The Gulf of Mexico provides South Walton chefs a wide variety of fresh options to use in their sushi creations. Many push the limits of what a sushi roll can hold, testing new concepts all the time.
Here’s a list of some of the best places to find traditional sushi in South Walton, as well as modern takes on this ancient culinary art.
24215 S. Hwy 331 in Santa Rosa Beach
The Bay is located directly on Choctawhatchee Bay at the southern foot of the Highway 331 bridge. The restaurant is the culinary vision of Great Southern Cafe’s Chef Jim Shirley, and The Bay has a magnificent bar dedicated entirely to sushi preparation. The restaurant’s signature roll is the John II. It consists of yellowtail tuna, green onions and a spicy sauce, it is then topped with avocado and a spicy crunch tuna topping. Make sure to ask for the evening’s sushi specials if you’re looking to try something out of the ordinary.
2260 W. Hwy 30A in Blue Mountain Beach
A popular hangout for locals, Marie’s Bistro offers a unique and affordable menu ranging from creative sushi to Mediterranean-influenced family recipes. Their signature sushi is the Christmas Roll. Yes, it’s served year-round. The roll is made of shrimp tempura, avocado, ahi tuna, spicy mayo and unigi sauce. The most popular rolls at Marie’s are the tempura shrimp varieties.
The Gathering Spot at WaterColor
34 Goldenrod Circle in Santa Rosa Beach
Only the freshest ahi tuna, Florida hopper shrimp, and jumbo lump crab are served at the Gathering Place and Sushi Bar, tucked inside WaterColor Inn. All of the sauces are made in-house. Every day, their happy hour specials include a specialty roll not featured on the regular menu.
The sushi at The Gathering Spot is served poolside, on the patio, in the comfy lounge area or around the fire pits. Their signature roll is the Ravil Special, with eel, avocado, fried onions, lump crab meat rolled inside and topped with fresh ahi tuna. The roll is served with spicy sauce and eel sauce. Some of our other favorites at The Gathering Spot are The Cowboy, Spicy Emerald, Crunchy Tuna and Firecracker Rolls.
11394 US Hwy 98 W. in Miramar Beach
Sushimoto is highly regarded among locals and foodies for their creative and diverse menu. Owner Kohmei Miyamoto (we call him Andy) named many of his creations after pop culture and top 40 music references.
The popular So Fresh So Clean Roll was inspired by the Outkast song. The roll is topped with tuna, mango, avocado, lime and cilantro. On the inside, this roll has cream cheese, crunchy shrimp, crab salad and cucumbers.
Another one of their signature rolls is the Starburst Roll, which combines salmon, mango and crab salad wrapped in soy paper. The roll is then topped with more salmon and a sprinkle of lemon zest.
But our personal favorite is the Cookie Monster Roll. It’s the one you’ll find yourself craving time and time again.
Basmati’s Asian Cuisine
3295 W. Co Hwy 30A in Blue Mountain Beach
Basmati’s is one of 30A’s original sushi restaurants. The restaurant overlooks Draper Lake and the ambiance is relaxed yet sophisticated. We love the candle-lit screen porch. The Florida Roll is Basmati’s signature roll. It’s similar to a traditional California Roll but has fresh gulf crab meat. The Truffled Tuna Roll is also a hit with locals, combining tuna, cracked black pepper and truffle oil.
Old Florida Fish House
5235 E. Hwy 30A in Seagrove Beach
Chef James Sargent has been preparing artistic sushi at the Old Florida Fish House since 2005. One of the most popular options at The Old Florida Fish House is the TNT roll, featuring crunchy tuna with avocado, chili paste and eel sauce. The Old Florida Fish House is loved by locals who keep coming back time and time again to witness Sargent’s newest creations.
VKI Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar
4552 US Highway 98 W. in Santa Rosa Beach
VKI Japanese Steak House offers authentic Japanese sushi. One of their signature sushi servings is The Sex Roll with fresh king crab, avocado and cucumber inside, spicy tuna and fresh tuna on top, and served with spicy mayo, honey wasabi and sriracha. Another option off their menu is the Bomb Lobster Roll which features mango, avocado and lobster salad, with masago on the inside. The roll is wrapped with soy paper and served with eel sauce and a honey wasabi sauce.
45 Central Square in Santa Rosa Beach
Known as one of the best places to socialize in Seaside, 45 Central offers a sophisticated atmosphere to quietly relax with a glass of great wine and presentation of sushi. Award-winning chef and owner, Jim Shirley has picked a special collection of wines that wonderfully pair with plates of fresh and local ingredients. Try the Enforcer Roll with spicy crab salad, cream cheese, cucumber and green onions topped with sriracha and eel sauce.