Sai Cafe
Sai Cafe

Sai Cafe

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.saicafe.com/
  • Phone: 7734728080
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 4:30 PM - 11:00 PM, Friday - Saturday: 4:30 PM - 12:00 PM, Sunday: 3:30 PM - 10:00 PM.
  • Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Executive Chef: James Bee
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Counter Seating, Delivery, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout
  • Catering: Our full menu is available for carry-out, delivery and private catering events. To place an order for a special occasion, please call the restaurant for further details.
  • Private Party Facilities: Private dining is offered for parties up to 30 people. Our knowledgeable staff will gladly assist you in planning your special occasion or business dinner.
  • Private Party Contact: James Bee 7734728080

Getting there

  • Cross Street: W Armitage Ave.
  • Public Transit: Brown line Armitage station.
  • Parking: Valet
A word from Sai Cafe
Sai Cafe is a hidden gem located in the heart of Lincoln Park, Chicago. We specialize in Japanese Seafood and Sushi prepared to your specifications. For twenty-four years, Chef and Owner James Bee has been serving the freshest and highest quality seafood to our patrons. Additionally, our friendly staff has been expertly trained to provide exceptional service and answer any questions that might arise. We welcome all walk-in, take-out and delivery orders and recommend reservations for weekend evenings. Our menu is critically acclaimed by numerous media organizations and has acquired several awards. Thank you for your interest in Sai Cafe and we look forward to serving you soon!
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerJapanese
Sai Cafe reviews from OpenTable diners
39 reviews since May 21, 2014
Overall Rating4.5
  • Food4.5
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
92% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (23)fit for foodies (16)special occasion (12)romantic (9)kid-friendly (9)good for groups (9)notable wine list (3)late-night find (3)great for lunch (2)hot spot (2)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • FresserVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    consistently good; the best value for suhi I know of. Friendly people; they are always glad to see you.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Worth the Trip
    bak4mor
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    Celebrated my son's 21st Birthday. Our server was delightful, attentive and our beverages never went below half full. My favorite part was when you walk in...everyone greets you. Loved that. I would definitely return even though it's quite a distance.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A favorite in Lincoln Park
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Ever since I moved here 10 years ago, this has been one of my staples, a completely reliable choice in Chicago. I've taken many guests here over the years, had romantic evenings over consistently delicious food and have had many family "moments" here. Always reliable, open later when I need it, valet parking if needed plus typically some street parking… The fried rice is exceptional - crazily delicious, sushi is fresh, seaweed salad perfectly seasoned, and the cod with miso and agadashi tofu are sumptuous. I could go on and on but just accept this - it's great! Services is also always friendly and wonderful.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Corkage Fee
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    My friends and I went to dinner at Sai and we thought that it was a BYOB, but when we arrived we learned that the restaurant has a full bar and if we want to drink a bottle of wine that you brought, there's a $20 corkage fee. We really enjoyed the hot towels to start the experience and the food was really good! We just wished that the corkage fee wasn't so steep.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great food Great services
    Eluk888
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    They always have the freshest sushi. Their sweet shrimp and oyster shooter are the best in town. Every staff are friendly specially Mr. James, the owner, and his sushi chiefs. Love to set at the sushi bar. They remember what we like even for our kids. Love love them.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Still as good as when first opened
    MikeF
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Lived in the area when Sai Cafe first opened and both the food and service are still as good as I remember. Had some picky eaters in our group and everyone found something to eat that they thoroughly enjoyed. Very attentive service. Maybe not hot and trendy, but great food and service without pretentious pricing is ok with me!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • imaginative dishes
    ABJ61VIP
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    As always, Sai Cafe impresses with top notch ingredients and imaginative dishes
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • not as good as it used to be!
    tapasloveVIP
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Said used to have fantastic sushi/rolls and nicely priced. Not anymore. The food was mediocre and they've significantly raised their prices. Will not return.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • a great recommendation
    DWjwsw
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Sai Cafe was referred by a co-worker.... The service was impeccable! The recommendations from the manager were exqusite! I will definitely return.
    Special Features:
    special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • FrogNSnailPartOne
    Dined on 7/7/2014
    Sai is one of my favorites, there are staples that I must have every time I go and I am constantly surprised when I try something new and love it even though I've been eating there for a lifetime. Always fresh, always friendly, you can't go wrong.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful Sukiyaki
    JohnF
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    I've been looking for a great Sukiyaki place since Azuma closed decades ago, this one is great
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 28 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 21, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.5
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4
    • Service4.5
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 148 reviews are from the Sai Cafe reviews archive.
  • Nice Ambience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2004VIP
    Dined on 5/4/2014
    We had dinner here with my daughter and nephew when I was in chicago since they are in college and missed good asian food. I live in San Francisco so we are used to really good sushi and I would say the sushi was pretty good, but not excellent, but remember I have had some REALLY good sushi. That said it had a g good ambience and service so I would go back again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • The rock of all sushi joints.
    IKnowWhatILike
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    The trendy sushi joints come and go, but I've been going to Sai for 20+ years and I think they have the freshest and best sushi in town. The service is terrific and the prices are most reasonable. I hope Sai is around for another 20 years.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Neighborhood sushi
    llatterner
    Dined on 4/23/2014
    Great place to stop in for sushi. Quiet and easy for conversation.
    Special Features:
    Good for Groups, Romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great food, great service
    XXXX
    Dined on 4/19/2014
    Everyone was friendly and service was exceptional. Doesn't hurt that the food was amazing!
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem, Hot Spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Have been to Sai Cafe a number
    Frank
    Dined on 4/12/2014
    Have been to Sai Cafe a number of times and it has some of the best sushi in the country. Always excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • It's all about the fish
    DHRb
    Dined on 3/13/2014
    Sai cafe may not have the most creative sushi menu, but the quality of the fish, and the generosity of the cut, are the best in Chicago. Service is always very good to excellent.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food and service. Had
    Mariakc
    Dined on 2/28/2014
    Great food and service. Had not been there in 15years and truly enjoyed the Sushi!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very Disappointing Experience
    Fin533VIP
    Dined on 2/22/2014
    We tried Sai Cafe because we were hungry for sushi and this looked like a great possibility. We were sorely mistaken. The sushi was simply average. My chicken teriyaki was served tome stone cold and the chicken was simply thin slices and not flavorful. But the service was horrendous - the servers didn't appear to have any table assigned to them so 5 - 6 flitted around the table constantly. They kept asking if we were done with our food - which we were not - and moved the food around as though it were on a game board. We will NOT be back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love the back room
    AbbyVIP
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    I was a bit disappointed to be sat near the sushi bar. It was fine but I was looking for a more cozy feel that the larger room provides. The sushi was super fresh, as usual and the service was very attentive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • My favorite sushi place!!!
    Sheila
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    We had a reservation at 7:30pm although we still had to wait 10 min it was fine. It was on a Saturday night and they were super busy. The food was EXCELLENT the toro tartar was amazing and if you like they mix it together for you. The halloween maki and volcani maki were amazing as always. My husband hates fish but loved the volcano maki which was amazing,
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Incredibly fresh fish!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 2/10/2014
    This little neighborhood gem is worth seeking out for some of the freshest sushi this side of Tokyo. Beautiful presentation.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Yum
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 1/20/2014
    White tuna crunch roll was awesome!! Also the volcano roll! Best miso soup I've tasted. Service is great
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Why all the hype?
    fishmonger
    Dined on 1/18/2014
    After reading so many glowing reviews my wife and I decided to try this place out for her birthday. The fish was decent and generous portions but in every maki it is ground up, something the wife and I don't care for.. Nigiri was good but four out of the nine selections I made they were out of on a Saturday night. We did enjoy the dynamite and toro tartare appetizers they were delicious! Ended our meal with the green tea creme brulee (sp?) Which was very tasty. All in all, the prices are a bit steep for the average experience you receive here.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Yum!
    missthecity
    Dined on 12/28/2013
    First time we sat at a table, but the sushi bar looked like fun, so we tried it the second time. Completely different dining experiences, but both great. The server recommended the scallops appetizer- they were fantastic. Their sushi is very fresh and the chef made several recommendations to those at the bar. It was nice to be able to ask the chefs what they were making. If we lived downtown, I'd be here every couple of weeks.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always great
    ZachVIP
    Dined on 12/24/2013
    Been eating here my entire life. A classic neighborhood gem and honestly one of the better sushi spots in town. Extremely fresh fish. Highlights include their ahi poke, black cod, rolls, and nigiri (special shot out to the eel).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The Real Deal
    MSPvisitors
    Dined on 11/29/2013
    It's no wonder the Sai Cafe has been around for 28 years this place is truly something special. I travel for work and spend about half of my time away from my home in Minneapolis. I have eaten sushi in most of the states and many other countries, including Japan. In my opinion Sai Cafe is easily one of the best sushi restaurants period. Itis definitely a landmark in Chicago, and an easy decision when I am in the mood for sushi. For those who love real sushi this is the place to be. The unagi is truly fantastic, I don't know what they do different but it really shows. Also the pan fried scallops are amazing. The sushi, well, you just have to stop in and see it for yourself. Their formula for success still works, a must try for any occasion!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently great sushi.
    Frank
    Dined on 11/10/2013
    Consistently great sushi. Have been there a number of times and have always found it great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too many kids
    ChicagoMan
    Dined on 11/9/2013
    I am fine with kids in restaurants but this night was particularly over run with small children. They were not sitting at their tables and one family even had a scooter for their kid in the dining area. I know it is not the restaurant's fault but it definitely took away from the dining experience with friends. It was actually kind of annoying. Other than that the food was good and fairly priced.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Sushi-Always!!
    Kristin
    Dined on 10/15/2013
    Sai Cafe has fresh, delicious sushi every time we visit! It's always a pleasure to have dinner at Sai.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A great sushi place
    Zebulon
    Dined on 9/13/2013
    Sai Cafe has always been my special sushi place . There are many newcomers on the market with exotic rolls and stuff but for me, Sai Cafe is still the best!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Chicago Institution
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 9/11/2013
    Before sushi became the sensational trend that it is today, there was Sai Cafe. Althought I have yet to try Katsu in West Rogers Park, Sai Cafe to me, is the best overall sushi/Japenese dining experience in the city.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sai Cafe has been a favorite
    heather
    Dined on 9/10/2013
    Sai Cafe has been a favorite of mine for the last decade and continues to be. I've eaten at dozens of other sushi restaurants in various cities and continue to rank Sai at the top when it comes to quality of fish and flavor. The owners and staff are always friendly and the chefs behind the sushi bar enthusiastically welcome customers and thank them when they depart.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sai satisfies
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 8/25/2013
    The quality of the sushi is consistently very good at Sai cafe. They have some classic Japanese appetizers, such as tskimono (Japanese pickles) that you don't find elsewhere. Their seaweed salad is also excellent.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • One of the few sushi restaurants
    NyeKlaederVIP
    Dined on 8/8/2013
    One of the few sushi restaurants in Chicago where the fish have not gone through several freeze-thaw cycles.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sai Cafe-Great as always
    Kristin
    Dined on 7/13/2013
    Dinner at Sai is always fantastic. Great sushi-always incredibly fresh. Great menu, appetizers-everything is always top-notch.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • open later than other restaurants.
    eaterVIP
    Dined on 7/12/2013
    open later than other restaurants. The staff is always friendly and the sushi is great!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We have been here before and
    MameVIP
    Dined on 7/5/2013
    We have been here before and enjoyed our experience and food. We did not like the large rolls as much as the bite size rolls. Also, be sure to ask about what dishes are as we thought we were ordering a roll and got some type of casserole.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Still the best sushi in Chicago
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010VIP
    Dined on 6/30/2013
    We loved Sai when we lived in Chicago 6 years ago. We moved away and were back for a visit and Sai still has the best sushi. The hamachi jalapeño is incredible and their rolls and individual pieces are great quality and very generous portions.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great experience!
    LaurenVIP
    Dined on 6/21/2013
    We called ahead, made a group reservation and enjoyed sushi/apps with our group of friends. The food was prepared in a timely manner and very organized so that everyone got their food at the same time. Great sushi options!
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.