Being a city by the sea, Cape Town has learned to embrace sushi. You’ll find that many restaurants that aren’t even Japanese have sushi bars. For sushi lovers such as myself, this can be a real treat.
I’m Japanese and I’ve spent time living in the mother country, so I know good sushi when I see it. The overall quality of sushi largely depends on the condition of two ingredients: the fish and the rice. Most places in Cape Town have fresh fish, as it’s hard not to when you’re so close to the source. However, making good sushi rice is a true art. The rice can’t be warm or mushy, but it also can’t be stale or cold. The perfect, well-balanced, sushi rice is cool to the touch and has a hint of vinegar in it. Admittedly, I am a bit of a rice snob and I found that many Cape Town sushi restaurants have yet to master the sushi rice craft. Nonetheless, I was impressed with the overall quality of the city’s sushi scene. There is a long list of Cape Town restaurants serving up a solid sushi spread but, to get you started on your South Africa sushi journey, here are a few restaurants I recommend.
If you’ve been exploring Cape Town all day and you’ve worked up a big appetite, how about all-you-can-eat sushi? Yes, please! Head over to Active Sushi to fill that empty pit in your stomach. Everything about this place makes for a fantastic experience. The food, the service and the vibes are all on point! Plus, if you are looking to go easy on your wallet, they have some killer lunch specials. If you eat too much and find yourself in a food coma, head across the street to Origin Coffee Roasting for a delicious, caffeinated pick-me-up!
You can’t leave here without feeling good. This Camps Bay restaurant is trendy and posh, yet elegant and classy. The best part about it is that there’s a beautiful ocean view from the dining room. Although Umi doesn’t get the greatest reviews on Tripadvisor, everything I ate, from rolls to salads, was beautifully presented and extremely tasty. It’s not all about the sushi here- don’t miss out on their delicious cocktail selection. Relax with a cold drink on their terrace as you take in the sights of the sea. Umi, along with other Camps Bay restaurants, is a bit pricey compared to most Cape Town eateries, but the combination of solid sushi and gorgeous ocean views makes a visit worth it.
Photo by Umi
Andy’s is run by the old chef at Willoughby & Co (mentioned below). The sushi is amazing but, if I’m being completely honest, the restaurant lacks ambiance. It’s convenient and affordable but it’s not right for a romantic night out. If you’re craving some authentic, fresh sushi and looking for a quick and easy place to get your fix, I highly recommend Andy’s.
Beluga offers an incredible value. This place has half priced sushi, dim-sum and cocktails from 12pm-7pm every day of the week and all day on Sundays. Unreal! The art deco interior is pleasant and relaxing, but eating outside in the cobblestone courtyard is a real treat. It feels like you are dining in the center of an old Italian piazza. The service is fantastic and the sushi is fun, creative and fresh. An eight-piece maki roll, which they call California Rolls, ranges from $7-$10. If you are there before 7:00 PM you get half off- now that’s a deal. I highly recommend ordering the Salmon Rose which is rice wrapped in layers of avocado and salmon, topped with Japanese mayo and caviar.
You will see that Willoughby & Co is one of the highest ranked sushi restaurants in Cape Town. Full disclosure, I never actually ate here but felt I had to include it based on its reputation in the Cape Town sushi world. I set out to try Willoughby & Co, but once I saw the line, I gave up. While touted as the #1 sushi spot in Cape Town, it’s located inside the V&A Waterfront mall- talk about tourist central. I didn’t like the idea of eating in a mall to begin with and when I arrived to a line of 50+ people, I didn’t see the point of waiting it out since I had discovered so many other good sushi options in the Cape Town. Supposedly the service is quick, but in the end, I decided this place wasn’t my vibe. It certainly has a great reputation, so by all means, if you’re willing to wait, make your way over to the V&A (And let me know how it was).
A few more notable sushi restaurants in Cape Town:
Check out the map below to find Cape Town’s best sushi spots!