Ariake nigiri salmon, tuna and hamachi

Ariake Sushi | San Jose, CA

Typically, when the word cheap is combined with sushi people think of dry fish, dry rice, or worse yet, food poising. Well, I have found that one of the better places to get my money’s worth for inexpensive and freshly made sushi is Ariake.

Ariake rainbow roll
Ariake rainbow roll

Although their tempting sashimi (plain pieces of fish) are tender and fresh, Ariake’s specialty tis in their combination rolls. And no, the well-known California roll is not a specialty, although it is offered, with its creamy minced crab meat and avocado. Once you take a glance at the specialty rolls’ list, though, the California roll somehow doesn’t seem as special.

Ariake California roll
California roll

The creative names – I Love You Roll, The Lewinsky, or the San Jose role – are just as interesting as the assortment of combinations. Many have unagi (eel), avocado, and cream cheese stuffed between the seaweed and rice, topped with a strip of tuna, while others can have a tempura-battered shrimp skewered in the center. Surprisingly, the various ingredients in the rolls keep their individual flavors while melding into a satisfying bite – if you can fit one of these in a single bite. The only problem with the long list is deciding which rolls to try.

Ariake deep fried California roll
Ariake deep fried California roll

Even if you happen to have someone in your party who is intimidated by raw-fish, Ariake also offers a teriyaki grilled salmon dish that is sweet, melts in your mouth, and is quite large. Besides that, the combination tempura plates are equally enjoyable, and you have a choice between seafood or vegetable plates – broccoli never tasted so good as when it’s fried. Though these are the more expensive selections, the portions are also larger, making up for the price.

There are several locations for Ariake, all offering the sushi boats floating round with various rolls and fish (some of which that do not seem to be offered on the menu). In particular, the restaurant on Blossom Hill lights up a disco ball on birthdays and offers shots of sake while you stand on a chair (to those who are over 21, of course). Aside from the shots, the colorful lamps and spacious setting make for a family friendly meal.

Read more reviews by Amelia on her Yelp page.


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