Ocean Beach Restaurant Review : “Taika Sushi”

by on September 29, 2014 · 17 comments

in Culture, Economy, Ocean Beach, The Widder Curry

OB Taika Sushi jc insideRestaurant Review:
“Taika Sushi”
4953 Newport Ave.
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
http://www.taikasushi.com/ menu-2

OB Taika Sushi jc RainbRl

Rainbow Roll

It is amazing to me that one block in Ocean Beach can support three Japanese restaurants. But that seems to be the case, with the newest, “Taika Sushi” filled to capacity Friday evening at 6:45pm.  I had wanted to try the restaurant ever since it opened, and particularly after reading a review by [Reader writer] Mercy Baron but it just never happened.  Until last night.

As it happens, I currently have two foreign language students living with me to hone their English Skills. Leticia is my student from Sao Paulo (Brazil) and she is celebrating her birthday this weekend.  Yuri, is my current Japanese student and has been with me for almost seven months.  What better time could there be to try out “Taika Sushi.”

We were greeted by a beautiful waitress that yelled across the room “welcome to Taika”, and an older gentleman that at first we took to be the owner. However, when we asked him later in the meal, he said that he was only helping to “run the restaurant.”  As happens in so many Asian establishments, our male was not Japanese at all but Chinese.  It didn’t make a difference, because the questions we asked he could answer.  It was interesting to note that every time someone came in the door – and there were many that came in while we were there – the waitress welcomed them, no matter where in the restaurant she might be.

OB Taika Sushi jc TempuraSak

Tempura Sake Roll

The menu was extensive – 8 pages of items and many beautiful photographs of the offerings.  It had Appetizers, Salads, Soup/Noodle/Rice selections; Classic  Rolls, Specialty Rolls, House  Premium Rolls, Veggie Specialties, Sushi Bento, Shooter Specials, Temaki, Nigiri Sushi and Sashimi, Entrees, and Bento Boxes.

OB Taika Sushi jc Ika


Additionally they offered wine and beer, and, of course Sake.  They had three desert items as well, and the prices were reasonable!  At the end of this article I will let you know just how reasonable.

To begin the meal I tried to order a small bottle of sake – $2.50 – but for some reason our server either didn’t hear me or was distracted by my students. He got their drink order right, but I had to request the sake a second time.  By the way, it was very tasty, and just warm enough.

OB Taika Sushi jc Octp

Octopus roll

We ordered a variety of items starting with “Tempura Vegetables” as our appetizer.  The veggies were cooked perfectly.  They were not greasy; they were not overdone; they were perfect.  And there was ample for each of us.  And, it only cost $4.25.  Additionally, Leticia, from Brazil, wanted to try an order of Gyoza to compare it with what she gets in Sao Paulo.  Six perfectly cooked dumplings only had a $3.95 price tag on them, and they were delicious.

OB Taika Sushi jc SalmSk

Salmon Skin roll

We let Yuri do a lot of the ordering because she was doing a “comparison” of authentic  Japanese fare and Ocean Beach Japanese fare.

She ordered a “Rainbow Roll” – basically a California roll but with a variety of fish making up the roll.  The cost for 5 pieces of roll was $6.50.  We also ordered “Tempura Sake Roll – and it cost $6.00.  It was delicious.  We ordered a selection of “Ika” – squid, and the cost was $3.25 for two.  (We ordered two orders .)  We also ordered two orders of “Tako” – octopus – and it was $3.25 an order.

Yuri wanted to try a Salmon Skin roll, which she said was delicious. It was served beautifully and the cost was $3.25.  We told our waiter that it was Leticia’s birthday and they brought her a scoop of green tea ice cream.  Since I knew that that was Yuri’s favorite ice cream, I ordered a scoop for her also.  It was $3.   I was somewhat surprised that the two scoops were served on the same plate, and the waitress told us that one of the scoops “was for Leticia’s birthday” but we would be paying for the second one.

OB Taika Sushi jc grnTeaIcrm

Green Tea Ice Cream

Neither of the girls wanted tea with their meal, and they stayed with water. I nursed my sake throughout the meal and our water glasses were continually being filled.

Yuri said that the meal we were served tasted almost the same as it does in Japan. She marveled at the prices – as both Leticia and I did – because for all the food we ate I was sure the bill would be much higher than it was.  In fact, knowing that we were going to a sushi restaurant I took plenty of money with me because I have always had to pay a large amount for this type of food.  But I was very pleasantly surprised when the bill was only $45.85, plus tip.  Three people; lots of food; the best deal in Ocean Beach! Would I go back?  Definitely.  And what letter grade would I give it?  Without question … an “A”.

OB Taika Sushi judiLeticiaYuri

Judi, Leticia and Yuri.

And one more thing.  Even if you don’t like sushi, take a look at their menu on line.  It is delightful, and complete with Japanese music.  A class act.   Let me know when you want to go.  Let me know if you want a “guide.”  (Me…..not Yuri!)

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Rice September 29, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Wow! Seems like smaller rolls, but you’ve got to love the prices – and I’d rather have 2-3 rolls of 5-6 pieces than a pair of 10-12 piece rolls I struggle to finish (I can never order just one thing when it’s sushi time).

Sounds like this place will give the also-great OB Sushi-Sushi a run for its money…haven’t eaten at Sapporo in years though, because it’s so hot and smelly inside.


judi curry September 30, 2014 at 7:22 am

I think it must have been the angle of camera, Dave, because I didn’t think that the sushi was any smaller than what I get anywhere.

Stopped going to Sapporo also. Felt like a sardine, and didn’t enjoy being packed in so tightly. I think you will like this “new” place. Let me know. Judi


Tyler September 30, 2014 at 10:26 am

Taika basically IS OB Sushi Sushi. One of the owners broke off from OB Sushi and opened Taika. They have virtually the same menu and from what I can gather they probably get their fish/ingredients from the same distributors. Taika added a few new rolls to their menu, though, and they are very delicious. The protein roll is amazing.


judi curry September 30, 2014 at 10:56 am

Didn’t know that Tyler. It was so good, and so reasonable, compared to OB Sushi Sushi. Will have to try the protein roll the next time – and there will be a next time!


Tyler September 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm

It seems like the owner analyzed everything that could be improved at OB Sushi and did just that with Taika. Agreed that it is extremely reasonable in regards to pricing. For the quality it’ll be hard to beat!


OB Mercy September 30, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Tyler…wrong. OB Sushi NEVER ordered FRESH EVERYDAY from a Japanese fish monger like Tim, the owner of Taika now does. Believe me, I’m THE biggest sushi snob and if it wasn’t fresh, I would not have eaten there at least 6 times in the last few weeks! I have spent some good time talking with Tim about it all.

Dave…right. The slices are bit smaller, but again, we’re getting a much better grade of sushi and I would rather have smaller and uber fresh than quantity. The flavor and texture are an 8 out of 10. Some of the best Hamachi (yellowtail) I’ve had in SD, outside of Sushi Ota…whose prices are truly prohibitive for me. Taika, I can afford most anytime. I’m SOOOOO excited to have them here.


Tyler October 1, 2014 at 6:16 am

Mercy – I personally saw the fish guy at the farmers market deliver fish to OB Sushi last year. Perhaps they stopped doing that but my fiancé and I both saw it. In fact I think it was Tim who was getting it. (That’s the guy who left OB sushi, right?) either way, I eat a lot of sushi and from what I can tell the fish and ingredients are practically like for like. If I’m wrong so be it but we both came to that conclusion after eating at Taika several times.


OB Mercy October 1, 2014 at 7:46 am

I hear ya Tyler. I just never thought the sushi was fresh at OB Sushi…ever.


OB Wood October 1, 2014 at 8:55 am

Nice review, Judi! I also noticed — and love — how the waitress greets everyone who walks into the door. It’s a nice touch.


OB Bob October 8, 2014 at 10:14 am

Isn’t Tim the guy who ran ob sushi and the pho place that was closed down multiple times for roaches by the health dept (GROSS)? Looks like he is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of OB. I’m sure the hamachi, albacore, and gyozas come right out of the freezer along with the imitation krab. And I bet the sauces come in big jugs, not home made. Do they actually make anything themselves? It’s the same person, ethics, quality, and dirtyness. Tim just took his name off it and says he is “helping”, but he’s not fooling me…shame on him. The highest quality sushi is at the joint, hands down. It costs more, because they pay a lot more for the higher quality product. If u want the best quality fish in San Diego, go to Kaito in Encinitas. Sorry about the rant, but it irks me that he is trying to fool everyone.


OB Mercy October 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm

“And I bet the sauces come in big jugs, not home made. Do they actually make anything themselves?” So…you’re just guessing this crap OB Bob?? You’re willing to besmirch a new biz owner in OB because of something he WAS connected with so you’re just going to ASSUME (ASS, U, ME) that it MUST be so in his new endevour??

Hey OB Bob…did you even READ my comments on here?? I guess not. I will STAND UP for Tim EVERY TIME! I guess since you were too quick to point a finger at something of which you know not, and just act like a troll wanting to stir the pot…let me REFRESH your mind.

Yes, he WAS a part of OB Sushi. He had two partners. He did NOT like what went on when he was in business with them. When I went into Taika for the first time, I saw him and thought…uh oh, isn’t this the guy that was at OB Sushi which in my 3-4 times eating there, I never liked their sushi much?

So guess what….I decided to ask him outright what the deelio was on that whole mess. And he was VERY honest and up front with me. The other two partners fought with each other all the time (in front of customers yet!), and it drove him crazy including not having fresh sushi and the problems at that pho place.

There were some other deciding factors which I’m not going to print here that he told me in confidence, but suffice to say, he decided to get rid of those two dead weights and start his own sushi place and he orders FRESH FISH EVERY DAY FROM JAPANESE FISH MONGERS! And guess what? It tastes like it!

AND…AND….Taika got an “A” and a very clean bill of health from the health department themselves. ALL PROBLEMS SOLVED.

“Sorry about the rant, but it irks me that he is trying to fool everyone.” There’s only one fool here OB Bob, and it ain’t me! And you’re not sorry about the rant at all because you did nothing to back up your claims on the new place. I would love to try Kaito in Encinitas since my son lives there, but for some reason…I really don’t trust your opinion!

Instead of spouting off about things you haven’t even researched yourself…why don’t you get off your high horse and go into Taika, talk to Tim and have THE best sushi in OB?? Same good quality as the Joint…at MUCH better prices!


judi curry October 8, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Thank you for the information, Mercy. I knew that you had talked to Tim previously and your answer would be accurate and correct. Let’s have a lunch or dinner there sometime.


OB Mercy October 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm

You’re welcome and we need to get together soon Judi!!


OB Bob October 9, 2014 at 11:37 am

Mercy, thanks for the personal arracks, You def have the wool pulled over ur eyes. He ran both those place every day, and yet u put no blame on him for a roach infestation??? He was serving food to obecians with a HUGE roach probelm that he had to be aware of, but ur ok with that! You do not know it all either, so I suggest u get off ur high horse and stop acting like u do. Seriously, I’m not trying to stir any pot, but maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about, and just maybe u r not rigbt. Imagine that. I suggest u open ur eyes, and try having a discussion, rather than acting like a know it all because u r not one. Fn ridiculous. Oh, and just because the business owner tells u something, it does NOT make it a fact. So go do some unbiased research, otherwise it doesn’t mean squat. And ur calling me a bunch of names,is extremely childish, and that is a fact. You need to learn how to speak to people, as I’m appalled by ur arrogance and disrespect. I care about ob, but u seem more concerned about ur ego.


OB Mercy October 9, 2014 at 11:51 am

Geez OB Bob, typo much?

And I’m the one that did my research, you did not. ‘Nuff said.


OB Bob October 9, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Research is def not about utilizing one source, especially a baised source. Please consult ur dictionary. And why are u OK with Tim allowing food to be sold to customers in a roach infested kitchen? maybe u need to drop the ego and arrogance and actually do some real research, and look at what is presented in an open mind. Thank u for keeping the personal insults/attack in check in ur latter posts. We can all at least attempt to communicate as adults.


Michael October 10, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Hi Judi ,
Nice review, and it sounds like a fun evening.
The link to the menu is broken. But here is the link to the restaurant’s home page from which you can easily access the menu pages. http://www.taikasushi.com/


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