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Teriyaki Chicken places in San Diego (willing to drive far)

I moved down to san diego in 2003 from seattle. I am having a tough time finding GOOD Teriyaki chicken. I miss it. Could we trade a couple taco shops to seattle for some teriyaki chicken???

Anyways, does anyone have any recs? currently i go to Kealani's in Encinitas. I went to the HULA HUT also in Mira Mesa. There rice was under cooked and the chicken was EXTREMELY greasy.


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  1. Good question!!

    I live in SD too and I can only tell you where to get BAD teryaki chicken!

    1. yes, if i wanted to open a restaurant (which i dont) a good teriyaki place would kill it down here.

      1. I haven't tried it yet (and I am also not an expert on teriyaki chicken) but somebody told me that Island Brothers Teriyaki (Encinitas) is quite good. I was quite surprised to see that they have more or less only three dishes on their menu (chicken teriyaki, steak teriyaki and a combi) and exist now for more than 10 years. If you have so few menu items I expect that you should be quite good in preparing them. Anybody has any experience with them ?


        2 Replies
        1. re: honkman

          Nice job honkman,
          After checking out the link you provided I am compelled to try that place.

          1. re: Captain Jack

            Tried Island Brothers a few years back - it was pretty good. Nicely balanced sauce.

        2. WoW! that review sure makes it sound good. we shall see how they stack up. thanks honkman.

          1. I really like the teriyaki chicken (and a lot of other things) at the Samurai Restaurant in Solana Beach.

            1. You might try this. I've only been to the Oceanside location, so I can't vouch for Clairemont Mesa:


              Incidentally, if you like noodles, they make their own. Tasty!

              1. i tried island brothers. not as good as kealani's.. i appreciate the rec though. my girl told me da kine's is delish. i might have to check it out.

                i am addicted to teriyaki chicken as one could tell.

                1 Reply
                1. re: long_ballers

                  As said above I am really not an expert on teriyaki chicken so I am curious what is necessary for a great teriyaki chicken.

                2. The Teriyaki Sauce at Teriyaki Cowboy is more "Japanese" style - that would be less sweet. Usually with only a few ingredients, like Shoyu-mirin-sake. Also, many Japanese style restaurants may even use the sauce as only "tare".

                  Sounds like "long ballers" is looking for "American" style teriyaki which tends to be much more sweet - that's why He enjoys Kealani's, which is the type of teriyaki sauce I grew up with, more on the sweet side.

                  One of the things that makes Teriyaki Cowboy attractive is the price. Very reasonable prices for decent food, that approaches almost home-made. I much rather visit Teriyaki Cowboy than Ichiban, though we used to enjoy Yoshino's on Washington, until they changed ownership a few years back. We went once after that change and never went back, but I've heard recently that they are still pretty good.

                  1. it would be nice to have the choice of chicken breast versus just the thigh. it is a little more healthy. i dont like my stuff drenched in sauce either. should be pretty thinly sliced, and have lots of meat. grilled of course with marks.

                    2 scoops of sticky rice. and either a cucumber salad, or mac salad on the side. sounds easy enough.... but you wouldnt be able to tell by some of the places out there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: long_ballers

                      Tajima on Convoy St. in Kearny Mesa has good chicken teriyaki. I don't normally order that item, but I had a bite of my friends. It was very tasty, and not drowning in sauce.

                    2. I'm dying of laughter right now, how did I know you were from Seattle. I moved here two years ago and thought the same thing. All of us PacNWers are alike...we want our teriyaki!!! It's healthy, fast, yummy and affordable. I've yet to find a good place here. I consider opening a place all the time, but I honestly think people here just dont like it or something.

                      1. Yes, about the only think i do miss in seattle is the teriyaki chicken. they are everywhere there. Sansei or teriyaki madness in Kirkland were my favorites.

                        I am 100% positive a good teriyaki place would do really well here ... its just a matter of whether you want to run it or not. Ill leave that up to you. Let me know when it opens!

                        1. That's funny, I like teriyaki chicken, at least in theory - but I never order it because most of what you get around here is dreck. It's usually cold, dried out and drenched in overly sweet sticky sauce. They sell a lot of it at Sushi Deli Too downtown, both in bowls and bento boxes - but I dont know if it's any good, since I haven't tried it, might be worth a shot though.

                          1. you guys should try Flame Broiler... it's very American style owned by Korean place... but in the recent years the prices have gone up and the portion size down... I use to go to the one in the La Jolla Shopping plaza maybe 3 times a month when I lived there, and I'm pretty sure there are other locations, one just opened up here in Valencia.

                            1. since it seems like you are around north county coastal, so i'd recommend samurai sam's (its a chain, but good) located in the costa verde mall across the street from UTC.... there you have a choice of all white meat, all dark meat or combination...

                              in encinitas/solana beach on the 101 is teriyaki 101, which is pretty good.... http://entertainment.signonsandiego.c...

                              as mentioned already island brothers in encinitas...

                              i'm not a teriyaki expert.... but this is what is around san diego and these are ok places to me for teriyaki.... happy hunting

                              ps... there is a sansei in carlbad factory outlet mall and also one in mission valley (not sure if its the same as the seattle sansei mentioned in an earlier post)

                              1. I have to disagree about Samurai Sam... it tastes like the chicken was soaking in a salt brine and their sauce is too sweet. It's almost like an even more Americanized Yoshinoyas

                                1. I know your pain. Whenever I go back to Seattle, I eat teriyaki almost every day and then complain about our selection upon return.
                                  I second Island Brothers. It's very different from Seattle teriyaki, but the meat has a nice char (not characteristic around here), the sauce isn't overly sweet, and the rice is nicely done. The beef has a good ginger-based marinade that I find unique. Their menu has only 3 or 4 options, so they do little and they do it right.

                                  1. In case you all missed it, from the current issue of the SD Reader --


                                    Looks like there might me a new entry into your Chicken Teriyaki derby. Have no clue if this place is good, bad or indifferent.