Aug 14, 2023 - Things to Do

Sips & snacks: Kai Ola sushi restaurant in Encinitas pours overflowing sake

A small glass filled with sake sits in a black square box that's also filled with sake on a restaurant table (left). A woman sips sake out of the box (right).

Order a glass of cold sake at Kai Ola for a fun sipping experience. Photos: Kate Murphy/Axios

One reason I love going to sushi restaurants is for the sake. I enjoy the taste of the Japanese rice wine, and usually prefer it cold. But, I'm really ordering it for the fun experience!

  • Who doesn't love a sake bomb?

What's happening: At Kai Ola in the low-key beach town of Leucadia, they serve sake spillover style — something I'd never experienced until a recent visit had me questioning my server.

  • The waiter pours the sake into a small glass until it overflows, filling up a square box (called a masu) the glass sits in.

The intrigue: Drinking sake in this style is called "sosogi-koboshi" or "mokkiri." The overflowing pour is seen as an act of generosity by the host and a celebration for guests.

Pro tip: There's no strict etiquette for sipping the sake, I recommend finishing the glass and then drinking from one corner of the masu.

  • It pairs well with the Grandview roll, featuring salmon, spicy tuna and shrimp tempura.

Where to find it: Kai Ola at 918 N. Coast Hwy. 101 in Encinitas.

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