Food & Drink

Ten places to get poke, including four new restaurants

Whether it's bowls, wraps or salads, poke is served a variety of ways in Fresno

Pokiland co-owners Tram Tran and Binh Tran describe the many options for poke bowls, warps, salads and nachos for the traditional Hawaiian dish that is becoming popular in Fresno.
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Pokiland co-owners Tram Tran and Binh Tran describe the many options for poke bowls, warps, salads and nachos for the traditional Hawaiian dish that is becoming popular in Fresno.

The poke trend is hitting the Fresno area, with two new restaurants now open and two more in the works.

Poke is technically pronounced poh-kay, though plenty of people around here say poh-key. The Hawaiin-inspired dish is raw, bite-size pieces of tuna or other fish served in a bowl. The bowl starts with a base of rice, salad greens or nacho chips, is piled high with fish or other proteins, and then finished with sauces, veggies and other toppings.

And if raw fish isn’t your thing, poke restaurants here are increasingly offering other options, including cooked seafood and chicken, tofu and vegetables.

The trend has been so popular here that its about to make a big leap into Clovis with two soon-to-open restaurants. Keep reading to find out more.

1. Poki Bowl Express This newcomer is the rare spot in southeast Fresno where you can get poke. At 6127 Kings Canyon Road, it’s near the GB3 gym at Sunnyside Avenue.

express

What to get here: The chef recommends getting the “express sauce” he created on whatever protein you choose. The sauce is a combo of sweet, savory and other flavors, said Brian Sanchez, who is also Poki Bowl Express’ manager. Chicken and tofu are on the menu for people who don’t want fish.

2. Celsius This “poke bowl and boba bar” recently opened at 681 E. Nees Ave. in the Save Mart shopping center in Fresno.

The poke bowls here are similar to other places, with customers choosing from seafood like salmon, ahi tuna, spicy tuna, shrimp and scallops.

Celcius
Celcius is a new poke bowl and boba bar that opened at 681 E. Nees Ave. in Fresno in the Save Mart shopping center. Celcius

What sets this place apart is its large menu of Asian teas. The colorful teas can be ordered with add-ons mixed into the drinks like boba (little balls of tapioca) and jellies (something similar often in little square shapes), along with seeds like chia.

3. Pokiland1189 E. Champlain Drive, Fresno. The first poke place in town is near Campagnia restaurant. It offers typical poke options. Customers can also get their ingredients rolled up like a burrito in nori (seaweed) instead of a tortilla.

What to get here: The owner recommends getting any protein, including its smoked squid, with its “bomb sauce” and garlic miso mixed together.

4. Another Pokiland – A second location is in the works for the Trading Post shopping center at Clovis and Herndon avenues.

They are hoping to open by September but don’t be surprised if they’re a little late as restaurant openings are frequently delayed.

When it does open, this Pokiland will sell some goodies that the original one doesn’t, including drinks and dessert, the owner says.

5. Butterfish A star of the poke scene in Fresno, it’s at 8482 N. Friant Road, in the same new center as Sportsman’s Warehouse.

This poke place tries to appeal to families with varying tastes, selling raw fish, but also cooked crab, shrimp and chicken and roasted vegetables.

They recommend: The Rising Sun bowl made with seared tuna, miso vinaigrette and spicy mayo.

butterfish
Butterfish California Poke is a poke bowl restaurant in north Fresno that plans on opening a Clovis location. CRAIG KOHLRUSS ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

6: Another Butterfish – A second location is in the works, at the southeast corner of Herndon and Fowler avenues in Clovis. It’s part of a new development that already has a Five Guys burgers and fries and Chipotle.

The owners hope the new location will be open by the end of the year.

7: Central Fish Market 1535 Kern St., Fresno. This downtown seafood market sells poke by the pound (supplying many local poke restaurants) and in bowls.

centralfish
Customers stand in line waiting to order food on Friday at Central Fish. MARK CROSSE Fresno Bee Staff Photo

8. Rio Acai Bowls1915 Fulton St., Fresno. This place specializes in fruity acai berry bowls, but also serves three kinds of poke bowls.

rioacai
Poke bowls, clockwise from lower left, Hawaiian poke, spicy poke and kimchi poke, prepared at Rio Acai in Fresno Tuesday, August 16, 2016. CRAIG KOHLRUSS ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

They are the traditional bowl made with ahi tuna, a spicy version with Sriracha and Sriracha mayo, and a third bowl with kimchi.

9. KuniSama 6825 N. Willow Ave., Fresno. This teppanyaki and sushi restaurant has a poke bowl on its menu. It features tuna, avocado, and sesame seeds served over a wakame seaweed salad with an option to make it spicy.

10. Miyako Japanese Restaurant 132 W. Nees Ave., Fresno serves a poke salad and may add poke bowls soon.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

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