Influenced by the abundance of fresh produce from the region and the creativity and artfulness of the city, Laguna Beach has a strong and unique sushi scene. Whether you're craving a simple spicy tuna roll or crazy fusion nigiri sushi, this town is crawling with sensational, underrated spots that will for sure (maki) you (soy) happy.
A few months back, we crowned O Fine as one of the best bang for your buck restaurants in town, it still reigns true with that title. For just $15, prepare your stomach for the copious amounts of food coming your way. With Set C, you get both a soup and salad, 7-piece Chef's Choice Nigiri Sushi, Japanese Burrito (a bundle of joy with spicy tuna, krab, shrimp tempura avocado, sriracha, spicy mayo and eel sauce), Crispy Rice topped with Spicy Tuna, and a 4-piece California Roll. Don't be suspicious of the price tag though. The restaurant is committed to serving high-grade, fresh fish, and they regularly source most of their fish right from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo.
After recently traveling through Tokyo, Japan and experiencing their food and culture, I was immediately brought back as I walked into San Shi Go. While walking past the chefs at the gorgeously long sushi bar, I was given that iconic courteous and humble Japanese welcome. After being seated, the sushi chef in front of me showed me an array of beautifully fileted fish in their glass display case and explained each cut and origin source. After ordering, I observed the master skillfully prepare while trying not to salivate. From the buttery, melt in your mouth O-Toro (Fatty Tuna) from Spain, to the rich umami packed A5 Wagyu Beef from Miyazaki, Japan, San Shi Go is a true treat. They offer the classics, seasonal recommendations, and two different Omakases ($45 and $52 respectively). Although their location is discreetly hidden, there were people waiting outside to enter before they officially opened for dinner service at 5:00pm. For good reason, too - this place will leave you both very satisfied while simultaneously wanting more.
242 Café Fusion Sushi is like a tiny, yet eclectic art gallery, and Chef and owner Miki Izumisawa is the artist that presents her labor of love masterpieces, course by course, plate by plate. Whimsical and mind-blowingly creative, Izumisawa takes the idea of traditional Japanese sushi and flips it on its head to invent original, almost too pretty to eat (almost) creations. Her Yellowtail Passionfruit Nigiri with Cilantro, Aji Amarillo and Hibiscus Garlic Sauce is both pure innovation and scrumptiousness. This along with all her other art-like dishes have dynamic flavor profiles with multiple layers that hit you separately while collectively converging for one beautiful bite. With only 21 seats, you'll get to admire Chef Miki and her all-female staff operate like a well-oiled machine with an equal sense of spontaneity and routine-focus. Note: Do not expect your typical sushi dishes, but do expect to be blown away. If you ask for
soy sauce, you will be denied. They do not serve it here because each dish is a standout with its own identity, and we promise you won't miss it.
Situated in its own spacious lot on South Coast Highway, Okura Robata Grill & Sushi Bar is the trendy spot for excellent vibes. In addition to their large restaurant space and full bar, they have an expansive outdoor patio where you can dine al-fresco. This place has lots of cocktail options, a great happy hour, and even an all-you-can-eat option if you want to indulge. Come with your crew and enjoy listening to trendy house and electronic dance music, while slinging back sake and stylish sushi bites.
Pro Tip: They have their own parking lot for customers. Each spot listed is distinct with an individual personality, and you're going to want to try them all. There is quite a bit of food to get through, so if you need to extend your stay, Laguna Beach House is a great option, only a close walk to many spots downtown. Since most Japanese restaurants either close after lunch service or only open for dinner, this hotel is also equipped with a great pool area to lounge by before devouring all that sushi.