Sushi in San Diego

I was in San Diego last week and realized that it has been twenty years since I moved down there for graduate school. How time flies and how things have changed. Twenty years ago I didn’t eat sushi. Back then, I even had a part-time job as a waitress at a restaurant called Sushi-Ya. As an employee, I had the benefit of half-off, but used it for teriyaki, not sushi. I wish I could use that benefit today, because I eat a lot of sushi now.

My friend recommended Sushi Ota, so I made reservations for two at the sushi bar. With good sushi places, my friend and I have been experiencing omakase meals. We were a little disappointed in the omakase, but we were served some amazing sushi worth talking about.

We had a global trio of sashimi. The uni is local from San Diego, the amberjack came from Japan, and the toro came from Spain. The uni was so sweet and fresh and beautifully set on a half shell. I have never seen such oily looking toro which put a smile on my face. The generous portion was mouth watering.

We were served quite a few nigiri. I can’t ever recall having salmon belly nigiri, definitely not one that looked long and skinny like this. I had higher expectations for this interesting looking nigiri.

The golden eye snapper nigiri was lightly seared with sea salt and citrus. I enjoyed this one a lot.

My friend thought it was awkward that we were given toro and uni nigiri when we had it as sashimi in the beginning. I didn’t mind at all because they ended up being my favorites of the evening and I believe they are the most expensive.


Another beautiful nigiri was the tuna. I’m not normally a fan of red tuna, but this one had been marinated in soy and served with a Japanese pepper.

The omakase included a lot more than I am showing above, but I don’t recommend going to Sushi Ota for the omakase. I would order a la carte in the future.

I had seen some unagi being served so decided to order an additional unagi hand roll. Everything about the hand roll was perfectly delicious including the freshly roasted seaweed. This is one of the best I have had.

For those who live or frequent San Diego and enjoy Sushi, add Sushi Ota to your repertoire. You will get high quality fresh fish. And ask for Kaz as in Be”cause”. He was a friendly guy and a great sushi chef.