The quest to find the best sushi is a task that Americans all across the United States have taken up. The popularity of sushi has risen immensely in the past few years and as a result, many sushi restaurants have opened their doors to hungry guests looking for the best. We have put together a list of six sushi restaurants in San Diego that serve classic and innovative rolls that are prepared using traditional Japanese techniques, and some are even made by Japanese chefs. All of the Yelp reviews claim that each restaurant is the best in the area, but it’ll be up to you to determine your winner!
Do you know someone in the San Diego area who is looking to try all of the popular sushi restaurants? Help them out by purchasing a GiftYa to one or multiple locations. Simply select the location, enter some information, and an electronic gift card will be sent to their phone via text message. However, restaurants are only one of the available gifting options -- choose from local retailers, automotive, personal, pet, and home and garden services, hotels, recreation and activities and more! The best part is, you can choose from over 1.5 million locations across the US, making this the perfect gifting option for someone you know who lives out of state.
Chef-Owned Modest Sushi Restaurant Serving Authentic Bites
4529 Mission Bay Dr | San Diego | sushiota.com
Sushi Ota is the restaurant of chef Ota, who was born in Japan. He worked as a sushi chef in multiple cities -- Kobe, Tokyo, and Osaka before coming to San Diego in 1982. After his arrival, he had the opportunity to try local sea urchin, which he deemed the best tasting sea urchin he had ever eaten. This experience changed the course of his life and as a result, he decided to stay in San Diego and open his own restaurant in 1990 -- Sushi Ota.
Ever since, Sushi Ota has made a commitment to use fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients. Their goal is to create food that is reminiscent of authentic Japanese cuisine. The menu features a selection of sushi rolls, sashimi, nigiri, and entrees from the kitchen. If you want to try Sushi Ota, previous customers say to make reservations to ensure timely seating!
“Exceptional! When we tried the sashimi plate, it was a moment of realization that we haven't had the best quality fish for such a long time although we eat sushi quite often. You can taste the difference from the first bite!” - Yelp Review
Environmentally Conscious Sushi Bar Serving Unique Rolls
2321 Fifth Ave | San Diego | azukisushi.com
Azuki Sushi has been serving delicious bites for the past ten years, but their executive chef has over 30 years of experience preparing Japanese cuisine. They use modern preparation techniques and strive to constantly find new and innovative methods to upgrade the quality of their menu. The menu follows the seasons and is constantly rotating to follow the peak flavor of ingredients, as traditional Japanese menus do. They are committed to using organic, seasonal, and local fishes to promote sustainable fishing practices.
On the menu, you will find a wide assortment of sashimi and sushi rolls options dedicated to one particular fish or shellfish, unique specialty rolls, and classic hand rolls. There is also an option for family platters or combination sushi and nigiri platters. Their sake, wine, beer, and cocktail menu will never disappoint!
“Absolutely phenomenal! Best sushi in the country!! Roll options are unique and presented in beautiful fashion. Very cozy dining area and great option to sit right at the sushi bar to watch the chefs in action.” - Yelp Review
Small Location Offering Traditional Sushi Rolls, Nigiri, and Sashimi
2244 San Diego Ave | San Diego | sushitadokoro.com
Using traditional Japanese sushi preparation and technique, Sushi Tadokoro serves homemade recipes and ingredients that are locally sourced and seasonal. Every roll comes hand made using hours of skill and techniques that have been acquired from years of practice. They are committed to using fresh, high quality fish and ingredients.
Their menu offers a selection of fresh sashimi, nigiri, and sushi rolls. They have a variety of classic and specialty rolls that are offered in small portions, or in combination platters to ensure a sampling of every delicious item.
“This is the best sushi restaurant in San Diego. Hands down, we have tried all the big name fancy sushi restaurants and Sushi Tadokoro had the freshest fish, nicest waiters, best presentation and greatest dining experience.” - Yelp Review
Jamaican Themed Sushi Restaurant Known to Draw College Crowds
7530 Mesa College Dr B | San Diego | sushidiner1.com
Jamaican themed rasta and surf decor with reggae music meets traditional Japanese sushi at this location. The ambiance at Sushi Diner is unlike any other, the chill atmosphere is known to draw college students, but can be enjoyed by people from all over.
The sushi menu is extensive and innovative. They offer classic rolls, specialty rolls that showcase a nod to Jamaican culture, tempura and baked rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. Also, with a small vegetarian sushi menu, this location can accommodate those needs. Guests are thrilled by the black magic mushroom and 4:20 crunch rolls!
“Ordered the baked salmon roll, black magic mushroom roll, and the tempura Philly roll. Loved it all! The high quality, the huge size, the rich taste, and love can be felt when you eat this beautiful delicious food.” - Yelp Review
Modest Venue Boasting a Large Variety of Delicious Sushi Offerings
3740 Rosecrans St | San Diego | tsuruyasushi.com
Tsuruya Sushi comes in a no frills atmosphere, but will not disappoint with what is on the menu! In fact they have multiple menus -- including chef’s special rolls, regular rolls, sushi and sashimi, noodle, appetizer and salad, dinner, lunch, and dessert. This is more to choose from then we could have imagined.
The roll menu includes classics like the California and spicy tuna rolls, handrolls, deep fried and baked rolls, specialty rolls, and non-rice rolls. The chef’s special roll menu includes separate sushi options like the playboy and sunset rolls. These menus come on top of a sushi and sashimi menu that offers combinations to ensure you can get a sampling of what Tsuruya Sushi has to offer, but it might be awhile before you can get around to trying all of the menus!
“The best sushi I've had in the San Diego area. The food is absolutely amazing and the staff is authentic. I cannot wait to come back here for great sushi again.” - Yelp Review
Imaginative Sushi Menu and an Atmosphere Filled With Energy
3964 Harney St | San Diego | harneysushi.com
Having received an extensive list of awards, Harney Sushi proclaims the sushi is, “As fresh as it gets, as imaginative as you want.” They have been in business since 2001 and display an experimental sushi menu that comes from their trailblazing sustainable seafood efforts. In fact, they were one of the first sushi restaurants in San Diego to serve only sustainable seafood.
However, this conscious effort to maintain a high ecological standard does not compromise on the quality of the food.
On their website, they list every type of fish or shellfish and the locations they come from and their sustainability ratings. They take these fish and transform them into unique specialty rolls like the Chuck Norris and Lightning rolls. They also offer classic rolls and handrolls, nigiri, and sashimi, with the option to sample a combination platter. A vegetarian and vegan section of sushi rolls is available to those with these preferences.
“Such great sushi & great service! I had only been here once before a few years ago and forgot how good it is! Really fresh sushi and the morale of the restaurant was fun with very personable staff.” - Yelp Review
Local Seafood Topped with Creative Sauces
1815 S Coast Hwy | San Diego | seabasstropub.com
This cozy, eclectic restaurant is perfect for those who want to support local businesses. Wrench and the Rodent always source fish and produce locally and responsibly.
Wrench rolls include the Hedgehog (krab and shrimp tempura topped with sear yellowtail, garlic, smoked sea salt, and truffle oil) and the classic Rainbow. In addition to sushi, Wrench offers ramen and other entrees, as well as a list of specials that change daily.
Vegans and vegetarians are also accommodated, and a vegan omakase is available upon request.
“First timer here and I am impressed with the EPIC plant based omakase (aka chef's whim) course dinner!! Kudos to Chef for his creative innovation. Every dish was not only tasty but also visually so pretty, too. It's art.” - Yelp Review
Traditional Sushi Bar
130 N El Camino Real | San Diego | facebook.com/KaitoSushi
This restaurant may not have a wide array of fish, but that’s because they only select the fish from the market that are up to their standards in order to provide guests with only the freshest and highest quality sushi.
Kaito follows the sushi styles and traditions of Tokyo and has many offerings not found elsewhere in the county. So you really shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to go if you have the chance.
“Great local sushi place. I've been here a couple of times and am consistently impressed by the quality of the fish and sushi, and for super reasonable prices. The food is fresh and well prepared, and they have a ton of options for everyone!” - Yelp Review
Intimate Sushi Dining Experience
1030 Torrey Pines Rd G | San Diego | himitsusd.com
With a 9-person bar and 20 person outdoor patio, Himitsu offers guests an intimate dining experience. Chef Mitsu Aihara presents a menu of traditional sushi and nigiri along with Japanese style tapas, and a carefully curated sake list, select natural wines, and Japanese and local craft beers are also available.
We recommend the eponymous Himitsu Roll made with spicy salmon and crab and topped with scallop, jalapeno, and cilantro aioli.
“Excellent meal - high quality sushi and wonderful service. We enjoyed the entire meal from start to finish. The tostadas, yellowtail nigiri, and an array of their fish were excellent.” - Yelp Review
San Diego’s First Omakase Sushi Destination
4764 Convoy St | San Diego | hiddenfishsushi.com
This exclusive 12-seat sushi bar offers a 90-minute omakase dining experience for $135, as well as an a la carte menu with nigiri, signature, nigiri, and hand rolls.
Be sure to check out their sake! Whether you prefer savory and complex or fruity and aromatic, they’ve got something for you!
“5 stars is not enough to rate this amazing restaurant!!!!!!!!!! I went here with my wife on Friday night around 9pm and our chef Sam did an amazing job serving us the best omakase sushi.” - Yelp Review
Quiet Temple of the Art of Sushi
3298 Greyling Dr | San Diego | /kokoro-restaurant.net
With ingredients obtained locally or straight from Japan, Kokoro offers modern sushi rolls made with all natural ingredients in a quiet setting that allows one to appreciate the art of sushi.
We recommend the Spicy Tuna Roll and Spicy Yellowtail Roll, but be sure to check out the chef's "Omakase" menu, which features seasonal foods and dishes recommended by the chef.
“I love the udon noodle soup here. They make the noodles fresh every day and it is the absolute best in San Diego. My family and I basically order the entire menu every time we eat here, everything is fresh and delicious!” - Yelp Review
With many highly reviewed and award winning sushi locations on this list, you’ll have to try them all to determine which is best -- because as the Yelp reviews say, they are all the best in San Diego!