Miyabi 9

Write a review for Miyabi 9

by carm5

My husband and I ate their for the first time last night and it was the best sushi we have had. Yes, the place is small and can get a little loud but the service was great and the rolls were amazing. We called ahead and we were set at a table within 15 minutes of walking in the doors. We can't wait to go back again and again. The one thing I was impressed with the most was everytime someone was leaving the restaurant Mr. Miyabi thanked them for coming. He was always aware of what was going on in the dining area. Very Impressive!!!!

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Staffan Tjernstrom

Whilst the sushi / sashimi is so-so/ok when compared to most places on the West Coast (and I spend 1 week a month in the Bay Area eating sushi at least twice per trip), it's arguably the best (of a bad/ok bunch) in Des Moines. The big let-down is the cooked food and the sauces. The same house special sauce served 2 dishes in a row had completely different taste profiles. The ginger pork was so overcooked as to be stringy and tough (I never believed I would get bad pork in Iowa, but there you go) and the ginger sauce was bland enough not to do anything for the dish (ginger with no taste?). When combined with the fact that they're lacking at least 2 sushi chefs per shift, I suggest arriving at 6:30pm, sit at the bar, and have nigiri/sashimi/rolls. That way you may get out by 8pm if you're lucky.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Ashley

This place is 100% over ratted. I’ve been in twice hoping the first time was just a fluke. It wasn’t this place is awfiul.

The lack of any kind of fabric in this place caused its already small and crowed layout to become very noisy. There were 4 other tables but the noise was equal to a crowed bar. I would hate to hear how loud this place gets on a busy night.

After seeing the tables next to us order sushi that was defiantly past expiration we ordered only cooked food. At first the seasoned rice was nice, but the lack of any other flavor from the rolls quickly made it hard to eat much more. I still have the taste of vinegar in my mouth.

Our server was not knowagable at all. She stated that Kirin is like bud light in a can. I can assure you Kirin is not as awful as bud light. She also stated that miso soup is vegetarian then went on to say it has fish in it....There is no fish in miso.

The fish was very low quality, and the plastic tables and chairs miss the mark on a hip new age dining experience it was going for. I know this place pulls in a lot of money, but by the lack of decor and low-grade sushi it's hard to see what it goes to.

After living in Des Moines for 4 years I’ve come to realize that it’s rather pointless to ask a native where to get good food. 9 times out of 10 they will recommend a place that does as little as possible to make your dining experience enjoyable. This is at the top of price when it comes to Des Moines Sushi, and one step above Hyvee sushi.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Neal

Best in town! Small dining room, so call ahead.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Dustin Jeffries

No frills - Great sushi! Little has been done in creating the atmosphere but with sushi that good, I never looked up from my plate once. The lady sitting next to us at the sushi bar oohed and awed as each dish was served to us. The food was visually very appealing. We called ahead before we left and got right into the sushi bar on a Saturday night at 7:30! Not a moment of waiting. Superbly managed restaurant.

We eat sushi all across the country and have for over a decade...this really is the best!

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Edward

I absolutely adore Miyabi 9. My wife and I eat there or get carry out on a regular basis. While I have not had sushi from Japan, I have had it in great restaurants closer to the coast (St. Petersburg, DC, Portland) and it is on par or sometimes better than these top-notch places. My Japanese acquaintances like it as well, and than is perhaps the highest praise!

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Medical Rep

This is the worst service I have ever experienced! I called in an order for 8 people, 45 mins prior to me picking it up, arrived 15 mins early and left 40 mins later with an incomplete order...I call back and go back to get all the order...nothing but that will be another 5 minutes. I spent over 150 dollars and got not a simple "sorry"....worst is the sushi tasted like it came out of the Des Moines river! This place doesn't deserve a .5.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Inthewater

I want to start this out by saying that I have never had proper sushi before in my life. I have had it, but even I knew it wasn't right. My spouse also had not ever had it and to be honest, probably had never even thought of trying it. By the end of our visit, we were both addicts.

That being said, first things first. This is a simple, straight forward place. No nonsense, is putting it mildly, but at the same time, it has a very "classy" feel to it. I can't really put it into words, but it just feels like a space designed for what is done there with no real wasted space.

We went for a late lunch and found the restaurant about half full and the bar with only two people sitting at it. Now, I had done a little research about basic things to do and say at a sushi bar and what sort of thing was looked down on. We were greeted by a very friendly server / hostess that asked us where we would like to sit. We opted for the bar, as had been suggested, and started what was one of our most exciting and flavorful dining experiences to date.

Mr. Miyabi (Mike) was there and he was a very gracious host, if just a little bit business like. He soon warmed up to us as we told him that both of us had never really had sushi, but we wanted to try it. He said, "This is the place to come, then." and started recommending items to us. We started off with one order of tuna nigiri for myself and an order of the volcano rolls. The volcano rolls had been recommended as a way for my spouse to try sushi slowly, in case she was timid about it.

What can I say that has not already been said better? The nigiri was amazing. The wasabi balanced perfectly with the flavor of the rice and fish. (I was instructed on how to eat the sushi. I had no idea to flip it and dip only the fish in soy sauce. I also would have bitten it and probably looked a fool. The very gracious chef helped us with these things.) The volcano rolls were very tasty, but not really taking advantage of the restaurant. It was a good dish for a first timer, though, so I call it a success.

Next, Mike handed us a bowl of salmon strips with his sauce on it, just to give it a taste. It was awesome. He actually came around the bar and grabbed my fork at one point, which I found incredibly endearing, and showed us not to cut up the volcano rolls. There were 8 pieces of a california roll under there, and that we should eat it as one bite with the hot topping all together. I had no idea, and yet, this simple change made the flavor that much better.

We then tried a spicy tuna roll, again trying some things for novice palates like my spouse, and they were just as tasty. Mike offered us some udon noodles, and we should have taken them, but didn't think and were full. I will next time.

I really wanted to try the nigiri again, which I found much more flavorful than the rolls. I actually talked my spouse into sharing an order of nigiri with me. (white tail or yellow tail...I honestly can't remember.) I was impressed that they had come from a total sushi newbie to eating nigiri in such short time. We were hooked. I have to think it had something to do with the kind and friendly guiding hand of Mike. If you have never tried this food before, do it right. Sit at the bar and have the master take you on a food journey you will not soon forget.

In the end, this was one of our most enjoyable experiences ever eating at a restaurant. I really found myself asking what a man of this caliber was doing in Des Moines, and at the same time being thankful. It really is a culinary gift that you should take advantage of.

Cost was very moderate for the amount of food we had and we really did not need the spicy tuna roll. This food fills you up but leaves you not feeling heavy and uncomfortable. It has to be experienced to be understood.

Mr. Miyabi, our thanks for a great time and some great food.

Excellent all around, go now if you have not been and take advantage.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Lauren

The first time I ever had sushi, I didn't like it. But then I came to Miyabi 9 and it was magnificant. After that, I won't get my sushi any place else. I'm so addicted. In fact, I think I'll have it for dinner tonight!

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Tony Lee

I'm from the Washington D.C. area, and we have more than our fair share of wonderful sushi restaurants. My uncle runs a very good and popular sushi place in Los Angeles, and I've eaten at some of the best Japanese restaurants in the country. Miyabi 9 is definitely a top notch place. Who would have thought you could find such a great Japanese place in the middle of Iowa? Mr. Miyabi "Mike" Yamamoto is doing to real thing here. The fish is extremely fresh, and the temperature is right - not freezing cold like some places. If you're looking for something different, sit at the sushi bar, and ask Mr. Yamamoto to do an "omakase" (oh-mah-KAH-say) for you. Basically, a chef's choice. That's what I did when I visited. He'll do all sorts of dishes that are unique and not on the menu, and he'll just keep bringing them out until you tell him to stop. Wonderful wonderful stuff!! I'm an extremely adventurous eater, so I ate everything that Mr. Yamamoto created - some of the things he brought out were a sashimi salad sampler, tempura, tuna with julienned radish and something I couldn't identify, but was very tasty, a homey thinly sliced beef tongue dish with soy sauce and scallions (I loved this dish!! Reminded me of something that my mother used to do...), sauteed mushrooms, broiled yellowtail - there were a few others that escape me. Everything was fresh, creatively presented, and delicious! The restaurant seemed pretty busy for a Wednesday evening, but Mr. Yamamoto said it was just fair. Hate to see the place when he thinks it's REALLY busy! Sit at the sushi bar, order a drink, and have Mr. Yamamoto do an omakase for you, and you'll have a great experience that won't be duplicated any place else!

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion


This sushi is better than Taki and Appare. The service has always been great for us. I work downtown and have eaten here many times and have not been disapointed yet. The seaweed salad is great and the platters you can order in a group are wonderful and a way to try new pieces. The only complaint is that the food is so good that they get busy!

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by PJ

My wife and I are Sushi addicts, so this is our fix. I agree with some reviewers about the service... it's okay, but wait a few minutes and you'll find the best Sushi in Des Moines, without all the annoying crap you'll find in the burbs. I'd actually rather wait a few more minutes so the chef can prepare the sushi the way it should be prepared and not rushed.

If you're in a hurry, I'd recommend sitting at the Sushi bar. It's great, fresh, well prepared stuff.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by zenfishing

My wife and I lived in Japan for 4 years and the quality of this sushi is very good even by Japanese standards. Very high quality and great taste. I would recommend it to anyone who loves sushi.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Red Beard

Miyabi 9 has Iowa's best sushi hands down. The atmosphere is so-so, the service is average, but the maki rolls are amazing. I lived in Chicago for several years and dined in the finest sushi houses they had to offer and I can confidently say that Miyabi 9 is up there with the best of them. Miyabi 9 nails the traditional rolls perfectly and consistently and has some original maki rolls that are amazing. Several reviewers have mentioned the volcano roll and I agree that it is the best maki roll I have ever eaten. If you look through the reviews of this resturaunt most stars are taken off for atmosphere, not quality of food. Miyabi 9 is the best sushi house in Iowa by a landslide. It's not even close.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by DaisyJane

Absoloutley love love love the volcano roll. Once you've tried it, you're hooked! :) The other sushi is pretty decent too.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Pam

Love it! Great food and a great experience!

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by rpiowa50009

Great food - great service. We are very new to this type of food but the staff was friendly, knowledgable, and patient in helping us determine what to order. We were started off with a light salad. Both the ginger dressing and the apple dressing were fantastic. The miso soup was some of the best I have ever had at an asian style restaurant. I ordered a sushi combination patter and it was wonderful - the fish was very fresh tasting and the rice was fixed to perfection. My partner had a 'fried combo' platter served with sticky rice, relish, and a moth-watering ginger dipping sauce. Miyabi 9 is not a large space but it is definitely a big addition to the businesses in the East Village. We will most certainly be repeat customers.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by John

I had the sushi lunch for $10. It came with 1 tuna, 1 salmon, 1 shrimp, 1 whitefish, 10 cali rolls & miso soup. All were delicious and would recommend to anyone that enjoys sushi. Their menu had plenty of options for those who are not into sushi, which is nice when you have a diverse group. The restaurant has a small eating area (like 10 tables), but the food/service is excellent. If your looking for a tasty option that is healthier than Tasty Taco's, try this place.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Rhea V

I love Love LOVE Miyabi 9. Hands down best sushi in Des Moines. I find myself eating there at least twice a week. Service can definitely be poor at times when only one server has the entire restaurant, but the phenomenal food makes up for any downfalls.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by AlaskaTSS

WOW is all I can say. I lived in Japan for a while and in Alaska where seafood is fresh. Not to knock on the midwest but I wasn't expecting any good seafood. I was wonderfully surprised with the freshness and quality. Best sushi I've had out here in the midwest. Prices are decent with the average combo platter around 20.00 dollars. Service and atmosphere are ok, the building is still in the process of modeling. If your looking for great sushi check out miyabi 9.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Izaak

My wife and I ate at Miyabi 9 for the first time Friday night. Everything was excellect including the service. We arrived at 8:00, the hostess asked for our phone # and we grabbed a drink at the bar nextdoor while we waited. Softshell crab, sashimi, and sushi were better than anyplace in town. Nice to know that we don't need to drive to Kaze or Katsu in Chicago for truely great sushi.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by foodlover

Great food. I tried the volcano roll, miyabi roll, and curry katsu.
I especially love the volcano roll; it's fresh, tasty, and isn't as dry as the volcano made at Waterfront. I also loved the aroma of the hot green tea. It's not the typical Bigelow green tea that many restaurants serve.

I'd take some points off for the atmosphere and service though. The restaurant is a little too dim and looks unfinished, and there isn't enough servers to accommodate the large number of customers.

But I'd still go there again and again. In Asia, the best place for food are usually those stalls by the streets anyway. If you're looking for a casual dining place for authentic Japanese food in Des Moines, Miyabi 9 is the place.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by dmreviewer

I've been here 3 times and everytime it was the same thing- great food but terrible service. We kept giving it another try because we want East Village buisnesses to make it, but the service was unacceptable. It took us over an hour and a half last time and all we got was a few sushi rolls, and it was a Wed. night! We wanted more drinks but didn't even bother ordering another round because it would have taken forever! Also, the atmosphere is terrible. Very poorly designed and if you sit in the booth agaings the wall it's very uncomfortable because the wall is made of layers of overlapping plywood so it's uneven. It's such a shame because the food is wonderful but I'd rather go to Zen where I can get some service, drinks, and atosphere.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by hojo

Went on Friday night and sat at the sushi bar. Miyabi was behind the line prepping sushi. While waiting he served us an excellent salad with fish pieces. Miso soup was pretty standard, but can't really stray too far off with miso. Sushi was incredible. Everything we ate was fresh, well put together, and thought out. I do agree about the ambiance, BUT, I will say that some of the best restaurants (especially sushi) are the tiny places that aren't glamorous - even in LA, Chicago, or so I hear, in Japan.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by wes

Best sushi in des moines...you won't be disappointed!

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Heidi

Finally! I place in Des Moines that gets sushi right!

I sat at the sushi bar and got to visit with the chef as he perpared my selections. He had a great sense of humor and showed me how he makes a "Japanese Big Mac." So much fun!

The tuna was fresh and delicious. The sushi rice is seasoned perfectly.

The only reason I'm not handing out 5 stars is the atmosphere. The interior looks unfinished and the waiting/reception area is unfortunate.

I will be back again and again for the wonderful fresh fish!

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by yt

Miyabi 9 is the Sushi Restaurant that I can bring someone trying Sushi very first time. Their Shari (Sushi rice) is prepared just right with sugar and vinegar, and Neta is the freshest you can get in IA. (I ordered Sushi from A-La Cart Menu... Tuna, Octopus, Yellow Tail, Squid, Spicy Tuna Roll on the Shari)

The prices are little more than you want to pay outside Japan. Specially Sushi Combo is very pricey...... I expected around $15 to start for combo menu like any other restaurants.

The service wasn't great. Too many waiters for the table, but they were gathering at the corner and not paying attention to customers. Unfriendly.

I asked refill for Green Tea and my waiter totally forgot it, chatting with his friends just walked in - it took me another 15 min to get my tea filled.

The inside restaurant was freezing cold and white eating, we saw 2~3 parties left after they sat down. Some elder people are still wearing coats at the table. (I prefer sit at the Sushi counter next time.) The interior is unfinished this could be one of reason to the temperature.

The overall - the food is great and I would like to see better service.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by dsmwmn

Hands down the best sushi in Des Moines! I have patronized the Japanese restaurant a few times now and haven't had anything bad here yet. The box lunches are nicely presented and fun to eat. There is a large sushi menu which offers classics as well as chef creations. The sashimi is wonderfully fresh and tastes great. I also enjoy the volcano roll, sunshine roll, and spider roll. Most meals are served with a piping hot bowl of meso soup. I actually like the modest interior of Miyabi 9. It has a small neighborhood cafe feel to it and the fact that the owner feels that the food is important enough to have a large kitchen isn't a turn off for me.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by Derek Brooks

Wow. The sushi here is amazingly good. The fish is super fresh, the rolls are great, and the presentation is also pretty good.

Miyabi 9, is located in a typical long, narrow suite of an east village building. The style is minimalist, with lots of large, light wooden panels and an open ceiling, but the space is utilized very strangely. It seems to me that there is wayyyy too much kitchen space for a sushi restaurant. The actual seating of the restaurant takes up less than half of the entire building - and there is no waiting area at all. It would be nice if they used a little bit of that minimalist mindset in the kitchen to make extra room for guests.

More on the waiting area - it's quite awkward. You basically just stand in a line by the doorway and watch everyone eat. I hate when wait areas are amongst diners - it's very intrusive. It might be nice if they gave out some kind of long range pagers for guests on the waiting list. That way you could hop over to the Piano Bistro or wait outside...

Service at Miyabi was definitely lacking in that they only had a couple servers managing the entire restaurant. 1-2 more servers would really help this place out... however, given the space, they'd probably be walking all over each other. But, I think they could definitely get a lot more customers and keep that wait line smaller with quicker service.

As I said earlier, the food is, wow, super good. I loved it. There's really not much more to say about it other than it being the highlight of Miyabi 9. A very, very high ... light.

The party atmosphere is lacking - nothing like Taki, but sometimes that is ok.

The bathrooms are pretty cool and minimalist as well. Check those out. (I love cool bathrooms).

So the main thing here is, this restaurant is going to be hard to get into. It's a good location, has amazing food, and has very limited seating. I hope they improve on the service and figure out a way to accommodate the crowds better.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by A and D

Miyabi 9
East Village
Grand Avenue
January 6, 2008

A and D enjoyed Miyabi 9 for lunch on a Saturday. By 12:30, the restaurant was full and lunch-goers were standing in line for a table.

A and D have a new home for sushi and Japanese food. This is Japanese cuisine at its best.

Last month, D had dinner at Nobu in Park Lane, London. It was the typical "wait two months for a reservation" and "take out a $600 loan to cover the cost of dinner" that one experiences at Nobu and other similar London restaurants, such as Gordon Ramsey. Here is the bottom line:

Miyabi 9 serves better Japanese food than Nobu, and certainly better Japanese food and sushi than any other Japenese restaurant in Des Moines, in Iowa and, perhaps, in all of the Midwest. This is a true Master Chef.

"A" ordered the Bento Box, or Lunch Box A. It was artfully arranged with chicken terriyaki, tempura, sushi, a small salad, and rice with black seasame seeds. Exceptional. The only comment was the tempura lacked the crispness that one hopes for. The tempura shrimp was a bit limp. But the flavors, presentation, quality of ingredients, artistry, and freshness were perfection itself.

D ordered a variety of nigiri-sushi, handrolls, and sashimi. The eel is the finest D has ever eaten, including 3 years living in Kamakura, Yokohama and Tokyo. The squid was the freshest and most perfectly translucent ever experienced, with a silken texture and just-perfect mouth feel. The Mackerel was sea water fresh and unparallelled. In all of the sushi and sashami dishes, the rice is superb with just the right stickiness and an aromatic flavor that complements the seafood.

The decor is minimalist Japanese and, as yet, unfinished. The tables and seating are functional, comfortable and secondary to the food. Here, unlike some Japanese restaurants, decor is not the central focus, rather the food takes center stage. One would prefer linen napkins, however, especially in a restaurant of this quality.

Service was good, not perfect, but good. It is clear that the Des Moines wait staff are learning what Japanese service is and what it entails. Miyabi-san gives frequent guidance and direction to his servers from behind his sushi bar. He knows exactly what he is doing and, doubtless, has a high vision for the eventual standards of his restaurant. You can see it in his watchful and all-encompassing eyes.

With the small mechanical kinks worked out, Miyabi 9 will emerge as the best Japanese restaurant ever to be in Des Moines. There is a clear leader now. The Waterfront no longer holds its slim lead over Appare. Taki fails to measure up to either of those two pretenders. Miyabi 9 has appeared and conquered. This is Japan and Japanese cuisine. This is the result of mastering 700 years of tradition handed down from one master to the next. This would be a great Japanese restaurant in Japan.

There is a nice wine selection and the requisite selection of Japanese beer and sake. The prices are reasonable; the pours are generous.

A and D's tab was $43 with two glasses of a very good Chardonnay. A generous tip brought lunch to $55. At roughly $27 each, for this quality of food, it was a bargain. The same lunch at Nobu in London would have been over $300.

Welcome to Des Moines, Miyabi-sensei!

Overall Rating: 4.5
Food Quality: 5.0
Service 3.5
Ambiance: 3.5
Value: 4.5

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion

by docpark

Finally, an authentic Japanese restaurant in Des Moines. Mr. Miyabi is a classically trained Japanese chef. He apprenticed with the same master chef as Nobu. The food is as good as the best you can get in New York or San Francisco, barring the limited sushi choices due to being in the middle of the continent. Mr. Miyabi makes sure everything is fresh. Recommend anything from the sushi bar, the Una-ju which is rice covered with roasted eel, Udon -a savory noodle soup. Newcomers to Japanese cuisine can start with the fried pork or chicken filets -called pork or chicken Don-Katsu (dohn gaht-soo). Prices very reasonable for the exremely high quality.

Did you find this review helpful? Login or Join to give your opinion
Tips for Miyabi 9 from foursquare users


Volcano & Captain Crunch are a must have...every time!

6 people have done this

Jon M.

No reservations, but you can call 30 minutes ahead. Like most sushi places, go with a friend and split the meal and try something new. Captain Crunch is a solid choice!

4 people have done this and 1 other wants to

Greg G.

have an Iowa roll — fried pork and carrots, with mustard to dip it in. Delish.

4 people have done this

Brian L.

Twice the price of appare. 1/3 the quality. Gross.

3 people have done this

Matthew S.

Sunshine Roll & Eel for the win. Try a birthday treat: delicious Mochi Ice Cream (ice cream in a Japanese Rice Cake outer shell)!

2 people have done this and 1 other wants to

Barbie B.

Try a house salad ~ their GINGER dressing is remarkable!! Made in-house, no preservatives. If you love it, they DO sell it, and you can take home....... just remember to enjoy it before it goes....

1 person has done this

Bridgette B.

Dining room is FREEZING in the winter.

1 person has done this

Dennis T.

Don't order their wine, it's horseshit and they only give you 3 oz. Awesome deal.,

1 person has done this

Judah H.

This Sushi is Y-U-mmy. Michael Miyabi has had 9 restaurants nationwide. Try it

1 person has done this

Mike M.

Sakari on Ingersoll owns this place

1 person has done this
The front of Miyabi 9