Perfect Asian Restaurant: Hanabi Japanese Cuisine

Duluth was a late adopter to sushi. Although sumptuous vinegared rice rolls showed up as a special menu item at a few places around town in prior decades, it wasn’t until 2006 that Zen House opened on the city’s border, technically in Hermantown, and became the first consistent, daily sushi source. Zen House added a second location in Downtown Duluth in 2009, but Hanabi Japanese Cuisine opened at the start of 2010, immediately becoming Duluth’s sushi king. It’s also the best Asian restaurant in town, having garnered 36.6 percent of the vote in Perfect Duluth Day’s poll.

The employee-owned restaurant recruited staff from New York and the Twin Cities area, and quickly landed a shining reputation for sushi, fusion rolls and other seafood. There is no shortage of options, with 25 different specialty rolls on the menu – and you don’t have to stick with what’s on the menu.

Each dish is a visual work of art, in addition to being a tasty delight. Diners can sit at the sushi bar and watch the artistic process up close, from start to finish. There’s also a full bar with sake, shochu and Japanese beers.

Most of the dishes are on the spendy side, but a few lower-cost items dot the menu, such as the lunch combinations.

Honorable mentions for best Asian restaurant go to Pak’s Green Corner, which took 25.4 percent of the vote, and Taste of Saigon, which took 22.5 percent.

PDD Awards Index



about 11 years ago

Asia is such a diverse place and cuisine.  Hanabi is indeed very good - both food and ambiance.  But, I'd also toss India Palace in as one of the tops in Asian cuisine in Duluth.


about 11 years ago

With shitty, too loud dance music, I don't know if I would pump Hanabi for ambiance.


about 11 years ago

"Most of the dishes are on the spendy side." I agree in a sinister way. To be honest, that's another one of those places I probably will only go to if it's critically important to someone else. We all know sushi is expensive, it really is just prepped rice that happens to have other food in/on it, which we know is not easily acquired by local chefs if that food is supposed to be raw fish from elsewhere.

But, a teriyaki chicken appetizer that delivers literally nothing more than 2 oz. of chicken with barbeque sauce, but just looks fancy, is ridiculous for the price. The idea of extravagance -- which appears manufactured in my experience -- leaves a bad taste in one's mouth, no matter the profound history behind the restaurant. Let's not sell Eskimos to the snowballs.


about 11 years ago

I second the dig on the music. The lunch and happy hour specials are excellent. I stick to those or else I end up blowing a cool $40 by myself. I'd eat there much more frequently except that when I am starving, I don't have the energy to steel myself for the atrocious music. Seriously.


about 11 years ago

The food is delicious. 

But I agree about the ambiance, though it is not much better at any other Asian restaurant in Duluth.

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