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Does anybody know any good Japanese restaurants in Down town Little Tokyo?

I want to take my friends out to a Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo since they've never been to this place before. Does anybody have any suggestions or recommendations? Thanks!!

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  1. everyone get in line, please.

    for me, Takumi or Sushi Gen for sushi;
    Izayoi for izakaya;
    Kokekeko for yakitori
    Since the Chow-spouse and Chow-pup don't do pork products, I'm not the person to reccomend a ramen place.

    r gould-saltman
    no avatar

    1. My hands-down favorite are Izayoi on Central and Raku Plus in the Honda Plaza on 2nd/Central--probably the best quality in terms of food and menu variety. Plus chefs are Japanese, if that matters to you.

      3 Replies
      1. re: SecretAsianMan

        I agree with Raku and Sushi Gen. It doesn't matter to me but chef/owner of Raku is Korean born in Japan.

        1. re: SecretAsianMan

          I agree, Izayoi is fabulous. Their sushi is a treat, too. Very high-quality, pleasantly affordable.

          1. re: SecretAsianMan


            On an unrelated note, have you been back to Totoraku recently? I've been curious about the place since I read your review from several years back.

            Mr Taster

          2. Suehiro Cafe on 1st St has a very solid and reasonably priced casual Japanese menu. Also Kagaya in Honda Plaza is a very good shabu shabu joint. Kokkekoko on 2nd and Central (??, next to American Apparel) has an all-chicken menu that is served in a 6-course or 10-course setup.

            1. daikokuya for ramen

              327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

              1. There's actually a really great shabu shabu place in Little Tokyo. All my friends have been, and they say it's the best they've ever had...sadly, I don't know the same. But it's the only place where they put a clipboard on the door prior to opening and people have to sign themselves in...the open at 11am and people I know put their names on the board at 10am. All I know is that it's a tiny dive-like place.

                2 Replies
                1. re: attran99

                  I believe it's just called Shabu Shabu House, and it's located in Japanese Village Plaza.

                  Another option you have for shabu shabu is Kushi Shabu, located in Weller Court. They've got $25 AYCE and much less of a wait. I haven't had Shabu House, so I can't compare quality, but Kushi wasn't bad at all.

                  1. re: MeAndroo

                    I can't agree with the love for shabu shabu house. We went once, paid a premium for a tiny quantity of meat, and a bowl of bland bland bland bowl of hot water with a square of seaweed floating on top which we were meant to believe was "soup". Now don't get me wrong-- it's not that the food tasted bad (except for the "soup")... it's just that when you factor in the outrageously long wait with the way out of proportion price, it's just not worth it.

                    Mr Taster

                2. there's a reason why shabu shabu house has sucha long wait= it's uber delish. =) altho i may be biased due to having grown up with the place, i must note that it CANNOT be compared to AYCE places as the meat is far superior.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: namstermonster

                    Wow..im still amazed at the love for sushi gen. Hama sushi right next door i consider to be way better

                    1. re: samtron608

                      Let me qualify this by saying that I have not been to Hama, so I am not speaking directly in comparison to that restaurant.

                      The reason I love Sushi Gen is precisely for the polar opposite reason that I dislike Shabu Shabu House (see my comment above).

                      Sushi Gen provides extremely generous quantities of very good quality fish. My wife and I can come out full and happy for $50 or less, including tip, whereas most other sushi places are likely double for comparable fish (toro, etc.)

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        no problem. i am not saying sushi gen is bad. i just happen to think hama is even better! considering the two are right next door to each other, if given the choice i would definitely head to hama.
                        check it out next time, although the wait can be a while during peak times.

                        1. re: Mr Taster


                          I went to Gen with my boss, we ate an OK amount, 160 after tax/tip

                          I went with the wifey, ate pretty heaviliy (not alot of drinking) and spent 250 after tax/tip

                          I'd go there again because I think it's the best quality around LT but it's definitely NOT cheap.

                          1. re: ns1

                            Let me guess... you sat at the sushi bar?

                            In order to get the deals, you have to sit at a table and order the sashimi and sushi specials. A massive portion of very good quality sashimi, including toro, costs $35 at dinner (and much less at lunch). Enough for 2 to share. The specials are not offered at the sushi bar, where "normal" a la carte prices are the rule.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              Sorry, as a general rule I don't eat sushi unless I'm at the bar ;)

                              1. re: ns1

                                There are plenty of places in LA where you can order good quality expensive a la carte sushi.

                                Therefore, it's a moot point to eat at Sushi Gen if you don't sit at a table and order the specials.

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  I'll be there for dinner later tonight, I'll get more vs less hehe.

                    2. Try Mitsuru Grill ( or Mitsuru Sushi and Grill). I went to Keylasearch.com, and their restaurant came up so I went there. It was really good, and they had variety of food. Later I found out that they were doing business for 30 years. I asked my parents if they know and they even knew about it!! I think they have a website and its
                      Check out the menu, and try it once!! You will love the food and their service!

                      1. hands down: Daikokuya in Little Tokyo. It's a great deal - a humongous bowl of comforting beef ramen for under ten dollars. It's also right next to the East/West players theater. Service is spotty, but seriously delicious.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: ayala_cooks

                          Comments on a couple of posts:

                          Sushi Gen lunch sashimi special is great but not so big that I consider it shareable. Can't comment on the dinner one.

                          Daitokuya's ramen is no more than OK. Not at all bad, just not great. I love the room, though: high funk factor. Shio ramen at Orochon is an eye-opener, literally, in its spicier grades.

                          1. re: Akitist

                            The dinner plate "sashimi deluxe" is served on a massive round platter, enough for 2 to share, and it's $35. We generally augment that with a couple of appetizers. Bear in mind that the $35 platter includes several very generous slabs of toro, and my wife and I usually get out of there for $25/pp. If you get a third person to join you, order a few more appetizers and you can usually get the cost down to $20/pp or under... unheard of in LA for sushi of this quality and quantity.

                            Again, I'm not saying that Sushi Gen's quality exceeds the best on offer in LA. What I'm saying is that they offer an astoundingly good value in terms of quality:price/quantity. If ordered a la carte, you could easily wind up paying $100+ for the same fish.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              You know, I'll go into this with an open mind and try this later today.

                              1. re: ns1

                                Great! I'm looking forward to hearing about your experience. Bear in mind that if you go for lunch, quantities are smaller, but prices are also proportionally lower. Haven't gone out there for the sashimi lunch special in a while, but I believe it was $16 for a generous platter (not enough to share) which includes a few salads and miso soup.

                                I suppose if you've got a massive appetite for sushi, you could order the "Sushi Deluxe" in addition to the sashimi deluxe, which costs about $23 or so (don't remember exactly) and then share the two. Either way, you're getting out of there paying a tiny fraction of what it would be if ordered a la carte.

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                  K so forgot to report back.

                                  The wifey and I ordered the sashimi dinner (left side of menu) and the sushi deluxe (right side of menu). IIRC, sashimi dinner was 23 bucks sushi deluxe was 26 bucks.

                                  Sashimi dinner came with a pretty good assortment of pieces, as well as tempura and miso soup. Sushi deluxe came with a smaller selection, as well as the aforementioned piece of toro, as well as a salmon skin salad and funky seaweed thing that I don't really like.

                                  Now, the sushi deluxe is not enough to share unless you are an incredibly light eater. Incredibly. Light. Eater.

                                  The sashimi deluxe is sharable, but I would still order more a la carte.

                                  Both dinners rely more on you getting full on the side items vs getting full on sushi/sashimi.

                                  I would order the sashimi dinner again. I would not order the sushi deluxe again. I would probably just order a chirashi next time I'm in the mood for a quick cheap sushi dinner.

                                  It is, however, not nearly as good as ordering a la carte. You don't get the variety (obviously) and the fish sits out for a bit before finally being served to you.

                                  I would rate the experience a 7/10.

                                  As a side note, neither platter came with any salmon, so we ordered some ala carte.

                                  1. re: ns1

                                    Thanks for checking back in, although I'm a little confused... the Sashimi Deluxe (dinner) is $35, not $26 and it does not come with any sides. And you're making me rack my brain here, but I could have sworn it came with salmon... (though I'm not sure). I happen to enjoy the seaweed, and I really do love the dollop of spicy tuna, as well as the cold cooked salmon that is included on the plate. Still, where else are you going to get a sharable plate of that quantity and quality of sashimi for $35? That was really my primary point... not that SG's fish is the best you can find in LA, but it's undoubtedly among the best that you can get *for $35* in LA (and even cheaper if you go for lunch!)

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      Might have been 35, like I said, IIRC :) But it DEFINITELY came with sides! Tempura + miso soup.

                                      I will agree with your assessment re: $35 :) Definitely better than the sushi deluxe. It might be a quasi omakase thing, sometimes with salmon sometimes w/o, who knows ^_^

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        Hmm... again, you're making me rack my brain here in recalling the menu, but I think there may be a "sashimi deluxe dinner" (on the left side of the menu) which comes with sides whereas the "sashimi deluxe" I'm talking about comes from the right side of the menu (and no sides). I just ate there last week, so I am sure of the details of this, at least. The plate I'm talking about comes with 4 very generous slabs of toro (and maybe salmon too...? Not sure...)

                                        Now I want to go check it out for myself :)

                                        Mr Taster

                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                          Yeah I ordered the sushi deluxe off the right side and the sashimi dinner on the left.

                                          Dinner comes with tempura + rice + soup

                                          Deluxe for the sushi came with the seaweed thing as well as the salmon skin salad.

                                          There was a sushi "deluxe" that was $5 less on the right side of the menu that did not come with the sea weed thing or the salmon skin salad. :)

                                          1. re: ns1

                                            Someone needs to post a scan of the damned menu!

                                            There are two sashimi non-dinner platters... a small one and a large one.

                                            The gigantic shareable one on the huge round dish that I keep referring to is $35 on the right side of the menu.

                                            That's it... I'm going back with my camera tonight :)

                                            Mr Taster

                        2. Hello folks, Sushi Go 55 for sushi, and shabu shabu house for shabu shabu. ...and there is a reason there is a wait with a clipboard....

                          1. I don’t mean to be persnickety, but I must clarify on a couple of the above:

                            Daikokuya is a kurobota/black pork soup, not beef

                            East/West Players theater is around the corner from Daikokuya at 120 N. Judge John Aiso (aka San Pedro) Street

                            Sushi Gen and Hama Sushi are w/i blocks of each other, not right next door:
                            Sushi Gen, 422 E 2nd St
                            Hama Sushi, 347 E 2nd St

                            I agree with the recos of Izayoi and Raku Plus for izakaya; although please note that Raku Plus' menu is smaller than the Olympic Blvd location.

                            Shabu-shabu recommendation other than those already mentioned: Zakuro Shabu Shabu Restaurant, 356 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, (213) 680-0003

                            1. Shabu Shabu house in Japanese Village plaza....Oomasa or R23 for sushi but be prepared to wait...

                              1. Ah, perfect, I was about to ask the same question, but with one extra requirement: would any of these best places be able to accomodate a private party of 30-60 people or so, like in a back room or simply due to having ample space, or whatever?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: QualityMart

                                  Can't name specific restaurants, but quite a few can handle the situation. There are a number of temples (Buddhist) in the area, where funeral services are held, and a post-service meal is traditional.