Restaurant, Reviews

Sushi Ota

sushi ota

In 1982 Chef Ota came to San Diego from Japan and was introduced to the local sea urchin. He claimed it was the best sea urchin he had ever had- so good in fact that it changed his life. He decided to stay in San Diego and opened Sushi Ota in 1990. Ever since it’s been one of the most popular, highly rated sushi restaurants in San Diego.

For Valentine’s Day Bryce and I decided it was finally time to try Sushi Ota and see if it really lived up to the hype as the “best sushi in San Diego”.

I read on Yelp to ALWAYS make a reservation for Sushi Ota and I’m glad I did. We got to the restaurant at 8:00 pm on a Friday and it was PACKED! We were very warmly greeted and actually seated 15 minutes before our reservation.

The restaurant is small and intimate so be ready to sit pretty close to others. If this bothers you simply don’t go during prime hours. Personally, I love sitting near other people to see all the food they order..yes I’m that creep staring down your food as it comes out.

The Meal:

We started off with Drinks (obviously). They have a very large selection of wine and beer- cheers to that! Bryce always loves to get a Japanese brand beer like a Kirin or Sapporo and I stuck to the typical white wine.


For an Appetizer we ordered the fried calamari and honestly it was the best calamari I’ve ever had! It was so flavorful and was a very generous portion for only $5. I still don’t know what that dipping sauce was but it was what really took this appetizer to the next level.


The menu was a little bit overwhelming…really we just wanted to try as much sushi as possible. So we decided to narrow things down and start by looking at the Nigiri. We got the Salmon Belly, Mackerel and Eel. I’ve never tasted such fresh and flavorful fish in my life- I loved the Salmon Belly so much we had to order more.

Salmon Belly




Next we wanted to get a couple Rolls. We ordered a California Roll (why not), Rainbow Roll which is a California Roll with 6 different kinds of fish on top and then the Black Pepper Scallop Roll which had shrimp tempura, tuna and avocado inside and was topped with scallops, jalapeno, mayo, eel sauce, black pepper and tempura flakes! I highly recommend the Black Pepper Scallop Roll, it was unlike anything I’d ever tasted before.

Rainbow Roll



Black Pepper Scallop Roll (seriously, the picture doesn’t do it justice)


And to complete our feast we had to order a few Hand Rolls. Bryce and I each got a Spicy Scallop Hand Roll and then 1 Eel Hand Roll.  Just look at all this sushi…serious sushi heaven!


So, to answer the question if Sushi Ota lives up to the hype?

YES YES YES 100% YES! There is a reason Sushi Ota has such a wonderful reputation. This is authentic, fresh, delicious sushi that yes you pay a little bit more for but it’s worth every single penny. The portions are extremely generous and the service was quick and attentive. 5 stars in my book!

I honestly don’t know if I can eat sushi anywhere else after this experience. It was THAT GOOD!

This restaurant is a must try! If you live in San Diego call and make a reservation right now and if you don’t put Sushi Ota on your list of places you MUST TRY!


For more information about Sushi Ota:

Their website:


sushi ota

Your Turn,

Have you tried Sushi Ota?

What’s your favorite sushi restaurant in San Diego?

Not from San Diego, what’s your favorite sushi restaurant in your town? I need to take note if I ever visit!







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  • Reply Kellen February 17, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I haven’t tried this place yet but it’s on my list! My mom’s boyfriend grew up in San Diego and to this day says this is his favorite sushi spot ever! And that Black Pepper Scallop Roll…OMG. Drooling.
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    • Reply Diana Becker February 17, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Bryce and I always ask sushi chefs at restaurants where they eat sushi when they aren’t working and all of them say Sushi Ota. I didn’t believe it would actually be THAT GOOD but WOW I was so impressed.. You and Sean need to go ASAP 🙂

  • Reply Crystal Escobar February 17, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I love this post so much!!!!

    • Reply Diana Becker February 17, 2016 at 9:19 am

      Thank you! Have you tried Sushi Ota Crystal?

  • Reply Amanda @ Exploring Life & Things February 17, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Sushi is one of my favorite foods and ahh all these pictures make me want it so bad right now haha. There’s this place in Iowa (if you ever come here! haha) that has awesome sushi. My favorite is the coconut shrimp roll!

    • Reply Diana Becker February 17, 2016 at 10:16 am

      What’s the place in Iowa called? I’m crazy and serious have lists going for all restaurant recommendations in every state!

  • Reply rachel @ athletic avocado February 17, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    This is why I need to go back to san diego…….PRONTO!
    rachel @ athletic avocado recently posted…Paleo Carrot Cake Monkey Bread MuffinsMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker February 17, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      Sushi, sunshine…I can’t complain 🙂

  • Reply Embroidery Blog May 2, 2016 at 5:38 am

    It looks so good! I can’t wait to try it 😀 Many thanks for sharing with us.

    • Reply Diana Becker May 2, 2016 at 9:31 am

      Oh you must try it if you’re ever in San Diego!

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