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Great Japanese near BH in memorable venue

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I live in Beverly Hills and am looking for a moderately priced Japanese restaurant with great food in a beautiful setting for a unique and memorable dining experience. I will be treating my 12-year-old niece (so please keep in mind) who is coming over for the weekend to make sushi with me. So, I want somewhere that fits in with our special weekend (i.e., Japanese food/culture and/or other great culinary experiences). We don't need the best sashimi sushi because we probably would only eat vegetarian sushi/California rolls. A diverse menu with other cooked fish/meat items would be best. Anywhere in surrounding areas (BW, WH, etc.) would be fine. Willing to pay a little more for real gem. Heard mixed reviewed about Gonpachi. Katsuya? (Asian-fusion like Celadon, which I love by the way for its unique and tasty dishes and stunning presentation, also would work well.) Thanks!

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  1. Mako might be another option. Further away you might consider eating by the fire pit at Bar Hayama -- very unique setting with interesting, reasonably priced Japanese-inspired dishes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mollyomormon

      Thanks for the recommendations! I've been to Mako but found the menu a bit limited. I'll definitely check out Bar Hayama, which someone else also recommended.

    2. I would second Mako, I had an amazing meal there a while ago and can't wait to go back.

      I also think the Bar Hayama is a great idea, they have a good variety, and the fire pit is great to sit around for a meal.

      Katsuya is also really good, but I don't think it's very reasonably priced, but when I went, I did see Steven Speilberg and Lindsay Lohan.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ldodb

        I also really liked Katsuya and but agree that it wasn't the most reasonably priced place. Gonpachi would definitely be great for the unqiue setting/atmoshpere, but the food is mediocre for the cost with only a few standouts (the croquets and dumplings being a couple of them).

        1. re: ldodb

          Thanks for the information! I've been wanting to try Katsuya, so I'll keep it in mind. As for the potential star sightings, my niece would probably get a kick out of that if we were lucky enough to see someone she recognized. She actually had her first star sighting a couple of years ago when she was having lunch with me at Off Vine. : )

        2. Here is one of the few occasions where I would recommend Gonpachi:

          While Gonpachi's food is often less-than-palatable, I'm assuming your 12 year-old niece's palate is, well, that of a 12 year-old. I think the setting garden & decor of Gonpachi will Wow her and leave a far longer lasting impression. And, you can always stick to just soba at Gonpachi, and have a great meal.

          Afterwards, take her to Nijiya Supewrmarket on Sawtelle, and show her all the goodies a Japanese supermarket can offer. Get her some Beard Papa's profiteroles next door for dessert.

          2 Replies
          1. re: J.L.

            I especially appreciate the extra time you spent thinking about exactly what I was looking for and giving me ideas that go beyond the restaurant scene. I needed to find a Japanese store since we'll be making our own sushi on one of the days and now I have it!!! Thank you so much for being so thoughtful and helpful!

            By the way, to you and everyone else, I hope you'll have a chance to try Celadon if you haven't already. I hope they stay in business (I guess their location has had a lot of turnover) because I really think it's a successful restaurant all the way around. I'm curious to read how others have felt about it.

            Take care.

            1. re: bhfoodlover

              Gonpachi will be my recommendation, too, for your purpose. We took a few of my kids' friends (10 & 15-year-olds) to Gonpachi and they liked the idea of eating inside an old Japanese house. I find the food pretty good--not excellent but pretty tasty. My kids also love the shops on the strech of Sawtelle between Olympic and La Grange--Tokyo Outlet for anime and Japanese candies, Volcano Tea for boba tea, Happy Six for t-shirts and handbags, the crepe place next door, Giant Robot.... Have fun!