Review: 2017 Four Diamond Award-Winning Restaurant, Nobu Malibu

Updated: Apr 6

Nobu is considered the best sushi restaurant in Malibu, California. This location offers fine-dining for sushi enthusiasts and anyone who loves great presentation served Japanese style.

An exterior view of Nobu Malibu before entering. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

Nobu Malibu

To start off, I want to personally congratulate Nobu Malibu for earning a 4 Diamond rating by AAA. This means that out of 31,000 restaurants only 651 of them (2.1%) made the cut to earn this special designation.

If you listen to hip hop music as much as I do (yeah you probably don't, but that's okay), then you'll have heard plenty of songs from many artists (i.e. Drake, Future, Young Dolph, NAV) mentioning Nobu in Malibu. I call this brilliant and most importantly free marketing for Nobu.

A couple years ago, when my favorite superstar rapper Future rapped, "Nobu, Nobu, Nobu, Nobu, Nobu, Nobu" on the hit single, "Jumpman", the idea to take drive down from the Bay Area to Nobu in Malibu was set in my head.

So on a recent trip down to Southern California, I was finally able to check it out for myself.

Open since October 1999 and now relocated to a beachfront location, Nobu Matsuhisa's Malibu location has gained much notoriety from Hollywood celebrities, musical artists and athletes to regular people like you and me who are in search of great sushi or place to have a romantic date.

Attention to detail is superb at Nobu Malibu and we haven't got to the food yet! (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

Make a reservation

Seriously, it's highly advisable to make a reservation up to one month in advance. I called three weeks ahead of time to secure a spot. I knew that I would drive up from Los Angeles back to the Bay Area and stop at Nobu for lunch so I secured an early time slot.

If you aren't able to reserve a table, you can always show up early and grab a seat at their bar or sushi bar, which are both first come, first served.

The outdoor seating area looked very clean and organized. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

Show up early

Speaking of showing up early, if you aren't able to get a table, I recommend showing up at Nobu as soon as the doors open for lunch (12:00 NOON) because this place will get jammed packed fast.

Malibu Pier is only a 10 minute walk from the restaurant. (Photos by Digital Nomad Foodie)

When I showed up, we were one of the first people to arrive and had time to walk down to the Malibu Pier, which is only 10 minutes away.

As soon as we came back about 15 minutes before the doors opened, we saw plenty of people waiting. So make sure you get there early if you don't have a reservation.

Nobu Malibu sits right next to the Pacific Ocean off of the Pacific Coast Highway. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

The restaurant

The building itself doesn't look anything special when you pull up in their parking lot. If you want to alleviate some stress, use the valet parking. It's cheap (only $10), fast and organized.

Outside the building are plenty of seating arrangements with neatly placed table settings.

Another advantage of coming early is the ability to take some very nice photos with little to no people in the background.

We got lucky and were seated underneath an enclosure which allowed natural light to filter through (good for food porn) and provided some warmth from the heating element above.

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The food and drinks

Now comes the best part of this review - the food.

Nobu Malibu does not disappoint! The presentation for each item you order is flawless with each being a work of art ready to be eagerly devoured.

You would think the prices would be eye-popping expensive, but in reality all the items are easy on the wallet.

Order the grapefruit (left) and the mango passionfruit martini (right). (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

One of the first things ordered were drinks. The Grapefruit on the Rocks was very refreshing after fighting that Southern California traffic. I also enjoyed the Mango and Passionfruit Martini.

These shisito peppers are super good, perfect for an appetizer. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

For a small appetizer, you should order the seared Shisito peppers and edamame. The former were cooked perfectly.

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If you like fresh chunky crab salad, then this one's for you. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

Next up is a good salad. The King Crab Salad comes with very large pieces of crab tossed in with some fresh butter lettuce. This was a very good, chunky salad.

They have Kushi Oysters so try them. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

Nobu also serves oysters. They had Kushi Oysters, which are very popular here on the West Coast due to their clean flavor. The minimum order is two oysters and we only ordered three, which won't satisfy your hunger, but good enough to sample in case you want you order more next time.

Whitefish sashimi. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

The Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño is a signature dish. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

If you love sashimi, then Nobu offers enticing options. We tried the Whitefish and Yellow Tail sashimi. Each came out in a similar colorful arrangement, which was shaped like a flower with a centerpiece decoration.

Another signature dish is this Black Cod Miso. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

If you enjoy cooked fish, the Black Cod is a great dish to order. It also happens to be one of Nobu's signature dishes. It comes out on a beautiful presentation with crispy skin on the bottom, covered in a sweet Miso sauce with moist meat that melts in your mouth. It's an excellent choice to order.

For those of you sushi pros who love uni, order the uni and ask for the quail egg. That's a perfect combo of soft, rich flavor that will satisfy your taste buds. Also, try the sweet shrimp and ask for the heads to be deep-fried. These shrimp were some of the best I've ever had. The next time I eat at a Nobu I am going to order twice as much.

On the same platter were a couple salmon skin rolls, which were bundled with rice, veggies and tobiko. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)

Finally, try the seared toro, which is served with truffles on a bed of mushrooms. This wasn't on the menu, so if you are into toro, ask for it!

I hope these photos gave you more information on what to expect when eating at the best sushi in Malibu, California. Remember, to make a reservation and book as far out in advance as possible because it's a popular place to eat.

Nobu Malibu

22706 Pacific Coast Highway

Malibu, California 90265

Phone: (310) 317-9140

Hours of Operation:

Saturday to Sunday - Breakfast 9am to 12pm

Monday to Saturday - Lunch 12pm to 3pm

Sunday to Thursday - Dinner 3pm to 10pm

Friday to Saturday - Dinner 3pm to 11pm

Monday to Sunday - Bar 12pm to Close

If you've eaten there, please chime in with your comments below!

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About Digital Nomad Foodie

Digital Nomad Foodie is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area.  He was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army and has lived all over the world.  In addition to blogging, he is also a digital nomad working in healthcare.  He writes about his experiences and recommendations in various locations around the world.  His photos and reviews have helped over 79 million people learn about local & exotic destinations plus delicious food and can be seen on InstagramGoogle Maps and Yelp.


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