One of the best

We can’t think of a restaurant that better exemplifies the phrase “mom and pop.” Open only two and a half hours a day, Yoshino is less a sushi bar than a constantly plundered fridge of sushi. Mr and Mrs. Yoshino, who call it a sushi deli, work at a furious pace to keep up with an enthusiastic local following. Sometimes they’ll run out of fish before the 1PM closing time. They only buy enough fresh tuna and salmon to serve on that day.

The most popular items at Yoshino are poke bowls. Yoshino has been making them for years, long before the recent craze. Still, what you find here is yards above the trendy “build-your-own bowl” poke chains that have been popping up. The shallow bowl has more fish than rice and is perfectly seasoned and balanced. You have to be a bit lucky to get one, as they are usually grabbed right away. It may be worth standing around for a few minutes while they replenish the cooler.  What comes up next is up to the chef’s whims.

The sushi here isn’t what we’ve been conditioned to tolerate from grab and go coolers at supermarkets. The generous ratio of fish to rice is the first thing you’ll notice when you peer into the cooler. The rice itself is cooked to bouncy perfection, and never gets a chance to fully cool and harden in the refrigerator thanks to the popularity of the shack.

Yoshino doesn’t do a broad spectrum of flashy specialty rolls. Expect simple combinations of tuna, salmon, eel and krazy krab, either served with a ripe chunk of avocado or pulverized into a spicy paste. Unlike most Southern California sushi places, the spicy tuna here is actually quite spicy, and has a recognizable tuna flavor.

Standout maki rolls at Yoshino are the spicy salmon with a thin lemony tobiko (flying fish roe) studded chili-mayo sauce, and simple ahi tuna with avocado.

Most California rolls are more of a source of California shame than pride. The California rolls at Yoshino are redemption. The fake crab salad has a light touch of dressing giving the filling a mousse-like lightness. It is packaged in a deftly thin layer of rice elevating this normally maligned roll to near greatness. Yoshino’s makes a California roll the state can be proud of.

To accompany the sushi, there are salads of marinated seaweed, hijiki (brown seaweed), squid and octopus. They all have unique dressings and different vegetable components. The tako (octopus) salad has a rich bamboo flavor.  The ika (squid) is smoked, which compliments the julienned wood-ear mushrooms nicely. The hijiki has almost a nutty flavor that builds into a deep coffee like roasted aroma when combined with sesame seeds and oil.

What to Eat
Yoshino, Tuna Poke Bowl
Tuna Poke Bowl
The classic tuna poke bowl has thrilled North County San Diegans for many years.
Yoshino, Spicy Salmon Roll
Spicy Salmon Roll
Spicy lemony sauce ads heat to cool salmon and cucumber
Yoshino, California Roll
California Roll
You don't know California rolls until you try Yoshino's.
Yoshino, Hijiki Salad
Hijiki Salad
Salad of hijiki seaweed and sesame adds veggies to a meal of fish and rice.
Yoshino, Ika Salad
Ika Salad
Ika salad: bouncy smoked squid, wood ear mushrooms, and celery
Yoshino, Tako Salad
Tako Salad
Thinly sliced octopus with bamboo in a sesame dressing is a nice break from rice.
Yoshino, Tuna Maki Combo
Tuna Maki Combo
Combo of spicy tuna with ahi and avocado rolls for tuna lovers
Yoshino, Seaweed Salad
Seaweed Salad
If Yoshino runs out of poke bowls, get a seaweed salad to balance your maki lunch.
Yoshino, Tuna Combo Poke Bowl
Tuna Combo Poke Bowl
Tuna two ways over rice: perfectly seasoned; no need for soy sauce.
Directions and Hours
closed now
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
6 stops | 125 MILES | 2 hr 29 min

Eating Up the Coast

The trip from San Diego up to Los Angeles County is only 115 miles or so, but with treacherous Southern California gridlock, the drive could eat most of your day. Instead, why not spend the day eating? Starting in San Diego, one of the most historic morning meals in the West can…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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