In Japanese sushi culture, “omakase” means “I leave it up to you.” And that’s exactly what we did when we asked our readers and Instagram followers to vote on the best sushi restaurants in San Diego. Combine expertly sourced ingredients with internationally trained chefs, and you’ll understand why all San Diegan sushi lovers have their go-to spot.
It's not all about California burritos in San Diego, our proximity to the ocean gives us a leg up on continuous access to freshly caught local seafood. From unassuming holes in the wall to Michelin Star earners, we can’t argue that our stellar sushi scene offers a little something for everyone.
Many of these restaurants are small in size and high in demand, so we recommend making a reservation.
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Sushi Ota (104 votes)
It may look like an unsuspecting strip mall joint, but Sushi Ota is well known for its exceptionally fresh ingredients and traditionally prepared Japanese food.
Local enthusiasts come here for the consistently rich and buttery uni or the symphony of flavors packed into the popular Black Pepper Scallop roll. Pair either with a choice from their extensive range of hot and cold sake options. The aesthetic might be down to earth – but don’t be fooled – the sushi is out of this world. You can park in the shared lot onsite.
Sushi Deli (57 votes)
Sushi Deli keeps fans coming back with it’s consistent quality and affordable pricing. Get the most bang for your buck with their sake and draft beer specials or their highly anticipated bento box of the month. Don’t leave without ordering the Sushi Deli Fries decadently topped with crab surimi, spicy mayo, dynamite sauce, katsu sauce, and pico de gallo.
The vibe inside is low-key with artistic Japanese decor. Check both of their locations, Sushi Deli 1in Hillcrest and Sushi Deli 3 in Kearny Mesa, for happy hour menus and specials. And be prepared for street parking.
Harney Sushi (54 votes)
Who doesn’t like dinner and a show? Harney Sushi is serving up high-quality, sustainably sourced fish while a live DJ ignites the jams from hip-hop to reggae six days a week. Handcrafted cocktails, a variety of sake, beer, and wine choices make this the ideal spot for a deliciously entertaining night out with friends.
Try the Katsu Chicken made with fried chicken thigh, house katsu sauce, and steamed rice or another favored dish, Javier’s ceviche. Both locations, Poway and Old Town, are dimly lit and funky in style, with bar and table seating. Find street parking and paid lots close by.
Azuki Sushi (34 votes)
Azuki puts decades of experience to work experimenting with their menu and creating an elevated sushi journey for their visitors one course at a time. This Bankers Hill hidden gem sources its fish both locally and through the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Sit at the bar and order the freshest flavors of the day with the chef’s selection of nigiri or sashimi prepared in front of you using a modern approach to the rich traditions of Japanese cooking.
Choose from a multitude of Japanese whiskeys and specialty rolls like the R U Kidding Me roll with blue crab, diver scallops, tempura asparagus wrapped in soy paper topped with seared tuna, white truffle oil, mixed greens, garlic ponzu, and flash-fried leeks. There is both indoor and outdoor seating in this sleek and modern Japanese-style boutique restaurant. Make plans in advance to find street parking.
Little Sakana (29 votes)
Little Sakana makes trying a little bit of everything easy to do with their all-you-can-eat sushi option for a flat price. Everything is made to order, from appetizers to rolls to nigiri. Specialty rolls are even more special when they’re baked or deep fried, like the Star Wars roll filled with krab, avocado, jalapeno, and cream cheese, then topped with eel sauce and spicy mayo.
If you don’t have a big appetite, don’t worry, there’s a small a la carte menu as well. Order draft beer and cocktails like the Twisted Thai Tea either single or by the pitcher. Modern-style seating is available both indoors and outdoors. Both Mira Mesa & South Bay locations offer lot parking.
Soichi Sushi (25 votes)
Fresh sea-to-table ingredients and carefully designed presentations are what earned Soichi Sushi its 2021 Michelin Star with an omakase experience sushi lovers won’t want to miss. Sit at the bar in the center of this University Heights restaurant to savor an eight-course meal expertly prepared for optimum taste, texture, and temperature, before it’s presented to you by the chef. Learn about the ingredients, where they’re from, and how to eat each piece, then finish up with some roasted sesame or green tea house-made ice cream.
They also offer a variety of a la carte options, including appetizers, sashimi, rolls, and tempura. Choose from their elevated sake selection, wine, Japanese beer, or soft drinks. Find street parking nearby.
Sushi Diner (20 votes)
Don’t worry, be happy at the Jamaican-inspired Sushi Diner in Grantville. Bob Marley posters, surfboards hanging overhead, and some thatch roofing decor make this place feel more like a tiki bar than a sushi restaurant.
They’ve got your typical sushi fare, specialty rolls, and some standout dishes like Homemade Japanese Potatoe Salad and BBQ Short Rib Kalbi. You can count on getting the value out of their lunch and happy hour specials like buy one, get one for $2 sake. Onsite parking is available in the plaza lot.
Himitsu (19 votes)
Himitsu provides a cozy and earthy ambiance, with greenery draped from the ceiling, in which to serve it’s refreshing sushi creations. If you’re seated at the bar, you can watch the chef do their thing, preparing any of the sushi or sashimi selections on their carefully curated menu.
The Rib-eye Katsu Sando is a must-try with breaded certified rare Angus beef, au jus, cabbage, and ginger dressing. La Jolla’s weather can be hard to beat, so if it's nice out, they may open the half wall of windows up to the outside to let the crisp air and sunshine in while you dine. Find parking in the small lot or on the street.
Ken Sushi Workshop (17 votes)
San Diegans obsess over the top-notch sushi experience at Ken Sushi workshop in Carmel Valley. Expect sophisticated melt-in-your-mouth bites with intentionally balanced flavor and texture.
We recommend starting with the crunchy and savory Crispy Rice Tuna, then wrapping up with the refreshing lychee sorbet. The chef makes this omakase experience engaging and memorable, infusing every piece that's prepared with great pride. Regulars say it’s worth the price. Lot parking makes this sushi destination convenient.
Hidden Fish (14 votes)
You might be impressed by the minimal modern design of this exclusive Kearny Mesa restaurant seating no more than 12, but believe us when we say their seafood delicacies are anything but simple. Ingredients are sourced from suppliers around the globe, including Japan’s Toyosu Fish Market, to be prepared in front of you.
Try the mouth-watering O Toro or Signature Nigiri topped with uni, black truffle, and sturgeon caviar. No worries, if you’re still hungry for more after omakase, you can order a la carte from the menu. Sip on your choice of wine, beer, or tea options throughout your multi-course journey. Another sushi experience that has returning visitors saying it’s worth the price. You can find parking in the small plaza lot.