When sushi was first conceived (in 8th century Japan, no less) - it was a means of preservation. Rather than packing the fish in ice, they’d use fermented rice - eventually discarding the grains when they wanted to chow down on some delicious fish. Well… until one visionary decided to eat both the rice and the fish.

Fast forward a whole bunch of centuries, and it’s clear that sushi in all its various forms, is easily one of Asia’s best exports. We grab it from conveyor belts, we laugh at family members trying to eat it with chopsticks, we attempt to make it at home (even though it never quite works out), and we continue to do so time and time again because sushi is perfect in every single way.

But when it comes to grabbing some fresh nigiri in the Welsh capital, it’s not always obvious where to look. Sure, the ubiquitous chain restaurant that rhymes with ‘no’ is often the first choice for newcomers, but in terms of quality, we’ve found seven restaurants (well, six restaurants and one takeaway place) that will take your love of sushi to a whole new level.

Sandwiched between a comedy club and a Mediterranean restaurant fronted by a peculiar statue, is the well-loved Yakitori#1. The minimalistic interior - full of clean lines - is the perfect setting for their modern (and extensive) menu. From smaller states such as the aubergine miso, all the way through to salmon hosomaki - which never seems like it will fill you up, but always does - Yakitori#1 has all your favourites, but with enough options for those of you on the adventurous side.

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“Authentic Japanese cuisine with a British touch,” is the tagline for City Road’s Tenkaichi Sushi & Noodle Bar - but don’t worry, they're not selling salmon temaki doused in gravy or sausage tempura - it’s more a mindset from management than anything else. In fact, when it comes to an authentic Japanese atmosphere - the kind you’d expect to see if you’re a Japanophile - you’d be hard-pressed to find better in Cardiff. Oh, and if you’re looking for a dish recommendation, their Tenkaichi maki (beef cooked in sweet soy sauce with cucumber, lettuce and Japanese mayonnaise) is definitely worth a shot.

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Situated in the St Davids 2 Shopping Centre, is the criminally overlooked Mount Fuji - which is approximately 150 bullet train miles better than the aforementioned chain sushi restaurant it faces. Not only because of its design (it’s styled like a Shinkansen train - hence the terrible bullet train reference above… sorry!), or its ‘Bill Murray sipping a whisky in Lost in Translation’ warmth, but mainly for the fresh flavours they produce day in, day out. While we typically stay away from awards within awards, it's hard not to mention how great their ramen is, or how potent their sake is. A true Cardiff gem.

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As far as we’re aware, Ichiban is the only restaurant on this list that has a membership club. Call it a bold move, but to us, that just proves how much they believe in their food (which they should, because it’s exquisite). Whether you’re looking to grab something small to take away or want a full dining experience surrounded by other enthusiastic sushi-eaters, this Albany Road establishment - which happens to be one of the oldest sushi joints in Cardiff - has a menu that anyone can get down with. Especially if you're a fan of chahan (fried rice).

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Rather than being a dedicated sushi joint, the Crispy Duck offers up a pan-Asian menu full of Chinese, Thai and Malaysian fare. But thankfully, the extensive range of food on offer doesn’t leave them spread too thin - in fact, it makes them more of a triple-threat. Sure, the sushi range isn’t on the lengthy side - but what they lack in quantity, this Whitchurch Road powerhouse more than makes up for in quality. Looking for the best fried soft shell crab rolls in Cardiff? You know where to go.

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No ‘Best Sushi in Cardiff’ list worth its salt could leave off Sushi Life. Hell, for the vast majority of list-makers, it would probably make the top spot. But we’re not dealing with any specific order here - just know that it’s loved for a reason. From its powerful gyozas to its overwhelming platters, Sushi Life might only be a few years old, but it’s already hallowed ground in Roath. If you're looking for a recommendation, the 'Happy Together' maki rolls - featuring prawn tempura, avocado and cucumber, topped with mango and strawberries(!!!) - is definitely a top priority whenever we get a chance to dine at this wonderful restaurant. Try it and let us know how you get on.

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Sushi Day - which happens to be about a minute’s walk from Yakitori #1 - is the outlier of this list in the sense that it’s purely a takeaway joint. But to a certain degree, that works in their favour. Rather than spending their time and money on renting a large restaurant space, they channel that energy into sourcing the best ingredients from around the world - resulting in one of the most authentic sushi experiences in the city. Did we mention that it’s freshly made and priced fairly? You know what to do.

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Published -18th June 2019