Washington, D.C.’s Best Sushi


The sushi at Sakedokoro Makotoin Washington, D.C. has the power to transport you halfway around the world to Japan.

The Daily Meal recently published our Best Sushi in America roundup for 2014, and in order to compile our ranking, we started by reaching out to leading culinary authorities to ask what their favorite sushi restaurants are, and we supplemented those suggestions with sushi restaurants featured in local reviews and pre-existing regional and local rankings. Although many of these restaurants also serve a menu of traditional Japanese food, we stressed that the primary focus must be on sushi. We then took that list of 112 restaurants from across the country and built a survey, with the restaurants separated by region. We invited our group of trusted panelists, comprising chefs, bloggers, journalists, and other culinary authorities, to vote for their favorites. Our final list showcased the 35 best, with one from D.C. scoring the #29 spot.

In the quiet of the Palisades just two miles up MacArthur Boulevard from Georgetown University, Sakedokoro Makoto has the power to transport you away from the nation’s capital and halfway around the world to Japan. The change in culture is immediate as soon as you step in and down off the street into this D.C. stalwart that has been delighting sushi lovers since 1992. You’re forced (in a good way) by the business casual dress code and the request not to use a cellphone or wear strong perfumes and colognes, to consciously engage in a calmer mindset. Take off your shoes and settle into your wooden bench in an intimate, traditional setting that fits just two dozen people. You’ll be quickly taken into the care of graceful and efficient female servers whose service possesses a touch light enough to make you feel as if you’re being looked after in a traditional Kyoto ryokan. It’s important to note that while you’ll find expertly crafted sushi on the à la carte lunch menu and as part of the evening omakase, Makoto isn’t a sushi bar per se, but rather a place to enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine. Soft-shell crabs, small nests of noodles, grilled fish — these will all round out your sushi experience, while jazz softly lilts in the background.

The restaurant snagged the #29 spot in our compilation, and without any local competition mentioned on the list, it is unequivocally the best sushi in D.C.


Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant and City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.