Just East of Japan: Finding the Best Japanese Food in Los Angeles

No matter what part of Los Angeles you are visiting, there's wonderful Japanese food to be found. Perhaps that is because it is the first stop for Japanese chefs immigrating to America from their homeland, or maybe it springs from the deeply rooted Japanese-American community that has been a part of the City of Angels for generations. Whatever the reason, excellent Japanese fare can be found all over the Southern California Los Angeles basin, from those places that are literally overlooking the ocean (think Nobu Malibu) to restaurants built on the side of the mountains (Yamashiro in the Hollywood Hills) and the ones located in the heart of Little Tokyo, too (Daikokuya), which is situated in the downtown area and has existed there since the 1880s. Another famed corridor of Japanese excellence is along Sawtelle Boulevard in West L.A. That area has long been known as Little Osaka and it features restaurants that offer everything from sushi to shabu shabu to dumplings to yakitori (grilled skewered meats) and even ramen noodles. But regardless of where you live, work or go to play in Los Angeles, there's sure to be a Japanese place nearby, for it is one of the most popular cuisines served up in this city where ethnic restaurants abound.

Daikokuya Little Tokyo
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Daikokuya is a tiny place in Little Toyko, L.A.'s downtown enclave of Japanese immigrants. Looking more like an American diner than a classic noodle shop, nevertheless Daikokuya is one of the top spots in town to find a large, steaming bowl of...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Kiwami

When Chef Katsuya Uechi wanted to open a place where he could actually spend some quality time, he chose Studio City and named the place Kiwami. Katsuya, who owns six other restaurants in the Katsu-ya Group as well as partners with SBE for the...  Read More

Hide Sushi
Photo courtesy of Wikicommons

Hide Sushi is a family-run restaurant in Little Osaka, the Westside's Japanese enclave. Open since 1979, the small, homey place is low on frills, with no "chic and trendy" component to it at all. Instead, Hide offers up classic Japanese tastes...  Read More

SUGARFISH By Sushi Nozawa
Photo courtesy of SUGARFISH By Sushi Nozawa

At SUGARFISH By Sushi Nozawa, everything is freshly prepared, right down to the house-made soy sauce and ponzu. But don't expect a lot of either of those, as Chef Kazunori Nozawa presents his delicious sushi ready to eat. In fact, he's gotten...  Read More

Yamashiro Hollywood
Photo courtesy of Yamashiro Restaurant

Yamashiro Hollywood is one of the most iconic restaurants in all of Los Angeles, simply by virtue of its fantastic location and decor. Set above Hollywood Boulevard in a gorgeous pagoda with stunning views of the whole city below, Yamashiro also...  Read More

La Cienega Corridor

Once named one of the ten best restaurants in the world by The New York Times, Matsuhisa began life in 1987, when Nobu Matsuhisa chose this small spot on La Cienega Boulevard to open his very first restaurant. It was the beginning of an empire,...  Read More

Sushi Roku Santa Monica
Photo courtesy of Wendy O'Dea

Sushi Roku has been wowing locals and tourists alike in Los Angeles for many years, with the now-shuttered first location near the Beverly Center, followed by Santa Monica and Pasadena. All under the helm of master sushi chef Hiroshi Shima,...  Read More

Culver City
Photo courtesy of K-Zo

K-Zo chef and owner Keizo Ishiba chose the burgeoning restaurant strip along Culver Boulevard in Culver City to open his celebrated eatery. Known for his fusion of traditional Japanese small plates, sashimi and sushi with the French style he...  Read More

For some of L.A.'s best sushi and coolest scene going, head over to Katsuya by Starck L.A. Live. This outpost of the restaurant chain helmed by Chef Katsuya Uechi and designed by Philippe Starck must be seen to be believed. But don't let the hip...  Read More

Nobu Malibu
Photo courtesy of Nobu Malibu photo by Henry Hargreaves

Los Angeles is where it all began for Nobu Matsuhisa, the acknowledged king of Japanese cuisine, who now has high-end eateries all over the world. His first restaurant, Matsuhisa, is a tiny place on La Cienega Boulevard; Nobu Los Angeles is...  Read More


Meet Jenny Peters

Jenny Peters – aka Jet Set Jen – is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist, editor and party columnist specializing in travel, entertainment, film, food, wine, fashion and the other good...  More About Jenny

comments powered by Disqus

Build your own lists that you can easily reference or share stories with your friends.

Login ×

Forgot login/password?
Don't have an account? Create Your Account!

Enter your username or email in the box below and click
"Remind Me".

Remind Me ×
Create Account ×
Create Account ×

Already have an account?

Add to List ×
Save ×

Go to Lists Close Window ×