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Koi or Matsuhisa??

My wife and I are traveling in from out of town this weekend and have one night out without our one year old son. Where should we eat Koi or Matsuhisa?


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  1. Matsuhisa for sure, unless you want to feel hip and tendy and sacrifice quality.

    1. If you can get a reservation, Matsuhisa. But, good luck with that.

      1. What are you looking for? Celeb-siting? Top-quality sushi (Matsuhisa is better than Koi, but there are better sushi places in LA)?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jwsel

          We have a reservation at both places and are looking for great food and a fun scene. Any suggestions besides these two?

        2. Pick a sushi bar in LA at random and you will probably have better sushi than either. On the other hand if you want a scene, it seems that Koi blocks the street with more valet parked Hummers than Matsuhisa does.

          1. if i had to i would walk by both and enter neither. there are hundreds of better places in LA

            1. MATSUHISA. Go omakase. There's a lot of variety.

              1. Matsuhisa has the better sushi but Koi is a lot of fun and does have good food.

                1. I wouldn't choose either but if you are looking for a "scene" Koi is probably your choice.

                  1. Matsuhisa. Better food and more refined, although you'll still fulfill your celebrity quotient. Koi is loud, obnoxious and mediocre.

                    1. KOI.

                      Koi is one of the underrated, over-picked-on restaurants in town.

                      Yes, it's a tremendous scene -- Matsuhisa is positively dour by comparison.

                      But there are several delicious items on the menu, none of which are the sushi: seared albacore w/onions, tuna tartare "taco", rock shrimp tempura, spicy tuna on crispy rice, and best of all the addictive large warm crab rolls.

                      Koi is also on a stretch where there's fun window-shopping if you choose to take a walk while waiting for the valet.

                      Matsuhisa, on the other hand, has been living on its early-years reputation for way too long: mediocre, overpriced food, served with gobs of attitude, TIMED TABLES per reports on Chowhound, and a history of C ratings from the health board. There's nothing nearby and the overall feeling it will leave you with is, where did my money and my one night of fun go?

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: jcwla

                        ditto, jcwla, especially regarding Matsuhisa. shows how far reputation goes, with some. i'll never go back there, on anyone's tab, especially in this city of sushi. dank, dour + hyped

                        1. re: jcwla

                          Just came from my first time at Matsuhisa. No timed tables, not even a smidgen of attitude, quality of sushi excellent, as was the variety. One of our party had omakase, we others ordered a mix off the menu. Not a bad or so-so item in the bunch. Expensive, yes, but worth it for a once in a while treat. Based on this experience, I recommend it.

                          1. re: CynD

                            hard to believe b/c i've been to matsuhisa's on numerous occasions (not my choice always) and i never enjoyed myself, though i tend to at most selected places.

                            my experience: the sushi is average, the cooked food above average but none of it worth the troubles mentioned above

                            1. re: CynD

                              Most of Matsuhisa's best Chefs moved up the street and opened their own place call WA just north of Santa Monica Bl. Omakase is amazing. Like the old days at Matsuhisa.

                              1. re: russkar

                                good to know. what do you recommend having at WA, russkar?
                                sushi too?

                                1. re: epop

                                  OMAKASE at WA made by TT
                                  Sushi is good also, somewhat fusion like Matsuhisa's

                                  1. re: russkar

                                    thank you, russkar. i'll put it on the list

                          2. Neither. Instead head to Ventura Boulevard (Asanebo, Katsu-ya), Sasabune, Hide, or maybe even Little Tokyo.

                            1. Matsuhisa (sceney-ness and attitude at Koi definitely a downside, not to mention sushi is better at Mat.), or, if willing to drive, head to Nobu in Malibu. But agree with other posters; there is excellent sushi elsewhere in town...

                              1. My vote goes to Matsuhisa for the food. Re: all comments above complaining about the sushi... Matsuhisa is better if you order the stuff you usually can't find elsewhere. Such as the new style sashimi, lobster ceviche, etc... there are tons of things on the menu that just aren't duplicated elsewhere. The food is great and innovative. If you do go, please try not to waste precious stomach space on sushi. The food there IS good.
                                I've been to Koi, the food is good too but, I like Matsuhisa's better. However, if you want pure SCENE... hit up Koi.

                                1. koi for the scene and celeb sighting, but matsuhisa for the food. matsuhisa's chow was leaps and bounds better.

                                  1. any fans of Japanese food, MUST visit Matsuhisa for the food. Maybe not as great as many places are trying to catch up to there. But its still great in my books. If you're looking for just sushi, LA has many many great places.

                                    1. Matsuhisia is considered one of my all time favorites. It is an original as far as this kind of japanese food goes and everytime I go there I am in food heaven. The sushi is plain and not that special compared to places like sasabune,nozawa, hikko, etc. but the sashimi and cooked food such as toro tartare, scallops on fillo, yellowtail with jalepenos,black cod, rock shrimp tempura, etc originated here. Please tell me if I'm wrong chowhounds, but I have been coming here since the early 90's when it was still one room with 6 tables. There are always celebs here and it does have a vibe of upscale fine dining. It still is LA so you can wear anything but they do take themselves seriously which I like especially if I'm out without the kids. I've been to Koi, fun and pretty good, but in the end just a knock off of the food created by Nobu Matsuhisisa.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Amanda Enclade

                                        I agree, I wouldn't get just the sushi. IMHO the only thing that separates fresh fish is the quality of the fish, how well the rice is made and the cut. If you are going for fish... you can always catch it yourself.

                                        Miso fish anyone?? Rock Shrimp??? Now everyone is trying to do miso-fish..

                                        I still like this place!!

                                      2. if you're willing to travel, nobu in malibu is worth the trip. otherwise, hamasaku on little santa monica in west l.a. is fantastic. sure, koi has great food, but the service is mediocre at best, and it's a real scene so the noise can be deafening - not exactly ideal for a quiet, relaxed evening out without the kids. i've never been to matsuhisa, so i'll defer to others on that one...

                                        1. Matsuhisa for food but the place is UGLY. Koi for scene and ambiance.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: JSny

                                            Yeah. To me, the place is just no bullsh!t just straight up good food