each plate with incredible, edible accouterments, , such as torched banana pepper mousse.

Avana Sushi

Fans in search of rolls in addition to the other types of sushi should check out Avana Sushi in the theater district. It’s a quaint, accommodating location that evokes a sense of authenticity and community. The staff are friendly, and the smaller location, coupled with remarkable food, makes for an incredibly personal experience.

Some of the most highly recommended dishes out of Avana are the spicy naruto roll, the dragon maki, the rainbow roll, and the black pearl boy. Sushi fans looking to stay in for the evening should also know that the restaurant delivers.

Legal Sea Foods

This popular New England chain restaurant ordinarily aligns more with the image presented earlier, the one with broken lobster shells and soothing New England chowder. Legal Sea Foods has all of that, but few may realize that the Boston location also offers premium sushi.

When visiting the venue for sushi, patrons should make sure to ascend to the restaurant’s third floor promenade deck. The four-season lounge offers an enchanting view of Liberty Wharf and beyond, and features some of the best sushi offerings in the city. In fact, much of their sushi comes delivered on festive sushi party boats.

TAMO Bistro and Bar

For arguably one of the most upscale dining experiences in Boston, consider visiting the TAMO Bistro and Bar. The restaurant is divided up into four areas—the Bar, the Living Room, the Terrace, and the Loft—that each boast their own personality and style.

Recommended sushi dishes at TAMO include their vegetable rainbow roll (Mozzarella, Balsamic, Cucumber, Avocado, Tomato, Zucchini, Carrot, Squash), volcano roll (Baked Scallop, Crab Meat, Tobiko, Avocado, Cucumber and Toasted Sesame), and seared salmon toro roll (Cucumber and Avocado Roll garnished with Pineapple Salsa).

Have fish-averse friends in your party? Don’t worry; TAMO serves incredible dishes from other cuisine types as well.

Pabu Sashimi

Future customers can expect a blend of old-world Japanese ambience with modern urban flair. Photo Courtesy of Mina Group.

PABU at the Millennium Tower

In little over a year, downtown Boston will see another sushi site added to its collection: PABU Boston at Millennium Tower. Through the combined efforts of award-winning chef Michael Mina and world-respected sushi chef Ken Tominaga, this modern sushi and iyazaka bar will change the city’s social and culinary landscape.

All seafood used in the restaurant’s meals will either be locally sourced or come in fresh from Japan’s renowned Tsukiji Market. It’s set to open in the fall of 2016, shortly after the Millennium Tower Boston project is completed.