Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar at Pechanga Resort & Casino stands on it's own a destination restaurant within the sprawling restore. As someone who is not big on gambling myself I often look to the other amenities, entertainment, and dining that resorts have to offer. Umi stands out in the old west stagecoach stop, turned wine country destination of Temecula, where the top restaurants are almost all Italian or American.

At the heart of every great restaurant is the chef and Umi is no different. Headed by chef Kiyokuni Ikeda, a self-taught sushi chef who grew up working in his parents soba noodle and coffee shop in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. When his father became ill, Chef Ikeda dropped out of high school to run the family restaurant, where his passion and talents for the culinary arts blossomed. His handmade soba noodles and coffee became so popular that locals and tourists would go out of their way to sample them.

Chef Ikeda wanted to expand his culinary skills and began working at restaurants in Tokyo and assisting sushi chefs, later he would apply for a position in the US that would lead him to working at prestigious sushi restaurants in Philadelphia such as Zama and Morimoto. Today Chef Ikeda's culinary vision is on display inside Pechanga, California’s largest casino/resort.

From world class sushi and oysters to poultry and beef dishes Umi has something for everyone, the full bar offers a wide selection of drinks.

I started with the marinated beef tenderloin skewers served with an apple coleslaw and wasabi cream sauce ($9). For sushi I sampled the Sake Abo a salmon and avocado roll ($11) and for my main course I had the chicken a la brassa ($29). While desert looked amazing, I had already had far too much as the portions are generous, and the food is so good you don't want to leave anything on the plate. Chef Ikeda came out personally to greet our table see how dinner was and would regularly circulate around the dining room visiting with guests.

Even if you are not a gambler I doubt that Pechanga is on your radar, but Umi is worth visiting as a stand alone dining experience.

Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar is open for dinner from 5:00p.m. to 10:00p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5:00p.m. to 11:00p.m. Friday and Saturday. Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar is one of Pechanga’s 11 dining outlets. To view the menu CLICK HERE.

I was invited out to Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar at Pechanga Resort & Casino as a guest however, the opinions expressed are my own.