Sometimes finding a good sushi place is hit or miss because it might not be what you are looking for.
You first have to worry about if they are going to have the things you want on their menu and then you have to be concerned about prices, since fresh fish and seafood can cost a pretty penny.
The best sushi places will have a perfect mix of sashimi, nigiri, and even some cooked dishes, like plates, dinners, and desserts.
They should also have excellent chefs, a great atmosphere, and the ability to let you pick and choose exactly what you want and how much of it you want.
When a place has many types of drinks and servers that can recommend things when you are unable to decide for yourself, the restaurant is even better.
There are plenty of these types of sushi restaurants in San Diego, as long as you know where to look.
Here is a list of the top 20 sushi restaurants in the area, so you can take your pick to see which one is your favorite.
Keep in mind they are in alphabetical order, so where each one should go in the list is up to you.
Of course, you’ll have to try all of them to be sure though.
Azuki Sushi – 2321 5th Ave – (619) 238-4760
This restaurant has many different specialty items that you won’t see anywhere else.
At the same time, you will be able to find some of your favorite items, like California rolls, and edamame.
This place has very fresh fish and seafood, so if you really love exquisite fish, this is an establishment you’ll want to check out.
You may have to make a reservation to get in, but you might just also be able to get in if you go early enough.
You can make a reservation on their website and also find out about their catering services, in case you ever need them.
Chiba Japanese - 10435 San Diego Mission Rd – (619) 584-1836
This is another small place, but they have something for everyone on the menu.
There is everything from bento plates to salads to specialty rolls, and a wide variety of hand rolls to choose from, so you can actually see it being made in front of you.
What keeps people coming back here are the prices, since they are some of the least expensive pieces of sushi in the city.
The other thing that people love is that they have cooked items on their menu, like teriyaki, tempura dishes, and more things to enjoy.
You will have a problem parking and being able to find a place to sit indoors at this place, but if it is a nice night, there is additional seating outside to take advantage of.
Full Moon Sushi & Kitchen Bar – 926 5th Ave – (619) 233-3711
This place is located downtown, so it may be a bit pricier than you’re used to.
Although the parking may be a nightmare, the food and ambiance here won’t be.
For instance, the chefs are well trained and the fish and seafood are fresh and very high quality.
The seafood is actually flown in directly, especially for this restaurant.
There are many appetizers and even dishes for people that aren’t too keen on raw sushi.
They also offer free mocha sometimes and there is an atmosphere that cannot be beat.
If that isn’t enough, they have sake tasting flights, so you can taste the differences in types, which you may not have even known about before.
Some people love their chopsticks too.
Harney Sushi – 3964 Harney St – (619) 295-3272
This restaurant is a little different because they have two happy hours, so you are bound to be able to take advantage of one.
They have an after work happy hour and also one that is near closing.
They are open quite late, so even if you are searching for a late dinner, this is a good place to go, especially with the discount.
Many regulars comment on how delicious and fresh everything is, and the only downside is that there is often a live DJ, so the place can get quite loud.
You can make reservations online, but you will usually be able to walk right in with no problem.
The service is great and even the fried rice is a meal in itself.
Be sure to give this one a try if you are in the area, especially if you like trendy places and lots of atmosphere.
Ikiru Japanese – 2850 Womble Rd – (619) 221-1228
This restaurant is able to offer you all the sushi dishes you like, and even some ones you may have never heard of.
They have many different specialty rolls, and even a number of tempura rolls to order as well.
One thing that is really exciting is that different chefs have different specials, so you may get something that is one of a kind or complimentary at any given time.
You will get extra attention if you sit near the bar and they have very large nigiri plates in case you have a large party.
They also use real crab, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t like the imitation stuff.
Izakaya Kanpai – 5430 Clairemont Mesa Blvd – (858) 278-4228
If you’re looking for a place to get appetizers that are cheap but don’t taste cheap, this establishment has a happy hour that lasts the whole time they are open.
It consists mainly of salads and appetizers, so you’ll have enough money to try whatever else you want.
Their noteworthy dishes include larger salads and many different types of ramen to keep it interesting.
The food is designed to be a great mix of Asian fusion, which you can see when you step foot into the joint.
There is a giant chandelier in the restaurant, which seems out of place in the modern looking establishment, but actually works with the atmosphere.
Kokoro Restaurant – 3298 Greyling Dr – (858) 565-4113
This is a very small restaurant that is tucked away so you may miss it.
When you go in the place, it is one of the most authentic Japanese sushi spots in the city.
The bar is set up just like you see in the movies, so you can sit right at the bar and have whatever the chef is making that day.
Although you can order what you want, there are specials each day, depending on what they have on hand at that time.
The good news is, if the thought of eating a bunch of raw fish frightens you, don’t be alarmed, because they always have dishes you’ll be able to eat.
This includes things like veggie rolls and seared or baked meats, so you will be able to get a complete dinner at this place, meaning you won’t leave feeling hungry.
Obi’s Sushi – 3755 Murphy Canyon Rd- (858) 268-8989
This sushi place is located in a strip mall, which may keep some people from going on it.
However, you should stay away from it because they have extremely fresh fish and tasty dishes.
One of the most noteworthy things is that they have happy hour prices, where you can get a great rebate on many things.
This can help you if you don’t want to spend a lot to see what the place has to offer, and you can try a lot more for a lot less.
They offer specialty rolls, all the familiar appetizers, like dumplings, soups, edamame, and even sake and beer to make it go down easy.
Ototo Sushi Co. – 5651 Balboa Ave – (858) 505-8700
There is a mix of dishes at this sushi restaurant.
They have everything from sushi rolls to ramen to French fries.
The latter may seem unorthodox but is highly recommended among customers.
The whole place is highly recommended mostly due to the fact that it’s a large place and has many servers and chefs that know exactly what they’re doing.
It isn’t too expensive and some people that have had bad experiences have given the place another try with better results.
So make sure you keep an open mind when you visit this establishment and enjoy the food.
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Rolled Up – 2884 4th Ave – (619) 358-9397
This isn’t a regular sushi place, but it is worth checking out if you love the stuff.
It is kind of like Chipotle in the fact that they make you burrito sized sushi rolls, with a variety of different fillings.
The fillings include all the top sushi ingredients, including fresh fish and seafood.
They also have vegetarian versions and offer a wide array of dipping sauces to choose from.
This is an exciting idea if you love sushi, but often find yourself hungry after leaving your favorite spot.
Eating at Rolled up, you will be able to get enough to eat, since there are large portions.
They also have their own fortune cookies, which have very interesting advice, and come in different flavors as well.
Visit this place when you are looking for something different, but are also craving sushi.
Sushi Diner – 7530 Mesa College Dr – (858) 565-1179
This is a small place that is worth the wait if you find yourself standing in a long line to get in.
However, you can order it to go, to save yourself some time, if you’re in a hurry.
What sets this place apart is that they have lots of reggae themed specialty rolls, including ones named after Bob Marley and most of his family.
You can also get a sushi roll boat, or a large variety of cooked dishes, which is stuff you really want like chicken teriyaki, different types of fried rice, and short ribs.
They also make Bento Boxes and have all the appetizers you are used to at your favorite sushi place.
Sushi Fish Attack – 4575 Clairemont Dr – (858) 490-0150
This place has a nice minimalistic feel to it and a little bit of kitsch inside as well.
As far as the food goes, there are lots of things to take advantage of.
First off, there is an after work happy hour, which allows you to get discounts on most of the dishes.
Another thing is that there are complimentary appetizers at times, including things like edamame.
Finally, the fish is fresh, the rolls are beautiful, and there are handmade crab wontons and dumplings, if you are looking for something cooked.
The best thing however, is that they have a fried ice cream dessert, which consists of green tea ice cream wrapped up in a pound cake and fried.
Sushi Kuchi – 2408 Northside Dr – (619) 284-8036
This restaurant is huge, with a lot of indoor seating, as well as many places to sit on the outdoor patio.
There are many dishes to choose from here, even items that are great for vegetarians, such as veggie tempura.
They also have numerous rolls, nigiri, bento boxes, and even large hand rolls.
However, the best thing about this place is that they have handmade macaron ice cream sandwiches, so you can have a little something sweet after your meal.
Moreover, everything is always gorgeous at this place, no matter what you order, so if presentation matters to you, this is a place you won’t want to miss.
Sushi Ota – 4529 Mission Bay Dr – (858)270-5670
The head sushi chef, the man this place is named after can do amazing things with virtually any type of seafood.
This includes shrimp, oysters, tuna, salmon and more.
There are shrimp dishes in this place that are so fresh that the shrimp are still moving after they have been cut up.
You get a lot of food here for a reasonable price and the place looks like a traditional sushi restaurant, so you can feel right at home.
There are also all types of rolls, including sushi and sashimi, hand rolls, lunch specials, and more.
Just remember to bring your appetite and an open mind, because their menu is extensive.
Sushi Tadokoro – 2244 San Diego Ave – (619) 297-0298
This location has so many different things that you may have trouble deciding what you want.
They make all the major types of sashimi and nigiri, and even have a special menu, depending on what they can get fresh from Japan each week.
One really cool thing is that they make handmade gyoza, or dumplings, so you can even eat some delicious cooked food while you’re there.
Besides that, they have handmade ice cream and green tea cheesecake, to end your meal just right.
The only downside is the parking in the area, so make your plans with that in mind if you want to try this place.
Sushi Yaro – 7905 Engineer Rd – (858) 560-1782
This place is referred to as a hole in the wall sushi place, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to check it out.
They have authentic sushi, but you don’t have to know Japanese to order it.
They also have ramen and a wide variety of appetizers to choose from.
They offer free extras with some dishes and have rolls that you can’t get anywhere else, which are gorgeous to look at and taste good too.
They even have happy hour specials if you want to stop in there when the place opens to see what’s up.
Tokyo Sushi Loha – 6502 El Cajon Blvd – (619) 644-8600
This place is very popular and can get quite loud, so be prepared if you are going to visit.
They have some really cool dishes though, from green tea mochi to sashimi salads, all of which can be found at a great price.
They also have specialty rolls and give out glowing rings and other items with desserts and for kids if they are dining with you.
Service is also a selling point of this restaurant because even though it’s often busy, they won’t just forget about you, they will actually check on you and make sure your meal was good.
Wa Dining OKAN – 3860 Convoy St – (858) 279-0941
This is another place you may miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
However, it has everything you could possibly want to eat.
There are lunch specials which have things like chopped beef, and other meats, to make what amounts to a large and tasty bento box if you are visiting the place for lunch.
They also make some very tasty desserts, which are very traditional, but versatile enough to be familiar, for most palates.
You can also get rice bowls, soups, and noodles of all types, and their nigiri and sashimi offerings are fresh and well-crafted.
They have reasonable prices, especially at happy hour, so you can get a lot for your money.
At the same time, this place is small, so be safe and stalk it out for a bit if you are planning to eat there, to make sure there’s a seat for you.
Now, let me turn it over to you -
...what's your favorite Sushi Restaurant in San Diego and why?
Let me know in the comments section below.
Your Sushi Insider,
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