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Sushi in Pasadena?

Are there any really great sushi places in Pasadena, preferably with a nice ambiance (not too mini-mall hole-in-the-wall-ish) because I want to take my mom and grandmother there? They're just driving through and will only have the few hours around dinnertime to see me -- otherwise I'd just take them downtown or to the Valley...

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  1. Try Tani in Old Town.

    www.tanirestaurant.com

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    Tani
    58 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105

    1. Sachi Sushi, on Colorado, on the south side of the street, across Office Depot (which is next to Target).

      1 Reply
      1. re: J.L.

        perhaps sachi was good at one point but when i went a few months ago they gave me old fish that was inedible. pasadena and sushi is not an easy find. i hear z in alhambras ok and yoshida in san marino is good.

      2. matsuri on green street. pretty much the only acceptable sushi place in pasadena. it's actually quite good. not urasawa or ko but the best in pasadena.

        1. There is a sushi place that my friend loves. I have only been once, but really enjoyed it (the friend who took me is now pregnant and off raw fish, much to her frustration!). Of course, I do not know the name, but it is between SteinMart and Macy's (off the parking structure, ground level) in the shopping center on Lake & Del Mar. They have very fresh, delicious sushi (and some interesting not-so-regular combinations) that I was really impressed with. We sat at the bar and had impeccible service. Nice ambience, good prices. I will find out the name and repost.

          5 Replies
          1. re: WildSwede

            i've seen the place and i've always been curious if it was decent or not. there's hardly anyone ever in there and that's porbably due to the hidden location. i believe it's called Hanabi. good info wildswede.

            1. re: trolley

              Hi Trolley, I think you are correct! Thank you! ;-) You should try it - I thought it was very good!

            2. re: WildSwede

              It is Hanabi. My friend's dad owns it and she is a server there. The location is a problem. Hopefully a combination of good food and good people can help overcome that!

              1. re: crystaw

                And a mention on Chowhound!! ;-)

            3. Sushi Roku on One Colorado is pretty good. It's an offshoot of the one in West Hollywood and it's trendy but in the few times I've been there for a business lunch or dinner, I've always enjoyed it.

              4 Replies
              1. re: ExtraCheesePlease

                Disagree strongly... Roku is nasty. Some of the stinkiest fish I've ever had was at Roku.

                1. re: J.L.

                  I'm sorry you had a bad experience with that Roku but I've never had bad fish or bad service and I was just there a couple of weeks ago.

                  1. re: ExtraCheesePlease

                    I despise Roku, but the problem with the place is not the quality of the fish, which is pretty high.

                    1. re: condiment

                      Roku is over priced. Ther ate plenty of better places for the money. Yoshido in San Marino, Mako in Arcadia.

              2. We usually go to Japon Bistro on Colorado just east of Lake. Have been there many times and it is great. Prices are a bit high, but I don't think they are any worse than Roku. They also do seasonal sake tastings. The sushi chefs are great and the host is very gracious.

                http://www.japonbistro-pasadena.com/

                2 Replies
                1. re: mitchellr

                  we tried Japon Bistro once, it was way too expensive for the small servings, and not worth the price.

                  1. re: malisa

                    i felt the same way. when we went the place was half empty but the lady insisted sitting us in these crappy seats. i wanted to sit along the wall and she said no even though they were empty. the cost for two came to well over $120 with no alcohol. for that price i'd rather take a short trip out of pasadena to sushi Gen or to the westside.

                2. We've been pretty happy with Sushi of Naples on Green Street (735 E Green St
                  Pasadena, CA 91105 - 626-578-1123) They've remodeled the place really nice.

                  The fish is always fresh and the staff is always very attentive.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BCM

                    Agreed. Sushi of Naples. When I first moved to Pasadena and worked a block away, I didn't like it. There may be new owners now, not sure. But we go just about every Fri or Sat night, sit at the sushi bar, order toro, the fresh sallop sushi, albacore, uni, and maybe we'll throw a spider roll or some chef recommendation and we're always pleased. However, I sat in the dining room once or twice, probably at lunch, and wasn't as happy. I could've been fussy those days, though. In fact, the last time we went, we walked away so darn satisfied, we talked about it for two days. Fresh fish, decent size pieces. But, like I said, we order the same thing just about every time. And decent sake prices, too.

                  2. a hop, skip and jump from pasadena is yoshida in san marino.

                    1. My husband and I enjoy Noda Sushi - on Lake just above California. It's always filled with regulars on friday and saturday nights. May be too much of a hole-in-the-wall for what you are looking for though. We've always had fresh fish and great service. We've also never had any problems with Sushi Roku, just find Old Town a hassle and the prices to be high.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bcb12

                        Oh, I love Noda. That's my favorite place, hands down. I've only sat at the sushi bar, but the service was great, the fish was fresh, the portions were generous and the rolls were really good. It's not a great "atmosphere," that's true, but the food is fabulous.

                        I haven't had great luck at Sushi of Naples. I've been a few times, and every time I come away feeling like I'm slightly disappointed. I just haven't seen the quality that other folks rave about.

                      2. I moved to Pasadena 6 months ago and have yet to find any places that really compare to restaurants like Nozawa, Katsuya, Asanebo or even the less tasty Iroha or Tama, on Sushi Row.

                        Yoshida in Sam Marino has live sea urchin and scallops which is a but the overall consistency in quality is lacking.

                        Roku is high in price but the quality, technique and cuts of fish don't really match up.
                        Tani and Sushi of Naples may be okay for cooked dishes or rolls but I wouldn't take the raw fish very seriously. These are just my opinions, I don't mean to offend anyone.

                        I am not sure what places you like so I don't really know what you are looking for but I would personally recommend sticking to something in the Valley.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: TroyV

                          Not taking offense, but my husband is a seafood purveyor for a very high-end grocery chain. He buys and tests high-quality products all the time. We go to Sushi of Naples weekly, as I said above, and get the same things; we opt to go there because it's close and because we both do so much driving during the week, we don't want to go all over town. The sushi we get (never rolls, never cooked) always do us justice. But, again, we always order the same thing. The toro is always always fresh, and I like the cut; it's not always the very marbled kind, but never stringy, and not $35 for two pieces. The fresh scallop are two nice slices, slightly overlapped, with a bit of wasabi between the scallop and rice. The albacore is slightly seared and has a subtle char flavor. I'm always amazed at how fresh the uni is. They know how to slice the fish, the rice is never too large nor is the fish too small. The price is always right. Is it Katsuya, Nozawa? No (it's also not warm rice), but I was recently at the original Katsuya (first time) and the cooked dishes far outshone the sushi. Just my opinion.

                          1. re: diningdivala

                            cooked dishes at sushi of naples are average to bad. tempura is decent but the dipping sauce is bland. the service in the dining room is pretty crappy too. however, sitting at the sushi bar is a complete different story. we go less often now that fuji is gone but they still do a really nice job with their fish. the price is right as well. just don't sit in the dining room.

                        2. my friend found a new place. well, it's not new but i guess there's new owners. it's called masa on colorado near allen. she said she went a last yr when she moved into the nighborhood and thought it was pretty bad. she gave it another try last night and found the sushi surprisingly fresh and wonderful. she was told apparently it was bought by new owners and they're trying to change things. good news!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: trolley

                            inevitably someone always rec's yoshida. i don't get this place. the fish is mediocre. prices not cheap...

                          2. I agree that Japon Bistro is a bit expensive, but it is good and I've never had a bad experience there; the fish is extremely fresh.

                            The other place no one has mentioned is Shaab in Old Town (N Raymond). It's extremely dignified, and several of the Japanese people I know in Pasadena swear by it. If Japon weren't closer to me I would go there most of the time.

                            1. I've been on the search too! I moved to Pasadena last summer and still can't find a great sushi place... there are loads of acceptable ones.. but no great ones yet. I just make the drive ten minutes to J-Town in downtown L.A... for great sushi.. for me, it's worth the ten minute drive the 110 for actual authentic sushi.. not the crap sushi I've tried so far in Pasadena or the overly-trendy-but-not-really-authentic sushi you can find at Sushi Roku. [If anyone can tell me of some great Pasadena sushi place... I stand corrected!]

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: lyss820

                                There is Z Sushi in Alhambra that gets good reviews here (and from my friend) but I have not been.

                                1. re: WildSwede

                                  my husband and I used to be regulars (for 5 years) at Z Sushi due to the good size of cut for the price, but it was so unpredictable in terms of fresh quality that we switched to Yoshida. However Yoshida was too expensive so we are now going to a place we love in Monrovia which I won't post here because it's not in Pasadena and I can't think of the name right now.

                              2. Sushi of Naples is pretty solid. I have gone there for many years, as I used to live on Del Mar across from CalTech.

                                I just heard that Katsuya is going to be in the new Americana project in Glendale in June, so maybe you can take them there on the next go around?

                                1. Z Sushi isn't too far away.

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                                  Z Sushi
                                  1132 N Garfield Ave, Alhambra, CA 91801

                                  1. Here's another vote for Sushi of Naples. Misleading name, really solid sushi. This coming from someone who will drive across town to go to Asanebo, Nozawa or Urasawa. I've been to all the best places, including Masa in NYC and I have no problem eating anytime at Sushi of Naples. Naoya-san is busy behind the counter but knows me well enough to Omakase me without asking any time I step in the joint. They'll hold your own Sake bottle indefinitely and they serve Shochu, which is huge in my book. And finally and most importantly the sushi quality is consistent, really good quality, and as an added bonus REASONABLY PRICED...

                                    1. Try Gin Sushi on East Colorado. Not the best ambiance but fresh and cheap sushi!