To start, dining at I Love Sushi is nothing short of magical.
For the past 6 years, we have visited Santa Cruz, CA every spring. Early on, we discovered a sushi joint that became a staple part of our visits. This year, however, our sushi joint was not serving sushi. Usually this would cause a great disappointment, but instead, this allowed us to venture out and try something different. This led us to discover I Love Sushi, and we have found a new staple for our visits.
Located at 516 Front Street in downtown Santa Cruz, the restaurant blends in with the side buildings, but caught our eye with a clever name and the promise of good sushi. Walking in, we see a beautifully crafted sushi bar to our right, with the sushi chefs hard at work, and a hostess to our left leading us to the center of the front dining room for our table. Seconds after we took our seats, California Rolls were placed in front of us, and then a spicy-mayo topped mussel, a pre-cut orange, and bowls of Miso soup. Our drink orders were placed, and eel-sauce covered breaded calamari strips were placed in front of us. We had only ordered drinks and had a full spread laid out in front of us. As we looked at each other in silence, wondering if we had discovered sushi heaven, a Japanese man leaned over the table offering sake shots to those who had ordered alcohol, then came back with a full carafe of sake for refills, “on the house!” We learned this man was the owner, and was more than happy to do sake shots or sake bombs with you, always on the house.
Needless to say, we were already impressed and very pleasantly surprised at the new sushi restaurant we had found. Looking around, we see there is another dining room next to the one we were in, and the music we were hearing was coming from one of three karaoke rooms in the back, beyond the bathrooms and kitchen. Three karaoke rooms? That was awesome. From our table, we had a great view of the kitchen. They cleaned the kitchen down and put out fresh lining over the grill multiple times during our visit alone. The kitchen staff values a clean working environment, and their pride shows in their beautifully presented food. Offering traditional sushi and custom rolls as well as hot foods including teriyaki and stir fry, I Love Sushi can please diners from every group.