Best-of Guides Los Angeles

LA's Best Japanese Restaurants

6 Restaurants
Angelenos are spoiled for choice when it comes to sushi, plus izakaya favorites like grilled chicken “oysters” kicked up with yuzu kosho or pristine house-made tofu with wasabi.
Updated on 15 April 2024
Q Sushi
521 W. 7th St., 90014 Los Angeles
$$$$ · Japanese

Authenticity and tradition are paramount in this extraordinary little sushiya. Meals typically begin with chef Hiroyuki Naruke, who gracefully prepares every item and thoughtfully serves each diner. Edomae sushi arrives as an omakase of sublime fish, while other courses may commence with downright flawless sashimi and nigiri. Case in point—amberjack sashimi with onions and soy, where each morsel is sliced, seasoned and set before your eye. This may be tailed by such delicious nigiri as Hokkaido scallops, kohada and fatty tuna.

1320 E. 7th St., Ste. 126, 90021 Los Angeles
$$$$ · Japanese

With only one seating per night, this is the kind of destination where a handful of lucky diners are privy to an exemplary culinary spectacle. To kick off the kaiseki, the chef serves a small bite, or sakizuke, like chilled, charred eggplant with ginger and dashi. From there, it's a seasonal celebration artistically arranged on vintage Japanese pottery and porcelain collected by the chef. Local corn and sea scallops is transformed into kakiage; bonito is lightly smoked over rice bran straw; and miso-glazed black cod is folded into a luscious rice pot to conclude the meal.

3133 Glendale Blvd., 90039 Los Angeles
$$$$ · Japanese

The little bites and dishes that precede the nigiri can often feel like a second thought at most counters. Not so in this case, where chef Morihiro Onodera's omakase yields an impressive amount of food. A perfect cube of house-made tofu with wasabi and soy tailed by abalone with aged yuzu pepper make for enticing openers. Nigiri may unveil everything from clean, white hirame to appetizingly oily mackerel. For dessert, behold peak-season fruit, vegan mochi and a raindrop cake with brown sugar syrup.

1356 Allison Ave., 90026 Los Angeles
$$ · Japanese

Tsubaki is not a sushiya. Barring a lovely plate of sashimi (kanpachi), the menu at this delicious Japanese gem is comprised of classic izakaya food. Think fluffy whipped miso tofu, topped with marinated cherry tomatoes and pickled scallion kimchi; Salmon Creek Farm pork shumai with braised bacon dashi; and tender grilled chicken “oysters” kicked up with yuzu kosho. Dishes are meant to be shared and paired with beer or sake. Beverage lovers will thrill to the excellent selection of local craft and distilled sake—and they’ll also get to choose their own cups to enjoy these sips.

Sushi Takeda
123 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka St., Ste. 307, 90012 Los Angeles
$$$$ · Japanese

Book one of two nightly seatings for dinner omakase here, or skip the splurge-worthy dinner and opt for the reasonably priced lunch omakase. The counter is certainly the best place to pull up a seat to savor such items as the signature iwashi, a sardine roll wrapped in pickled daikon and filled with ginger and shiso. Lean tuna from Japan is simply delicious while spear squid with fermented tuna intestine is an enjoyable bite. Discover a perfect morsel of striped jack or the sweet and creamy kelp-cured spotted prawns.

815 S. Hill St., 90014 Los Angeles
$$$$ · Japanese

There may be no more pleasurable place to learn about kappo-style cuisine than this stellar Japanese space, featuring a few tables and counter.  À la carte is offered, but the multi-course kappo-style is the best way to experience this kitchen's creations. Dishes bring together a range of inspired Japanese flavors, but equal attention is given to texture and artistic presentations. Highlights reveal an innovative "true chicken teriyaki" that has been dried and rehydrated to render enticingly chewy results.