Los Angeles is the birthplace of the popular California roll, a kind of sushi roll in which crab meat, cucumber and the ubiquitous California avocado are wrapped in layers of sticky rice, seaweed and sesame seeds. During our recent visit to Los Angeles, we returned to some favorite sushi restaurants, tried some new ones, and have a few on a list we just didn't have time to get to but certainly want to check out. Book your cheap tickets to Los Angeles and get out to the City of Angels to enjoy some imaginative, innovative Japanese cuisine.
Always a Long Line
In the heart of Los Angeles' Little Tokyo is Daikokuya, a kitschy, plucky place that always has a line of people—many speaking Japanese—going out into the sidewalk. The long lines are a testament to Daikokuya's inexpensive and absolutely delicious, authentic sushi and ramen bowls. Consistently voted one of the best noodle houses in town, Daikokuya also slices and dices up a fantastic California roll, and is why I keep returning to this place year after year. With its red vinyl seats, vintage Japanese posters and Godzilla figurine above the door, Daikokuya has become a favorite hangout for locals and tourists. Plus you'll be pleased when the bill arrives for Daikokuya's menu items never burn a hole in your wallet. Daikokuya seats on a first come, first serve basis, so come in between dining rush hours.
Some Prosciutto With Your Tuna?
We stumbled upon this restaurant a few weeks ago, and what a find! Izaka-ya by Katsu Ya opened in Manhattan Beach in January 2010 (another one is located in West Hollywood and a smaller one is located in Sherman Oaks), and despite getting there early for dinner, the place was packed with families, couples, hipsters, the elderly and everyone in between. Featuring traditional Japanese dishes such as Kobe beef, seaweed salad, tempura as well as sashimi like spicy toro, salmon, Spanish mackerel and halibut, Izaka-ya also serves an interesting range of tapas and sushi rolls. Diners can try the restaurant's own interpretation of the California roll as well as the tuna and prosciutto, which we ate and loved. Another fantastic find was the spicy tuna served on crispy rice. The chefs also prepare Rakumori, a sampler plate for two with the restaurant's signature sushi rolls, as well as special kids entrees that arrive in a cute dish shaped like a boat. Izaka-ya is more expensive than Daikokuya, and you fill up on little plates quickly, but save room for dessert. Reservations are recommended.
Venturing Out to Ventura Boulevard
Next time we visit, we'll stroll down Studio City's Ventura Boulevard also known as "Sushi Row" for the neighborhood's many wonderful sushi restaurants. Asanebo is enjoying a renaissance as of late, with customers seeking to try both fusion and classic Japanese cuisine. Offering a range of plates serving the fruits of the sea, Asanebo specializes in toro, red snapper and sea urchin as its house signature dishes. If you're craving something other than sushi, Asanebo prepares a variety of grilled and fried seafood, as well as chicken, eggplant and other vegetables, and beef for non-seafood lovers. As always, leave room for dessert because Asanebo whips up some interesting concoctions like green tea flan and old-fashioned chocolate cake.
For information about other sushi restaurants in the Los Angeles area, visit Los Angeles Magazine's May 2013 listings here.
Photo credit: tofuprod