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Zenbu: Sushi, Bar and Hot Kitchen

Zenbu Sushi in La Jolla just added a new sake menu and "Bu Bites."
Zenbu Sushi in La Jolla just added a new sake menu
and "Bu Bites."
La Jolla Wine Tours

Because I'm not an expert on sushi, I asked Shira Bliss of La Jolla Wine Tours for advice on finding the best sushi in La Jolla.

With business partner Paul Anthony Vild, Bliss started a guided food and wine walking tour of La Jolla that has expanded to include wine train tours, beer tours and tours to San Diego wineries.

"There are seven sushi bars within walking distance in the 'village' of La Jolla, but I chose Zenbu Sushi to be a part of the tours because none of the others can compare when it comes to freshness, quality of ingredients and creativity," she said. "The store even contains a 500-gallon fish tank!"

Zenbu consistently receives rave reviews. "We’ve had countless guests report that, until Zenbu, they didn’t even like sushi and now all they want is Zenbu sushi," Bliss said.

Partners Jerry Mcguffie, Matt Rimel and Marc Muller launched Zenbu in 1999. Rimel and Muller are longtime friends and native San Diegans who fished together. All three wanted to create a sushi bar that exhibits expertise in all areas – bar, sushi and hot kitchen – and Zenbu, which is the Japanese word for “all,” achieves just that.

Adhering to their philosophy of sustainability, the company utilizes its own products as much as possible in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Rimel owns his own small commercial fishing fleet, Ocean Giant Fishing Co., with three boats, a sea plane and harpoons. At least 85 percent of their product is locally caught: lobster, shrimp, ahi tuna, halibut, and even the sea urchin, or uni.

The restaurant’s elegant Asian/American fusion interior was created by local designer Melinda Merryweather and Rimel’s wife, Jaque. The table tops and the wood bar are milled from single pieces of lumber.

Zenbu offers happy hour Sunday - Tuesday 5 p.m. - close and on Wednesdays and Thursdays 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. There is a new sake menu that includes a flight of three sakes and a new appetizer menu – “Bu Bites” – consisting of six of their most popular Japanese tapas: pot stickers, dragon eggs and sliders. On the first Thursday of the month Zenbu holds the very popular “Thirsty Thursdays Fashion Show,” where the young and savvy congregate to view the show, take in the music, shop, eat and drink.

According to Bliss, Zenbu lives up to their name and delivers “all.”


Details »
  • City: La Jolla
  • Phone: (858) 454-4540
  • Name: Zenbu Sushi
  • Address: 7660 Fay Avenue