Japanese Eateries in Providence Are On a Roll

Traditional and adventurous offerings make the city a sushi destination

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If peak summer temps have you hungry for cold, refreshing eats, look no further than raw sushi delicacies prepared with care. Providence is no stranger to this Japanese staple, with a growing presence of over a dozen spots to choose from. Each place offers its own unique contribution to the city’s sushi scene, whether it’s the freshest fish traditionally prepared or a surprising fusion that plays with your taste buds. From trusted neighborhood mainstays to the new kids on the block – spanning Fox Point to Federal Hill – there’s no shortage of sushi to sample in Providence this summer.

KNOW YOUR SUSHI 

Sashimi: Thinly sliced fresh fish eaten without many adornments, aside from soy sauce and wasabi.

Nigiri: A slice of raw fish gently pressed over hand-molded rice.

Maki: Perhaps the most commonly recognized variety, fresh fish and other ingredients are rolled in dried seaweed and rice, often topped with more fish, eel sauce, fish eggs, or a combination.

Haruki East 

In the heart of Wayland Square, Haruki East stands out immediately with colorful paper lanterns lining its awning. Inside, a bar runs the length of the restaurant, offering guests a direct view of the artful assembly happening behind the counter. Haruki’s menu is extensive to say the least, spanning appetizers, sushi a la carte, rolls, noodles, and even donburi (Japanese rice bowls). Haruki East is a must for fans of fresh, raw fish on its own, with the Sashimi Deluxe offering chef’s choice of seven assorted filets. 172 Wayland Avenue

TRY THIS: For those who want a bit of color on the table, the Rainbow Roll won’t disappoint: it’s topped with eel, tuna, salmon, avocado, and masago (capelin fish eggs).

NAMI

Head west to Federal Hill – a destination for cultural cuisine – and you’ll find NAMI, which brings a contemporary twist to the sushi it serves. With a full-service bar and lounge, this joint also offers an extensive wine list. The whimsical names for their specials reflect the creativity within the rolls themselves, from Summer Sunset, with tempura lobster tail and wasabi peas, to Shooting Star, an eel roll that surprises with a potato crumble. NAMI is also unique in that it offers an omakase experience, a 14-course prix fixe meal following the tradition of having the chef curate the entire set of courses, including seasonal selections, artistic spins, and fresh ingredients. 198 Atwells Avenue 

TRY THIS: Perfect for summer, Sunshine Dreamer is a shrimp tempura and avocado roll topped with lobster salad and spicy mayo.

Ran Zan Japanese 

Right across the street from Lippitt Park on Hope Street is Ran Zan Japanese, a sushi spot that has served the East Side for over 20 years. From its intimate seating to its simple menu, Ran Zan is the epitome of “no frills,” in the best of ways, where you’ll find classic offerings such as nigiri, sashimi, and maki rolls. If visiting for lunch, Ran Zan also offers bento boxes that deliver a main (teriyaki, tempura, fried chicken, or rolls) with soup, salad, and dumplings. There are also noodles on the menu, ranging from soupy udons to stir-fried yakisoba dishes. 1084 Hope Street

TRY THIS: Among the restaurant’s maki rolls, the signature Dragon Roll is certainly one to keep an eye out for, with carrot “horns” and avocado “scales” layered along its back.

Sakura Restaurant 

Something of a cult classic in Fox Point, Sakura is a corkage-fee BYOB sushi spot that also offers a tatami-style room – their upstairs space is set up in the vein of minimalist Japanese living rooms, complete with low tables and seating mats. Downstairs, the dining space is dimly lit, offering an intimate ambiance adorned with playful flags and banners. Their menu covers all the standards and then some, such as hibachi steak. Along with a full menu of maki rolls, nigiri and sashimi, and a variety of sushi dinners, there’s also Kobe Sanshoyaki – beef cubes sauteed with Japanese black pepper – and negimaki, barbecued beef rolled around scallions. 

TRY THIS: For tuna lovers, the chef’s special Sweet Heart Roll has spicy tuna inside and filets outside, playfully shaped and arranged into little hearts.

Sura 

Looking for some date night dishes? Pay a visit to Westminster Street staple Sura, an intimate Japanese and Korean eatery with an expansive menu listing favorites like Spicy Tuna Rolls and more playful options such as their Pink Lady Roll, a union of tuna, salmon, avocado, egg, and crab in soybean paper. Special to Sura is the Chef’s Izakaya Menu – referring to a Japanese drinking establishment – filled with hearty dishes to complement soju, a rice-distilled wine, and other beverages. They’re also known for Korean classics like Bibimbap rice bowls and Chap Chae vermicelli noodles. 232 Westminster Street

TRY THIS: The Providence Roll is made with shrimp tempura and avocado, topped with spicy salmon and sweet and spicy sauce. 

Ten Prime Steak & Sushi

Part steakhouse, part sushi restaurant, Ten Prime is the perfect downtown destination to bring friends and family for a celebratory evening out. Along with a handful of traditionally influenced rolls, find “Uniquely Ten” offerings like a Sushi Sandwich, and the Prime Roll with Maine lobster, asparagus tempura, beef carpaccio, and an unexpected kick from truffle chili oil. Ten Prime also boasts a raw bar and extensive cocktail menu that changes to highlight seasonal flavors. Enjoy your fare share of Rhode Island classics, too, including calamari with jalapeño tartar sauce. 55 Pine Street

TRY THIS: The Crunchy Munchie roll features fried coconut shrimp with tempura crab topped with honey truffle aioli.

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