Kouwa Sushi

CONTRIBUTED BY MCKAY KINGRY

Kouwa Exterior
Kouwa Exterior
Kouwa Weekly Specials
Kouwa Weekly Specials

If you ask me, one of the best parts of living on our gorgeous little island is FRESH SUSHI, and there certainly is no shortage of restaurants in which to enjoy it. However, I’m here to tell you all about the newest (and in my four years of experience, the best) sushi bar: Kouwa Sushi, near the Sunabe Seawall. Kouwa opened early this year and my husband and I have been coming here once a week since then. It’s THAT good.

They have a full menu (in English & Japanese), with Weekly Specials; sushi & sashimi (with raw, seared, and cooked items); two full pages of delicious sushi rolls; fresh, crisp salads (try the avocado salad!); various appetizers such as fried squid tentacles (our favorite), assorted tempura, and pan-fried scallops; chicken/beef/salmon teriyaki dinners for the non-fish eaters; champuru (Okinawan stir-fry); and even Okinawan steak. They have a full drink menu with Orion and Asahi beers on tap, hot & cold sake, awamori, wine, and various spirits. It’s a great place to have sushi and a few drinks before starting a night out on the seawall!

Kouwa Assorted Rolls
Kouwa Assorted Rolls
Kouwa Seafood Salad
Kouwa Seafood Salad

Back to those sushi rolls…never have I ever seen such a creative and delicious assortment! My husband and I often order a few to share (okay, the whole left side of the menu…) and they are all so different and tasty! One of our favorites is the Fire Roll, with tempura (read: cooked) shrimp inside, avocado on the outside, topped with a delicious dab of sauce, a piece of salmon, roe, and the icing on the cake (no, not literal icing) a toasted garlic chip on each piece, just like the ones at CoCo Ichibanya curry restaurant! The flavors all meld together SO well and every bite is such a little taste explosion! Must be why they call it the Fire Roll! Other favorites of ours are the South Beach roll, the Delaware Roll (with Mango sauce!), and the Las Vegas roll. Don’t be afraid to experiment, you won’t be disappointed!

Kouwa Fire Roll
Kouwa Fire Roll
Kouwa Salmon Eel Sushi
Kouwa Salmon Eel Sushi
Kouwa Interior
Kouwa Interior

The owner and head sushi-chef, Cho-san, is very welcoming and speaks enough English to welcome you and engage in friendly conversation if you choose to sit at the sushi bar. They also have “regular” tables with chairs, tatami tables (with the space below for your legs, not the kind where you have to sit cross-legged and lose circulation in your toes!), two two-seater tables outside, and a bar top if you just want to stop in for a drink. It’s not a big restaurant, but I have seen parties as large as 8 in there at the tables. The prices are very reasonable for Okinawa and definitely cheaper than the other very-popular sushi restaurant on the opposite end of the seawall.

Directions:  If you live on the Sunabe seawall, congratulations, you can walk there! If you don’t, you won’t regret making the drive and there is ample dedicated parking available just one block away. Kouwa is located just one block north of the “main” road that leads to the seawall. Heading from Kadena gate one you would turn left out of the gate and immediately get all the way over to the right to make a right at the first light (near the Family Mart). Follow that “main” road down until the last stoplight and make a right. You’ll see Kouwa immediately on your left. To get to the parking lot, go up one more street and you will see the parking sign. Make a right there and the parking lot is on the left.

Kouwa Sign
Kouwa Sign

Payment:  They accept US Dollars and Yen. They are in the process of getting a credit card machine but don’t have it yet.

Hours:  They are open 7 days-a-week from 17:00-22:30 and we’ve never had to make a reservation.

Phone:  098-926-4663.

They don’t have a kid’s menu and I’ve never seen a highchair, but I think it would be just fine for a child that was okay with not being able to get out of their seat and run around. It’s totally non-smoking.  Itadakimasu!!!

This post was featured in Stripes Okinawa!

24 COMMENTS

  1. Where to begin……nothing fantastic about the sushi, chicken teriyaki was tough and rubbery, not to mention was served with no rice. service was horrible. We had 3 adults and 3 children and ended up with a $96.00 tab with no alcoholic beverages and still left hungry and unsatisfied. Very disappointing.

  2. It’s okay, some fish aren’t fresh. Takes forever to get food even if you have the restaurant ask to yourself. I give it 2 stars for service and 2 1/2 for the for food. I believe it’s now owned by an American, please correct me if I’m wrong. Sushi rolls seemed rush like it’s a competition trying to bake them.

  3. Editor’s Note: Due to technical difficulties this comment was not saved on our server. We are re-publishing it now to continue the conversation on this post.

    From McKay on 9/11/13:
    “That is really sad and I can promise you, very out of sorts. We have been going here at least once a week since it opened and have never had anything but a wonderful reception from all the staff. I can definitely understand your husband being offended. I’m so sorry for your bad experience and hope you give them another chance.”

  4. We ate there a few weeks ago and were happy with our food and the service. However, tonight, on a Sunday evening at 6pm, my husband went there to order take-out. He was greeted by the cook coming around the bar yelling “we’re full!” and making a big X with his arms! My hubby tried to explain that he didn’t want to sit, he just wanted take-out, and the cook escorted him out and repeated “full” over and over. My hubby, who has pretty thick skin normally, was offended and felt that the man was overly rude. There are plenty of fabulous sushi places in Oki, so we will not be returning to this one. 🙁

    • That is really sad and I can promise you, very out of sorts. We have been going here at least once a week since it opened and have never had anything but a wonderful reception from all the staff. I can definitely understand your husband being offended. I’m so sorry for your bad experience and hope you give them another chance.

  5. This place was delicious, the menu selection is lovely, I can’t wait to come back and sample more! My only complaint was there was a bit of a wait, but when the food got there, it was all worth it. The Dragon Roll simply melted in your mouth, and I know this may not count toward much, but the avocado roll were incredible. I eat all kinds of sushi, but I’m an avocado fanatic so I always end up picking these up as a little “snack” and let me tell you, it was just the best. Any roll with avocado is just perfect velvety goodness. All of the fish was wonderfully fresh, and our server was just so friendly to us. I was more than happy to let them know that it was the best sushi we’ve ever had, as we’ve been eating sushi a few times a month for years. We will definitely be coming back 🙂

  6. My husband and I tried this place last night for our date night. We loved it the rolls were fresh and delicious. We had the Las Vegas roll and the south beach roll yummy!! We also had grilled scallops in uni sauce and they were really good! I had an avocado salad also and it was okay I probably won’t get it again but the dressing on it was super good! We waited a while for our rolls but it was to be expected because its kinda small and I figured only one person was preparing them it was worth the wait though! We have four kids so we probably won’t be taking our kids to the place but I think it would be okay for a smaller family. We will definitely be back when we are able to have another date night!

  7. Delicious! Lovely, fast service and super fresh sushi. We love the Delaware and Fireball rolls the best, and the tuna sushi is perfection. We’ve never had a problem with slow service the way some commenters have, but we also go early (6:30 pm or before) because we have a baby. There are usually only a few other people there then and our food comes very quickly. Highly recommend! If you want to try it but don’t like to wait, try going early and then heading a couple blocks down to Beer Rize for drinks!

  8. Went last night with a few friends. We had a reservation and were seated immediately ; however, it took over 1.5 hours to get our food. It was good, but not worth the wait. If you walk in and it’s a full house, expect a looong wait for your food.

  9. We went here just the other day for dinner, the wait was a little long for the food but all the sushi rolls we ordered came out all at once on two big platters. It was delicious! Worth the wait! We will be back!

  10. We went here tonight for the first time and really enjoyed the experience. The restaurant is adorable and the staff were friendly and helpful. We ordered the fire roll and the rainbow roll, both were delicious and fresh. We also tried the spicy Okinawan fried soba, which was a stir fry with onions, sprouts,soba noodles and picked ginger. All in all a great experience!

  11. Just went here tonight…it’s a very pretty lil place! The employees there are very friendly. i’d recommend making reservations because there’s only room for 4 families at a time. We tried some sushi, beef teriyaki, and chicken teriyaki..it was OK. Overall, it was a nice place with good prices, worth a try, but I won’t be going back.

  12. We went here recently and loved it. The sushi was very fresh and the staff was polite. Lots of food for a good price. The special for Sunday was a lottery where you pick an item out of a box and it tells you what you get. We ended up getting free ice cream 🙂

  13. Stacc – You only waited an hour after ordering food before getting up and leaving? And having ordered multiple rolls? Really? It does take quite awhile to prepare. Even with multiple staff members working on it. They probably only had room for 1-2 chefs back there…I know when I go to Kami sushi, which is usually pretty busy – they have what seems to be 5-6 chefs and I still end up waiting about 20-30 min for food. So an hour, not much of a stretch.

    • W, we actually waited longer than an hour for the three sushi rolls. I completely understand there might have only been 1-2 chefs working (on a Saturday night). But waiting more than 30 minutes in such a small restaurant for sushi, really? Plus, like I mentioned in my original post, the customers who sat at the bar came way after us, ate, and left before us. An hour is quite a stretch when a baby-sitter is involved and there were other events planned for the evening.

  14. This place was nice. It was not as good as Kurukurutei, in Yomitan, which seems to have closed, but better than some other “sushi” places. The workers were very kind. I was pleased to see nigiri on the menu and not only rolls … American style! lol 🙂

  15. I went to this restaurant yesterday evening with my husband and another couple around 1930 and had a very disappointing experience. When we walked in we noticed there weren’t any tables available so we opted to sit at the bar since it was completely open, but the waitor asked us to wait for a few minutes as they were just clearing up a table. We were seated shortly after and given menus and wet towels. The menu did not have pictures but it was in English so that was very helpful and we were surprised at the variety of different dishes and sushi. We excitedly ordered a few different rolls of the sushi, the fried banana fish, yakitori sticks and hot sake. The hot sake was brought over after a few minutes and then the yakitori sticks and fried banana fish followed within the first 20 minutes but the sushi never came. It was about 2030 when we asked the waitor about our orders and were told they were working on it. 2100 came around and we still never got the rest of our food! So we decided to leave and requested that we only pay for the items we had received. I can tell the staff was a little shocked but honestly, our night had been wasted there and we couldn’t risk losing more of it there. When we went up to pay they told us that they were very sorry and said that we did not owe anything. So, that was somewhat a decent ending but overall, we were very disappointed. Had we sat at the bar we may have been better served and able to continue on with our night, as we noticed many new customers were in and out in that area. We might still go back at some point, in hopes to actually EAT the sushi but it probably won’t be anytime soon.

    • Same story… tonight was our 2nd time there in 2 months, and both times my wife and I waited over an hour for 3 rolls. First time we just figured they were busy, so we took another chance tonight. Really a shame because this place is great and has wonderful staff, however the service is ridiculously S L O W.
      We also noticed tonight that the 3 obnoxious guys that came in 20 minutes after us sat at the bar and were immediately served. The couple across from us were also getting very irritated about the long wait.
      If the service was not so slow we would go here every week.

  16. This is my favorite sushi place. All their food is great. Verrrrrrry good prices. My favorites are the dynamite roll, fire roll, south beach roll, spicy tuna roll, and the spicy scallop toll. Cho is SO nice!! I highly recommend this place. I eat here at least once a week.

  17. Thanks for posting!!! I walk past this place all the time(usually en route to another restaurant) and have always wondered how good it is. I’m going tonight!

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