Sublime Sushi at Omakase by Gino in Santa Ana

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Chef-owner Gino Choi singlehandedly crafts a 17- to 18-course prix fixe menu with unmatched chops. A spot at Choi’s 10-seat omakase-style sushi bar in downtown Santa Ana is highly coveted, with a months-long waitlist before the pandemic. During the stay-at-home order, Choi stayed busy developing new recipes and preparing his bar for reopening, including personally installing plexiglass partitions and limiting seatings to eight. Reservations for July are available to book June 21 at

“Pork belly with geotjeori kimchi, spiny lobster carbonara with foie gras and creamy lobster broth, and spicy octopus have been some of the dishes I’ve made at home recently.”

“Over 90 percent of the fish (I use) is imported from Japan. My favorite fish to work with is bluefin tuna. To me, it’s like steak. You can get a lot of different flavors from it. It’s a big fish with different parts, tastes, and textures.”

“When I was in elementary school in South Korea, I’d go with my grandpa to the fish market in Japan (his home country) and we’d eat there. He loved bluefin and mackerel, and that’s why I love them, too.”

“I collect Angels figurines. The first one was a Torii Hunter bobblehead. Sometimes, if a new bobblehead (comes out), and I can’t make it to the game because I’m working, I send someone to buy it for me.”

Omakase by Gino
304 N Main St.
Santa Ana
Reservations at

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