Pass chopsticks to your kiddo. It’s time to give sushi a shot. You don’t need to go straight to eel and fish eggs. Sushi restaurants in Chicago are especially kid friendly because of their laidback atmospheres and dishes designed just for juniors. Sit back and ease into things at these favorites, from a sizzling downtown hangout to an easygoing Roscoe Village gem.

tank-sushi

photo: Tank Sushi from LKP via Yelp

Tank Sushi
This Lincoln Square mainstay is a great choice for a late afternoon sushi fix, when it’s not very crowded and you have ample time to graze. Long, narrow and flanked by a sushi bar, it’s cozy any time of year. Go for the half-price maki for Friday lunch and weekend afternoons. If your kiddo doesn’t turn out to be a fan of sushi, there’s a good fallback on hand: delicious sweet potato fries. 

4514 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Square
773-769-2600
Online: tanksushi.com

Ichiban Sushi Cafe
When thinking of your favorite neighborhood restaurant, its personal attention and kind service usually springs to mind. Parents in University Village love Ichiban for these reasons.  Servers are as friendly as they come and will even bring your hungry little one his or her own bowl of rice and edamame. The Creamy California Roll is a great upgrade from the simple Avocado Roll (it includes cream cheese and cucumber). Also, check out the well-stocked all-you-can-eat buffet. Before 4 p.m. it’s $13.95 for adults, kids 3-8 years old half price, and those under 3 free.

1422 W. Taylor St.
University Village
312-243-9388
Online: ichibansushicafe.com

wasabi-cafe-2

photo: Wasabi Cafe Facebook page

Wasabi Cafe
The best way to get your kiddo to enjoy sushi is to let them try a wide variety of flavors and combinations. This spot has you covered. Its buffet is an amazing option for parents who aren’t sure what their child might like because it spans nigiri, maki and healthy, bite-sized appetizers. The buffet costs $20.95 per adult, kids age 4-9 years are half off and those under 4 years old are free. A surefire hit is the Sweet Potato Maki, which tastes great drizzled in ponzu sauce. For dessert? Green tea ice cream, of course.

3908 N. Lincoln Ave.
North Center
773-698-6252
Online: wasabicafe.com

SushiSamba
If you find yourself strolling around downtown, SushiSamba has been noted as the place to eat sushi with tots. Not only is the decor fun and modern (think Rio’s Carnival meets cocktail club), this is one of the few sushi restaurants with a dedicated kids’ menu. Among more traditional American options (mini burgers, grilled chicken), you will find a Baby Bento (grilled organic chicken served with purple potato mash and a veggie roll) and Sushi Bites (fish atop small rice balls) on the menu. Let your little eater enjoy it all with specially designed chopsticks in the shape of octopus and fish.

504 N. Wells St.
River North
312-595-2300
Online: sushisamba.com

hot-woks

photo: Hot Woks Cool Sushi from Gino W via Yelp

Hot Woks Cool Sushi
True to its name, this spot has both fresh sushi and traditional Japanese hot entrees — and all are worth trying. Families are welcome to sit at the sushi bar to watch their meal being prepared. Home in on the kids’ menu; the Kiddie Bento Box is a miniature version of the adult original and comes with rice and miso soup. The Kiddie Sushi is smaller than standard sushi, so it it can fit inside tiny mouths. If your little one has the dexterity to begin mastering chopsticks,  ask for “funchops,” an attachment that helps beginners use chopsticks.

2032 W. Roscoe St.
Roscoe Village
773-880-9800
{There are additional locations in Old Irving Park, Downtown & The Loop}
Online: hotwokscoolsushi.com

Sen Sushi Bar
While this sushi/cocktail den in Oak Park has the dimly-lit, polished and modern feel of a date-night spot, it’s very accommodating to children. Its kids’ menu has been raved about, especially the grilled salmon and tempura choices. Eat at a table or the extra-long sushi bar — whatever makes your little seafood fan happy!

814 S. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park
708-848-4400
Online: sensushibar.com

sushi-station

photo: Sushi Station Facebook page

Sushi Station
This northwest suburban spot is sushi’s answer to train-themed restaurants, at which your meal is served on a moving choo-choo. At Sushi Station, your meal comes around on a conveyor belt and you choose on the spot what you will try. Kids love watching the food coast by and the open windows of the kitchen allows them to peek at the food being prepared. Try the Spider Roll (soft shell crab tempura, cucumber, masago and tempura crumbs) for a mild introduction to sushi.

1641 Algonquin Rd.
Rolling Meadows
847-593-2450
&
2486 N. Randall Rd.
Elgin
847-783-0040
Online: sushistation.us 

Have you taken your kids out for sushi? Let us know about it in the Comments section below.

— Tiana Kubik