A cozy Asian eatery, Teriyaki Grill serves up all-natural cuisine without unexpected extras such as MSG and unappetizing additives. Step up to the counter to order spicy teriyaki chicken nestled in a boxed bento ($7.50) or bowl ($5.99), or put hand shovels to work by digging into a juicy teriyaki burger and fries ($5.99). The seared tuna salad keeps meals just shy of raw ($9), and a classic barbecue-pork banh mi sandwich swaddles barbecue pork, jalapeño, sour carrots, and white radish in a crispy baguette for stomach snuggling ($3.50, $6 for a foot long). Sip on potables such as sweet Vietnamese iced coffee ($1.99) and Japanese soda ($1.99) to prep mouths for a main sweet-tooth event of mochi ice cream ($2.99 for three).
Raku unites authentic Japanese cuisine with the Spanish tradition of shareable tapas, crafting traditional eastern ingredients such as quail eggs, octopus, and seaweed into artistic, bite-sized presentations. Chefs specialize in robata, skewers of spiced meats grilled over specialty binchotan charcoal, which burns at up to 1,000 degrees to lock in flavor and provide an effective threat for mouthy paper lanterns. The bilingual staff can take orders in both English and Japanese, and complement bites with pours of imported Japanese beers and sakes.
At Tony's Sushi, guests feast on delicate plates of Japanese cuisine, ranging from sashimi and nigiri to steaming servings of chicken katsu curry and udon soup. The chefs concoct inventive rolls, such as the tempura shrimp Manager roll and the fried calamari and spicy tuna Alaska roll, to complement an array of classics. They stray from the conventional with oven-baked rolls, which they stuff with yellowtail, salmon, or crab and dare to omit adding the traditional requirement for oven-baked cuisine—pie crust.
Diners at Nara Sushi sample not only handmade maki and sashimi, but also fried katsu, crispy tempura, and flavorful Korean noodle dishes. Like an artwork meticulously rendered with eel sauce, each maki roll is both aesthetically pleasing and delicious, with slivers of tender salmon and tuna, creamy avocado, and notes of crunchy tempura and cucumber. Feasts kick off with appetizers of grilled white tuna or battered seafood butteryaki, which nicely set the stage for main dishes of beef and egg bibimbop.
This favored sushi restaurant in Pacific Beach has a strong following of devoted fans who enjoy high-quality fish and Zen 5 Sushi’s inviting ambiance. Reggae music filters through the room, lending a nice beat as servers and sushi chefs dish out beautiful Japanese-style cuisine. Ambient lighting, colorful lanterns and pretty woodwork add to the appeal, and guests can tuck into black-padded booths or sit at the L-shaped sushi bar, where fun and flavor is at hand. Zen 5 stands out for its extensive roll menu, with more than 40 creative combinations that range from restrained to absolutely wild. Whether you’re craving sashimi or sushi rolls, spicy calamari, seafood tempura, salmon teriyaki, teppanyaki or bento boxes, the expansive menu has a dish that will excite your taste buds. And, as always, the mochi ice cream bon bons cap the meal perfectly.
Following the success of their flagship restaurant in Oceanside, Love Boat Sushi expanded into Fashion Valley, San Marcos and onto Rancho Bernardo Road in 2009. At Love Boat, the fish is fresh and the ambiance buoyant with energy, with friendly sushi chefs adding to the high spirits. Diners looking to go big should order their eponymous Love Boat sushi dish, a plate overloaded with California rolls, tempura, spicy tuna, steak and chicken teriyaki and plenty of sushi and sashimi. Other local favorite rolls include the Hotty Hotty, Chef’s Specialty and Albacore Delight. For around $10, lunchers tend to opt for the quick-service combos, complete with sushi, tempura or teriyaki, with soup and salad on the side.