Hotter temps call for cooler dishes, and sushi is a go-to favorite for lighter cuisine. While outsiders might not expect much from our land-locked city, dedicated chefs have risen through the ranks to present both traditional and creative sushi, as fresh as can be. We’ve rounded up the best places in the city to try one of these must-have dishes.
One of three James Beard award winners in Austin, chef Tyson Cole is perhaps the most widely recognized sushi powerhouse in the city. As Uchi builds into a national empire (currently with locations in Houston and Dallas, with Denver soon to come), the quality of fish remains top-notch. The sweet madai nigiri and buttery umi masu truly showcase the depth of flavors that can come from sushi. 801 S. Lamar Blvd., 512-916-4808
With many non-fish items on the menu, such as the mango avocado roll, this contemporary Japanese restaurant on Airport is the perfect place for people with all different sushi tastes. However, for those of you looking for a fish option, don’t miss out on the king salmon box, accented with shiso, ikura, and yuzu powder. 4917 Airport Blvd., 512-712-5700
This tiny, austere restaurant in the Mueller area has attracted a lot of attention. Chef Otto Phan has an intimate knowledge of the sushi he serves, spinning tales of love and indulgence through fish, but it's his aged A5 Miyazaki wagyu that steals the show. Though only omakase is offered for dinner (with only eight spots available), there is a casual lunch menu for those hoping for less commitment. 4600 Mueller Blvd., Ste. 1035, 512-888-7559
Recently named one of the Best New Chefs In America by Food & Wine, chef Yoshi Okai dazzles four nights a week at the 12-seat Otoko at South Congress Hotel. With punk rock looks (Okai has fronted a few garage bands around the city), striking architectural décor, and a competitive ticketing process for reservations, the omakase is already an experience before the 22 courses even begin. Expect a blend of classic styles with nods to the local region, like smoke and edible flowers from HausBar Farms. 1603 S. Congress Ave., 512-920-6405
Aforementioned Tyson Cole started his sushi journey at Musashino, which has been a staple in Austin for over 20 years. Here, fish is sourced from wherever it is freshest to be masterfully sliced into Tokyo-style sushi. The beautifully plated ebi—raw prawn and fried shrimp—is a delicious contrast in textures. 2905 San Gabriel St., Ste. 200, 512-795-8593
For a bit of fun, visit the second Texas outpost of this charming Japanese chain. Diners order on a tablet, before watching sushi zip by on a conveyor belt. Though the sushi isn't the most decadent, the experience itself—being rewarded with prizes and cartoons for ordering a certain number of dishes—is definitely memorable. 6929 Airport Blvd., Ste. 125, 737-209-8799