Photo By: Kambria Fischer
Photo By: Kambria Fischer

Forget the Take-Out and Head to These Essential Asian-Inspired Foodie Spots

From Poke to Ramen, This Foodie is Taking Over San Diego

Written By: Jesse Oleson Chef James Pyo

As far as Asian cuisine goes in San Diego, there are few who push the limits and bring more innovation than Chef James Pyo. Currently, Pyo has restaurants from Carlsbad to Downtown San Diego and he is not slowing down. “My job is to keep challenging,” Pyo said. “That’s why I like this job.” Which one of Chef Pyo’s creations is your favorite?

Chef James Pyo

For Sushi

Pyo got his start in sushi at his brother’s sushi restaurant when he was 29. After working there for a few years, he went to culinary school and immediately opened his first restaurant, Love Boat Sushi, which serves traditional Japanese cuisine focused on sushi.

Love Boat Sushi
125 Old Grove Rd
Oceanside, CA 92057

121 S Las Posas Rd
San Marcos, CA 92078


For Robata

Next, Pyo opened Blue Ocean Robata and Sushi Bar. “I wanted to make an upscale restaurant. Blue Ocean is more high-end with a nice atmosphere,” Pyo said. The restaurant has three different kitchens to serve hot food, sushi and robata. Robata is a Japanese technique that involves food being cooked over hot charcoal, similar to barbecue.

Blue Ocean Robata and Sushi
2958 Madison St
Carlsbad, CA 92008    

For Poke

In March of 2016, Pyo recognized the growing popularity of poke bowls. “At the time, I wanted to try a different style so I opened Pokewan,” he said. Pokewan is a casual restaurant specializing in presenting fresh and healthy poke bowls with bright colors. These bowls can be enjoyed in both the Carlsbad and Del Mar locations.

2958 Madison St, Ste 101
Carlsbad, CA 92008

12925 El Camino Real, Ste AA4
San Diego, CA 92130


For Ramen and Character Buns

Harumama is Pyo’s most recent restaurant, which focuses on ramen and character buns that have various ingredients inside. These buns also feature decoration on top in the form of pigs, chickens and pandas. “I like the concept of this restaurant because the buns begin to tell a story.” This casual restaurant has been busy since opening its doors in February.

1901 Columbia St
San Diego, CA 92101

When asked what is next for Pyo he said, “There are so many restaurants out there but people hunger for something special, unique or fun. I want to make a storytelling food. My next concept is donuts. I don’t have time right now, but I want to create character donuts. That’s my next project.” We can’t wait to try!

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