Sushi is often as refined as it is exciting, and there’s no shortage of it in Orlando. It’s no wonder that some of the city’s best spots come in the form of restaurants that are hidden in plain sight, tucked away in some malls waiting to be discovered. Some are very local because they are frequented by customers going out for dinner, others are better for dates – whether casual or fancy. Still prominent on our list: Kabooki Sushi, located in one of the aforementioned malls, though the cosmopolitan vibe you’ll find inside is out of the world. Other such gems, some higher than others, include Fujiyama in East Orlando, Umi in Winter Park and — for food truck lovers — Sushi Soul on the Roll. Tony Dr. The Phillips neighborhood also contributes, with well-known favorite Dragonfly Robata Grill (bring your boss, date, grandma) and viral video sensation Mount Dora, the WAVE menu is very fun, you want to bring more people everywhere epic and Instagrammable treats to try.
Fujiyama is not far from the problems of UCF, a fast-paced society. An impressive selection of traditional and specialty rolls arrives on crowded tables, leaving diners wondering if they should have ordered something else. But don’t worry, with reasonable lunch and happy hour specials – maybe next time they’ll come back and try something new. Fujiyama is not just for thrifty students. It’s actually a cozy little find for families, couples, anyone really – and with tender and generous cuts of fish (and plenty of other ‘just cook’) Japanese dishes, you might find yourself wandering around more often.
9 SUSHI SOUL ON A ROLL
You can find these mobile sushi artisans around town at various regular truck events, along with staples like Thirsty Topher, Will’s Pub, Redlight Redlight, and BART, along with events like Tasty Tuesdays in the Dairy District, and it wants you to redefine the parameters of what what can be ordered from the truck. Plating (or maybe “paper boats”) is an art, and the flavors – whether raw or ramen, potstickers or tuna poke – are amazing. The staff are friendly and often deliver orders directly to the table at the bars; no need to hang out in front of the truck while your beer is hot. Bonus!
8 SUSHI POPS
Orlando natives remember a time when Oviedo was nothing but native forests and vast fields—celery, horses, you name it. These days, it’s a fast-growing suburb with lots and lots of residents, all of whom need a place to get food. New restaurants have sprung up in their parts in recent years. One of them is Sushi Pop. Okay, it’s still dangerously close to an actual working weed farm, but that doesn’t detract one bit from the great anime or its new offering. Many are unconventional, using ingredients like fried capers and rendered bacon. Asian fusion also brings in bits of Vietnam and Korea with interesting seafood and meat dishes. The desserts are also very creative and the beautiful decor makes it a little South Beachy in the ‘burbs.
7 DRAGONFLY ROBATA GRILL AND SUSHI
Sensual. Spiritually. Delicious: three words that express the emotional illumination that Dragonfly Robata Grill strives to evoke in its service and cuisine. Dragonfly’s interpretation of Japanese bar culture is taken very seriously, which is a great experience. In a laid-back (but perhaps trendy) lounge, Dragnonfly offers tapas-style sushi, sashimi and robatayaki (grilling over an open fire). Sharing is encouraged, allowing guests to sample many different dishes. Well-timed sushi lovers can take advantage of daily happy hour food and drink specials. Omakase specials, signature sashimi and robata-grilled dishes are just some of what Dragonfly has to offer. Strict service and a pleasant atmosphere make it a good choice if you are going romantically – or on business.
6 SEITO SUSHI – BALDWIN PARK
Seito is a warm space that is perfect for dates, special occasions or a delicious lunch. The fare here is creative and fresh with friendly, familiar faces rounding out the menu. Pork belly bao buns, masaman wings, curry and other flavors will satisfy those who are not so fond of delicious sashimi or juicy fried tentacles. A variety of makimono specialties, both traditional and creative, are tempting options, but lovers of simple fish dishes might want to stick to the chef-prepared chirashi, where the seafood shines. The beautiful ambiance inside and out ensures that the atmosphere of the room matches the plate.
5 UMI JAPANESE RESTAURANT
Although the portions at this Japanese fusion place are billed as “tapas style”, they are generous, making the portions not only enjoyable, but also more filling than often expected. While seafood, sashimi and sushi lovers will surely love Umi’s super fresh and creatively prepared offerings, the restaurant’s wide selection of meats and vegetables on the Robata grill gives fish lovers the freedom of choice, like other restaurants, to dig through the menu with a food processor. leave A large selection of wine, beer and sake makes happy hour extra fun; The staff later mixed up some inspirational cocktails. The Happy Hour menu also brings great deals. Enjoy a cocktail and something to eat on the Park Avenue sidewalk and enjoy the beauty of Winter Park.
4 WAVE ASIAN BISTRO & SUSHI
Artistic and generally beautiful, WAVE puts so much fun into their menu that videos of their legendary super-sized sushi donuts (feeds 10) have gone viral. However, you don’t have to show up with an entourage to enjoy the dishes in their kitchen. WAVE’s most unique creations—including sushi pizza and burritos and nachos and fries and yes, donuts—also come in smaller portions. And there are also plenty of more traditional bread rolls and appetizers to choose from. In addition, WAVE’s second floor location offers guests a stunning view of Lake Dora – especially beautiful at sunset with others.
Tempura and ramen and rolls, oh my! Yes, Sushitomi has been making all of these popular dishes, not to mention many other Japanese classics, for several years. Connoisseurs will enjoy this restaurant’s beautifully crafted sushi and sashimi menu, often as much for their refined professional preparation as for the delicate slices of fresh fish. Like most of the best sushi places in Orlando—or anywhere else, for that matter—this is a small, unassuming place in an otherwise easy-to-miss strip mall location. Don’t be fooled by bad looks. Quality cuisine and friendly staff keep people coming back.
2 KABOKI SUSHI
The elegant and intimate interior belies the nondescript exterior on bustling Colonial Drive near Fashion Square. Orlando is a favorite place for sushi and Asian fusion, with refined and generous presentation and a comforting, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Let the chef’s mood and the best ingredients tempt your taste buds with a six-course omakase creation, or choose your own path. The creative rolls are a big draw, but before you go completely overboard (who wouldn’t?!), consider Kabooki’s selection of charcuterie, nigiri and sashimi too. Heavy, fresh slices of fish that melt in your mouth serve as culinary art, which, by the way, looks good for a long time. Take a picture before you start scafing. I mean taste.
Don’t let the $155+/person price scare you. You see, Kadence is a nine-seat omakase experience unlike any other you’ll find here in Orlando. Sushi purists will enjoy the artistic, authentic multi-course (for dinner, that’s 18+ courses!) Three chef-owners select the best fish of the day and treat guests to a delicious selection of sushi, soups and desserts in an intimate dining room. Sake, beer and tea are available to sip while you wait for your table. Kadence also now offers reserved lunches, matinees, sushi tastings and Japanese breakfasts.