The sushi options in Guadalajara are vast and diverse. There are Japanese people serving expensive imported fish in a Japanese style. Originally, however, Mexican chefs adapted the traditional recipes to meet the tastes of the developing Mexican market. The sushi in Guadalajara represents a number of different styles including both traditional, modern, and something in between.
Mexico has its own style of sushi. While I have never been to Japan, I have eaten sushi in Los Angeles, Lima, São Paulo, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Culiacán, all cities with significant Japanese history and good sushi. Sushi changes from place to place. It is fun to try the regional variations and specialties.
It will always be enjoyable to taste the best cuts of a massive bluefin tuna but not every restaurant will have access to the most expensive imports. Local seafood will always be cheaper and more readily available.
Guadalajara has quick access to excellent seafood from the Pacific coast. In Culiacán, sometimes they don’t use seafood at all but substitute carne asada.
I used to constantly complain about the excessive use of sauces, carne asada, cream cheese, and tempura fried rolls.
After a trip to Culiacan, home of the Culichi-style sushi, I have come around and admit that I have developed a love of chipotle mayonnaise. When in Rome, do as the Romans.
The Best Sushi Restaurants in Guadalajara
We have a solid rotation of good to excellent options nowadays. I usually prefer something in the middle, not too culichi-style but not too expensive either. It is easy to rack up huge bills at sushi restaurants if you are not careful.
Have a look at my favorite sushi restaurants in Guadalajara.
1. Hatsu Kokoro
Hatsu Kokoro is an excellent example of modern Guadalajara-style sushi in an upscale setting. Calle São Paulo is arguably the best street in Guadalara for high-end dining and Hatsu Kokoro has managed to distinguish itself and help put this restaurant district on the map.
The restaurant is tucked away in the back of an old hacienda that has been converted into a restaurant row of sorts. You have to walk through La Casa de los Platos entrance to find Hatsu Kokoro.
The quality of fish at Hatsu Kokoro is really top-shelf. This is not budget sushi by any means. The last time I was in there the sushi chef had a huge yellow fin tuna on the cutting board that he was just starting to take apart.
The specials change daily, but you really need to start with something off of the handwritten specials board. Make sure to try the callo de hacha (Mexican scallop) nigiri and at least one of the varieties of tuna.
The Mexican scallop is different from the Atlantic scallops and in my opinion better. They are harvested in Sonora which is only ten hours away which means they have not been frozen.
The other thing that I love about Hatsu Kokoro is the service. The servers are well versed on a complicated foreign menu and willing to accommodate food allergies. They make good recommendations without trying to push the most expensive things on the menu.
Honne is my favorite sushi restaurant in Guadalajara because of the top quality of the fish and a little more relaxed atmosphere and price point. The head sushi chef has a number of years of experience working at Juni-ko and knows what premier quality looks like. In fact, there is only one fish-monger supplying all the top sushi restaurants in Guadalajara with their grade-A imports.
I have a kids that is a picky eater but for some reason he loves expensive sushi. I was blown away to watch him eating salmon roe, multiple sashimi cuts and a huge bowl of rice.
Honne Sushi is not close to my house but I have no problem driving across town eat here. The service and the food are both an exceptional experience.
Best Traditional Japanese Sushi Restaurant in Guadalajara
I find it hard to believe that there are people who dislike Suehiro. In the Guadalajara Expat forums, Suehiro is inevitably the first sushi restaurant to come up when someone asks for sushi recommendations. Then comes someone who says they have eaten better sushi back wherever they are originally from.
Suehiro is not a dedicated sushi restaurant but a blend of teppanyaki and sushi in a classic or even retro Japanese property. I understand that many patrons will prefer a modern design and innovative kitchen but Suehiro is the OG hub for Japanese culture in Guadalajara. It is always a solid choice.
The place is enormous and will be full on a Sunday afternoon. They have gluten-free soy sauce and if you know your way around a Japanese food menu you will be able to find some great options.
I have a friend who has worked there for a long time. She says there are lots of employees who have been there for decades. The owner is Japanese and a long-time resident of Guadalajara who really takes care of his employees. Suehiro is one of Guadalajara’s treasured institutions and should be at the top of your list of sushi in Guadalajara.
The Best High-end Guadalajara Sushi
It was a big deal when La Docena opened Juni-ko. Juni-ko means a dozen in japanese. The high-end seafood concept had built a cult following of wealthy seafood lovers looking to try exotic new flavors.
The sushi bar at Juni-ko only seats 15 people and it is hidden in the back of the La Docena location in Plaza Andares. Most of the time it is going to be reservations only. Diners might be able to walk in on a weekday at lunchtime but it is not guaranteed with only 15 seats.
This is not your typical Mexican or Culichi sushi but high-end, Japanese-style sushi like you would find in Los Angeles or Mexico City. Nobody in Guadalajara has a selection of imported fish like the stuff that Chef Daisuke Maeda has brought in specifically for this sushi bar.
I tend to judge a sushi bar on the quality of its sea urchin and I can say, without a doubt, that is the best sea urchin I have tasted three hours away from the ocean. It is expensive but that is to be expected for this level of quality and selection.
Old School Guadalajara Sushi and Japanese Culture
Uroko is a tiny neighborhood sushi bar that does a crazy to-go business. This is the type of sushi bar that makes me want to move to Providencia so that I can walk there. It isn’t the best restaurant to take little kids because there are no tables just the bar.
The quality of rice at Uroko is some of the best I have tasted in Guadalajara. The fish is excellent as well but until you taste perfect rice, you can forget how important it is to good sushi.
Uroko may not be the first place you stop for sushi in Guadalajara but if you live in Providencia, it needs to be on your sushi restaurant rotation.
Guadalajara Sushi Deli
6. Nigiri SAN Cocina Económica
While Nigiri San is not a restaurant the sushi is excellent and cheap. Nigiri SAN mostly does take-out food but they had three small tables (before the pandemic) that were almost always taken. This casual Guadalajara restaurant has an excellent selection of mostly local fish and very good rice. Make sure to check out their Facebook page to see what the daily specials are.
7. Dakima Nigiris
Mid-Range Guadalajara Sushi
8. Sushi San Terranova
This is not their first sushi restaurant but it is the largest Sushi San to date. The first couple of restaurants are on the outskirts of town and are tiny spaces that probably attend to more to-go customers than dine-in customers. Sushi San Terranova is comfortable, and stylish, and has a larger menu with more rolls than the smaller kitchens.
Sushi San Terranova is a great addition to the Guadalajara sushi scene. With great quality fish at a reasonable price, it is easy to put this sushi restaurant in your rotation.
Culichi-Style Guadalajara Sushi
9. Sushi Shop Xochitl
Sushi Shop Xochitl represents the Mexican adaptation of sushi into a Culichi-style. There is a lot of sauce and cream cheese to be found on their menu. I was amazed at how many rolls were battered and deep-fried.
Some of the rolls that are not deep-fried have chicken milanesa (flattened, breaded, fried chicken breast) toppings.
The surimi (imitation crab) plays an important part in the rolls and is mixed with sauces on top of the rolls. Surimi mixes particularly well with different sauces. The spicy chipotle mayonnaise is particularly good.
My favorite alternative roll at Sushi Shop Xochitl is the plantain roll. The idea of putting bananas on top of a sushi roll filled with cream cheese and surimi is ridiculous but I love it. I order two of these every time I go. It works really well with the savory umami of the soy sauce.
If you are interested in trying Mexican-style sushi then Sushi Shop is a great option.
10. Momotabi Mochi Market
Avenida Vallarta 1090, Colonia Americana, Guadalajara, Jalisco // Facebook
Telephone: 33 1006 3622
While not a sushi restaurant, these are the best Japanese desserts that I know of. We commonly skip dessert at the restaurant to run over to Momotabi for mochi.
Again, I have never been to Japan but this is what I imagine mochi tastes like in the old country.
The mochi ice cream balls are handmade and come with really tasty toppings that match the ice cream perfectly. This place is a real treat.
Guadalajara Sushi Conclusion
I want you to have an open mind about about the Guadalajara sushi options. There are numerous options but they may not be the same kind of sushi restaurants that you have back home. If you want to spend the money, there are world-class options. If you are on a budget, there are even more options to try.
This list is far from complete. I am always on the hunt for great sushi restaurants at an affordable price. The next two restaurants that I want to check out are Little Tokyo on López Cotilla and Kokoro in Punto São Paulo. If you have been to either of those restaurants let me know what you thought in the comments. Talk to you later.