There’s more to Bang Bang than just the gigantic disco ball, and notorious Ryan Gosling ladies’ room. Expect a great selection of nigiri, sashimi, and a list of specialty rolls like Hello Kitty (spicy tuna, shrimp tempura, avocado in a pink soy paper topped with bay scallops, tempura flakes, chili aioli, and eel sauce). If you don’t like your Bruce Lee roll with a side of party, you can always mellow out in the sushi room.
How to book: Reservations can be made online. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.
Check out Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi Bar in Carlsbad, and their sister restaurant, Blue Ocean | Harumama in La Jolla when you’re looking to try something a little unexpected. At Carlsbad, try skewered meats and veggies cooked on a robata grill with an omakase box, some unique specialty rolls, or a number of plant-based options. Their bar holds a selection of Japanese whisky, sake, a craft cocktail list, and a few sake bomb options, one of which is made with 151. At the La Jolla spot, pair your sushi with some of Hamurama’s adorable character buns in sweet and savory options, or folded bao bao buns stuffed with soft-shell crab, pork belly, or karaage chicken.
How to book: Seating is on a first-come basis. Order online from your location for takeout or delivery.
A lot of our favorite sushi bars are on the small side, so when your tribe gets a craving, it’s tough to find a place that can seat the whole gang together. Cloak & Petal has you covered—it’s designed with group dining in mind. Host visiting family under C&P’s iconic cherry blossom tree in the main dining room or grab your pals and hit happy hour in its new speakeasy concept area, Shibuya Nights, for $12 specialty cocktails and select rolls, including decidedly non-traditional faves like Face It, You’re Basic (panko shrimp, avocado, krab, tempura crunchy flakes, spicy aioli, sweet soy sauce reduction) or Cesar Chavez (shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, black pepper, tuna, charred jalapeño ponzu, cilantro, habanero). It’s open later than most places, closing at 11 pm Sunday-Thursday and 1 am Friday-Saturday (the kitchen shuts down a half-hour before).
How to book: Book tables for up to six online. For larger groups, call the restaurant directly at 619-501-5505.
Harney has been serving sustainable sushi to San Diegans for well over a decade—they can tell you exactly where every piece of their seafood originates. Both locations have a dimly lit bar vibe with a daily food-and-drink happy hour, in addition to a late-night social hour and live music several nights a week at the Old Town spot.
How to book: Reservations can be made via Yelp for Old Town and Oceanside. Walk-ins are accepted at both locations if seating is available. Order online from Old Town or Oceanside takeout or delivery.
Tucked into the long corridors of The Quarter in Liberty Station’s, this tiny shop consistently turns out some of the finest, freshest nigiri in the city, as well as colorful, inventive rolls, which come fresh, seared, baked, or deep fried. We love the Poke Roll; spicy tuna, cucumber and gobo inside, tuna, salmon, hamachi and whitefish mixed with garlic, scallions, sesame and sesame oil on the outside, or the Panko Special Deep Fried Roll, stuffed with tuna, shrimp tempura, masago, gobo, and avocado inside, and lots of crunchy panko and a drizzle of eel sauce on top. Before you order, be sure to check out the chalkboard for specials, which features special fresh catch delicacies that aren’t on the regular menu. The restaurant itself is small, but there’s plenty of outdoor tables on the promenade to enjoy takeout.
How to book: Seating is on a first-come basis. Stop in or call 619-221-1228 for takeout.
In true OB fashion, The Joint is doing something a little different—serving a long list of legit sushi and specialty rolls in addition to a tapas menu that has absolutely nothing to do with Asian fare. No matter what kind of sushi you like, you’d be hard pressed not to find something you love on their list—like the tuna poke or the Bomb-A-Licious roll full of spicy crab and tempura shishito peppers topped with hamachi, avocado, micro cilantro, habañero, masago, and cilantro pepper sauce.
How to book: Reservations can be made online. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available. Order takeout or delivery online.