Japanese food is about more than just sushi, and Atlanta has a variety of restaurants that run the gamut of this cuisine. Of course, there are also days when you just have to eat a whole mess of sushi, so we’ve got you covered there, too. Japanese food is a great way to eat light if you’re trying to watch your waistline, or if you’re dining out with a friend who is lactose intolerant. While it may not be the typical Southern fare, we’ve selected a few of our favorite spots for this list.

Bishoku
Parkside Plaza Shopping Center
5920 Roswell Road
Sandy Springs, GA 30328
(404) 252-7998
www.bishokusushi.com

Bishoku is Japanese for “beautiful dining,” so you know you can expect an elegant meal. Expect to dine on a plethora of small plates, suitable for sharing. One of the more unusual items on the menu is the chicken livers, which are surprisingly sweet. Of course, there is also the standard array of sushi options if that’s your craving. Longtime Atlanta residents may be familiar with the former Sushi Huku, which was a restaurant formerly owned by the parents of Jackie Fukuya-Merkel, who now owns Bishoku.

Mizo Izakaya
619 Edgewood Ave. S.E.
Atlanta, GA 30312
(470) 225-6252
www.facebook.com/misoizakaya

The man behind this Edgewood spot, Guy Wong, spent his high school years in the Atlanta suburbs and then gained his cooking skills while studying in Japan. This is another great spot for sharing small plates, basically a Japanese version of tapas, if you will. The seafood bites are especially good here, along with fanciful items like corn fried in tempura and accented with green sea salt. You can even nosh on some twice-fried chicken nuggets for a more substantial snack.

Nakato Japanese Restaurant
1776 Cheshire Bridge Road N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30324
(404) 873-6582
www.nakatorestaurant.com

Don’t be daunted by the less-than-impressive website, as this restaurant delivers on flavor. It’s one of the city’s best spots for hibachi, with a more authentic take on the dishes than chains like Benihana. There are also the traditional Japanese dishes, and a tasty miso-marinated grilled black cod that you will remember fondly. There is also a particularly extensive saki list here, so it’s good for a night out with friends.

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Starfish
The Aramore Condominium
2255 Peachtree Road, Suite E-F
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 350-0799
www.starfishatlanta.com

For nearly 10 years, Starfish has been a Midtown favorite for sushi lovers and fans of other Japanese food. The restaurant puts a unique spin on traditional dishes, including options like Cajun tuna and a roll called the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a spicy tuna roll topped with beef tataki, avocado and the restaurant’s special sauce. It’s an inexpensive and relaxing dining option with a kitschy touch or two.

Taka Sushi And Passion
Pharr Plaza
375 Pharr Road N.E., Suite 600
Atlanta, GA 30305
(404) 869-2802
www.takasushiatlanta.com

The menu at Taka changes frequently, but you can always rely on savory, fresh fish as a component of the dishes. The calamari is not heavily fried but rather sprinkled with seasonings, giving it a lighter and refreshing taste. Even vegetarians can enjoy this spot, as there are dumplings and tofu options specially geared towards their needs. It’s pretty standard fare, but it delivers a reliably tasty meal.

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Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com. “