Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Rio's best sushi restaurants

The best sushi joints in the city.

From the craze for instant temaki rolls sold all over town to some of the most imaginative combinations of anemone and oyster fresh from the high seas, Rio's sushi scene is never less than thriving. Anyony used to nit-picking their way through pricey menus elsewhere in the world will find much to love in the rodizio all-you-can-eat buffets (where the greedy get fined for leaving food behind), but the more subtle, imaginative end of Japan's speciality is also well catered for.

Shin Miura

Avenida Rio Branco 156/324, Centro 
(21 2262 3043)

Certainly one of the most famous Japanese chefs in town, the creative Nao Hara has breathed new life into Shin Miura, the 40 year-old sushi restaurant found on the top floor of a gloomy electronics mall beside Carioca metro station. All the classics are well handled, but lunchtimes can be lit up with a journey through the chef's menu, a four-to-six dish delight that brings Brazilian twists to the table. Grab a stool at the bar and witness one of the country's masters in action. 


Rua Ministro Viveiros de Castro 127, Copacabana
(21 2541 4294)

If there is one universal truth in Japanese restaurants, it's that if there is barely any effort put into the decoration of the place and it is still packed (and even better, with Japanese clientele) then the food is the focus. As unassuming inside as it is outside, this Copacabana institution is the polar opposite of the likes of stylish Sushi Leblon and Yumê and proud of the fact. Wear fresh socks because here at Azumi groups are asked to remove their shoes before entering the screened-off private dining rooms, and once inside presented with wildly flavousome udon soup, exceptional squid and succulent slices of salmon sashimi drizzled in the secret house sauce. An exquisite experience. 

Sushi Leblon

Rua Dias Fereira 256, Leblon
(21 2512 7830)

Undoubtedly one of the hottest spots on Rua Dias Fereira, the queues outside Sushi Leblon every night speak for themselves. The sleek design of the restaurant would be right at home in West London or New York’s hippest districts and so would the prices. Start off with some sea-salted edamame and a cup of ice-cold sake and take your time to peruse the menu and your surroundings. The simple salmon sashimi is a delight, or for those seeking some stronger flavours the tuna and foie gras combination is pure indulgence. Don’t be afraid to try the tuna tartare with raw egg either - once fork-whipped together it becomes a treat of taste and texture. 


Rua Pacheco Leão 758, Jardim Botânico
(21 3205 7321)

A theory runs that if somewhere is good enough for Madonna to ask to take it over so she can dine alone and in peace then it must be worth a look. The atmosphere at Yumê is actually perfect for couples as well as cowering celebrites, so ask for a table in the candle-lit rear dining room with its raised-floor seating and koi carp swimming merrily underfoot. The moriwasse platter is a decent starting point with its crunchy shrimp, chicken, kanidama and harumaki, and elsewhere the crab and octopus temaki rolls are standouts. As you would expect, the quality of the sashimi in the enormous combinados is also exceptional.


Travessa do Paço 10, Centro
(21 2533 6366)

Hidden away on a side alley next to the Legislative Assembly, Hachiko is as hard to find as it is to forget. Head up the impressive staircase and allow the first impressions of the elegant room to wash over you while heading to your table. Second impressions will be all about the food, and R$65.90 grants you entry into a never-ending treasure chest of sushi and sashimi delights as well as more unusual combos like the fried duck balls with mango chutney and the extra spicy salmon. The once lunchtime-only gem now opens in the evenings too.

Nik Sushi

Rua Garcia D'Ávila 83, Ipanema 
(21 2512 6446)

The all-you-can-eat buffet found at Nik Sushi in the heart of Ipanema is one of those much-loved institutions that causes a gentle sigh of delight when brought up between friends. With over 80 options to choose from and new additions finding their way into therodizio every other month, sushi lovers are in for an indulgent treat. Certainly there are as many Brazilian remixes as there are authentic Japanese classics (see the salmon in passion fruit sauce and Tuna Pepper Jelly), but for sheer variety and invention, not to mention value for money if you pick your moment wisely (R$45 weekday lunch as opposed to R$72 on a weekend evening), Nik is hard to beat.

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors

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