You’re hooked on sushi date night, but it’s time to cast a wider net on your penchant for ocean delicacies by trying poke (pronounced poh-keh). New to the trend? Poke is a Hawaiian salad of cubed raw fish served up sweet or spicy in bowls like the “Mr. Miyagi” or wrapped into a nori Pokirrito. Intrigued? Read on for the most “ono” (good to eat) spots to savor this culinary delight around San Diego… we even tell you where to go to toss back a “Tipsy Tentacle” cocktail at a tiki party!
Photo: Michael S. via Yelp
Authentic Island Style (At the beach!) at It’s Raw Poke Shop
Already a poke connoisseur? It’s Raw Poke Shop, an Ocean Beach hole-in-the-wall will remind you of your first taste of poke on the Big Island. Order straight up island style tubs. They have a terrific variety with 5-6 to choose from daily. Go big with a poke plate, where you get 2 scoops of poke and 2 scoops of rice. Or stuff your crew with a kalua pig and poke combo.
Insider’s Tips: Cash only. No seating area, so cruise down to the beach and pretend you’re in Hawaii. You’ll also find them at the Leucadia and Mira Mesa farmer’s markets.
4991 Newport Ave, Ste. A
San Diego, Ca 92107
Build-Your-Own Poke Bowls at San Diego Poke Company
San Diego Poke Company originally claimed its fame serving up delicious fresh poke at local farmer’s markets. They opened their restaurant last spring and are known for their build-your-own poke bowls. Start with rice, tortilla chips or salad greens, choose your seafood, pick from delicious sauces including a sweet shoyu, their mildly spicy oh no sauce and a gluten-free soy sauce. Top it off with funky Hot Cheetos, sweet pineapple or traditional ginger and so many more. For a full ono experience, don’t walk out the door without a can of Hawaiian Sun.
10387 Friars Rd.
San Diego, Ca 92120
Pokirrito: Where Poke Meets Burrito
You can order a bowl here, but the magic is in the pokirrito. The chef uses the freshest ingredients and adds in this fun twist by wrapping high quality poke in nori with veggies and sushi rice. The massive burrito can be topped with fiery sauce and fried jalapeños. Live dangerously. Why not? Caution: It’s gonna get messy. But you’re used to that. Right, Mom?
Insider’s Tip: Parking is difficult, even at the Kearny Mesa mall location. Be patient and opt for street parking. It’s worth it.
4646 Convoy St.
San Diego, Ca 92111
2254 India St.
San Diego, Ca 92101
Photo: Good Time Poke
Channel Mr. Miyagi at Good Time Poke
A trip to Good Time Poke will lighten the load after a long work week as you enjoy the casual, bright atmosphere. The small menu promises big flavor. We love the fun names of their Signature bowls. Try the “Mr. Miyagi” with Japanese seaweed or “Rub My Belly” with salmon belly. The chef’s house made pork belly steam buns are so ono! After Good Time Poke closes, hunt down a delicious cocktail at the adjacent Grass Skirt where a full-on tiki party awaits. You’ll feel like a kid on a treasure hunt as you enter the lounge through the hidden walk-in freezer door where drinks are on fire and tiki decor makes island vibes come alive.
910 Grand Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92109
Photo: Raquel V. via Yelp
Happy Hour at Ono Grinds
We love the aloha vibe at family-friendly Chris’ Ono Grinds. Sit down, grab a beer at happy hour (every day of the week) and enjoy the laidback Hawaiian style food. Their savory ahi poke appetizer dances on the tongue with fresh flavors. Feast on large portions of juicy pulled pork marinated in pineapple juice and Huli-huli chicken, a Hawaiian version of grilled can’t-get-enough teriyaki chicken. Mini plates are a great option for little ones if they happen to join you. Poke bowls are also available.
4506 30th St.
San Diego, Ca 92116
Poke to Go
We couldn’t believe it when we found poke at Costco on the weekends. It’s true! Sourced from a seafood distributor in Hawaii and flown in fresh, order up poke by the pound while you do your weekly shopping. Choose from four delicious varieties at these Costco locations Fridays and Saturdays only: Carlsbad, La Mesa, Morena Blvd., Mission Valley, Poway and Rancho del Rey.
Where’s your favorite spot to dine on poke in San Diego? Tell us in the comments.
–– Cherie Gough