Please help -- Need the best sushi restaurant in Orange County.
My recommendations, in order of preference:
590 W. 19th Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
IMHO, No. 1 in OC and my favorite “go to” sushi bar in SoCal. Outstanding omakase although a la carte selection is offered as well. Shibutani-san is a bone fide pioneer of sushi in California (Note: not California sushi) and a genuine grand master. All fish is prepared using traditional methods, then sliced and made to order. Naga (Glenn), his son, spent over 5 years apprenticing in Japan before dad allowed him into the shop. Naga is now the legal owner but there is no question as to who’s the boss and where the leadership and direction comes from. Mama oversees the back kitchen, plates the soups and takes care of the guests making sure your sake, beer or water doesn’t run dry. No “cutesy-sushi”, no California rolls – only the real deal served straight-up as it should be. 95%+ Japanese clientele. Very relaxed service in a traditional, low-key venue. I cannot praise them enough – think I’ll go there tonight. Worth a trip from anywhere. $$
9039 Garfield Ave.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Outstanding traditional sushi by a true grand master. Trained by, similar in style and second only to Shibucho in OC. Wonderful selection of fresh seafood, wonderfully prepared and presented by a master in a nice, slightly upscale traditional venue. Go for the omakase to maximize your experience and pleasure. Truly great. $$$
14460 Newport Avenue, Suite E
Tustin, CA 92780
Omakase only. No California roll! Excellent traditional, straightforward sushi served by the meticulous Katsu-san, a true master and graduate of the Nozawa/Nobi (Sasabune) school. They’ve been known to meet almost daily at International Fish Market at about 5:00 AM to select the day’s catch. Fish quality and freshness are top-notch. Katsu handpicks his Kumamoto oysters one at a time. Portion sizes are relatively small allowing one to enjoy the full battery of the day’s offerings. The Texas Blue Crab Hand Roll is the star of the show for me. It’s usually my craving for a couple of them that prompts my return visits. Relaxed, yet focused service in a bare-bones shop. $$
3333 Bear St., Suite 320
Costa Mesa, CA, 92626
Hamamori is located upstairs in the Crystal Court at South Coast Plaza adjacent to the bridge. Superb sushi by James of Wasa Sushi fame. Everything is exceedingly fresh and masterfully prepared and presented in a fabulous venue with a great view. Exude confidence and go for the omakase – chef’s choice and, please, don’t squeal if you see something still moving on your plate – it’s that fresh (~_^). Exceptional service – ask for James. You certainly will not be disappointed. $$
590 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627
14460 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780
9039 Garfield Ave, Fountain Valley, CA
Heartily DISAGREE with Mosun, which is in Laguna Beach. The rolls are just OK, and the attitude that goes with them is unbelievably haughty. It's places like that that scare newbies away from sushi. If you are going to try their sushi, which is really not bad (but not exceptional), I suggest tuna tataki; it's their best dish.
re: Das Ubergeek
Attitude at Mosun? I've never had a table, but the chefs at the bar have always been friendly and fun. The biggest issue for me is that it gets very crowded, so you can get a bad vibe from the crowd, especially when there is a group waiting to go to the club upstairs.
And yes, the sushi isn't exceptional, but for me it fits into the second tier for me.
My favorite is San Shi Go on Balboa Peninsula, across from the pier and near the fun zone. Sit at the bar and order Omakase. It is all I do there now, I don't even try to order unless I see something come out that looks interesting for someone else. They get a fair bit of imported seasonal fish that I don't see at other places. I have never had anything that wasn't amazing, except one time they served me some fried toro. Oh well, one misstep is excused. I expect to pay about $100pp with some sake.
Wasabi on Newport in Tustin also gets a lot of praise, and I have had great meals there, but it has been a while and there is very little ambiance.
Bluefin gets a lot of love here, but I have not been.
Hamamori is worth a shout out as well, but I think that the sushi is less a draw than some of the other Japanese dishes. I did have a pretty good meal there, but I was not blown away by the fish itself.
If you want to spend less than $100pp, I like Mosun in Newport (creative rolls), Tommy's in Tustin (ditto) and Wasa in Irvine and at the Spectrum, but none of there can compete with the ones listed above.
13124 Jamboree Rd, Irvine, CA 92602
14460 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780
Izakaya Wasa at The Spectrum
59 Fortune Dr, Irvine, CA 92618
Mosun Sushi Saki Bar & Night Club
680 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
San Shi Go Sushi and Asian Cuisine
205 Main St, Newport Beach, CA 92661
11043 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
7952 E. Pacific Coastal Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92657