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In a recent report on the most romantic locations in New York City, we shared a notable statistic: if you eat sushi on your first date, you increase your odds of a second date by 170%. Why is this? We can’t offer a definitive answer. Perhaps its because dining on sushi is an interactive experience. It’s expensive. And beautifully plated. It’s also not particularly time-consuming, which reduces the pressure. Who can say for sure? We can, however, offer a definitive list of the best places to arrange a first date with the object of your desire in New York City if sushi is intended to be the lure. Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum has curated a list of the 10 best romantic Japanese restaurants for a first date in New York City (NYC) if you’re looking for a perfect place for sushi for two.

Where are the best restaurants in NYC for a sushi date?

We recently read an interesting statistic: if you eat sushi on your first date, you increase your odds of a second date by 170%.

best romantic Japanese restaurants for a first date in New York City (NYC) if you're looking for a perfect place for sushi

The best romantic Japanese restaurants for a first date in New York City (NYC) if you’re looking for a perfect place for sushi for two.

Whatever the reason may be, we think these odds are too high to ignore. This is true especially in a time when so many people are out there looking for love.

If you happen to be on the dating scene in New York, here are ten places you should consider for your first time out with someone special.

The 10 best places in NYC to go for a sushi date

1. Sugarfish

You’ve most likely heard of Sugarfish. From legendary chef Kazunori Nozawa, the restaurant is among the most famous sushi restaurants in the United States – known for its celebrity sightings, and massive popularity. The food at this bicoastal chain will live up to its sterling reputation.  At Sugarfish, you’ll find only the best and freshest fish, and you’ll enjoy it omakase, each item meticulously selected and prepared.

Though it’s true you can also order the sushi a la carte, you really want to invest in one of the chef’s several “Trust Me’s” – such as the “Nozawa Trust Me” or the “Don’t Think. Just Eat. Trust Me” – which should speak for themselves. The Chef knows best, and yes, you should trust him. And where better to go on a first date than a restaurant you know you can rely on? It really is that good.

2. KazuNori

Can’t get enough of Sugarfish? You’ll have to try Kazunori Nozawa’s other renowned establishment – the aptly named KazuNori. Also with locations on both coasts, this is another perfect restaurant for a first date.

NYC places for sushi date

And if you’re going for a date, that means you’re going to sit at the counter, and if you’re going to sit at the counter, that means you’re going to enjoy the restaurant’s menu of phenomenal hand rolls.  Choose between sets of three, four, five, or six rolls, and delight in some of the finest ingredients you’ve ever consumed.

3. Rosella

A selection on The Infatuation’s most recent Hit List, Rosella is a go-to trendy spot of the moment – all the better for a first date, if your goal is to seem in-the-know.

NYC places for sushi date

And if that’s not enough, their five-star fish – and every other component of the meal, too! – is sourced locally and sustainably, which is something your date is sure to appreciate (we hope!). Consider the tasting menu, which is an $150 tour through the restaurant’s killer selection, or sample rolls a la cart.

4. Sushi Nakazawa

Sushi Nakazawa is one of the best-known restaurants for sushi in the city. And since it also has locations in Washington DC and Aspen, any out-of-towners looking for date spots may be in luck. This is omakase, meaning you’re going to get whatever Chef Daisuke Nakazawa deems best for his diners.

NYC places for sushi date

Though you can expect options to change with the seasons, a sample menu includes an impressive range of fish: Goldeneye Snapper, Spanish Mackerel, Pacific Barrelfish, and more.

5. Uotora

Uotora is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Snuggled into northwest corner of Crown Heights, this small, atmospheric restaurant offers some of the best sushi around.

romantic Japanese restaurants NYC

Whether you opt for omakase (ten pieces for $75, with the option to add soft shell crab) or go a la carte, you and your date will remember this place for the rest of your relationship – which, who knows, could be forever.

6. Kissaki

The much-lauded Kissaki is proud to honor Japanese tradition at all five of their locations. If you’re going to dine in, you have the option of a 10 course Omakase ($95), a 13 course Omakase ($120), and a 16 course Omakase ($150), all of which include pieces of the chef’s specialty nigiri.

You can also opt for a nigiri flight, futomaki, or donburi. With its many choices, this could be a great spot for a first date. You’ll still be getting to know each other’s preferences.

7. Nami Nori

Head to the West Village if you’d like your date to include some of the best temaki you’ve ever tasted, in an environment that’s somehow both casual and special. At Nami Nori, you can build your own set of hand rolls, or choose between two pre-set options, the Signature and the Vegan.  Yes, that’s right! This is the place to know, if you’re going out with someone who’s vegan and loves sushi.

romantic Japanese restaurants NYC

The menu includes memorable flavor combinations, like coconut shrimp and green curry, and an “avocado toast” roll with beets and crispy carrots. And don’t skip on the cocktails, which happen to shine: there’s a strawberry sting, made with strawberry, hot honey, and soju, and a cherry bomb – soju, sparkling wine, and cherry sage cordial.

8. Wasabi Greenpoint

As Wasabi Greenpoint proudly proclaims – they are open late. Until 11:30, pm, that is. For all you night owls, this could be the local spot you’ve been searching for. Keep it in mind for your next date, and you two will get to enjoy some excellent sushi in a cozy setting.

best sushi places NYC

We have to recommend the Chef’s Special Rolls, which are overflowing with flavor and are the best thing on the menu.

9. Ushiwakamaru

This Chelsea restaurant specializes in Edomae. As they explain, this style of sushi originated in 19th century Edo, and involved marinating fish in soy sauce, salt, and vinegar to help it stay fresh – remember, no electricity. Chef Hideo Kuribara uses only premium ingredients, and his attention to detail makes the menu soar.

romantic Japanese restaurants NYC

You can decide between the Maguro and Salmon specials, or for a truly jaw-dropping experience, go with the Omakase ($158). This is the Chef’s choice, of course, but he is willing to take requests – and yes, the courses will include the most seasonal, daily specials, so you know you and your date are in for a treat.


Our final entry for NYC sushi restaurants is one of the most popular sushi spots in New York. And for good reason. They call their menu “Domokase,” and it includes everything you could ever want: a seasonal oyster, Kabayaki, Donburi, 10 pieces of signature sushi, and dessert – perhaps one of you can order the black sesame panna cotta and one of you can order the Hojicha pudding, and you can split both.

romantic Japanese restaurants NYC

The best romantic Japanese restaurants for a first date in New York City (NYC) if you’re looking for a perfect place for sushi for two.

If the Domokase isn’t what you’re looking for, you could also go for the hand roll course. Or any number of the restaurant’s hot entrees. One way or another, this date is going to be a success. And there’s even a location in Jersey City, if you happen to live on the other side of the state line.

best NYC restaurants for sushi for two

That’s our roundup of the 10 best romantic Japanese restaurants for a first date in New York City (NYC) if you’re looking for a perfect place for sushi for two. What do you think, dear reader? Whether it’s a first date or a 50th one, these would be lovely places to share with your special someone.

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.