Discovering Los Angeles: 4 Japanese Restaurants We Love
Photo: MTN / Instagram
Los Angeles has an ever-growing selection of Japanese restaurants, all across the city. From ultra swanky sushi spots to more casual ramen joints and new age concepts, there are plenty of places to choose from. We’ve picked a few we think are worth talking about. Mark them down for your next visit, special occasion or even a low-key night out with friends.
Sushi Gen, located in Downtown LA, has been called the best sushi restaurant in the world by our CEO, Kevin Stamler. They offer limited reservations and without one, try to get there 30-45 minutes before the place opens to score a table with the first wave of diners. Sitting at the sushi bar offers a unique dining experience that allows you to interact directly with the sushi chef, preview a variety of dishes, and then order what you like. They are known for their uni and fatty tuna but you really can’t go wrong with any of their melt-in-your-mouth sushi dishes.
Photo: Sushi Gen Website
422 East 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Pronounced “Mountain,” MTN is the latest creation from chef Travis Lett who brought us Gjelina and Gjusta. Located on Abbot Kinney in Venice, expect a hip crowd and stellar ambiance. MTN is an Izakaya – a type of Japanese bar in which a variety of small dishes and snacks are served to accompany the alcoholic drinks – but with a California spin. Lett collaborated with two chefs to bring this restaurant and concept to life – one from Oaxaca, Mexico who spent years working in Japanese restaurants and another born and raised in Japan. The menu isn’t cheap the experience is worth the splurge. Come with a small group so you can experience more of the menu.
Photo: MTN / Instagram
1305 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
A spinoff from Chef Nozawa’s Sugarfish (which we didn’t feature here, but is also worth a visit), KazuNori is the first hand roll bar. Just like Sugarfish, expect super fresh fish, amazing sauces, crispy seaweed, and their signature warm rice. We love this place because the food is incredible, the service is fast – you can be in and out in 30 min – and the experience is fun. Everyone sits at the bar and orders from a simple menu of predetermined hand roll sets. Each hand roll comes out separately, as it’s ready, and should be enjoyed immediately. There are 3 locations here in LA – downtown, Santa Monica and West Hollywood.
If you’re looking for ramen, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll find a few of these sprinkled around the city, with the original location in Little Tokyo. We love the location on Sawtelle where you feel instantly transported to a busy street market in Japan. Wherever you go, order the Daikoku or Spicy Miso Ramen. The noodles won’t disappoint and are worth the wait.