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An assortment of nigiri sushi.
Sushi Tadokoro.
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San Diego’s 15 Essential Sushi Bars

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Sushi Tadokoro.
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Of all the types of cuisines offered around town, San Diego's sushi game is particularly strong. From splurge-worthy destinations for omakase to solid neighborhood spots, our city is blessed with some spectacular showcases for fresh seafood. While most of these temples of sushi are practitioners of the classic and reverent style of sushi, we included a couple entries that veer off the traditional path because sushi can be fun, too.

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Note: Map points are not ranked.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Wrench And The Rodent

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Popular local chef Davin Waite, who also runs several other restaurants in Oceanside, got his start in sushi and has developed a fervent following for his irreverent yet sincere approach to the cuisine, bringing together local seafood and creative sauces in unexpected flavor combinations. If you're going to take a turn from the traditional, do it here.

A composed plate of sashimi with vegetables and garnishes in an orange sauce at Wrench and Rodent.
A plate of sashimi.
Wrench and Rodent/Facebook

Kaito Sushi

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While Kaito might not offer the largest array of fish, you can be sure that the day's fresh selection will be prepared impeccably by Tokyo-trained Kazuo Morita, one of the undisputed sushi kings of San Diego. If his delicate version of saltwater eel, or anago, is available, don't miss it.

Looking through the plate-glass window at diners inside Kaito Sushi. Kaito Sushi

Ken Sushi Workshop

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North County sushi lovers swear by this spot owned by another alum of Sushi Ota. It’s known to be pricey, as one can expect from a sushi shop that features luxurious bites like Japanese Wagyu beef nigiri and tuna belly topped with truffle and sea urchin.

Himitsu

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With just eights seats at the sushi bar, as well as a handful of outdoor tables, this La Jolla spot offers an intimate dining experience in the hands of chef Mitsu Aihara, who spent 16 years at the revered Sushi Ota. Aihara does traditional sushi and offers an elegant omakase menu, but also features trendy dishes like the rib-eye katsu sando, a sandwich stuffed with a breaded steak and ginger-dressed cabbage.

himitsu food Haley Hill

Hidden Fish

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One of the Convoy area’s best options for sushi, Hidden Fish’s 12-seat sushi bar offers a 90-minute, 18-piece omakase dining experience from executive chef John Hong that features a rotating selection of fish from Japan’s Toyosu Fish Market.

Sushi Ota

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For over a quarter-century, owner Yukito Ota showcased his tremendous sushi skills at his eponymous and unassuming strip-mall spot. Ota, who trained many of the city’s best sushi makers, recently retired and the restaurant is now being run by one of his head chefs.

Sushi Ota sign and storefront.

A bit off the beaten path, but worth a trip, Kokomo is a quiet temple to the art of Japanese Kappo cuisine where the restaurant’s minimal decor puts the spotlight directly on the plates of pristine fish. Chef Akio Ishito is classically-minded, sporting traditional Japanese elevated wood sandals while behind the bar.

The sushi bar insided Kokoro. Kokoro

Veteran sushi master Soichi Kadoya presides over this warm and welcoming family-run restaurant. There are a few tables, but the best seats are at the sushi bar, where Kadoya puts together customized and creative omakase menus that includes sashimi, nigiri, and seasonal appetizers. The Michelin-starred restaurant also offers an impressive array of sake.

A piece of nigiri sushi on a place at Soichi. Michael Ly

Saiko Sushi

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With another well-established location in Coronado, this North Park favorite prides itself on an unparalleled sake program and a menu from executive chef and co-owner Anthony Pascale based on whole, locally-sourced fish paired with housemade ingredients.

The sign and storefront of Saiko Sushi North Park. Saiko Sushi

Sushi Tadokoro

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This intimate Old Town restaurant has established a reputation as one of the best practitioners of traditional Edo-mae style sushi, specializing in pristine sashimi and nigiri. Sushi adventurers swear by the Michelin-starred kitchen’s preparations of ankimo, or monkfish liver, and shirako, or cod sperm.

Hane Sushi

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Yet another vet of Sushi Ota is behind this Bankers Hill restaurant, which serves lunch and dinner in a spacious and modern setting. Adept at faithful and fresh nigiri sushi and sashimi, Hane is also known for its creative license with off-menu specialties and rolls that range from the Fish and Chips Roll to the Pizza Roll.

The sign and storefront of Hane Sushi Hane Sushi/Facebook

Azuki Sushi

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One of the best dining options in Bankers Hill, Azuki is the local sushi bar that every neighborhood deserves. The modern lounge provides an intimate and friendly setting for food that's fresh and unfussy.

Shino Sushi + Kappo

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Another disciple of Sushi Ota runs this small sushi bar near the train tracks on the edge of Little Italy. The ‘kappo’ in the restaurant’s name refers to skill not just in cutting fish and making sushi but also a mastery of other cooking techniques, from grilling and steaming to frying and simmering, all part of a well-balanced omakase menu.

Taka Sushi

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This longtime Gaslamp staple is one of the downtown area’s sushi standouts and has been a launching pad for many of the area’s best sushi chefs. Consistently solid, with attentive service, the restaurant offers sushi, sashimi, and basic rolls along with handful of entrees ranging from baked black cod to salmon teryaki.

A plate of assorted sashimi including sea urchin, salmon, yellowtail, and tuna at Taka Sushi.
Sashimi platter.
Taka Sushi/Facebook

NOBU San Diego

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Part of celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s global restaurant chain, this high-energy outpost inside the Hard Rock Hotel is naturally popular with tourists but also a special occasion spot for locals. Try the Nobu classics, including tiradito with fluke, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, and Matsuhisa’s signature black cod with miso.

The sushi bar inside Nobu. Nobu/Facebook

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Wrench And The Rodent

A composed plate of sashimi with vegetables and garnishes in an orange sauce at Wrench and Rodent.
A plate of sashimi.
Wrench and Rodent/Facebook

Popular local chef Davin Waite, who also runs several other restaurants in Oceanside, got his start in sushi and has developed a fervent following for his irreverent yet sincere approach to the cuisine, bringing together local seafood and creative sauces in unexpected flavor combinations. If you're going to take a turn from the traditional, do it here.

A composed plate of sashimi with vegetables and garnishes in an orange sauce at Wrench and Rodent.
A plate of sashimi.
Wrench and Rodent/Facebook

Kaito Sushi

Looking through the plate-glass window at diners inside Kaito Sushi. Kaito Sushi

While Kaito might not offer the largest array of fish, you can be sure that the day's fresh selection will be prepared impeccably by Tokyo-trained Kazuo Morita, one of the undisputed sushi kings of San Diego. If his delicate version of saltwater eel, or anago, is available, don't miss it.

Looking through the plate-glass window at diners inside Kaito Sushi. Kaito Sushi

Ken Sushi Workshop

North County sushi lovers swear by this spot owned by another alum of Sushi Ota. It’s known to be pricey, as one can expect from a sushi shop that features luxurious bites like Japanese Wagyu beef nigiri and tuna belly topped with truffle and sea urchin.

Himitsu

himitsu food Haley Hill

With just eights seats at the sushi bar, as well as a handful of outdoor tables, this La Jolla spot offers an intimate dining experience in the hands of chef Mitsu Aihara, who spent 16 years at the revered Sushi Ota. Aihara does traditional sushi and offers an elegant omakase menu, but also features trendy dishes like the rib-eye katsu sando, a sandwich stuffed with a breaded steak and ginger-dressed cabbage.

himitsu food Haley Hill

Hidden Fish

One of the Convoy area’s best options for sushi, Hidden Fish’s 12-seat sushi bar offers a 90-minute, 18-piece omakase dining experience from executive chef John Hong that features a rotating selection of fish from Japan’s Toyosu Fish Market.

Sushi Ota

Sushi Ota sign and storefront.

For over a quarter-century, owner Yukito Ota showcased his tremendous sushi skills at his eponymous and unassuming strip-mall spot. Ota, who trained many of the city’s best sushi makers, recently retired and the restaurant is now being run by one of his head chefs.

Sushi Ota sign and storefront.

Kokoro

The sushi bar insided Kokoro. Kokoro

A bit off the beaten path, but worth a trip, Kokomo is a quiet temple to the art of Japanese Kappo cuisine where the restaurant’s minimal decor puts the spotlight directly on the plates of pristine fish. Chef Akio Ishito is classically-minded, sporting traditional Japanese elevated wood sandals while behind the bar.

The sushi bar insided Kokoro. Kokoro

SOICHI

A piece of nigiri sushi on a place at Soichi. Michael Ly

Veteran sushi master Soichi Kadoya presides over this warm and welcoming family-run restaurant. There are a few tables, but the best seats are at the sushi bar, where Kadoya puts together customized and creative omakase menus that includes sashimi, nigiri, and seasonal appetizers. The Michelin-starred restaurant also offers an impressive array of sake.

A piece of nigiri sushi on a place at Soichi. Michael Ly

Saiko Sushi

The sign and storefront of Saiko Sushi North Park. Saiko Sushi

With another well-established location in Coronado, this North Park favorite prides itself on an unparalleled sake program and a menu from executive chef and co-owner Anthony Pascale based on whole, locally-sourced fish paired with housemade ingredients.

The sign and storefront of Saiko Sushi North Park. Saiko Sushi

Sushi Tadokoro

This intimate Old Town restaurant has established a reputation as one of the best practitioners of traditional Edo-mae style sushi, specializing in pristine sashimi and nigiri. Sushi adventurers swear by the Michelin-starred kitchen’s preparations of ankimo, or monkfish liver, and shirako, or cod sperm.

Hane Sushi

The sign and storefront of Hane Sushi Hane Sushi/Facebook

Yet another vet of Sushi Ota is behind this Bankers Hill restaurant, which serves lunch and dinner in a spacious and modern setting. Adept at faithful and fresh nigiri sushi and sashimi, Hane is also known for its creative license with off-menu specialties and rolls that range from the Fish and Chips Roll to the Pizza Roll.

The sign and storefront of Hane Sushi Hane Sushi/Facebook

Azuki Sushi

One of the best dining options in Bankers Hill, Azuki is the local sushi bar that every neighborhood deserves. The modern lounge provides an intimate and friendly setting for food that's fresh and unfussy.

Shino Sushi + Kappo

Another disciple of Sushi Ota runs this small sushi bar near the train tracks on the edge of Little Italy. The ‘kappo’ in the restaurant’s name refers to skill not just in cutting fish and making sushi but also a mastery of other cooking techniques, from grilling and steaming to frying and simmering, all part of a well-balanced omakase menu.

Taka Sushi

A plate of assorted sashimi including sea urchin, salmon, yellowtail, and tuna at Taka Sushi.
Sashimi platter.
Taka Sushi/Facebook

This longtime Gaslamp staple is one of the downtown area’s sushi standouts and has been a launching pad for many of the area’s best sushi chefs. Consistently solid, with attentive service, the restaurant offers sushi, sashimi, and basic rolls along with handful of entrees ranging from baked black cod to salmon teryaki.

A plate of assorted sashimi including sea urchin, salmon, yellowtail, and tuna at Taka Sushi.
Sashimi platter.
Taka Sushi/Facebook

NOBU San Diego

The sushi bar inside Nobu. Nobu/Facebook

Part of celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s global restaurant chain, this high-energy outpost inside the Hard Rock Hotel is naturally popular with tourists but also a special occasion spot for locals. Try the Nobu classics, including tiradito with fluke, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, and Matsuhisa’s signature black cod with miso.

The sushi bar inside Nobu. Nobu/Facebook

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