Ichiban Sushi Is One of Santa Barbara's Best: Rivals Beware

01/21/2014 05:58 pm ET | Updated Mar 18, 2014

By Nancy Chuda founder and Editor in Chief of LuxEcoLiving and co-founder of Healthy Child Healthy World

Eating Tatami Style Brings Serenity and a Connection to Authentic Japanese Cuisine


Photo credit James Chuda courtesy of LuxEcoLiving

Head north on highway 101 to Santa Barbara. Don't miss the sunset. A superb eating experience awaits. Ichiban Sushi is located near the Mesa on Cliff Drive.

Ichiban Sunset

Photo Credit Nancy Chuda courtesy of LuxEcoLiving

Great atmosphere. Fabulous service but be prepared to wait if you don't have a reservation. Locals rule. And take out is always an option.

Ichiban interior

Fresh, succulent, and wild caught the sashimi array presented by owner Jasmin Li makes any other sushi hound in any other hood look pitiful and canned. We began our meal with an array of beautifully cut slices of salmon, scallops, and yellow tail tuna. But the real "kicker" were the cheeks of yellow tail lightly steamed then grilled. Every last bite set off a sensational response for more... fresh and unadulterated. Simply pure. I would walk a mile in stilettos for this dish.


Sushi came wrapped as usual. Little morsels covered in plain white Japanese rice... but what was that sauce? The salmon was slathered in a creamy, almost smokey marinade... called Box Salmon. It's on their menu. Don't miss it!

Oh! The Korean Beef just melts... thinly sliced, short ribs, soft off the bone.. in fact the sauce is so tangy and sweet you might want another order.

Ichiban Korean Beef

Ichiban Sushi's Korean Beef courtesy LuxEcoLiving

And then a hot steaming bowl of noodles floating amongst an egg and fired tempura shrimp. So hot that impatience will burn your tongue. Totally delectable... one bowl could easily serve four persons. In fact, we took some home for lunch the next day.

Ichiban Noodle Soup

Just when the circulation began to leave my legs. (We had been seated in a private booth Japanese style, sans shoes, legs crossed for quite some time)In reverence to custom, Jasmin presented us with a traditional favorite. Green tea ice cream.

Called Mochi. Japanese cuisine favors the sweet doughy taste and special desert. The ice cream ball is ensconced in the creamy dough. Sticky at first bite yet every morsel of the creamy homemade ice cream is meant to be framed within this encasement.

Ichiban Mochi

Jasmin Li has her hands full. Great success and fortune will follow her. She also owns the China Palace on Coast Village Road also in Santa Barbara.

We had a chance to talk about her ambitious goals with the newly opened Ichiban Sushi and the very popular China Palace. Always a favorite of ours.. woe is me for their Won Ton Soup and Peking Duck. But if I had to choose between Green Tea or Chinese Jasmin.. I would follow Jasmin Li... she's one smart cookie! Her fortune is well deserved.

Ichiban Jasmin Li

Here's how to find it:

Japanese Restaurant$$
Today 11:30 am - 2:30 pm, 5:00 - 10:00 pm
Jasmin Li owner of Ichiban Sushi