Sushi in Santee

Select Local Merchants

Because their art has a small and edible canvas, sushi chefs must specialize in precision. They pick tiny yet often intense ingredients, packaging them neatly together for the best visual and flavorful presentation. At Tabu Sushi Bar & Grill, the challenge of their task is doubled—they wield spicy add-ons whose heat must balance the crispness of the seafood. The spicy lobster roll, for example, tops its mix of lobster, cucumber, and avocado with a drizzle of Sriracha sauce. There's also the sushi burrito, one of several fusion appetizers that wraps shrimp tempura and crab in soy paper, primed for dipping in house salsa.

Stuffed jalapeños, sushi tostadas, and rolls with habanero sauce bespeak the restaurant's fascination with the southwest. Still, there are classic Japanese dishes to be had. Entrees of chicken katsu and miso-glazed Chilean sea bass make for filling dinners, whereas bento box and teriyaki bowl lunch specials satisfy afternoon cravings. Hand rolls package eel and salmon skin inside seaweed shaped like a cone hat, which the staff imports directly from mermaid parties.

2986 Jamacha Rd
El Cajon,
CA
US

Poway Sushi Lounge celebrates the grand economy of flavor that can be packed into a singular, satisfying chomp. Starting appetites simmer under the spell of chipotle-baked mussels ($6) and agedashi tofu that's flash-fried before a soothing bonito bath ($5), bracing the palate for the dynamic rolls ahead. Handmade sushi rolls cater themselves to all hankerings with refreshing bites of spicy crab in the Red Dragon rolls ($12) and Tsunami rolls that unite shrimp, crab, avocado, and asparagus layered in Cajun-seared albacore and roasted garlic ($14). A diverse nigiri and sashimi menu focuses on individual ingredients, while the kitchen's selection of entrees ushers in classic plates of sesame chicken ($12) and charred salmon with asparagus and baby spinach ($14).

13132 Poway Rd
Poway,
CA
US

Watami Sushi can be found in a large shopping complex off of Scripps Ranch Boulevard. Some of San Diego’s finest sushi is served up in this humble restaurant and loyal patrons rave about the value and large portions, since Watami serves up a bevy of delectable sushi rolls on elongated white platters. One of the highlights here is their extensive selection of creative rolls, with standouts such the Volcano Roll, stuffed with salmon, crab, avocado, cream cheese, topped with red Snapper and baked in their house-made spicy sauce. With freshly prepared ingredients and speedy service, Watami Sushi has become known amongst locals as the go-to spot for these Japanese favorites.

9978 Scripps Ranch Blvd
San Diego,
CA
US

At Nori Sushi Bar and Grill, chefs fuse traditional methods with new-wave techniques to transform fresh seafood into more than 20 specialty rolls. These include rolls stuffed with shrimp tempura and Red Dagon with spicy tuna, cucumber avacado, topped with cajun tuna and habanero masago that looks just as good on a plate as it would beneath a Christmas tree. But Nori’s selection stretches beyond sushi to full entrees, such as the teriyaki steak topped with a house teriyaki sauce. Diners enjoy the dishes inside the restaurant, which is adorned with bamboo plants and cat statues, or outside on the patio, next to the sand-colored exterior and underneath crimson umbrellas.

5003 Willows Rd
Alpine,
CA
US

The experienced chefs at Wonderful Sushi handcraft a large variety of sashimi combinations, nigiri, and maki rolls, as well as a smattering of hot entrees doused in teriyaki or sesame sauce. The white tuna roll is a customer favorite, filled with spicy tuna, snow crab, and avocado and then topped with tender white tuna and special sauce. There are even some hot sushi rolls available, including the deep-fried tempura california roll. Diners can cheer on the chefs with foam fingers while sitting at the sushi bar, or they can grab a glass of wine, Japanese beer, or sake for a relaxing hour on the outdoor patio.

1288 University Ave
San Diego,
CA
US

The fare is always fresh at T-Deli, where chefs source their ingredients from local markets each day. Using family recipes, they pull these ingredients together to craft custom-made roast beef sandwiches, avocado BLTs, and a selection of tortas, including chipotle chicken with jack cheese. Other light options include salads, wraps, and quesadillas, all of which pair with hot and cold teas, smoothies, and even sangria.

1475 University Ave
San Diego,
CA
US