Aug 12 2012

Review: The Sushi Bar, Ho Chi Minh City

Published by at 12:30 pm under Food

Situated on the busy intersection of Le Thanh Ton and Ton Duc Thang, The Sushi Bar has been the standard by which all other Saigon sushi is measured. Open since 1999, the consistent quality delivered by the Sushi Bar has made it a favourite among locals, expats and tourists alike.

How many times does the front of your restaurant say its name?

How many times does the front of your restaurant say its name?

Stepping inside the large restaurant, you will immediately see that they take their name very literally. You’ll first be greeted by a massive bar, which surrounds the kitchen and occupies most of the space downstairs. The bar keeps things fun and lively downstairs, though it’s not necessarily quiet. If you’re looking for a more peaceful setting, head upstairs where two private rooms and plenty of other tables await. Everything inside gives off a modern Japanese vibe; the lights are generally bright but all the furniture and tables are dark wood, making for a pleasing contrast.

It's the Sushi Bar bar.

It’s the Sushi Bar bar.

While the atmosphere and decor are great, Sushi Bar is popular thanks to its sushi-heavy menu. It has most anything you could hope for, from rolls and sashimi to tempura and bento boxes. They pride themselves on the freshness of their seafood at the Sushi Bar and it shows in their plates. While you can go for specific, individual rolls, most of which will fall in the 30,000 to 100,000 VND range, the set menus are probably the best bang for your buck. Lunch is an especially good time if you’re looking for good deals on set menus, with most sets starting at around 85,000 VND.

When you can't decide, go for a sampler.

When you can’t decide, go for a sampler.

Sometimes it’s the little things that help a restaurant stand out, and this is the case at the Sushi Bar. Every time you sit down for a meal you’re given a cold washcloth (instead of a wet-wipe), and a small appetiser, which changes day-to-day. The staff are consistently cheerful. My one gripe would be that during busier times of the day like lunch, the food can be a little slow coming to your table — not ridiculously slow, but slow enough where the thought that they potentially forgot about your order flashes through your head.

Everything is better tempura-ed.

Everything is better tempura-ed.

The Sushi Bar is a popular spot — so popular that it has expanded to six locations throughout the city. The popularity can create wait times for tables, though this is more of a problem at the Le Thanh Ton Sushi Bar. If you’re having trouble getting a seat you could venture down the road, about a 15-minute walk past Ben Thanh market, until you hit the Sushi Bar’s chief competitor, Tokyo Deli. Another chain with multiple locations, at Tokyo Deli you’ll find a more sterile environment and slightly cheaper prices.

If you’re in the mood for a different Japanese culinary experience, you’re only a short walk to Pizza 4P’s, Saigon’s foremost Japanese pizza parlour. If you’d rather sample food from a different region in Asia, Monsoon, a 10-minute taxi ride away, has Southeast Asia covered. Or if you’re in the mood for a fancier night out, you could swing by Bobby Chinn’s — just be prepared to pay a bit more.

The Sushi Bar 1
2 Le Thanh Ton, District 1
T: (08) 3823 8042
Daily, 10:00-23:30

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