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Santa Monica Sushi

I just moved to Santa Monica (near Montana and 1st) and am trying to find some good nearby sushi places. I know Sushi Roku and Sasabune well but am hoping to find a cheap (but good) option that I can walk to. Any ideas?


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  1. echigo (sm blvd) is nearby, but not within walking distance. it's cheap (40-50$ for omakase) and good. warm rice along the lines of sasabune and zo. i don't know of any that are within walking distance, cheap, and good.

    1. Don't know if this is walking distance for you, but Sushi King fits the bill for cheap and decent.

      Sushi King
      1330 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

      1. Its not walking distance, but you'd be remiss not to try the Hump at the SM airport if you haven't already.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mbh65

          i've been meaning to go there for a while but just haven't gotten around to it...

        2. First, the vitriol:
          Sushi Roku is hideous, a blight on the sushi scene of our fair city.
          Echigo? More like Echi-Don't-Go.

          OK, now that I've gotten that out of my system, I recommend these places (many of these establishments may not be easily walk-accessible, like most of the westside):

          The Hump (SM Airport): Top-Notch food, service, and an excellent, relaxed vibe. Expensive, but hey, someone's gotta pay those pilots to ferry that stuff fresh from Tsukiji Market on a regular basis!

          Sushi King (on Wilshire): Reliable and tasty. Wait can be a bit long for a table. Try their drunken pear dessert. Not as expensive as The Hump (thank goodness).

          Sasabune (on Wilshire): I'm not a big fan of warm, loosely packed rice for my sushi, but the fish quality is rather good there.

          Mori Sushi (on Pico): Great uni, excellent quality, but you do pay for it.

          Takao Sushi (on San Vicente, in Brentwood): Yum. Again, a bit expensive (seeing a pattern on the westside here?).

          Finally, get in that car and drive to Sawtelle Blvd. for Yuzando, Bar Hayama, Place Yuu, Kiriko.

          6 Replies
          1. re: J.L.

            JL whatever personal issue you have with Sushi Roku (I think you hate both SM and Pasadena as I can see from past posts), it's not a blight. That's your personal opinion and you're certainly entitled to it. For the two years I worked in Santa Monica, I enjoyed going to Roku. Great service and very good sushi. It's not the best sushi in SM (I love Sasabune) but it's certainly not the worst.

            1. re: ExtraCheesePlease

              try nagao on san vicente and 26th. it's a great neighborhood spot that has great salads. it's inexpensive too.

              1. re: ExtraCheesePlease

                I side with JL on this one. Roku is awful in just about every way

                1. re: epop

                  There is never any reason to go to Sushi Roku. That said, if you order properly you can get decent sushi. Of course, you have to put up with a lot in that restauant.

              2. re: J.L.

                i would not call kiriko inexpensive. it is good, though.
                for inexpensive sushi, my go-to place is hide on sawtelle, just up the street from kiriko.

                1. re: J.L.

                  I went to Bar Hayama a couple of weeks ago, awful sushi. Fish quality was very poor and unseasoned rice. Would not return.

                2. I strongly agree with the Echigo suggestion. The stuffed squid and the blue crab rolls are fantastic. The decor is not inspiring, but I am so transported by the sushi that I often have to close my eyes to focus on the flavor anyway!

                  1. you may only pick two out of the three:
                    montana-close location

                    1. U-zen on Santa Monica , a block east of Bundy on the north side of the street. Be sure to sit with Masa. I would not describe it as "cheap," but it is far less expensive than the places you mention and the quality of the fish is far superior.

                      1. In my experience, there is not a single sushi restaurant in walking distance from Montana and Ocean that is acceptable to dine at. Not one. Sushi King is substantial walk from your address but doable. I just don't care for them.

                        I think of the places already mentioned that are actually cheap, I like U-Zen. I have had some very mediocre meals there but I have some solid ones there too. I would consider them cheap for sushi because any place that I've tried that's noticibly cheaper has been just foul.

                        Hide is fine and certainly fits the cheap but I can't shake the feeling that I'm in the Nordstom's Rack of sushi places.

                        My favorite place for a casual sushi night on the westside is Place, and it has been for years. I've had one bad experience there with some poorly cooked sushi rice in all that time. It's relatively cheap, they have interesting specials (as they are really an izakaya), and it's totally affordable. I don't think you can do better when you factor in price, location (to you), and quality.

                        Mori, Bar Hayama, The Hump, and maybe even Kiriko are all superior but are also going to set you back some coin.

                        You may also want to try Torafuku. They serve solid quality fish on some of the best rice in the city. That's getting even further away though.

                        Good luck and let us know if you find something else.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Frommtron

                          Can't recall if you have posted on Echigo before or not, F-tron? If you haven't tried them I think it would be worth it to go. We also frequent U-Zen quite a bit and the sushi at Echigo is on par, (and certain things are better) with U-Zen.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            I haven't been to Echigo yet. We'll give that one a go next. Thanks for the recommendation.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              i go to echigo all the time but have never considered U-zen. Is it as traditional?

                              1. re: epop

                                Not quite as traditional, but not a crazy house of sushi roll horrors either.

                            2. re: Frommtron

                              where is Place? i didn't see it on google.

                              1. re: bluesteel

                                It was a short hand name for the full name, Place Yuu.

                                1. re: bluesteel

                                  he/she might have meant place yuu:

                                  Place Yuu
                                  2101 Sawtelle Blvd
                                  Los Angeles, CA 90025
                                  (310) 478-7450

                                  1. re: wilafur

                                    Just went to Place Yuu tonight (I'm there once every 10 days or so - I think I'm putting Mori-san's kids through school). Always excellent quality.

                              2. thanks for all the good suggestions!! i know cheap, close, and good was probably too much to ask but ill definitely be trying some of these places!

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: bluesteel

                                  Sushi Sho on Montana is a good casual place that you can walk to. You could get the pre-made take-out or ask the sushi chef to make special orders for you. They mostly do take out but your could also eat in at one of the few tables in the tiny store. The sushi is quite tasty and fresh.

                                  Sushi Sho
                                  1303 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                  1. re: fdb

                                    These suggestions are all very interesting, but I'd love to see price quotes of lunch/dinner prices for any who have frequented them. I'm not being a cheapskate, but honestly, sushi places in LA intimidate the heck out of me, since I've seen dinner prices quoted anywhere from $30/person to $300+ at high-end places, and everything in between.

                                    How much are some of these recommended places, such as Sasabune, Hump, Zo, etc.?

                                    1. re: agarose2000

                                      sasabune, around 100 pp.
                                      Zo a bit more.
                                      Hump set a friend and I back 1000 dollars, not including drinks. but we're abnormal and i'd say count on 200 pp.

                                      1. re: epop

                                        Wow. I'm REALLY glad I asked about the prices. I was hoping to hear $60-$90 range, but at those prices, I have no business whatsoever setting foot in any of those well-regarded restaurants. Even with an attending physician salary, that's a pretty hefty sum by any standard!

                                        What did you guys eat at Hump that set you back $1000?!?

                                        1. re: agarose2000

                                          I've easily gotten out of Sushi Zo for $60 pp by ordering a la carte. I also ate at Echigo the other night and stuffed myself; the bill was $60 pp. Had some excellent kumato oysters (actually two orders) plus a bunch of other stuff and ended up getting a second blue crab hand roll because they were so great that night. The price definitely creeps up (and sometimes precipitously so) if you're going omakase, though.

                                          1. re: agarose2000

                                            And that's why Pharmaceutical Reps were created.....

                                            1. re: agarose2000

                                              Hump price explanation: a ton of live fish, including a Moving Lobster.

                                              There's no stopping us, I guess.

                                              1. re: epop

                                                Our party of 4 had $1500 of sushi one night once at The Hump. Lots of moving sea critters then also. Bless those corporate accounts.

                                          2. re: agarose2000

                                            Usually $70 to $100 per person for a nice meal.

                                            1. re: agarose2000

                                              I Think Hide is the best bargain for quality sushi, but it is no frills, cash only, and there can be quite a long wait for a seat. You can definitely get out of Hide for less than $50 p.p without skimping at all, and if you want an even better bargain try the sashimi tempura combo with a few orders of sushi on the side. This would be only about $30 per person for a full meal including tip but no drinks.
                                              If you go, definitely go before 7:30, especially on weekends.

                                        2. Anybody ever check out Midami sushi on Olympic just east of where Bundy intersects (in the Olympic Plaza I think it's called). It's my favorite westside sushi place (though I haven't been to some of the others mentioned here). The rolls are enormous and always really tasty.

                                          1. Welcome to town Bluesteel!

                                            Sushi King is what you are looking for. Also try driving to Hama sushi in Venice. Good spot for a more social night out for affordable sushi.

                                            Definitely try Musha, although sushi is not there specialty.