I have been enjoying sushi from Naniwa for years. It is the perfect place for a casual weeknight dinner, either in the restaurant or on the sizable outdoor patio. It is also a great option for take-out or delivery. After not visiting Naniwa for some time, I was thrilled that during my recent visit it was just as delicious as I remembered.
Former Sai Cafe sushi chef Bob Bee opened Naniwa in 1997, which offers a variety of authentic Japanese cuisine served by a friendly and hospitable wait staff. Located in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, it is open for both lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday, and for dinner on Saturday and Sunday.
We started with a bottle of refreshing unfiltered Sake, and the light seaweed salad, served with sliced cucumbers and rice vinaigrette.
Just as lovely was the Hamachi Sashimi Jalapeño – thinly sliced pieces of yellowtail, topped with the pepper and a citrus soy dressing.
One of my favorite items on the menu are the Ebi Shu Mai, or Japanese style shrimp ravioli, steamed to perfection. We loved these dumplings so much that we ordered a second round. The wrapper was perfectly light and melted in our mouths, then showcasing the shrimp inside.
When it comes to rolls, the namesake Naniwa Roll cannot be missed. Filled with tuna, yellowtail, fresh salmon, king crab, avocado, and cucumber, and rolled in fish eggs, this roll is large enough to require multiple bites, or may need to be deconstructed with chop sticks. Either way, it is great and satisfying.
The Passion Roll, made with fresh salmon, avocado, cucumber, and fish eggs, is also a winner.
For something spicy, Naniwa offers the option of using either chili sauce or a spicy mayo sauce – especially nice for the non-mayo eaters out there. And, vegetarians will be pleased by the plethora of vegetarian rolls, as well, including my favorite which has cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, squash and asparagus.
For dessert, the Mochi – rice cake shells filled with flavored ice cream – cannot be missed. The green tea and red bean flavors are my favorite.
Where is your favorite sushi spot?
607 North Wells, Chicago, Illinois 60610