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“Fresh but lacking creativity ”
Review of Sushi Ota

Sushi Ota
Ranked #10 of 5,204 Restaurants in San Diego
Price range: $10 - $100
Cuisines: Sushi, Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Romantic, Large groups
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Neighborhood: Pacific Beach
Reviewed June 21, 2016 via mobile

Sushi was very fresh. Service was great and fast but the need for reservations did not live up to the expectations. There was nothing unique about the rolls or environment. Glad we tried it because I would have wondered but wouldn't go back

Date of visit: June 2016
Thank Shawnie0084
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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270 - 274 of 860 reviews

Reviewed June 17, 2016

Call a week early if you want to sit at the sushi bar, otherwise still call early for a table reservation. Mr. Ota is the owner and top sushi chef. He and his team greet you as you arrive and depart. In between, they provide top quality sushi, sashimi, rolls, and specialties. We love their BBQ eel and miso sea bass.I hear that their giant clam is fabulous, but I'm not a fan of giant clam.... I'd rely on my friends' recommendations, though. The miso soup is fabulous, and their sushi is so fresh and delicious. If you like sushi, this is your best choice in San Diego. The surrounding buildings and area are very humble, as the restauarant is next to a 7-11, and parking is sometimes tough to find so plan to arrive early enough to secure a spot. If you haven't made a reservation, then show up 15 minutes or so before Sushi Ota opens and join the line of customers hoping to get a table on the spot. My husband lived in Japan for three years and he will only go to Sushi Ota in San Diego..... no other sushi restauarant compares to Tokyo.

Date of visit: May 2016
    • Value
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Thank 2beans2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2016

after many people recommended this sushi spot, we had to check it out. We were not disappointed. VERY
FRESH fish, great rolls, amazing sushi and very fair and reasonable prices for the quality of food served.

Date of visit: June 2016
Thank FHANDS
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2016

A Japanese friend of mine once told me that it is possible to judge the quality of a Japanese restaurant by tasting one dish: chawanmushi. Chawanmushi is an egg custard which consists on an egg mixture flavored with mirin, soy sauce, dashi and that contains shiitake mushrooms, ginko, boiled shrimp and more, all served hot in a tea-cup container. The reasoning goes that, while this dish looks deceivingly simple to prepare, it is actually very easy to screw it up and only a cook with skills and a passion for perfection can really achieve the highest levels in making chawanmushi.

Remembering this warning by my old friend and finding chawanmushi available on the menu, we immediately ordered it. Wow, it was great! If my friend told me the truth then I was in for a treat. And a treat it was. Perhaps, one of the two or three best sushi experiences I have ever had in a long career patronizing restaurants.

LOCATION: B-. Sorry, I am not fond of restaurants that are located in some small mall and that are even difficult to spot. Parking is not the easiest and the little mall hosting a 7-11 is not the best bet to find a spot. But, luckily they have extra space in the back, although it is not easy to know if you go there for the first time.

AMBIENCE: B+. It is smallish, but vibrant. It looks busy, but in a good way. There is never a doubt that the main reason to eat here is a passion for sushi or sashimi. Nobody comes here for the upscale ambience or to swoosh a date with a luxury environment. No, this is a temple for food. And one had better to like sushi. Those seriously into sushi should sit at the counter where all the preparations are made.

PERSONNEL: A. Very friendly waitresses (maybe they have waiters too, but we were attended by waitresses only). Attention to details was excellent. Nobody’s cup was ever without tea during our 2 hour meal. Often at Japanese restaurant one experiences a cold cordiality which seems a little bit of an oxymoron, but I believe it comes close to the truth. Our waitress was able to explain the dishes, the preparation, the ingredients. I read reviews where they claim otherwise, but my experience was excellent.

MENU’: A. Quite extensive, although they had already run out of a few items by the time we sat at our table. Not a major drawback. Normally, I like to order omakase, meaning that I let the chef concoct a dish for me based on what he fancies at the moment (or sometimes, perhaps, what is still available) given a certain price range. But this time, with two friends we decided to try almost every type of sashimi.
I am very fond of sea urchin (uni, in Japanese) and I order it pretty much at every sushi place I happen to be. This was arguably the freshest I have always been served, and it was fantastic. So much so that we all agreed we had to double our order. Giant clam, or mirugai is another weakness of mine and this dish was very well done too, although I have had similar level of execution before. The eels was also quite good. The Spanish mackerel was, again, excellent, I am more used to the normal mackerel, but this presented a chance to try a variation of the taste of mackerel. I liked it, but perhaps, even if I agree on the higher quality of the spanish mackerel, I still prefer the more traditional one. The fresh octopus sashimi was superb and so was the salmon belly sashimi. The salmon belly sashimi was a revelation as, usually, I am not too fond of salmon served this way. Ota might have converted me.
We also tried several rolls as we wanted to test what is usually consider the cheap way to sushi. Actually, we were, once more, suprised and in a positive way. The soft crab one was extremely delicate and tasty. We also tried a couple of more “commercial” rolls and even if these were less intriguing than the other items we tasted, they were definitely way better than what one can try at most lower establishments. The miso cod was again a treat.
Basically, everything we tried let us satisfied. Great performance.

BEVERAGES. A- If you are into sake, then you are lucky. And there is no doubt that sake and sushi go well together. But that makes the meal very expensive too. Some people might be like me and, while they appreciate a good sake, sometimes, in particular if I try many different dishes, I am not always happy with one kind of sake, but ordering several glasses of sake can make the meal extremely expensive. Some might say that I am perhaps a philistine, still occasionally I am not ashamed to say that I enjoy some glass of beer with my fish. The choice of beer was not really great.

VALUE: A. There is no way around it: sushi restaurants are expensive, unless you settle for some kind of rolls where one fills up on rice mostly. However, Sushi Ota, has a good ratio price/quality. You can try Nobu in Malibu (now they have a branch in San Diego too, I believe) and Urasawa on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, for instance, and while both those establishments are top notch, you will pay a lot more for what I consider a very similar quality. Our meal for three was around $270 (no sake, but ordered plenty of dishes).

Date of visit: June 2016
    • Value
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1  Thank Maurizio T
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2016

This is by far the best Sushi spot in San Diego. My wife took me here for my birthday and it was fantastic. I had not been here in quite awhile and was not sure if it would be as good as I remembered... and yes, yes it was. Every single thing we had melted in our mouth, from the live shrimp to the monk fish liver. I did not order a single thing which I would not order again, the chefs recommendations were great, he recommended striped jack and young snapper and both were like butter.

If you have not been here you are missing out, remember to make a reservation though, if you want a friday/saturday reservation anywhere close to dinner time (at the bar) you will need to reserve around 3 weeks out, or you will end up with only real late spots left. For a table you can usually get away with a few days out.

Again, come here

Date of visit: June 2016
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank JasonN958
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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