Young and Hungry

Vox Populi: Restaurant Rater jrachlin on Rockville’s Niwano Hana


Not Niwano Hana, but doesn't it look tasty?

There are those among us who like to say that D.C. isn't a sushi town, that we pale in comparison to places like Los Angeles and New York. I have to admit that I'm among those naysayers. But Rater jrachlin says there's good sushi in Rockville.

Here is jrachlin's review of Niwano Hana:

It's all about the sushi at this spot on Rockville Pike. While there are seemingly endless places for sushi in the Rockville area, Niwano Hana is a standout, as evidenced by the extremely crowded waiting area, overflowing with couples and families waiting for a table. Decor is sparse, service is uneven, drink refills may be forgotten, but service is absolutely unfailingly pleasant, from the warm greeting from the garishly dressed host, Andy (on Fridays sometimes he goes for his brown leather pants and crocodile leather boots), to the hot towel you get on arrival, to the custom order you can pass along to the men staffing the sushi bar. Miso soup and a small house salad are complimentary with sushi orders. Rolls range from $3-$6, with most in the $4 area. Almost all nigiri are $4 for two pieces. It's a great bargain compared to a lot of local sushi restaurants – two can eat plenty of sushi for $35 total, including sushi, appetizer and tip. You can find a good selection of Japanese beer and sake if that's to your liking. There is also an extensive menu aside from sushi.

Do you have your own opinion on Niwano Hana? Then let us know what you think!

Photo by adactio via Flickr Creative Commons, Attribution License

  • Lou

    I love this place - great lunch time spot for a bento box or sushi a la carte.

  • RT

    Tim- there's good sushi all over this region. It's mostly in Alexandria, Rockville, Fairfax, etc. Most of these aren't uber-trendy urban places but serve great sushi. I don't rely on yelp generally but there are dozens of 4 star and up rated places on there...

    Like most things in life, you just have to know where to look. Dining in DC is a regional pursuit. But it's the same in every other city, especially a non-city like LA that's just hundreds of suburbs that go onandonandonandon.

  • Tim Carman


    Thanks for the note. Can you give me a list of some of your faves. I've been to a few places in Rockville and Alexandria, including Hiwano, and I've found them decent but not great. The quality of fish and the preparation of rice are nowhere near as good as Makoto on its best days. There really is a huge difference between average sushi and great sushi, and you'll taste it immediately.


  • dc foodie


    Totally agree. The average American sushi join has nothing on the art that is sushi, as evidenced by the amazing meal that can be had at Makoto or the new Sushi Taro.

    FWIW, when I ate dinner with Trevor Corson he said his favorite place to get just a solid sushi dinner after a hard nights work (aka when not interested in the full show at Makoto or Taro), he would go to Sushiko and sit at the bar.

    Of course, Trevor also argues that sushi is not meant to be mass consumed and we should all reserve our sushi dining for the best of the best. The reason being both that more and more of the best fish are going extinct every day and most sushi is just crap. Why waste such delicious and limited resources?

  • monkeyrotica

    Momo Sushi in Old Town reminds me of a little mom & pop place you'd find off an ally in Osaka. It's not high-end Kaz style sushi, but it's cozy, fresh, and full of locals.