clock menu more-arrow no yes
Bento Box at Kaz Sushi Bistro
Bento Box at Kaz Sushi Bistro
Laura Hayes

Have a Little of Everything With These Bento Boxes

Don't choose between tempura and sushi — have both

View as Map
Bento Box at Kaz Sushi Bistro
| Laura Hayes

Everyone from school children to salary men in Japan look forward to when the lunch bell rings, signaling it's time for bento. The artfully-arranged boxes boast different compartments, each filled with colorful bites, plus a mound of rice. They're practically a way of life across the Pacific — if they're not made in the home, they're purchased at the train station or in sprawling underground food emporiums.

Home cooks and professional cooks compete over who can arrange a bento box with maximum cuteness (or kawaii). That's why Instagram feeds are full of onigiri (rice balls) in the shape of pandas or Hello Kitty. The same level of kitsch isn't always seen in the U.S., but bento boxes have caught on because they provide variety — something diners crave (as evidenced by the tsunami of small plates restaurants here).

The bento box lets diners dabble in multiple styles of Japanese cooking from sushi and sashimi to tempura and teriyaki, meaning diners won't be left with feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out). Ready to get into bento? Here are 12 places that serve them around town, primarily at lunch-only, as is tradition (unless otherwise noted).

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Chopsticks Restaurant

Copy Link
1073 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 338-6161
Visit Website
Breaking the mold, Chopsticks offers bento boxes for both lunch and dinner. Lunch bentos are more simple with tempura, sushi, salad, rice and soup, while evening variations are more substantial with main acts like pork belly tempura or grilled salmon teriyaki.

2. Kaz Sushi Bistro

Copy Link
1915 I St NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 530-5500
Visit Website
Nagoya native Kaz Okochi has dreamed up seven bento boxes that are popular during the restaurant’s lunch rush, plus a special bento that changes daily. The unadon bento (BBQ eel on top of rice) comes with tempura and salad, while a vegetarian bento box overflows with tempura, hijiki seaweed, Brussels sprouts and a green salad. Kaz Sushi Bistro serves bentos at night too, but the prices nearly double.
Laura Hayes

3. Kintaro

Copy Link
1039 33rd St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 333-4649
Visit Website
A restaurant no bigger than the typical Tokyo apartment, Kintaro serves a lunch-only bento box that tastes like mom made it. It comes with a few slices of thick sashimi, katsu fried fish, rice, soup, salad and a bowl of Japanese comfort food like beef with onions in a sweet soy-mirin sauce.

4. Maneki Neko

Copy Link
238 W Broad St
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 534-8666
Visit Website
Good news for control freaks — Maneki Neko has a build-your-own bento box set-up. Lunch asks diners to make one selection from the sushi bar such as a six-piece tuna roll and one selection from the kitchen such as tonkatsu. Dinner follows a similar set-up but diners can opt to draft three selections.

5. Raku (Multiple Locations)

Copy Link
3312 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington
D.C., 20016
Both the Bethesda and Cathedral Heights Raku restaurants serve eight bento boxes for lunch and two for dinner. Lunch choices lead with mains like beef tenderloin or sashimi, and they all come with a California roll, salad, fried shrimp shumai and portobello mushrooms with green beans. Go big with the deluxe bento box.
444 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 783-7007
Visit Website
As one might expect from a restaurant that’s unafraid to incorporate strawberries into a sushi roll, SEI’s lunch bentos bring modern touches. The SEI bento includes miso soup, kale pistachio salad, one sushi roll, and a main dish such as boneless short ribs or a mini miso bread pudding. There’s also a sushi bento focused on rolls and nigiri sushi.
Official

7. Sushi Express

Copy Link
1990 K St NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 659-1955
This quick-bites restaurant with a near religious following of Japanese nationals doesn’t put its $11, home-style bento box on the menu. Look for it in the special display section upon stepping up to Chef Yoshifumi Yasuoka’s counter hidden in an office building. It typically contains sashimi, shumai, broiled salmon, rice and side dishes.

8. Sushi Taro

Copy Link
1503 17th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 462-8999
Visit Website
The lunch bento is a way to experience Sushi Taro for less ($12.95-$14.95). Order one, and a three-compartment box will arrive filled with textbook-perfect tempura, slices of fresh-from-Tokyo sashimi and main dish such as grilled salmon, fried oysters or sushi. Every box comes with miso soup, rice and pickles.

9. Tachibana Japanese Restaurant

Copy Link
6715 Lowell Ave
McLean, VA 22101
(703) 847-1771
Visit Website
McLean’s Japanese authority serves two lunch bentos and two “dinner boxes.” Lunch is the better deal. Take Box A for example, which comes with shrimp tempura, grilled salmon, chicken yakitori, tamago egg omelet and hijiki seaweed for $13.95.

10. Takumi

Copy Link
310B S Washington St
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 241-1128
Visit Website
Falls Church newcomer, Takumi Sushi, is from a Kaz Sushi Bistro veteran, so it’s no surprise they sell bento boxes, since they're such a specialty at Kaz. Nine options are available during lunch, each showcasing a traditional Japanese dish such as aji furai (deep fried mackerel) or tonkatsu pork cutlet. Take advantage of the soft shell crab bento while they’re in season.

11. Teaism

Copy Link
400 8th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
Teaism takes creative liberties with its bento boxes offered during lunch and dinner. Vegetarians can try the black bean cake bento box that comes with togarashi mayo, pickled cucumbers, roasted turnips and broccoli with miso walnut jam, and brown rice. Another fun one is the "roll your own handroll" bento box that comes with tea-cured salmon and everything needed to create cone-shaped sushi.
Official

12. Yuzu Japanese Dining

Copy Link
7345 Wisconsin Ave Bethesda, MD 20814
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 656-5234
Visit Website
During the work week, Yuzu’s lunch-only bento box is filling with grilled mackerel, chicken, a vegetable spring roll, nimono tofu, oshinko pickles, kanikama crab, rice, seaweed salad and miso soup. Come weekend lunch, they tack on shrimp and vegetable tempura.

1. Chopsticks Restaurant

1073 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
Breaking the mold, Chopsticks offers bento boxes for both lunch and dinner. Lunch bentos are more simple with tempura, sushi, salad, rice and soup, while evening variations are more substantial with main acts like pork belly tempura or grilled salmon teriyaki.
1073 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

2. Kaz Sushi Bistro

1915 I St NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
Laura Hayes
Nagoya native Kaz Okochi has dreamed up seven bento boxes that are popular during the restaurant’s lunch rush, plus a special bento that changes daily. The unadon bento (BBQ eel on top of rice) comes with tempura and salad, while a vegetarian bento box overflows with tempura, hijiki seaweed, Brussels sprouts and a green salad. Kaz Sushi Bistro serves bentos at night too, but the prices nearly double.
1915 I St NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

3. Kintaro

1039 33rd St NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
A restaurant no bigger than the typical Tokyo apartment, Kintaro serves a lunch-only bento box that tastes like mom made it. It comes with a few slices of thick sashimi, katsu fried fish, rice, soup, salad and a bowl of Japanese comfort food like beef with onions in a sweet soy-mirin sauce.
1039 33rd St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

4. Maneki Neko

238 W Broad St, Falls Church, VA 22046
Good news for control freaks — Maneki Neko has a build-your-own bento box set-up. Lunch asks diners to make one selection from the sushi bar such as a six-piece tuna roll and one selection from the kitchen such as tonkatsu. Dinner follows a similar set-up but diners can opt to draft three selections.
238 W Broad St
Falls Church, VA 22046

5. Raku (Multiple Locations)

3312 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 20016
Both the Bethesda and Cathedral Heights Raku restaurants serve eight bento boxes for lunch and two for dinner. Lunch choices lead with mains like beef tenderloin or sashimi, and they all come with a California roll, salad, fried shrimp shumai and portobello mushrooms with green beans. Go big with the deluxe bento box.
3312 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington
D.C., 20016

6. Sei

444 7th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
Official
As one might expect from a restaurant that’s unafraid to incorporate strawberries into a sushi roll, SEI’s lunch bentos bring modern touches. The SEI bento includes miso soup, kale pistachio salad, one sushi roll, and a main dish such as boneless short ribs or a mini miso bread pudding. There’s also a sushi bento focused on rolls and nigiri sushi.
444 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

7. Sushi Express

1990 K St NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
This quick-bites restaurant with a near religious following of Japanese nationals doesn’t put its $11, home-style bento box on the menu. Look for it in the special display section upon stepping up to Chef Yoshifumi Yasuoka’s counter hidden in an office building. It typically contains sashimi, shumai, broiled salmon, rice and side dishes.
1990 K St NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

8. Sushi Taro

1503 17th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
The lunch bento is a way to experience Sushi Taro for less ($12.95-$14.95). Order one, and a three-compartment box will arrive filled with textbook-perfect tempura, slices of fresh-from-Tokyo sashimi and main dish such as grilled salmon, fried oysters or sushi. Every box comes with miso soup, rice and pickles.
1503 17th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

9. Tachibana Japanese Restaurant

6715 Lowell Ave, McLean, VA 22101
McLean’s Japanese authority serves two lunch bentos and two “dinner boxes.” Lunch is the better deal. Take Box A for example, which comes with shrimp tempura, grilled salmon, chicken yakitori, tamago egg omelet and hijiki seaweed for $13.95.
6715 Lowell Ave
McLean, VA 22101

10. Takumi

310B S Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22046
Falls Church newcomer, Takumi Sushi, is from a Kaz Sushi Bistro veteran, so it’s no surprise they sell bento boxes, since they're such a specialty at Kaz. Nine options are available during lunch, each showcasing a traditional Japanese dish such as aji furai (deep fried mackerel) or tonkatsu pork cutlet. Take advantage of the soft shell crab bento while they’re in season.
310B S Washington St
Falls Church, VA 22046

11. Teaism

400 8th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
Official
Teaism takes creative liberties with its bento boxes offered during lunch and dinner. Vegetarians can try the black bean cake bento box that comes with togarashi mayo, pickled cucumbers, roasted turnips and broccoli with miso walnut jam, and brown rice. Another fun one is the "roll your own handroll" bento box that comes with tea-cured salmon and everything needed to create cone-shaped sushi.
400 8th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

12. Yuzu Japanese Dining

7345 Wisconsin Ave Bethesda, MD 20814, Bethesda, MD 20814
During the work week, Yuzu’s lunch-only bento box is filling with grilled mackerel, chicken, a vegetable spring roll, nimono tofu, oshinko pickles, kanikama crab, rice, seaweed salad and miso soup. Come weekend lunch, they tack on shrimp and vegetable tempura.
7345 Wisconsin Ave Bethesda, MD 20814
Bethesda, MD 20814

Related Maps