Editor's note: It's a rapidly changing world, so while information in this post was accurate at the time of publication, call before you go to check current opening status, hours and prices.
New Year’s resolutions can be pretty typical: Spend less money, eat healthier, start working out, etc. And if you’re anything like me, you’re still trying to recover from holiday spending and gluttony.
Enter the world of cheap sushi spots, where take-out is the name of the game and the food is easy on your diet and wallet. Most of these places have limited seating, and you won’t spend more than $20 for an average-size appetite. For clarity's sake, we excluded conveyor belt sushi from this list.
Don’t want to break the bank to satisfy that sushi craving? Here’s a roundup of Our Top 5 cheap sushi spots.
No. 5: Superb Sushi
This spot is known for catering, so workers crank out rolls at the speed of light. Best sellers include the reverse California roll ($4) and the reverse spicy ahi ($7). And the pieces aren’t chintzy, either.
The reverse spicy ahi is generously topped with fresh fish, but the prices are what keep me coming back. Even if you’re hungry, you won’t break the bank here. Go for one of the combos — where else can you get poke and unagi for just $13.50? But go early; Superb Sushi’s only open until 1:30 p.m.
1322 N. King St. • Kalihi • 737-0051
No. 4: Domo Cafe
The ahi at Domo Café is as fresh as can be. Just ask Chong, the owner — he goes to the Honolulu Fish Auction every morning to buy it. Chances are, if you get any of the poke entrees or sushi rolls, he’ll take your order and prepare it himself .
The Café’s been open for about two years with an eclectic menu of sushi sets, sushi rolls, udon sets, sushi bowls and more. Rolls range from $5.95-$8.95; the dragon roll (shrimp tempura, unagi and avocado), spicy ahi and tempura, and rainbow rolls are the most popular.
I love the spicy ahi and tempura roll. The eight-piece roll is generous, and the ahi has an unmistakable melt-in-your-mouth texture that glides off my tongue and down my throat. The crunchy shrimp tempura in the middle provides a welcome contrast in texture.
Pro tip: Friday’s the best day to visit, since they always have a buy one, get one 50 percent off promo on spicy ahi bowls. Aka, one-stop-shop for both lunch and dinner.
1016 Maunakea St. • Chinatown • 587-8338
No. 3: Family Sushi House
It’s no secret that kimbap sushi rollers are fast, but this Korean lady ups the ante. Most customers call in their orders for takeout, due to the claustrophobic parking lot. Even though I decide what I want right then and there — tuna cheese ($4) and vegetable roll ($3.50) — I don’t have to wait long.
I know what you’re thinking: “Tuna and cheese?” I never would have thought to pair the two, but the combo surprisingly works. The tuna is good, but the unmelted cheese slice adds a slightly salty taste. It's no wonder this is one of the most popular orders.
1020 Keeaumoku St. • Pawaa • 596-7177
No. 2: Hawaii Sushi
Hawaii Sushi is in the same plaza on Monsarrat as Bogart’s Café. But it’s almost hidden on the very far left, so it’s no wonder that I’ve never noticed it before.
The most popular roll is the Crunchy Lava Rock ($8), which is a shrimp California roll topped with spicy ahi, spicy sauce, fried onions, unagi sauce and green onions. I love the textures of the velvety soft ahi mixed with the crispy fried onions. Other popular orders include the Rainbow roll (ahi, hamachi, salmon, shrimp and avocado) and Sunset roll (salmon, mayo, white onions and lemon).
Don’t leave without checking out the featured lunch special. It changes daily, but the spicy ahi bowl featured during a recent visit was $6. Yes, a bowl loaded with rice and raw fish. Now that’s a "reel" deal.
3045 Monsarrat Ave. • Diamond Head • 734-6370
No. 1: Makoto Sushi
If this mom-and-pop shop didn’t close so early during the week, I’d be there a lot more.
Most eight-piece sushi rolls don't fill me up. Makoto's are an exception: These rolls are massive. While the sheer size had me raving from day one, the price point is also decent. Most rolls (and tempura plates, for that matter) cost $11-13, which is a steal. Some of the special rolls are a little pricier because they have larger amounts of crab, ahi or unagi.
My two favorites: the King of Fire ($10.95), which is filled with crab and cucumber and topped with spicy ahi, spicy sauce and “crunch” (which is basically Corn Flakes); and the 911 roll ($12.95), featuring spicy tuna with avocado, chili oil and spicy sauce. When I first discovered Makoto, I came here once a week, and the friendly uncle behind the counter knew my order by heart.
99-115 Aiea Heights Dr. • Aiea • 722-9711
Check out more rankings on Our Top 5 page.