Japanese Restaurants in Rancho Santa Margarita

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Crafted from fresh ingredients such as bigeye tuna, albacore, and quail eggs, Shinkou Sushi's hand-rolled delicacies treat palates to hearty bites of authentic Japanese flavor. An extensive menu beckons diners to choose from sashimi supplied in half dozens, hand and cut maki rolls, and more than 10 sushi combos. After choosing their wrap or rice preferences, customers can build their own rolls from ingredients such as hamachi, imitation crab, and radish sprout, or sample more than 15 specials, including a las vegas roll dispensed directly from the restaurant’s slot machine. Visitors seeking nonraw alternatives can savor one of Shinkou Sushi's many appetizers, salads, and rice bowls, all of which can pair with bottles of sake. In addition to biweekly happy hours, Shinkou Sushi grants free delivery of both cuisine and drinks to patrons ordering $25 minimums within a designated 3-mile area.

24881 Alicia Pkwy
Laguna Hills,
CA
US

The same master chef has captained the sushi bar at Sushi Kawa Sports Bar & Grill for more than a decade, folding fresh scallop, tuna, and salmon into a sweeping array of colorful specialty rolls. As he works, a team of kitchen chefs whips up tender teriyaki dishes, flavorful Japanese curries, and simmering udon-noodle soups. Diners await their meals out in the sleek bar area, sipping on specialty cocktails and sharing giant towers of draft beers beneath the glimmer of widescreen TVs. Twice a month, a live guitarist appears on the scene and fills the room with the melodies of classic-rock, jazz, and country tunes.

469 Magnolia Ave, Ste 101
Corona,
CA
US

Sushi Yun's menu opens up to reveal more than 40 specialty rolls along with nigiri and sashimi. Patrons can dine in or take out classic rolls such as the salmon tempura roll or the boston roll, which is flown in daily because it only grows properly in the fields of its namesake city. Guests can sit at the bar and keep watch over spicy-tuna tempura rolls as they are made, head to wooden tables for jovial group dining, or stave off appetites a little longer by participating in karaoke on select nights.

3505 E Chapman Ave
Orange,
CA
US

Multitudes of sushi, sashimi, and sake selections grace candlelit tables in Sushi Zen Bistro's spacious Triangle Square lounge. Eager diners and Jungian analysts will adore an appetizer of Jalapeño's Dream ($9.95), a piquant fried pepper stuffed with crab, spicy tuna, avocado, and cream cheese, wrapping taste buds in spice and an odd sensation of weightlessness. Choose a robust recipe such as the yaki beef, thinly sliced rib eye marinated in teriyaki sauce ($14.95) or dive into rice-laden sushi and sashimi delicacies. Savory selections include the baby lobster roll (cut roll, $11.95; hand roll, $9.95) with avocado and cucumber wrapped in soy paper, and the baked halibut roll (cut roll, $12.95; hand roll, $7.95) packed with crab, avocado, and asparagus. More particular palates can curb carbs with rice-free rolls ($9.95), soy-paper snuggled and filled with a tasty medley of flavorful ingredients, or keep voracities vegetarian with fish-free options such as the veggie Zen roll (cut roll, $9.95; hand roll, $7.95), loaded with yam tempura, avocado, cucumber, fried jalapeño, and gobo, a Japanese root vegetable. Innovative cocktails ($7.95), red and white wine ($6.95–$9.95), beer ($4.50–$8.95), and more than a dozen varieties of sake ($3–$17.95) complement chopstick choices and make for lavish beginnings to evenings at the movies, dancing dates, or the courting of a comely kraken.

1870 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa,
CA
US

Bluefin: A User's Guide

Japanese-European Fusion | Award-Winning Cuisine | Upscale Sushi Bar | Imported Drinks | Tasting Menu
Sample Menu
  • Sushi: Bluefin roll with king-crab tempura topped with albacore tuna
  • Entree: US Kobe strip-loin steak
  • Drink: imported Sapporo beer
Where to Sit: To get a view of the sushi maestros in action, request a seat at the sushi counter.

Inside Tips
  • Chef Takashi Abe watches diners during their meals to gauge their preferences, and sometimes makes suggestions that are passed along via the server. Gayot suggests taking him up on those recommendations. If you do, "then you are in for a rare treat."
  • Not sure where to start? Consider ordering one of the two omakase options on the dinner menu. These feature chef-chosen selections of certain menu items, including sushi.
  • Don’t be ashamed of just sticking with water. Besides importing sake and beer from Japan, Bluefin also brings in bottles of still and sparkling Antipodes water from what's billed as New Zealand's highest quality aquifer.
Vocab Lesson
  • Amuse-bouche: a small, complimentary dish served before the first course.
  • Kampachi: also known as Almaco jack, this relative of yellowtail and amberjack has firm flesh that strongly resembles tuna, making it a popular choice for sushi.
  • Omakase: chef-selected multicourse dinner, typically focusing on sushi. The word can be approximately translated as "I trust you"—a sign of confidence in the chef's craft.
  • Ponzu: a thin, citrusy sauce usually containing mirin, rice vinegar, and bonito flakes; it may also be mixed with soy sauce.
  • Sashimi: sliced raw fish or meat that, unlike sushi, is not served with rice.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Wasa Sushi at the Market Place (13124 Jamboree Road, Irvine) serves fish so fresh that, according to the Orange County Register, "[it] tastes like it was just snatched from the sea."

7952 East Pacific Coast Highway
Newport Beach,
CA
US

Pigging out is not often encouraged, but it's a welcome and apt approach to eating Balboa Barbie-Q's Big Pig sandwich. Starting with hearty heaps of pulled pork and hot links, the sandwich then takes on four slices of bacon and a flood of BBQ sauce. Like all of Balboa Barbie-Q's meats - including ribs, chicken, and brisket - the Big Pig's pork and hot links are slow-smoked daily in a custom-made smoker. From there, the meats fill sandwiches or team up with house-made sides like potato salad and slaw on a platter. And due to the freshly made dishes, the tangy aroma of BBQ sauce wafts throughout Balboa Barbie-Q, encouraging patrons to chow down in bayside eatery's indoor and outdoor dining areas, which offer stunning views of Newport Harbor, the Pacific Ocean, and poker-playing seals.

600 E Bay Ave
Newport Beach,
CA
US