With some of the best weather and most beautiful Pacific beaches in the world, San Diego is a top tourist destination for families and young singles to kick back, relax, and enjoy the epic California sunsets. San Diego is the land of eternal summers with year-round surfing, swimming, and famous outdoor attractions like Balboa Park and the world-renowned San Diego Zoo.
San Diego’s coastal location, combined with California’s epic bounty of vegetables, fruits, and avocados, makes for an amazing food scene. No cuisine showcases southern California flavors better than Japanese food. Sushi restaurants in San Diego abound, using local Pacific catches and fresh Japanese imports along with locally sourced produce to deliver California-inspired sushi creations. Our list of the best sushi restaurants in San Diego will give you a diverse sampling of traditional Japanese sushi bars, California and Japanese fusion restaurants, casual sake and soju bars, and world-class Omakase dining experiences. Read on to learn more about these popular sushi joints.
Nobu San Diego
207 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 814-4124
Perhaps the most famous sushi restaurant in the world, Nobu now has locations in the U.S, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia, and Pacific Asian countries. Nobu has also evolved into a monopoly of hospitality as there are now various Nobu Hotels. Nobu San Diego lies right on the water, its restaurant offering magnificent views of the San Diego Bay and spectacular West Coast sunsets.We recommend the tuna and Japanese red snapper sashimi as well as the yellowtail and jalapeno and spicy scallop sushi. They also have excellent vegetable rolls with sesame miso sauce and the lightest, crispiest vegetable tempura.
4529 Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
Phone: (858) 270-5047
Run and owned by Japanese Chef Kumamoto Kyushu who fell in love with San Diego’s sea urchin bounty while visiting from Japan, Sushi Ota has been serving world-class sushi since its opening in 1990. Chef Kyushu has experience working in sushi restaurants in Tokyo, Kobe, and Osaka, and his mastery of Japanese cooking goes beyond sashimi and sushi. Sushi Ota’s menu has a plethora of hot plate options as well as full entrée packages, which distinguishes it from most sushi restaurants where you tend to order multiple small plates. We recommend trying a sushi entrée that is essentially a deconstructed sushi bowl in which a large portion of sushi rice in a bowl is covered with Toro, yellowtail, salmon, shrimp, octopus, white meat fish, surf clam, and eel.
3298 Greyling Dr, San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: (858) 565-4113
Kokoro Restaurant is a small, unpretentious, casual, and affordable sushi restaurant that serves lunch and dinner and has a successful takeout service with beautiful bento boxes for their to-go orders. If you decide to dine-in, their authentic cocktail, sake, and shochu menu offers delicious drink options to accompany your meal. We recommend trying a lunch bento, namely their Japanese fried chicken bento box. If sushi is what you crave, their California rolls and Philadelphia rolls with salmon and cream cheese are both light and decadent.
2244 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: (619) 297-0298
Right across the freeway from Columbia College San Diego, tucked into a small and intimate quarter, lies Sushi Tadokoro, a hidden gem that serves delicious sushi and sashimi creations prepared in front of your eyes in their open kitchen bar. Their mission is to serve the most authentic sushi-bar style fare from an imaginative and well-thought-out menu. Consequently, we recommend choosing the Omakase experience in which the chef curates the menu and prepares his favorite dishes for you. Our favorite dishes from Sushi Tadokoro are the California sea urchin topped with ikura eggs or the grilled Hokkaido scallops.
2760 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 260-1411
Hane Sushi is located right across the street from San Diego’s famous Balboa Park, within which lies the San Diego Zoo. Chef and owner Roger Nakamura studied and cooked under the tutelage of Sushi Ota’s (another sushi restaurant on our list) owner Kumamoto Kyushu and attempted to carry on the tradition of authentic Japanese techniques while also adding a contemporary take.The plating at Hane Sushi is beautiful in its simplicity, and there are plenty of novel Japanese dishes that you won’t see on other menus. Take, for instance, the savory egg custard known as Chawan Mushi, or the Futomaki roll with egg, shitake mushroom, gourd, crab, smelt roe, gobo, and pickled radish.
2321 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 238-4760
Located in the heart of downtown San Diego’s Banker District, Azuki Sushi is a beautifully designed restaurant with contemporary yet cozy indoor and patio lounge seating to enjoy San Diego’s year-round perfect weather. Their menu changes seasonally to incorporate the freshest ingredients at the height of their flavor output. You can find traditional sushi and sashimi preparations along with more contemporary innovative dishes created by their 30-year veteran head chef. We recommend ordering the spicy albacore tuna from their raw bar for a traditional taste of high-quality fish. If you’re looking for innovation, order the “are-you-kidding-me” sushi roll that is as over the top as its name with snow crab, diver scallops, tempura asparagus all wrapped in soy paper and topped with seared tuna, white truffle oil, mixed greens, garlic ponzu, and fried leeks.
4902 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107
Phone: (619) 222-8272
If you’re looking for a unique and creative concept for dinner or happy hour, The Joint is one-of-a-kind. The Joint is a craft brewery that is both a Spanish Tapas and Sushi Bar. While you may not pair Spanish food with Japanese food, Tapas and Sushi have a similar concept in that they are a collection of small plates to enjoy with cocktails, wine, or beer. The Joint’s menu is one of the longest and most impressive we’ve seen, with countless rolls, sashimi, nigiri, and inventive small plates. We recommend the Hamachi Carpaccio with thin-sliced yellowtail sashimi, spicy ponzu, and jalapenos. They also have an especially creative veggie roll menu with specialty rolls that will make even meat-eaters drool.
4764 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: (858) 210-5056
Hidden Fish is an exclusively Omakase sushi restaurant, offering a truly special, high-end experience curated and chosen with the utmost care by a team of passionate expert chefs. Hidden Fish is a small, beautiful, and intimate dining room that seats only 12 people, and you must reserve a seat for their 90-minute Omakase experience. You can start your meal with a selection of the cold or hot Sake or imported Sapporo beer. Their fish and caviar selections are superb, with only the finest Japanese imports and fresh local catches. Signature nigiri dishes combine local and Japanese products seamlessly with toro tartare, local sea urchin, black truffle, and sturgeon caviar.
Sushi Deli 3
7986 Armour St, San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: (858) 292-5515
Sushi Deli 3 is a trendy, colorful sushi and bento restaurant and cocktail bar with a Southern California surfer vibe. Their menu items feature traditional Japanese preparations of local California flavors as well as all-American bar food with a Japanese twist. Try their spicy tuna poppers which are panko-crusted tempura fried jalapenos stuffed with spicy tuna and cream cheese. Their specialty rolls change seasonally, but a favorite summer roll is the Tropic Thunder with shrimp tempura, mango, jalapeno, gobo carrot, and fried onions topped with seaweed salad, spicy ponzu, and sesame seeds.
3964 Harney St, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: (619) 295-3272
Located in San Diego’s Old Town district, Harney Sushi’s classic California Spanish colonial-style building contains a modern, dimly lit interior dining room with a large sushi bar snaking along the far wall. Their sushi and sashimi are all about innovative combinations of fresh, locally sourced, and raw ingredients.Their cocktail and sake menus are extensive and authentically Japanese featuring house-infused soju and other spirits. For a nigiri that you won’t find anywhere else, try the Moon Dance, with sea bream, miso butterscotch, picked blackberries, vanilla salt, and chopped shiso.
2850 Womble Rd SUITE 105, San Diego, CA 92106
Phone: (619) 221-1228
Located in San Diego’s historic Liberty Station district surrounded by old buildings and blocks away from the beautiful Liberty Station Park, Ikiru Sushi is a no-frills, casual sushi spot with small plates, a great happy hour, and a family-friendly environment. Try their seared and baked rolls or their unique deep-fried rolls, which are especially decadent and rich. Our favorite seared and baked roll is the Seared Snapper roll with spicy tuna and gobo inside and topped with seared snapper, chopped ginger, cilantro, then blanched and served with hot oil and shoyu.
Saiko Sushi has two locations in San Diego; one in the Coronado Neighborhood and the other in North Park. Saiko Sushi is a sake and sushi bar with the best happy hour in San Diego. Their selection of sake is the most extensive you’ll find, with detailed descriptions of flavors and food pairings. The food menu offers traditional sushi and nigiri along with modern specialty rolls and an amazing Kitchen menu of small hot plates. While their sushi is delicious, we recommend trying their Tokyo dirty rice Kobachi with shrimp, bacon, red bell pepper, shishito, pineapple, and Thai basil, or their char siu pork belly steamed bun with pickled cabbage and hoisin.
4212 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: (858) 737-4556
Matoi is a small Omakase sushi restaurant that offers an intimate and educational dining experience. Guests can choose between three different Omakase options, from a simple 10-piece nigiri sampler to an extravagant four-course meal. While pricing might be the deciding factor in your choice of Omakase, if you can splurge, you should opt for the Oyabun Omakase that features sashimi, a grilled dish, a fried dish, a steamed dish, and nigiri, not to mention appetizers and dessert.
1030 Torrey Pines Rd G, La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: (858) 263-4463
Himitsu is a high-end, small Japanese bistro with a rustic-chic interior 9-seat sushi bar and a beautiful 20-person outdoor dining patio with modern Japanese style wood adornment and lush hanging plants. You can choose to sit indoors and watch expert chefs create veritable works of culinary art for your eating pleasure, or you can dine alfresco in an atmosphere as beautiful and vibrant as the plates the friendly staff serves you. Every item on their menu is excellent, but the Honeymoon Oysters with uni, Masago, quail egg, and ponzu are especially decadent.
Shino Sushi + Kappo
838 W Ash St, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 255-2527
Located in the heart of San Diego’s Little Italy, Shio Sushi + Kappo is a small casual dine-in or take-out restaurant with a California flare. They have all the California roll favorites along with California-inspired specials like the Shishito Poppers, panko-crusted tempura-fried shishito peppers stuffed with snow crab and scallops.
2121 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Phone: (619) 677-2220
SOICHI is a traditional Omakase Sushi restaurant named for its head chef who prepares an extensive menu of sushi, nigiri, tempura, sashimi, and pickled samplers that you can order from a menu or opt for the traditional chef’s choice sampling. SOICHI’s fish offerings all come directly from Japanese waters with a slew of combinations that you’ve likely never tried, like the triggerfish nigiri topped with triggerfish liver and garnished with green onion and spicy daikon.