By Alison Widdoes
Los Angeles Local Expert
Sometimes, the urge to have Japanese food strikes, and nothing satisfies until you get it. When that happens, count on 10Best to point you in the direction of Los Angeles's best Japanese restaurants. We understand the desire to have a great meal, and we work hard to bring you the top places to eat in Los Angeles. We vet restaurants carefully for quality, and when we recommend popular eateries like Nobu Malibu or tell you that Katsu-ya gets good reader feedback, you can believe it. We'll make sure you get - and eat - what's best.
Shojin offers a quaint Japanese experience with a vegan spin. Located in a lackluster asian shopping mall, the restaurant features surprisingly cozy decor and warm service. The menu caters to a vegetarian customer with a wide selection of sushi and fusion options. Despite its limited vegetarian cuisine, the food is decidedly delicious. (213-617-0305)
This appealing eatery is a regular and constant choice for folks looking for the best sushi around. A great menu offers both cooked and raw items, and excellent service makes the experience that much better. Sashimi is a specialty, but you'll find everything from salmon skin rolls and eel tempura to abalone and sea urchin. (818-760-3348)
7 Sushi Masu
At Sushi Masu, the rolls are as unique and pretty as they are flavorful. Regulars return frequently for melt-in-your-mouth raw fare, including delectable sea urchin and white tuna. For diners who prefer cooked cuisine, an array of dishes awaits, including teriyaki and soft-shell crab with vegetables. While the restaurant's decor is nothing to write home about, the incredible food and very reasonable prices are enough to pack the tiny spot on most nights -- be sure to call ahead for a reservation. (310-446-4368)
A favorite with close-by industry types, this restaurant enjoys a loyal patronage that the chef-owner much appreciates. These folks won't settle for sushi anywhere else, and have become accustomed to the eatery's impeccably fresh fish, inventive rolls, and prompt service. A popular lunch spot for business people. (818-985-6976)
5 Mori Sushi
This understated spot doesn't even have its name on the sign -- look instead for a rustic sketch of a fish. The minimalist interior features simple table and bar seating in order to place focus on the exquisite food. In fact, presentation of some of the city's freshest seafood is so breathtaking that diners have been known to comment that they didn't know whether to eat it or frame it. Try octopus carpaccio, broiled prawns, or fabulously fresh sashimi. Order a Kirin beer to highlight the flavors. (310-479-3939)
True connoisseurs of sushi gladly fork over $250 for much sought-after omakase-style meals from renowned sushi chef Hiroyuki Urasawa. Only a reservation grants entrance to this intimate, zen-like space, where you'll experience course after course of the freshest, most painstakingly prepared fish. While the menu changes often, past dishes have included seared toro (a prime, fatty cut of tuna) served on a hot stone, tataki-style Kobe beef with wasabi and sea salt, and a perfectly-textured slice of tofu topped with caviar and gold flakes. A decent sake selection is on-hand to accompany blissful culinary journeys, but take note -- alcohol is not included in the price of dinner. Also, diners can choose the number of courses they would like -- typically, it's 25 to 30. (310-247-8939)
Lunch and dinner crowds flock here whether it be young professionals throughout the week or curious fish fanatics who come for their sushi fix on the weekends. While the decor is simple - white-washed walls, concrete bases and a silver-polished bar area - the flavorful rolls will certainly leave an indelible memory. Chef and owner Keizo Ishiba is an icon around town, celebrated for his fusion of French style with the tradition of Japanese small plates and sushi rolls. Allow the staff to guide your each choice, as they'll make your dining experience an art form and surprise the palate with an eruption of different tastes. (310-202-8890)
2 Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle
Ramen is no rarity on Sawtelle Boulevard, and Tsujita LA serves some of the best ramen available in all of Los Angeles. The broth is marinated for over 60 hours, featuring enough richness to compliment the noodles offering just enough bite. Ramen is only served lunchtime so as not to overshadow the dinnertime kaiseki menu. Bring cash as credit is not accepted. ((310) 231-7373)
Matsuhisa is first-born sibling to the internationally trendy Nobu restaurants and is the chef-owner's original endeavor. It's not so given to fanfare as the others, and the relative quiet of the place is incredibly appealing to folks who prefer that the focus be on the cuisine. And what sublime food it is, thanks to an excellent sashimi salad, delectable tempura, and "new style" sashimi that gets a kick from Latin American flavors. Cooked items are also terrific, as is the omakase menu. And yes, it's a great spot for stargazing -- no, not the celestial kind. (310-659-9639)
About Alison Widdoes
Alison is a licensing professional, yogi and travel writer based in Los Angeles. Her Bachelor’s degree in French fueled an early desire to travel, while her Master’s in Business Administration later served her career. As a 500-hr certified yogi, her passion for yoga and travel has led her on retreats around the world from Bali to Brazil. When not working or yoga’ing, Alison writes for jetsetextra.com, 10best.com, hotelchatter.com and her blog at http://anecdotali.wordpress.com. Alison’s life mantra is to stay lighthearted, with an eye toward laughter and never taking oneself too seriously. Follow her on twitter @anecdotali.
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