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Oct 19, 2011 03:58 PM

Toshi-San Sushi and Shabu-Shabu - secret spot?

Full Review with Pictures:

I think this may be one of the best kept "secrets" in SD, why a secret? I've only seen one recommendation for Toshi-san here:

When my friend and I visited the place was virtually empty. We sat at the bar but still went with menu options. Given the success, and our friendly itamae, I would love to go back and order omakase.


Ankimo or monkfish liver was on special that evening. Delicate with only a slight oceanic taste. This version was about as good as any I’ve had, so much that I probably could have done without the additional ponzu, daikon, and scallion accouterments.

Sushi Combo B - Ebi, Hottate, Uni, Unagi, Sake, Hamachi, Maguro, Tai (also includes tuna roll


Another reason Toshi-San is such a gem is the generous portion sizes. Though the platters consisted of fairly standard pieces, the cuts were enormous. Further, every piece was at the very least “quality” with quite a few standouts.

Spicy Lobster Hand Roll

I’m not generally a spicy-roll type of guy, but when I made an exception for the lobster hand roll that was on special. I’m glad I did, the thing was absolutely loaded with chunks of sweet lobster in a mildly spiced Kewpie mayo based sauce. I don’t care how much of a traditionalist you are when it comes to sushi, if it’s there when you visit, don’t think – order.

I have no idea why Toshi-San isn’t talked about more often, but there’s no reason for me to keep their name under wraps any longer. They’re not quite Kaito (few are) but they are far above comparable places. I’m curious to hear what other sushi fans in the area think

Toshi-San Sushi & Shabu-Shabu
7614 Fay Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037

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  1. Nice. I'll have to check it out when I get the chance.

    1. do they still have their HH AYCE?

      1. Glad you like Toshi's Rod. I've always had great experiences there, its just too bad it can be a pain in the neck to get to if there is even lite traffic. Try the lobster dinner next time. They'll bring out a monster and cook it 3 ways for you. Since its local season for it, you'll get a great experience.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mjill

          Agreed, I had some good meals there but the location is too out of the ways if you're not a local.

        2. Did you have reservations for the bar? We've been there when there's 2 people at the bar all night and they refuse to seat us there without reservations. Toshi was one of Ota's chefs who went out on his own and is an excellent sushi chef. He is undermined by his staff though. The waitresses there can be oblivious and almost hostile and I've noticed there are less and less people there. Sushi is good there as is shabu shabu but the service and attitude has driven us away.

          1 Reply
          1. re: keena

            Daantaat - I see HH listed on the site but no information.

            Mjill - thanks again for the original rec, this place, definitely deserves consideration for one of the better spots in SD

            Keena - I did make reservations for the bar, when we arrived they initially forgot and tried to sit us at a table. I had to remind them before we were sat there. I didn't think the staff was great, we waited awhile for drinks and then initial menus - but it was less of an issue because Toshi took very good care of us.

          2. When I returned to SD 5 years ago, I spent a lot of time searching for a good sushi joint. I did not realize how spoiled I was in Santa Barbara.
            Toshi-San was my first triple digit sushi bill in San Diego, and yes, that included a trip to Sushi Ota. I love going there, and usually just order off the board.