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“This is the Shangri-La of Sushi”
Review of Koiso Sushi Bar

Koiso Sushi Bar
Ranked #39 of 178 Restaurants in Kihei
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Japanese, Sushi, Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Dinner, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Newport Beach, California, United States
Level Contributor
68 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“This is the Shangri-La of Sushi”
Reviewed 24 July 2014

I live in LA. That means I have access to some of the best sushi places in the country, if not the world, on an everyday basis. And I've eaten at most of them. NONE of them approaches what I experienced at Koiso. This is authentic sushi at its absolute best -- and you are reading this from a food snob, a guy who hates even the most highly rated of restaurants and sends back his food on a regular basis. The place is unassuming, hidden in a strip mall with a couple of tables and a sushi bar, very little decor if any. Behind the bar is Koiso, and only Koiso. A lady, presumably his wife, serves drinks. Koiso appears to be from Japan and in my head I imagined that he was a great sushi chef transplanted from the greatest sushi-ya in Tokyo, enjoying the Maui lifestyle -- although maybe he's just a Hawaiian, who knows. But, the point is, this guy has access to the freshest fish. Each piece melts in your mouth, the flavors giving way to other flavors that reinvent tastes that you *thought* you knew, like Salmon or Yellowtail. It's largely just pieces here -- simple, large slabs of fish on rice. There's a couple of roll selections, but they're basic, none of those mayonnaise concoctions with eel sauce -- and delicious. Next great thing, this guy isn't a snob/jerk like many great sushi chefs. You are allowed to talk at the bar and there isn't a cell phone ban. You can look in the eye of the great Koiso-San and you don't have to immediately look down and bow. And, low and behold, you can even order a spicy tuna roll. But don't expect the kind of grocery store, mashed up, fine diced tuna/mayo mixes you'd get elsewhere; you get chunks of the freshest tuna with a bit of siracha in crispy seaweed. Authentic, fresh, simple, delicious. Best of all, the prices are reasonable. This is in the top 10 meals of my life, and I've been all over the world and to the best restaurants. Even if it's a drive from your hotel, absolutely do not miss this place, I won't forget this meal and you won't either.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank Marc P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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246 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    186
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    7
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Lynchburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Fantastic sushi”
Reviewed 9 July 2014

By far the best sushi my husband and I have every had the fortune of eating. Koisi is a little hole-in-the-wall at the corner of a strip mall and the ambiance is utilitarian at best. However, once you sit down, say hello to the owner/sushi master and put in our order all of that becomes irrelevant. We asked the owner to make us whatever he felt was best, and we were each presented with a platter with twelve different and generous pieces of nigiri sushi. The rice was perfectly seasoned and the fish was fresh, tender and oh-so delicious. Everything was so good we ordered a salmon skin roll (one of our favorites at home) and was also delicious here. One warning – be sure to make a reservation. The place is small and we saw three parties without reservations get turned away because of lack of space. People who say Koiso is expensive have a point, but I think they’re missing the forest for the trees. Yes, by the piece this sushi was more expensive than what I’m accustomed to, but the quality was superior, the fish was probably swimming in the ocean the previous morning, and it was made by a genuine sushi master. In fact our bill came to less than I was expecting and we left having eaten an amazing meal.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank RobynSmith42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
United States
Level Contributor
285 reviews
237 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
“Just GO!”
Reviewed 23 June 2014

The BEST sushi - that's why you are here. Forget the atmosphere, because this is a dive place in a divey strip mall. It is difficult to find so go to the complete end of the shops and walk in the center to find the place. Be sure to book in advance as they will not accept walk-ins. Also, be sure to specify if you want single, double etc orders of sushi, sashimi or you'll be shocked when you get the bill. Koiso is fresh, delicious and worth the price.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank AOneWorldTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, TX
Level Contributor
51 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Freshest sushi”
Reviewed 19 June 2014

We saw this place on Tripadvisor and made the reservation a couple of weeks ahead. This is a small 16 seater in a local shopping mall and very unassuming. The owner/chef was really nice and greeted us right away. The waitress, we assume was his wife, was a little overwhelmed when we were first seated. We all ordered the chef's choice Omakase sushi which included one of each of the sushi on the board except the oyster and giant clam. He made sure our teens are ok with wasabi in the sushi before starting. It was a treat sitting there watching this sushi master at work. Before long, our food was ready. The pieces looked so nicely crafted and of decent size. We also ordered some oysters because we wanted to try them after seeing other customers devouring them. Also got another serving of sweet shrimp that had just come in that morning from Molokai! Everything was so fresh and delicious! Total bill for the 4 Omakase, extra oysters and extra shrimp adding a small sake and a small beer came to ~$200! That's unbelievable for Omakase especially in Hawaii! We will need come back to Maui soon just to eat here again.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank STJHoustonTX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Vacation”
Reviewed 18 June 2014 via mobile

Went here when they had no customers he asked me if he could help me i said i was just lookin and they told me I had to make reservations for sushi? Really?

Helpful?
1 Thank Tricia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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