Western-style sushi is by far the most popular and trendiest of Japanese foods. Even though this type of sushi is rarely found in Japan it is designed for the westernized palate. Since the 1970s sushi and many of Japan’s popular cuisine such as tempura, teriyaki and sukiyaki have been the basis for Japanese restaurants in the U.S.
Now in the Tampa Bay area there are four Japanese restaurants where sushi is the main staple on the menu for a few of these establishments, but you can order other Japanese food items too. One of these restaurants has been voted the number one sushi bar. What are these Japanese restaurants? Where are they located?
1.) Kaiko Sushi Bar and Japanese Restaurant – Clearwater, Florida
For the past 13 years Tampa Bay Magazine has voted Kaiko Sushi Bar and Japanese Restaurant #1. They’ve also been featured in Food & Wine articles in the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune. Since 1996 Kaiko has been serving the finest and freshest ingredients into their sushi and other Japanese cuisine. They feature an extensive sushi menu.
For their regular menu you can order the chicken or steak or fish teriyaki. The famous tempura is a batter covering the shrimp or chicken or vegetables that are deep fried. Also, try their chicken sukiyaki that is thinly sliced chicken with vegetables in a broth steamed in a pot. You can also order Japanese beer, sake or plum wine. Located at 2475 North McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater, Florida 33759 (727) 791-6640. Hours: Monday-Friday for Lunch 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Sunday – Thursday for Dinner 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m., Friday – Saturday for Dinner 4:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
2.) Samurai Blue Sushi and Sake Bar – Tampa, Florida
Right in the heart of Centro Ybor in Tampa’s historic and entertainment district is a restaurant featuring the Neo-Japanese delicacies straight from Tokyo. Its décor is modern, high-tech Japanese style rather than the traditional. Naturally sushi and sake are the main staples where they showcase a vast sushi menu that’s stand alone. It is Tampa Bay’s first sake bar serving up cold or infused sakes or saketinis.
There is a designated lunch and dinner menu that features for lunch its “Bento Box”. This is a Japanese boxed lunch with various compartments for a different dish. For dinner try their Pineapple Teriyaki entrée. Teriyaki is a Japanese cooking technique that grills or broils the food in a sweet soy sauce marinade. Besides the location in Ybor City there is another Samurai Blue in Westchase on Racetrack Road.
3.) Ichiban Japanese Cuisine – Tampa, Florida
They are located in North Tampa which features sushi as its main cuisine in a traditional Japanese setting. For lunch you can get the bento box. This is a friendly family-owned restaurant that has the freshest ingredients, along with many happy and loyal customers. 2786 E. Fowler Avenue #A Tampa, Florida 33612 (813) 978-8095
4.) Yoko’s Japanese Restaurant – Tampa, Florida
Here is South Tampa’s favorite haunt for sushi and other Japanese cuisine since 1995. Yoko runs her family owned and operated restaurant at the same location since the beginning. “Where The Locals Eat” restaurant web guide has named this quaint Japanese restaurant as one of the top 100 for 2010.
You can dine at their sushi bar or at a table. To say their sushi menu is extensive would be an understatement. The Japanese cuisine menu features beef sukiyaki that is thinly sliced with tofu, noodles and vegetables in a special broth. One of my favorite appetizers is the “yakitori” which is chicken skewers topped with teriyaki sauce. Make room for dessert, because you’ll want to try their Tempura Ice Cream. This is fried ice cream with whipped cream, chocolate and raspberry sauce.
Yoko’s Japanese Restaurant is located just south of Bay to Bay Boulevard on 3217 S. MacDill Avenue Tampa, Florida 33629 (813) 835-4311. Hours are for Lunch on Tuesday – Friday 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Dinner is Tuesday – Thursday & Sunday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. They are closed on Mondays.
Sushi lovers or those who appreciate other Japanese cuisine there is a restaurant suited for you here in Tampa Bay. They feature the finest and freshest ingredients, but best of all none of them are part of a chain. These Japanese restaurants are family owned and operated or independently owned. They have the best sushi chefs to prepare rolls that are too pretty to eat.
Japanese cuisine, Wikipedia
Japanese Cuisine – Tampa Bay, Florida, Google
Kaiko Sushi Bar Japanese Restaurant, Kaiko Sushi Bar
Samurai Blue Sushi and Sake Bar, Samurai Blue
Ichiban Japanese Cuisine, Google Maps
Yoko’s Japanese Restaurant, Yoko’s Restaurant