This past week I wanted to catch up with a friend of mine at lunch. She likes sushi, but doesn't often go out for it, so we decided to remedy that situation. There are a good handful of sushi restaurants in Stuttgart, including Kicho (which specializes in Japanese food in general). Your choice of restaurant mostly depends on how much you want to pay for quality. Since Stuttgart is about 700 km (about 440 miles) from the nearest ocean, it isn't exactly easy to get fresh fish here. If you want really fresh sushi (and a variety of rolls) then you have to pay for it.
When I have a craving for good sushi at a moderate price, then I like to go to QQ Sushi Lounge. QQ has two locations. The first and original location is on Kanalstraße just off of the Charlottenplatz u-bahn stop. They have a small indoor seating area with some dozen or so odd tables, but the real reason I come here is for the nice outside patio space during the warmer months. Since the restaurant is located on a side street, it's a bit of a quiet oasis in the middle of the city complete with red hanging lanterns, winding green plants, and gorgeously panted wall murals.
On this particular occasion, my friend and I met for lunch around noon and were immediately greeted by the waiter who set down a menu and a piece of paper and pen for ordering. We were given plenty of time to browse through the menu at our own pace, and the waiter returned promptly when he noticed our paper had been filled out and our menus were down. Our drinks came out a couple of minutes later, followed by our food shortly after that. I never felt we had to wait, which to me was good service.
Tip: The patio tables tend to be quite popular, so if you want to make sure you get one, then show up early or be prepared to wait. We arrived at noon when there was hardly anyone there, but by 12:30ish the patio was starting to fill up.
I should note that the menus are, of course, in German, and I don't remember ever asking for an English menu, so I'm not sure if they have one. However, I do remember one or two of the waitresses speaking English, which was very helpful when we first moved here. Additionally, the menu has a picture with each item, so if your German is schlecht (bad), then all you have to do is write down the number next to the picture on your sheet of paper or point to the dish you want.
Now back to lunch: I debated a bit about what to order, and though I ended up getting too much in the end (as always), I enjoyed everything. To start, I got an order of seaweed salad, which, though pricey (4,90€), was enough to feed two people. Then for my rolls I ordered the spicy tuna inside-out roll (8 pieces) and a rainbow roll (4 pieces) topped with salmon, tuna, squid, and eel. A few minutes later, our fried rolls came out. I ordered the Futomaki Spezial, which is a fried avocado roll topped with spicy salmon (6 pieces). It was most definitely my favorite roll: hot, cold, buttery, and crunchy all in one. My friend also had the shrimp tempura appetizer, Tamago-maki (Japanese omelette roll), and Ebi Futomaki (fried shrimp and avocado roll), all of which she said were to her liking.
Everything was delicious, though of the fish I think the salmon was the best on this visit (fresh tuna can sometimes be hit or miss in Germany, especially in the grocery stores). My rolls were certainly well crafted and filled my sushi craving. The Futomaki Spezial was the most expensive roll at 10,90€, but most of the other regular rolls were around 7€ or less. QQ has about 100 different kinds of nigiri, traditional rolls, inside-out rolls, fried rolls, hand rolls, and specials in addition to appetizers, set menus, desserts, and rice and sashimi bowls, all for very reasonable prices. Plus, if you don't finish your sushi, as I couldn't finish my 18 pieces (yes, I was disappointed in myself, too), then they will box the rest up to go, which is actually somewhat rare in Germany where taking leftovers home isn't really a custom. I think it has to do with the fact that you can get your QQ sushi to go, or at least you could from the Kanalstraße location until...
QQ opened a new location at the Königsbau-Passagen food court downtown at the Schlossplatz stop. I remember the menu there being a bit smaller (though it may have grown since my last visit), but you can get some excellent large set menus at very good prices (most are 5-12€). Best of all, they have lots of pre-packaged sushi, seaweed salad, and edamame that you can pick up to go. It makes it super easy to stop by on your way home from work and pick up a quick, healthy dinner.
So if you're looking for good, affordable sushi in Stuttgart, then definitely check out QQ. The sit-down restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, with a daily pause from 3:00-5:30pm. They are open all day on Saturday after 11:30 am and Sunday after 1 pm. The location in the food court is open all day following the food court hours, but note that it is closed on Sundays (as is the rest of the Königsbau-Passagen).