If there is one thing the Sarasota culinary scene is not lacking, it’s sushi. Each week, it seems like a new sushi joint is popping up around town. With so many options, finding your favorite rolls may seem like a delicious chore, so here is your definitive guide to sushi in downtown Sarasota and near New College.
Drunken Poet Cafe
1572 Main St.
A favorite among New College students for its cozy atmosphere and water served in mason jars, the Drunken Poet recently closed for renovations. The Drunken Poet serves great Thai curries, stir fries and creative sushi rolls, featuring ingredients such as peanut sauce and goat cheese. Until they reopen (soon!), try Painter’s Palate, Drunken Poet’s sister restaurant which is even closer to New College and features late night sushi until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
1532 Main St
Yume is a mainstay of Main Street sushi. A few years ago, it moved across the street into a larger, more modern location. Yume serves a classic sushi menu with some flair, with favorite rolls, tempura and big bowls of steaming udon in broth. Try the Homer roll, with steak and bacon, or the Sarasota fireman, which is topped with habanero roe.
Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi Grill
100 Central Ave #1022
Located downtown in the Whole Foods block, Tsunami Sushi is a modern, downtown sushi bar with cool cocktails, friendly service and delicious rolls. Tsunami serves sushi with a Sarasota twist. For a deal, try Happy Hour from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and enjoy live music every Friday night. Make sure to order the Honeymoon appetizer – a fresh jalapeno stuffed with crab and cream cheese. They also offer delivery with a minimum order of $13.
1900 Main St
Utamaro is my go-to for amazing, authentic sushi. Although it is a bit pricier than the other options, Utamaro wins in flavor. Try the agedashi tofu – nearly everywhere else offers this appetizer as a bland plate of fried tofu served with dipping sauce. Utamaro’s tofu is served crispy in a rich broth, sprinkled with bonito flakes. Sashimi and rolls here are classic and authentic, with a variety of cooked, raw and vegetarian options.
Tsunami Thai and Sushi Bar
8404 Lockwood Ridge Rd
A recent discovery of mine – and not to be confused with the other Tsunami on Central Ave – Tsunami Thai and Sushi Bar is located off University, in the Walmart shopping center. The atmosphere has a typical sushi bar feel, but Tsunami beats out the others in freshness and quality of ingredients. If you sit at the bar, you can watch the chef filet fish to order. Because I was craving sushi, I didn’t try the Thai menu, but Tsunami offers up a variety of both Thai and Japanese entrees.