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Azami: Viva La Eh

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Let's be honest here, this place is mediocre. I went last night for the second time, and felt the same way I did after my first visit: it's not bad, it's not that expensive, it's not sceney, the fish isn't un-fresh, and in an area of L.A. with scant sushi options, I understand why it's popular.

But as much as it's not bad, it's just as equally not good. There is nothing exceptional about this place. It's pretty standard-issue. I don't understand how anyone could love this place and rave about it when there are so many better options around.

And the service sucks too.

In a word...Ehhhhhhhh.

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  1. I agree!

    Where else is good in the area? We were just saying last night that there aren't such great sushi spots locally. I like the one on Highland and Franklin.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RoniRoni

      I'm not aware of the one at Highland and Franklin. What's it called?

    2. I liked Azami but there are other places I like more like Horozen for one. Service was actually one of the highlights. Just tried Irori - NOW THAT IS GOOD.

      1 Reply
      1. re: blackbookali

        I agree that Hirozen is definitely superior to Azami. Hirozen offers some interesting specials that many other sushi restaurants don't offer, and their specials change significantly from season to season. I especially like their Tasmanian Sea Trout, which they usually have, and in summer they offer Tiny Fish (can't remember the Japanese name), very good.

        Sushi Park, at Sunset and Alta Loma (right above the Pita Pit) is very good, and very expensive. He serves traditional sushi a la Nozawa (not as good as Nozawa, but not bad either).

        If you're into rolls, Hamasaku (Santa Monica near Sepulveda) is fantastic. Ask for Toshi.

      2. Blackbookali - what's Irori?

        1 Reply
        1. re: thegrifter

          Irori Japanese Restaurant
          4371 Glencoe Avenue #B-4 (at Mindanao)
          Marina del Rey #310.822-3700

          I believe that one of the Irori owners used to be a sushi chef at Hide Sushi on Sawtelle in West LA. He left to join his friend at this sushi bar. Most of the relevant posts about Irori on this site are quite favorable.

        2. yeah, azami was good on a 1st visit, but then on second visit there it just wasn't that great (boring, sort of fresh but not the best) and not cheap either though not pricey too.

          1. I rec that place for a cheaper, more affordable omakase - and actually I think the service there is one of the highlights (but both times I went it was fairly slow) and we got pretty good attention with the chef. Not sure if it suffered since August/September (my last trip).

            ~AquaW
            http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

            1. We like Azami! We have enjoyed omakase a couple of times, and each time we were treated with great care and respect, and the service was good. The fish was remarkable (not to Sushi Zo's standards, but really good!) and both sushi chefs were really concerned that we were enjoying our meal.

              Our last visit was just a couple of weeks ago, so unless something has changed in the past weeks, I still consider it in my top 6 or 7 list for sushi experiences in LA.

              1. I have to respectfully disagree with this flame-post on Azami. I had omakase there about 8 times last year (for lunch when it's not ridiculously crowded) and it was great every time in regards to both fish & service. I've had sushi all over L.A. and Japan, and Nikki knows fish. I admit that at-the-table non-omakase isn't the best, but that's true of most sushi restaurants. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had perfect Scottish salmon, uni & scallop sashimi, and melt-in-your-mouth yellowtail toro. I can't wait to go back.

                3 Replies
                1. re: alexfood

                  Agree completely, though I've only been once...for lunch right before xmas. It was among the best sushi i've had, and was very reasonable omakase at $44. The female sushi chef was great too.

                  Remember, the original poster thinks Nozawa is the best sushi in LA, with Katsu-ya not far behind...

                  Different strokes for diffent folks...

                  1. re: manku

                    Manku, please explain why Nozawa is inferior sushi. I'm curious to know what you think is better.

                  2. re: alexfood

                    I didn't mean my post to be a flame, just my honest opinion of my experience there. The first time I went and had omakase (at table, not the bar) and thought it was good but not great. The second time (after which I made my post) I had non-omakase at the table, but ordered from the specials, and was unimpressed. As I said, it certainly wasn't bad quality, I just didn't think it was exceptional. As far as my comment on the service, it truly was bad.

                  3. i've been to azami so often- some experiences have been great, others just mediocre. same with the service. twice i've sat at the bar and the woman (not the owner, the other woman) was in such a rotten mood, it sort of ruined my lunch. i now mainly go to hirozen. however, a little secret that most people are shocked to hear about is that the sushi stand in the farmers market on 3rd and fairfax is incredible! i had the best piece of yellow tail i've ever had there just last week. and the $$$ is not expensive at all.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jazmin

                      Which sushi stand in the Farmer's Market (I assume you are referring to the original, undercover marketplace), jazmin? I just can't picture it at the moment. What is it near?

                    2. it's next to the back of the fudge/toffee place - little johns. very near the deli place and the seafood place. i'm spacing on the exact name of the sushi stand, but it's right around there. if you go to bob's donuts and head west, you should find it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jazmin

                        Great directions, jazmin! I will have no trouble finding my way to either Little John's or Bob's...I know them too well! Thanks for this sushi info, and I will check it out next time we are there. I will pass up the donuts for the sushi, anytime!

                      2. I love Azami, on their worst nights it's better than most places. Try asking Niki what she recommends, maybe you're not getting the right dishes there. For instance at other sushi places I don't like yellowtail very much but love it at Azami.

                        Try the albacore, seared toro, tuna crispies, salmon spring rolls (not on menu), and the yellowtail sushi and handrolls.

                        Go earlier before the crowds to get faster service.

                        I have never had a bad experience there - on rare occasion things were just good, but most of the time the food is great and I consider it a mini vacation.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Food Good

                          I agree with Food Good's post. We go about once a month, starting about a year ago, and were treated like regulars as of our 3rd visit. Nikki is the nicest sushi chef I have interacted with (her cousin has also been pleasant when I've been there, though much more animated). I have never been for lunch, and understand it's a very different experience. I also always sit at the sushi bar and do omakase.

                          Nikki's parents are in the fish business, so she gets great stuff. In addition, I appreciate the care she puts into each order she gives us (ponzu and yuzu on this order, sea salt and lemon on the next, etc.). I honestly don't really care for soy sauce so I prefer that I never have to use it. She also caters to whatever people want and avoids what they don't like, which is refreshing (the only omakase experience in which I was asked what I don't eat), even though I pretty much eat everything.

                          I do agree re the service--sometimes we had very slow service in terms of water refills, but we have noticed that when a male waiter is there (I think only on Fridays-?) it's better (obviously also when it is slower). That is something they could work on. However, I prefer it to Hirozen, where we used to go regularly years ago (we lived a couple blocks away). I had omakase at Irori once, and definitely enjoyed it, though I didn't leave thinking - wow, I wished I lived closer b/c this is better than Azami.

                          I'm surprised to hear such a negative review particularly given how many 'hounds love it, but I guess sushi places do seem to produce divergent opinions.