The Ten Best Sushi Restaurants in Broward County

Just like fashion, food comes and goes in trends. And while a few decades ago the idea of consuming raw fish may have seemed absolutely absurd to most Americans, today it's one of the nation's most popular staples. But as common as sushi may be these days, not all rolls are created equal. We've all walked into — and then quickly walked out of — a few foul-smelling or sub par fish joints.

For those in search of the best sushi available without a passport, here are the top contenders in Broward County.

Sushi Rock Cafe in Fort Lauderdale
Sushi Rock Cafe in Fort Lauderdale
Courtesy of Sushi Rock Cafe

1. Sushi Rock Cafe. The key to great sushi is that it has to be fresh: You don't want to go to a place where the fish sits languishing in the fridge. That's never a problem at Sushi Rock Cafe. The tiny Las Olas space is always packed; frequently racking up to 45-minute waits. It's so popular that it once let actor Alec Baldwin leave rather than skip ahead of the hordes looking to get in on some sushi. Sucks for him; he lost out on the chance to sample a menu full of creative and interestingly named rolls. Items range from health-conscious to plain-out crazy, like the Slim Shady cucumber wrap (full of assorted vegetables served with ginger dressing) or the Strawberry Fields Forever roll (made with barbecued sweet eel, avocado, green apple, eel sauce, and roe, topped with fresh, ripe strawberries). It's worth braving the wait, but you can now skip the line with its second location just a ten-minute drive away.1515 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-5541.

Masamune in Fort Lauderdale
Masamune in Fort Lauderdale
Photo courtesy of Masamune

2. Masamune. A longtime favorite with locals, Masamune is best known for its creative fare. Start with the edamame hummus appetizer or Hawaiian-style poke served with a housemate honey, miso, and mustard-spiked balsamic reduction. Go during happy hour from 5:30 pm to 7 p.m. every day but Sunday and order the roll tasting for $25, your choice of any three signature rolls (minus the lobster). If one of the more than a dozen specialty sushi rolls or 18 hand rolls doesn't entice you, there's always the choice of a Masamune omakase — basically Japanese for "whatever the chef wants to make" — to indulge all your senses. Here, it won't necessarily be all sushi, but the chef's special creations cooked or raw are something to salivate over. Advanced notice and a reservation are required. Even the soy sauce here is something special: a rich house-made variety that is naturally low in sodium is the kitchen's own longtime original recipe, meant to be used primarily for sashimi. 2736 N Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-256-1778, or visit japanspirits.com.

Marumi Sushi in Plantation
Marumi Sushi in Plantation
Photo by Nicole Danna

3. Marumi Sushi. It's safe to say most chefs know a thing or two about good food. So the fact that Marumi gets packed nightly with cooks who've just finished their shifts at other Asian restaurants speaks volumes. Broward's late-night Japanese izakaya (a place for beer and small plates) is run by two veterans of South Florida's sushi scene, Teruhiko Iwasaki and Tetsu Hayakawa. The pair serves mind-boggling dishes for serious culinary freaks, such as braised beef tongue, fried glass minnows, and crispy squid salad. But the real draw is always the fresh catch. It offers an unparalleled supply of locally and internationally sourced fish like yellow jack, skipjack, black grouper, and snapper rendered into sashimi or seared and sliced thick. For the adventurous eater, the uni roll is a favorite pick here, a stellar combination of creamy uni paired with the spicy, clean taste of Thai basil and crisp cucumber, both mellow enough to let the umami notes of the sea urchin shine. For those who want to stick with Americanized rolls, creative options do exist — like tuna cilantro roll with tuna, garlic, and spicy sesame oil.
8271 W. Sunrise Blvd., Plantation. Call 954-318-4455, or visit marumisushi.net.

Sushi One Take-Out in Fort Lauderdale
Sushi One Take-Out in Fort Lauderdale
Photo courtesy of Sushi One Take-Out

4. Sushi One Take-Out. While we're fans of ambiance, it isn't everything. With a no-frills atmosphere, Sushi One Take-Out is still one of Fort Lauderdale's most popular sushi joints. For more than a decade, the spot has garnered a following for its fresh fish, low price points and convenient downtown Fort Lauderdale locale (it's on the corner of Broward and Federal Highway). No wonder it's won several awards and accolades over the years. Menu items include a wide range of cooked Japanese fare (udon noodles and beef teriyaki) and much-loved raw seafood options. Although you can never go wrong with sushi for less than ten bucks, we suggest sticking with us. The New Times roll is a favorite: tuna, scallions, and tempura flakes topped with tuna, spicy mayo, and more scallions. It's piquant and refreshing — just like us. 23 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-761-9009, or visit sushi-one.com

Moon Thai in Weston
Moon Thai in Weston

5. Moon Thai. When it comes to sushi, there are two things that separate the good from the mediocre: the chef and the fish. At Moon Thai, chef-owner Jack Punma makes sure he has the best of both. This Weston eatery has a near encyclopedic menu — two volumes with close to 300 dishes in all; one for Thai and a second for Japanese — offering diners a taste of Thailand that's normally camouflaged from greenhorn Americans. You can start your meal with an authentic Thai dish like larb (spelled "larp" at Moon Thai), a heaping pile of fine-minced meat or seafood seasoned with lime juice, fish sauce, chili peppers, and fine-ground toasted rice. But you'll find an equally traditional approach to Japanese sushi, made using only the best fish (the owner will only buy from the same vendors that deliver to Nobu and Morimoto), premium rice, and chefs who offer precision technique to deliver more than 40 rolls. 2818 Weston Rd., Weston. Call 954-384-7275, or visit moonthai.com.

Phat Boy Sushi in Fort Lauderdale
Phat Boy Sushi in Fort Lauderdale
Photo by Nicole Danna

6. Phat Boy Sushi. The well-composed menu at Phat Boy Sushi — now with two locations in Broward County including the original off Federal Highway — encourages patrons to explore a variety of creative starters, soup, salad, and sushi. The menu opens with innovative appetizers like salty dried kawahagi — dried smelt fish jerky served with the house spicy mayo — or a savory black pork sausage that literally snaps when you bite into it, made from the Japanese Kurobuta black pig. Grilled items include several larger-style sharing plates that feature short rib, whole squid, and sesame salmon or miso sea bass. Or try the coconut-broth ramen, a creative take on the traditional dish. But flip the menu over and an entire page is dedicated to sushi, sashimi, and specialty rolls ranging from the traditional spider roll to a surf & turf roll (tempura lobster, cucumber, and cilantro topped with seared rib-eye). Just remember to save room for dessert; one of the best dishes is the banana tempura, a plate of sliced ripe banana rolled in soy paper and deep-fried until the outer layer of sushi rice turns a crispy, golden brown and served with a creamy yuzu and green tea condensed-milk glaze. 4391 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-533-4218.

Kevin's Sushi & Thai in Deerfield Beach
Kevin's Sushi & Thai in Deerfield Beach

7. Kevin's Sushi & Thai. Looking for supersized sushi rolls for a good price? Look no further than Kevin's Sushi & Thai in Deerfield Beach. Here, you’ll dine in solace, with the chef’s full attention. If you desire the hum of a well-packed dinner crowd, go at night. Chef-owner Kevin Ongtua will be there, the counter seats at the sushi bar offering the perfect vantage point to watch as he prepares the restaurant’s most impressive menu items: enormous sushi rolls the size of sand dollars, most priced $10 to $12. More pricey rolls go for $16 to $18 thanks to more pricey ingredients like hamachi, conch, or tuna, but can be made in half-orders for nearly half the price. For this reason, Ongtua will make hundreds of rolls each day, using fish delivered to his restaurant six days a week. There’s a small section dedicated to “customers’ favorites” — homage to the loyal patrons who have supported him over the years. There are also the classic and standard gourmet rolls, each an uber-Americanized take that has gone the route of the McDonald’s supersize. The American Dream is just that: fat tempura-fried shrimp and thick cuts of eel fused together with cream cheese and avocado, topped with a splash of gooey-sweet eel sauce and sesame seeds that act as binder, helping to keep it all neatly bound as you configure a way to fit a single slice in your mouth without taking a bite. 706 S. Federal Hwy., Deerfield Beach. Call 954-418-3939.

Beg for More in Fort Lauderdale
Beg for More in Fort Lauderdale

8. Beg for More. Most South Florida Asian restaurants offer the same thing: sushi and some standard Thai dishes. The owners of Beg for More want to change that. Instead, their menu is an amalgamation of American, Thai, Japanese, and Chinese-tinged fare. There's still sushi, of course, and it's good, despite some off-color titles like "Taste Like My Ex-Girlfriend" that will evoke a double take (at the very least) — it's actually a reference to the roll's spicy ingredients, a combination of Thai and Japanese chili peppers may burn you. Then there's the "Fat Ass," a rice-less yet deep-fried roll with tempura salmon and lava cheese topped with crispy bacon. Of course, the most popular specialty roll is also the bar's signature sushi item: the Beg for More, a curious assortment of pear, asparagus, and avocado topped with crispy fried rock shrimp, chopped tuna, and truffle oil. If you're feeling adventurous, order the Mastery roll, an ever-changing mashup combination of the chef's freshest ingredients of the day finished off with some on-the-spot creative inspiration. 2831 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-900-3082, or visit begformorefl.com.

Coco Asian Bistro in Fort Lauderdale
Coco Asian Bistro in Fort Lauderdale
Courtesy of Coco Asian Bistro.

9. Coco Asian Bistro. Good food is nice even without fancy digs, but things just seem to taste better when they're served in beautiful surroundings. Set in the always busy Harbor Shops, just a hop, skip, and jump from Port Everglades, this Asian restaurant offers a wide range of fare from traditional Thai to Japanese fusion and, yes, sushi. While it's often not a good sign to have too many influences on a menu, it works here; the fare is flavorful and well-prepared. The raw fish tends to sway toward the Thai side with bold and interesting rolls. Longtime favorite, Mike's Roll, combines tuna, spinach, avocado, asparagus, tempura flakes, cucumber, and kampyo rolled in sweet, black, sticky rice and served with the house sweet chili sauce. It might be a bit more expensive than your average sushi spot, but this place is high class. 1841 Cordova Road, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-3541, or visit cocoasianbistro.com.

Sasaya Japanese Market in Fort Lauderdale
Sasaya Japanese Market in Fort Lauderdale
Courtesy of Sasaya Japanese Market.

10. Sasaya Japanese Market. Set in the Gateway Shopping Center, this little market offers all sorts of Japanese and other Asian products: teas, candies, sake, ceremonial teapots, anime, whatever your little heart desires. But it's the hidden sushi bar that gets us going. Here, you'll find superb sushi for just a fragment of the usual cost. Hand rolls and basic rolls go for $3.50 each. Huge portions of spicy tuna rolls will set you back a meager five dollars. A giant volcano roll with scallop, crab, masago, tamago, scallions, and Japanese mayo on top of a California roll goes for less than $10 (in fact, the most expensive roll is $13). The market is open for eat-in — with two communal bartops — but most people do takeout, offered Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. 1956 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-761-8010, or visit sasayajapanese.com.

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