About Cafe Japengo

Located at the Golden Triangle, Café Japengo is renowned for both fabulous Sushi and incredible fusion creations that combine Japanese and Western flavors. The energetic atmosphere and the trendy clientele make it make it a 'must' when visiting San Diego. Gluten free menu available.

8960 University Center Lane
San Diego, CA 92122
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Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
Asian, Sushi

Hours of Operation:
Hours of Operation: Lunch:
Monday through Friday 11 am to 2 pm

Dinner:
Monday - Thursday: 5:30pm-9:30pm
Friday - Saturday: 5:30pm-10:30pm

Happy Hour:
Monday though Friday: 4:30pm-7:00 pm
Saturday: 4:30 pm-CL

Sushi Hour at the Sushi bar
Monday through Saturday: 4:30pm-5:30 pm

Cross Street:
La Jolla Village

Dress Code:
Business Casual

Price Range:
$31 to $50

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(858) 450-3355

Website:
http://www.cafejapengo.com/

Catering:
catering available up to 40 people, selection of Pacific Rim cuisine and Sushi, drop off in the La Jolla area or pick up available

Parking Details:
Validated Hotel parking and street parking are also available.

Executive Chef:
Jerry Warner

Private Party Facilities:
Up to 50 guests .

Private Party Contact:
Jamie Kelly-Bee: (858) 450-3355

Additional:
Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Special Events & Promotions:
Book your special event, holiday party or business lunch or dinner.
Family style and prix fixe menus available. Sushi classes scheduled monthly. For inquires email: Jamie.Kelly-Bee@hyatt.com

Specials

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Specials

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Details
Mon 11:00AM - 11:30AM 5:30PM - 9:30PM

Tue - Fri 11:00AM - 11:30AM 5:30PM - 6:30PM 8:30PM - 9:30PM

Sat 5:30PM - 6:30PM 9:00PM - 10:00PM

Cafe Japengo Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.6

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.6

service

4.5

ambience

4.4

value

4.2

noise

Moderate

95% would recommend it to a friend

Good for a Date (8)
Great for Lunch (7)
Fit for Foodies (6)
See All
Quiet Conversation (5)
Business Meals (5)
Casual (4)
Good for Groups (4)
Tasting Menu (4)
Special Occasion (4)
Handcrafted Cocktails (4)
Creative Cuisine (4)
Worth the Drive (4)
Healthy (3)
Happy Hour (3)
Modern Decor (3)
Neighborhood Gem (3)
Romantic (3)
Great for Outdoor Dining (2)
Outstanding Value (2)
Hot Spot (2)
Good for Birthdays (2)
Bar Seating (2)
Family Style (2)
Pre/post Theatre (1)
Paleo Friendly (1)
Waterfront (1)
Fun (1)
Good Vegetarian Options (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
Good for Anniversaries (1)
Comfort Food (1)
Notable Wine List (1)
Quick Bite (1)
Vegan (1)
Authentic (1)
Spicy (1)
Tapas (1)
Open Kitchen (1)
Cozy (1)
Organic (1)
Vibrant Bar Scene (1)
Dining Occasion:
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905 reviews
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Our waitress Melissa is the BEST ❤ I hav ...

 
 (Palm Springs)·Dined 5 days ago

Our waitress Melissa is the BEST ❤ I have a Shellfish allergy of all things to aquire! :( and Melissa was careful and attentive to make sure everything that was brought to our table didn't compromise it. Everything was super delicious! Thank you!

Tags: Healthy, Organic, Handcrafted Cocktails, Quiet Conversation, Paleo Friendly
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

This place is routinely excellent. Great ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 14, 2017

This place is routinely excellent. Great food, great service. Highly recommended!

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Bar Seating, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The Braised Short Ribs are my favorite. ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on January 1, 2017

The Braised Short Ribs are my favorite. Short Ribs at a sushi bar? That's the best thing about this restaurant. We have fish as appetizer and feast on the meat!

We live in OC but when we stay over in Diego, this is our go to place.

Sushi bar is always busy. Fish fresh and tasty. Our waitress (Jessie) was excellent and knowledgeable.

New Years goodies were handed out and made for a great start of the evening.

Tags: Romantic, Modern Decor, , Good for a Date
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

This is our second time going to cafe ja ...

vip
 (New England)·Dined on January 1, 2017

This is our second time going to cafe japengo. The first time the service was less than good. Melissa was our waitress this time and she was unbelievable. She was upbeat, new the ins and outs of the menu and recommended amazing rolls. Will only go back if we have her!

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food5
ambience5
service5

Great service, excellent food!!

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 31, 2016

Great service, excellent food!!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Been coming here for years, always love ...

 
 (Seattle)·Dined on December 29, 2016

Been coming here for years, always love the food and is a must have when I come home to San Diego. Service was a little slower than usual, was brought two edamames when only needed one.

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food5
ambience3
service3

The food here is very good. One of the ...

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on December 29, 2016

The food here is very good. One of the nicest sushi places in town. Their specialty rolls are very good. A bit pricey, but nice for business lunch or special occasions.

Tags: Vegan, Handcrafted Cocktails, Authentic, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service4
value3

My son compared it to Tao, I've been com ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 18, 2016

My son compared it to Tao, I've been coming since 90s now it's my teens fave place❤️

Tags: Business Meals, Hot Spot, Good for a Date, Family Style, Happy Hour, Romantic, Tasting Menu
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

A little pricey for what you are getting ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 7, 2016

A little pricey for what you are getting, but not much to eat in this area. Service is always good.

Tags: Casual, Great for Lunch
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

The service was exceptional. The time t ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 5, 2016

The service was exceptional. The time to get the food was FAST. Food was great, as always. Thank you.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Family Style, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Waterfront, Great for Lunch
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

Always fresh sushi! Love their caterpil ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 2, 2016

Always fresh sushi! Love their caterpillar & rainbow rolls. Nice wines by the glass & drinks.

Some waiters are a bit stand-off-ish but we had one of the bartenders wait on us & she was knowledgeable & personable. Ambiance is nice.

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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

One of our favorite sushi places in town ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on November 20, 2016

One of our favorite sushi places in town. Love their spicy tuna!

Tags: Gluten Free Options, Handcrafted Cocktails
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

This is one of the best restaurants in S ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on November 16, 2016

This is one of the best restaurants in San Diego. The sushi is excellent and their other choices are just as good. San Diego has many great sea food restaurants; Japango provides an excellent alternative. Only thing less than stellar is parking.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Bread pudding was bitter. I expected mor ...

 
 (New England)·Dined on November 9, 2016

Bread pudding was bitter. I expected more due to the quality of the rest of the menu. Sushi is great.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

My co-worker and I enjoyed our experienc ...

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 9, 2016

My co-worker and I enjoyed our experience- Delicious food with friendly and efficient service.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, , Creative Cuisine, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Love love love this place. Always great ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on October 27, 2016

Love love love this place. Always great food and not super noisy, so perfect for business meals.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Wow - this place has gone downhill. I s ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on October 16, 2016

Wow - this place has gone downhill. I should have known when only 1/3 of the restaurant was full on a Saturday night. We had the hot and sour soup (just okay), a sushi roll (average) and a butterfish entree (that the server recommended). I literally took 2 bites of and stopped because it was too fishy (which says a lot since I love sashimi). The quality of the food doesn't compare to the high prices. It's too bad. I used to like this place.

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food1
ambience3
service5
value2

Andrew was an AMAZING waitor...he made o ...

 
 (Washington DC)·Dined on October 12, 2016

Andrew was an AMAZING waitor...he made our meal special and he was VERY accomodating at every level !!

Tags: Tasting Menu, Good for a Date, Modern Decor, Business Meals, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Great experience! We came and didn't eve ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on October 2, 2016

Great experience! We came and didn't even realize it was all night happy hour (on Saturday!). We had excellent sushi and great service for a reasonable cost. Will definitely be back!

Tags: Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

I felt throughout the meal, we were bein ...

vip
 (Denver)·Dined on October 2, 2016

I felt throughout the meal, we were being rushed. Even though the rest of the restaurant was barely half filled, our section and waiter was intent on reserving his section for a "large party" which did not even arrive until after we were served our meal. I guess, the waiters attempt at speeding us along worked. By the way, the "large group" was only a group of 8.

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food3
ambience3
service1
value3

Solid sushi spot, good service.

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on October 2, 2016

Solid sushi spot, good service.

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food4
ambience4
service4

Came at a Friday night, welcomed at the ...

 
 (Baja California)·Dined on September 24, 2016

Came at a Friday night, welcomed at the front.

Had to ask to be seated on a more lighted area.

Server was great, highly motivated besides her rasped voice.

Had some sushi, made ready when ordered.

And the food was fantastic.

Tags: Vibrant Bar Scene, Creative Cuisine, Modern Decor
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food4
ambience4
service4
value4

Great food and outdoor dining. Vibrant c ...

vip
 (Philadelphia)·Dined on September 24, 2016

Great food and outdoor dining. Vibrant crowd great menu.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Vibrant Bar Scene, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Modern Decor
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

The sushi we ordered took 45 minutes to ...

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on September 20, 2016

The sushi we ordered took 45 minutes to be served. I understand that it may be rush hour at 12nn but the restaurant was not too crowded. It was a rainy Tuesday and the service was bad.

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food3
ambience2
service1
value3

Always delicious! Best sushi in San Die ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 20, 2016

Always delicious! Best sushi in San Diego! We've been dining there for years and it is always consistent and wonderful.

Tags: Happy Hour, Good for Groups, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

We really loved our server! I believe he ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 16, 2016

We really loved our server! I believe her name was Melissa. She was really attentive amd recommended some really good plates

Tags: Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Went for a last minute "date" night out. ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 10, 2016

Went for a last minute "date" night out. We got there early, (7pm), so the happy hour crowd was still there, and they were fairly boisterous, but not annoying. We both liked the music they were playing- current but not hip-hop, and thought it added to the atmosphere.

Our waiter was just okay; not super attentive- but in all fairness, we were ordering a couple of things at a time (sushi, salad, etc)so we did keep him hopping.

We had cocktails- I had the Japengo pear margarita, which I really liked, and my husband had a regular margarita; they were huge, and we were both happy with our choices.

The food was mostly good and fresh including the sushi we ordered. I would not order any roll involving fried shrimp ever again, as the tempura batter was thick and gooey- not at all what I expected (which would be a light batter with panko), but otherwise everything was tasty.

We will definitely go there again, especially when it's a 1000 point choice!

Tags: Casual, Happy Hour, Fun, Gluten Free Options
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food4
ambience4
service3
value4

Fantastic food

 
 (Phoenix)·Dined on September 4, 2016

Fantastic food

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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Food is excellent Hostess needs to go

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 3, 2016

Food is excellent

Hostess needs to go

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food5
ambience4
service4

We had tremendous service- knowledgeable ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on September 1, 2016

We had tremendous service- knowledgeable, timely, excellent suggestions to make our experience more enjoyable.

Tags: Casual, Neighborhood Gem, Tasting Menu, Good for Birthdays
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Very high quality sushi, skilled chefs, ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 21, 2016

Very high quality sushi, skilled chefs, beautiful presentation.

Tags: Disabled Access, Quick Bite, Good Vegetarian Options, Tapas, Healthy, Authentic, Casual
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Wrote privately to the restaurant after ...

vip
 (Chicago)·Dined on August 20, 2016

Wrote privately to the restaurant after an unfortunate food poisoning to both myself and my dinner companion on August 19th.....I would have expected an immediate response from Cafe Japengo, especially for a regular customer of 20+ years....but no response now 6 days later, so perhaps a public review will elicit a response and, more importantly, remediation for whatever caused the food poisoning

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food1
ambience4
service4
value3

Great food as always. We've been coming ...

vip
 (Phoenix)·Dined on August 20, 2016

Great food as always. We've been coming here for 15 years. A bit pricey just for sushi.

Tags: Good for a Date, Casual, Seasonal, Worth the Drive, Fireplace, Bar Seating, Fun
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food5
ambience5
service5
value3

Menu has changed. We have been eating he ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 18, 2016

Menu has changed. We have been eating here since it opened. Curry calamari was best in San Diego; now a pale image of what it once was. Tough and lacking in sweetness. Rolls and sushi are OK but not exceptional. We will not be back anytime soon.

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food2
ambience3
service3
value2

Cafe Japengo is a top spot for lunch. T ...

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on August 18, 2016

Cafe Japengo is a top spot for lunch. The crowd is buzzing and the food is consistently good. At dinner time the restaurant tends to be a lot less crowded. The acoustics aren't great though so the restaurant is noisy even with only a few people. Waitress wasn't helpful at all in estimating amount of food needed for the table/ sushi so we ended up with a lot of extra.

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food3
ambience3
service3
value3

Cafe Japengo is a classic. They are stil ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 14, 2016

Cafe Japengo is a classic. They are still around for a reason and that has to be the sushi. It is really good. The menu items other than sushi are also excellent, so for me, what keeps people coming back is the food.

The ambiance is also great. But it is not the first time that the staff ruins our dinner.

The hostesses make it as hard to get a seat at a booth as hard as getting a front row ticket to a concert and the waiters are rude and condescending. We almost feel we don't want to come back so as not to get that kind of service again.

It is too bad because we have been customers since the early 90"s. So nearly two decades.

Tags: Hot Spot
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food4
ambience3
service1
value2

Ooooh, it was so good. I followed sushi ...

 
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 13, 2016

Ooooh, it was so good. I followed sushi chef Dominic all the way from New Mexico to eat here.

Tags: Romantic, Special Occasion, Good for Groups, Hot Spot, Vibrant Bar Scene, Great for Outdoor Dining, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We hadn't been to Cafe Japengo for a lon ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 7, 2016

We hadn't been to Cafe Japengo for a long time and went spur of the moment. Not only was our meal excellent, but the service from Alex was superb. We started with a sushi roll and the Shishito peppers; I had the Char Siu Duck Breast and my husband had the butterfish. My duck was perfectly cooked (medium rare) and tender, and the accompanying vegetables were terrific. It was such a large portion that I brought almost half of the duck and vegetables home. It was served with steamed buns, and Alex gave us extras to go with the leftovers. I'd order that again anytime!

Tags: Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

My husband and I eat fairly regularly at ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 7, 2016

My husband and I eat fairly regularly at Cafe Japengo and the food is consistently good and the service is most always excellent. It is not inexpensive though. I highly recommend it.

Tags: Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Special Occasion, Good for Groups
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food5
ambience4
service5
value3

Fantastic sushi restaurant - excellent f ...

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on August 2, 2016

Fantastic sushi restaurant - excellent food and service.

Tags: Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Special Occasion, Late-night Find
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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