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Best (Inexpensive) Sushi in LA?

My parents are taking me out for my birthday this weekend and we decided to get some sushi. We live in Pasadena, and anywhere under an hour's drive (Pasadena, Downtown, Hollywood/Beverly Hills, Torrance, etc.) and under $100 for the three of us would be great. Our favorites include anything with maguro (tuna) and California handrolls (with real crab, not the imitation stick kind). Unbelievable though it may seem, we've never gone to a restaurant specializing in sushi yet, although we are Japanese and have lived here for over 20 years. We are thinking of maybe trying Sushi Go55 in Little Tokyo.

Taking this opportunity, I'd also like to ask if anyone knows of a good cake shop in the LA area. My favorite currently is Italian Tomato in Mitsuwa in Little Tokyo--the Chocolate Marron Cake is really good! (Part of the reason we are thinking of trying Sushi Go55 is because it is also in the Mitsuwa building.) We like cakes that aren't too sweet and are on the light side.

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  1. You will be able to eat well at Hide Sushi on Sawtelle in West LA for $35/person. dollar for dollar, this is the best sushi deal in town, as far as I know.

    3 Replies
    1. re: glutton

      Bear in mind that Hide is cash-only.

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        But there is an ATM in house if you forget.

      2. re: glutton

        I second Hide. And the Cash-only thing. $30 a head will get you a LOT of sushi there.

      3. Maybe you'd like to try Sushi Gen in the Honda Plaza in Little Tokyo; good sushi and in your price range.

        Also in that mall is the Frances Bakery, which should have a nice selection of cakes, and a cozy tea room. It reminds me of a little konditerei in Vienna, where you can eat cake and drink coffee out of nice china, in a modest but very genteel setting.

        1 Reply
        1. re: NAspy

          Sushi Gen is very good but you will not spend under $100 for three there. I haven't gotten out of there for under $100 for two.

        2. Z Sushi is at the Alhambra/San Marino/South Pasadena border, and would probably be a good choice. I've done omakase there several times (there are two omakase options on the menu at different price points, but what I've done is just eat until I'm full), and have never paid more than $35/person. This is without alcohol, however.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jacinthe

            i used to work at Z-sushi! the quality is ok, and yea its not that expensive. worth a try. omakaze is a great buy too.....

          2. I like the Maki & Sushi in Arcadia (Huntington Dr., near the 210 Fwy and it shares the parking lot with the BJs) - the sushi (both nigiri and the crazy rolls) are good, and I never spent more than $13 for lunch or $30 for dinner. Of course, depends a lot on what you order (I tend to get a mix of sushi & cooked foods.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: AquaW

              Kiyosuzu is great if you're on budget. Quality is average but fish is usually fresh. Selection and skill of the two chefs are limited though.

            2. Try also Kiyosuzu in Arcadia(on Baldwin between Huntington and Duarte). We usually get out of there below $40 for two(no alcohol).

              1 Reply
              1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                I second this place. If you like ankimo (monk fish liver), they make a good ankimo roll. It should be in their special menu on the wall, I don't remember specifically what it was called though.

              2. Definitely second the rec for SUSHI GEN. Also nearby in Little Tokyo is SUSHI KOMASA (352 East 2nd St., 213-680-1792), which is also a great bargain.

                In the Pasadena area, consider YOSHIDA (2026 Huntington Dr., San Marino, 626-281-9292), which the locals rave about. I've been once, for the area I think it's good and better than most sushi places in the SGV.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Sushi Gen is still so far the best, even thou I have to say it was much better 15 years ago when this place pretty much caterded to Japanese and dishes were in more generous portion at lower price. Not to mention better service with Toyo San ( the old chef in the center of the bar) in charge. The chefs here used to share drinks with customers and the atmosphere was more lively and pleasant. I've tried all the places you guys mentioned with the exception of Hide and I still think Sushi Gen is the best, well, as long as you don't compare it to some of the more exclusive Sushi places on the west side. The only thing that bothers me with Sushi Gen is this short mean ugly rude host / manager who takes you name and arrange seatings. I have never been to any restaurant on earth with this kind of host providing such poor service.

                2. Komasa serves good sushi for reasonable prices. It's on the 2nd street side of the Japanese Village. Get there early as it's a small little place with a wait, often on weekends. A party of two for me has run $40-$60 (total) and I was full each time with at least one beer or sake. The old lady waitress (owner/wife?) is so nice and service is excellent. I haven't seen much about them on the boards, but I'm letting the secret out now. Only downside is that the sushi selection is standard fare.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: daluji

                    komasa vote for an inexpensive meal for several.

                    only problem is the smell of one's clothes after leaving.

                    1. re: epop

                      The only problem I have with Komasa is their thoroughly mediocre sushi. It's kind of mid-priced for the area, so it's not really a bargain, but you can do better. Actually, both Hama and Komasa are in the same category of mediocrity.

                  2. Noshi Sushi is very good (real crab meat in their CA rolls) and good prices. It's in K-Town but don't let that fool you, it's run by Japanese. Decor isn't the greatest, but the food is good.

                    SEC of Beverly and Hobart.

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: ladius

                        My Japanese husband and I find the food at Noshi-Sushi reprehensible. We went twice with friends. First sitting down at the table and ordering, the waitresses brought us miso soup... which had little to no dashi broth in it. It tasted like it was miso just dissolved in hot water, and was awful.
                        The chirashi was like a HUGE bed of rice with a little bit of sub-par fish on top, and the breading for the tempura was gloopy and heavy. Not to mention that it is dark and dirty. Avoid it at all costs.
                        On the flip side, Sushi Ike on Hollywood (and Gower or something, I think. It's East of Vine in a strip mall,) is good, fresh, and inexpensive. Quantities seem to fluxuate but the overall meal was very good.

                        1. re: linlinchan

                          Noshi caters to the out-of-work screenwriter set interested in a big meal not quality sushi. Ike is much better and will probably, without alcohol, meet that price range. Could be higher though...

                        2. re: ladius

                          YES! I can go there, have a beer and sushi, and be full for 20 bucks.

                        3. Yokohama in Culver City has a pretty good lunch special deal with nigiri and a spicy tuna roll. It serves its purpose very well.

                          1. Of the recs on this list, I've been to Yoshida, Sushi Gen, Z Sushi, Hide, Sushi Ike, and Noshi. Based on your requirements, I'd say go with Z Sushi. It's the only one IMHO that's arguably as good as Sushi Gen, but it's considerably closer and less crowded. It also has a lot that's large enough to guarantee a space, immediate seating, and a slightly better decor IMHO. It's also really friendly. But you certainly won't go wrong at Sushi Gen, but your parents might find it a hassle.

                            Noshi's probably the cheapest, but is crowded and a poor choice for a celebration and a first-ever sushi meal. Ike is usually quite good, but not as consistently as Z or Gen. Yoshida and Hide are meh.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Alimentary My Dear Watson

                              yeah, Noshi is probably not right for a celebration.

                              Mr. holmes, where is this Z Sushi place?

                              1. re: ladius

                                Z Sushi is on Garfield/Atlantic intersection, just south of Huntington Dr. in San Marino. next to In and Out.

                            2. If you can drive down to Shibucho in Costa Mesa, you'll get excellent traditional sushi at reasonable prices. I'd say it's Sushi Zo quality at Hide Sushi prices.

                              They don't do california rolls though.

                              1. Little Tokyo in San Dimas will also fix you up well within your budget.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                                  are they still there? i haven't been there in years but i recall being pretty impressed - you're not going to find anything that the average eastern SGV resident wouldn't order, but what they had was pretty good quality. they'd probably be less expensive than Z, but i managed dinner at Z last night for about $35 including tip.

                                  1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                                    Little Tokyo has good fish selection especially on Fridays. Price reasonable too with excellent service. The only thing that bothers me is the sushi rice being too damp and sticky. I would recommend this place though.

                                    There's another place name "Jubei" near Diamond Bar. Chiken soft bone (grilled) is one of the best. The chef (Kin) is highly skilled and fish quality is above average. Down side is that this place is very expensive when compared to Sushi Gen or Yoshida and fish quality seem to be not too consistant lately.

                                  2. I really like Minori on Robertson.

                                    1. I LOVE sushi, but I am not in the same price range as your guys. Anyway to get quality sushi for $15 a head? Keep in mind, I am 17 and I love scallop. =X

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Disturbed_Azn

                                        How about Kuru Kuru? That's probably $8 a roll or so... four rolls for two people is plenty good. Nigiri tends to be in the $3-$7 range for two pieces.

                                        1. re: Disturbed_Azn

                                          This may be a great place for you to easily learn about sushi and at a very cheap price. Very fresh too!

                                          "BTW, I know it's a chain, but San Sai Japanese Grills are great for the budget minded. We went to the Beverly Hills location and were nicely surprised at the freshness of the $5.99 rolls and $7.99 specialty rolls. Both included a choice of one of three salads."

                                        2. A roll? I'm not good with sushi terms, but I've been invited to eat it twice and it was at Bennihanas and I loved it. No idea what was ordered, other than scallop. What is recommended?

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Disturbed_Azn

                                            May I suggest reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushi to begin?

                                            It'll be a big help in terms of terminology.

                                            To answer your question, a roll is fillings on top of rice, on top of a piece of green seaweed (nori), rolled up and then cut into chunks so the filling is in the middle. Sometimes you'll see it reversed, filling, then nori, then rice. In Japanese it's called maki.

                                            The other most common form of sushi is called nigiri, and it's a clump of rice, with a bit of wasabi (spicy green goo -- actually supposed to be grated horseradish, but usually fake spicy green goo) and then a piece of fish (or egg, or what have you) atop it.

                                            There other kinds of sushi -- inari, for example -- but read the Wikipedia article.

                                            Benihana is... er... not where I would pick for sushi. If you'll tell us where you're looking (West Valley? East Valley? Burbank? Westside?) we may be able to help find a place that's much better.

                                            1. re: Disturbed_Azn

                                              You had a roll at Benihana? That's almost like saying you had a bowl of korean tofu soup at Sa Rit Gol...

                                              You say you love sushi. Sushi includes rolls. Have you ever had a...say, California roll? (cringe).

                                              Perhaps it's not quality sushi, but in high school, my friends and I frequented places like Kabuki for fair, moderately-priced sushi.

                                              1. re: chica

                                                On my list of places to avoid for sushi, the top two entries are:

                                                1. Todai
                                                2. Benihana

                                                To Disturbed Azn... if you're anywhere near the Valley, you might consider spending just a LITTLE more and going to Midori for all-you-can-eat sushi. I believe at dinner it's $22.95 a head, and it's all-you-can-eat for one hour's time (they have rules about overordering). It's quite a lot better than I expected, to be honest... I just avoid obviously not-going-to-be tasty things like rolls with cream cheese in them.

                                                It may be cheaper at lunch, but if you're in high school, weekday lunches may not be possible.

                                                There are two, both on Ventura Boulevard: one is near Stern, and one is between Colfax and Tujunga.

                                                1. re: chica

                                                  Think of it this way -- if he liked a roll at Benihana, he'd probably LOVE other sushi offerings in LA that are touted on this board.

                                                  I personally love nigiri, but there are times when I go for makisushi too (I liken that to my occasion fake Chinese Panda Express cravings, Orange Chicken... ummm-mmm!) so I can relate to people liking California Rolls and such.

                                                  I went to Kabuki once -- and Arcadia's Maki & Sushi is much better & slightly cheaper too.

                                                2. re: Disturbed_Azn

                                                  If you like Bennihanas, try Kiyosuzu at Arcadia. You will like it.

                                                3. I recommend that you stick with your original thought and try Sushi Go. The food is very good, a solid value and the atmosphere and wait-staff are very nice. They have a number of specials that are excellent and would help you stay within your budget. The chirashi is especially good (it's around $19 and definetly enough for a meal). Some of my other favorites are the amaebi and (if you like cooked items) the fried oysters.

                                                  I also second the recommendation for Shibucho in Costa Mesa - go there over Sushi Go if you're willing to make the drive. IMHO, it's the best sushi value around, and the nigiri is fantastic!

                                                  1. If you like cakes from "Japanese" or Asian type bakeries(light sponge cakes, not too sweet), you'll love Angel Maid on Centinela, between Culver and Washington Blvd. My friends and I are big fans.

                                                    Try their strawberry short cake, mini cream puffs, or banana roll (fresh banana, custard and whipped creme). Anything they make with yellow sponge cake, custard, whipped creme, and fresh fruit is delicious.

                                                    1. You know, I just thought of it -- Z Sushi in Alhambra might fit your bill. You can order a la carte and get away with less than $100. Plus, it's close to home.

                                                      Or, Yoshida Sushi Bar in San Marino. Many locals go there, and imo, it serves some of the best albacore tuna in all of LA.

                                                      Then, you can head over to Vanille Patisserie on Huntington and San Gabriel for one of their cakes. They are gorgeous, and not too sweet. Once you enter the store, though, you might change your mind about getting a cake and order several of their cheesecakes and mousses instead! A bit pricey, but similar ones at JJ Bakery or RJ Patisserie are not that much less expensive.

                                                      Happy Birthday!!

                                                      1. I lived in SoPas for ten years (about four years ago) so I haven’t eaten at Komeyoshi or Yoshida in quite a while but the were pretty good back then. Yoshida has been mentioned a couple of times already. Has anyone been to Komeyoshi recently?

                                                        KOMEYOSHI: 185 E. Glenarm St., Pasadena, (626) 799-8543
                                                        Japanese restaurant with both shabu-shabu and sushi bars

                                                        SUSHI BAR YOSHIDA: 2026 Huntington Drive, San Marino, (626) 281-9292

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: yinyangdi

                                                          It's been a couple years, but I thought Komeyoshi was very mediocre.

                                                        2. I heard a radio personality mention a restaurant in Little Tokyo which has a floating bar / counter. Does anyone know where this is? It sounds similar to Kaitten on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

                                                          BTW, I know it's a chain, but San Sai Japanese Grills are great for the budget minded. We went to the Beverly Hills location and were nicely surprised at the freshness of the $5.99 rolls and $7.99 specialty rolls. Both included a choice of one of three salads. http://www.sansaiusa.com/menu_sushi.html


                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Prpltnla

                                                            I've been to the Glendale San Sai and I really, really wasn't impressed -- everything had that flat Benihana taste to it.

                                                            1. re: Prpltnla

                                                              You may be referring to the Flying Fish..or was it Frying Fish? I dunno...It obviously didn't impress me much.

                                                              1. re: chica

                                                                I used to go to Frying Fish whenever I was jonesing for some sushi but had cashflow issues, but I never went back after the time I saw the sushi chef stop what he was doing, adjust the position of the floor mat upon which he was standing, and go back to making sushi WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS.

                                                              2. re: Prpltnla

                                                                The floating bar at Little Tokyo is next to Nijiya market but it's over priced for the quality you're getting. Try "Float A Sushi" on Colorado Blvd in Old Town Pasadena. It's right next to the Subway place I think. You get decent (average quality but fresh) sushi for a few dollars a plate. I would recommend this place only if you sushi on floating boat is what you're looking for. This place also have fresh deserts from the famous Portos Bakery on daily basis. Mango mousse is a good choice. P.S. The desert also float on the boat right in front of you.

                                                              3. Thanks everyone for your recommendations! As it turns out, it was totally unplanned, but we happened to be shopping in the Beverly Hills area on Thursday, and passed by Minori Sushi on S. Robertson Blvd. (between W. Olympic Blvd, and W. Pico Blvd.). We decided to try it, and it was really good! I ate their tuna rolls and California rolls--both under $5 each (for 6-piece rolls), if I recall correctly (my dad payed the bill...). XD The California rolls I thought were especially good, and surprisingly, they were made of the imitation stick kind, which I said I didn't like! It sure didn't taste like "imitation" though. It might have been a mixture of real crab and the stick kind, I'm not sure. My parents had some sushi and combination lunch boxes. I also had miso soup and a green salad. Everything was superb. We ordered so much food--the waiter thought it was necessary to remind us how much we had ordered and politely asked if we could eat all that food. We said we would take home any leftovers, but guess what? We actually ate all the food and ordered 2 extra orders of California rolls to take home. Including this takeout, we came out paying only $76 (no alcohol). Not bad! We will definitely try some of your suggestions in the near future. Our first try at a sushi restaurant left us hunkering for more!

                                                                1. There is a place on Wilshire and Highland called Sushi Eyaki. It is sooooooo good. We get the best service everytime we go... (service meaning free dishes!) Their uni so creamy and delicious and reminds of the time I had it freshly cracked open after a scuba session waaay up north. The price is not bad at all and you can walk a few steps to Starbucks next door to help you digest after stuffing yourself with super fresh fish~ And their jalapeno appetizer is the best.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: alshhh

                                                                    thanks so much for that tip. Sushi Eyaki is in my neighborhood and now i can't wait to try it..maybe tonight. i'll report back when i do. do they do take-out and/or delivery? sushi delivery in my neighborhood would be a dream come true!

                                                                    1. re: alshhh

                                                                      I second Sushi Eyaki. It's so unassuming, but consistently offers delicious, well priced sushi. the people who work there are very nice too.

                                                                    2. We used to be regulars at Z sushi for 4 years, going once a week, and, noticeably, the sushi is not always fresh. We discovered Yoshida and haven't been able to go back to Z's since.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: malisa

                                                                        Yoshida serves some of the most pristine albacore tuna sashimi I have ever ordered.

                                                                      2. I'll vote for Sushi Gen and Go55 in Little Tokyo, with a nod to Katsu's place, Tama Sushi, in the valley. There's no good sushi on the westside... Westside folks need to take a ride into da hood and try some real sushi ;^)

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: guu


                                                                          If you haven't had good sushi in West LA, try sushi Zo. You will come back again after your first visit. There are plenty of reviews on the web through websites like chowhound and yelp. Give it a try.

                                                                        2. Sushi House on Pico in West. LA rocks.

                                                                          1. Hi my WLA recommendation for inexpensive sushi will be Echigo on Santa Monica ($35 omakase per person) and Japanese/French fusion cake at Armandine on Wilshire. They are fairly close to each other so it will save you sometime driving from one to the other.

                                                                            South Bay apparently has a great selections of sushi and Japanese bakeries. My South Bay recommendation for sushi will be Kappo Seafood in Torrance (slightly expensive) and Patisserie Chantilly in Lomita for cakes. Chantilly is definitely worth the drive, it's hard to find a top quality/hard core Japanese/French bakery like that. They have a website and you can pre-order a (whole) cake or try their cake slices in the store. It's probably the best Japanese/French bakery in Southern California.

                                                                            1. Gin Sushi is the best inexpensive sushi ever. It's actually in Pasadena as well.

                                                                              3589 E Colorado Blvd
                                                                              Pasadena, CA 91107
                                                                              (626) 440-9611

                                                                              It gets really crowded at night 7 days a week. When it's crowded, the service may not be so great, but the food and the prices make up for the lack of service. My favorite is called the lobster special. So far all the sushi I've had from them has been really fresh and yummyliscious.