Photos: Connor McCourtney
The scent of sticky white rice–fresh and airy–with a hint of the sea cascades across the narrow room. Eager customers plummet into the restaurant, which is already crammed with waiting diners. The hostess shares it will be at least a 20-minute wait, but the news doesn’t seem to bother anyone–everyone stays put. Those waiting, let their eyes roam over the rich and vibrant dishes, while those eating attempt, fruitlessly, to take their time and cherish their cuisine. The platters are creative and strikingly displayed. But, as beautifully presented as the sushi is, the helpless customers don’t wait too long and shovel the fresh fish into their drooling mouths.
The city of Des Moines offers a variety of different sushi restaurants for customers to choose from. With the wide selection, each of the restaurants presents something distinct from one another. Whether one wants traditional, unusual or mild sushi, a laid-back setting, cheap cuisine or a place with an exciting atmosphere, there is almost certainly a sushi spot in Des Moines that will suit you. Some of the many sushi options in the city include: Miyabi 9, Waterfront Seafood, Taki Japanese Steakhouse, Sakari Sushi Lounge, Samurai Sushi and Hibachi, Wok in Motion, Hoshi Sushi Lounge and more.
The best sushi restaurant, arguably, in Des Moines is Miyabi 9. The restaurant is small and has a unique shape, being long and narrow. It only fits about 40 customers. The décor is clean and minimalistic, which creates a very modern feel. Along with the progressive atmosphere, the personality of the restaurant is laid-back and casual.
“I think it’s a nice, contemporary place that has extremely high-quality food at a reasonable price for the quality and value you’re getting,” Drake student Mary Jane Morgan said. “Miyabi 9 has great service and a nice wait staff, too.”
Although the setting is enjoyable, the main focus of the restaurant is the sushi.
“Miyabi 9 offers a wide variety of sushi choices, but whatever one orders, the sushi is a faultless, stunning parcel to savor,” Drake student Caroline Schoonover said. “I also had difficulty choosing what to order with well over 40 sushi selections.”
Some of the options include the traditional choices like tuna or salmon rolls, but there are also more creative alternatives like Miami Heat or Captain Crunch. The range and originality of Miyabi 9’s sushi, along with the immense quality, has made the restaurant one of the best sushi locations in Des Moines. Miyabi 9 is located in the East Village on Grand Avenue.
A close second and third to Miyabi 9 is Waterfront Seafood and Taki Japanese Steakhouse. Both Waterfront and Taki Japanese Steakhouse offer a variety of sushi options, but the restaurants provide many non-sushi choices as well. Therefore, if customers have friends or family who don’t like sushi, the non-sushi lovers can munch on something fully cooked.
“It’s nice to go to a sushi restaurant that offers other food besides sushi, because then I can go more often with all of my friends, even those less adventurous toward seafood and Japanese, ” Schoonover said.
Specifically, Waterfront Seafood is ideal for all ages with an informal, yet classy environment. Taki Japanese Steakhouse is a little more formal and trendy, but still family oriented. Waterfront is located in West Des Moines and Ankeny. Taki is located in Urbandale.
Sakari Sushi Lounge is a great sushi destination if one would like to save some money. Although affordable, Sakari offers a fun, contemporary dining environment for all ages.
“Sakari Sushi Lounge is a great place to hang out,” Drake student Nora Harding said. “Plus, the sushi is at a good price and quality.”
A highlight of Sakari is its popular happy hour from 5-7 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Drake student Erika Owen said she loves the happy hour because customers can get sushi rolls and drinks for a great price. The restaurant is located on Ingersoll Avenue.
Hoshi Sushi Lounge is a hub for the younger, college-age crowd. Its lower prices, running at $9-15, and unique, chill groove are appealing for customers. Not only does the restaurant’s atmosphere draw the 20-something fan base, but the restaurant is open Friday and Saturday until midnight. Although Hoshi has its perks, Harding said the sushi is not the best. Sushi Lounge is located in the Drake neighborhood on University Avenue.
It’s clear the Des Moines area has a variety of different sushi restaurants, all which provide an array of opportunities for any customer’s taste. Nonetheless, a new challenger joins the sushi competition in Des Moines. That new contender is Haiku. Haiku is located just off Drake University’s campus in the Drake West Village. The restaurant opened Monday, Feb. 8 at 4 p.m. and its hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.