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Mar 14, 2010 07:01 PM

LA - Japanese restaurants

I am visiting from NYC - need suggestions for best japanese in LA - needs to have hip atmosphere, fresh, great wine/sake list; nice crowd. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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  1. There is no shortage of restaurants and especially opinions. In what area are you staying, and what kind of food are you looking for? i.e. traditional eat anything sushi, americanized fancy roll sushi, japanese pub food, noodles, fusion...? What's your budget? Price for food ranges from $10-$400 per person depending on what you want.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cls

      Will be staying in studio city, but wil be in hollywood, downtown area. Budget is probably no more than 150/person. Focused on sushi - I love Koi - something along that line

      1. re: pamela18

        Katana maybe what you seek. It is on Sunset and is is a lot like like Koi but with a great patio in the heart of the Sunset Strip.

        Sexy crowd - Check!
        Overpriced WIne/Sake - Check!
        Fusion - Check!
        Ridiculous Rolls and Crummy Robataya - Check!
        The Price Point you mention - Check!

        If you detect sarcasm from me (and some of the other posters here) it is because when you say "sushi" and name-check Koi, we smirk a bit. Sushi, to most LA chowhounders is a more serene environment with great raw fish at a reasonable price.
        That said, I often have a fine time at Koi, Katana, Katsuya etc but I don't think of it as sushi per se - more like clubby, sexy, trendy, bar-y with sake-y and knock-off Japanese food. Hope that helps.

          1. re: liu

            In order to be of help though, If you're looking for Koi-ish, you might want to try the new Nobu, Kasuya on Vine, or maybe Wa-Sushi. If you want to try downtown, Takami on Wilshire has a great room and view.
            Better rooms and scene do not go hand in hand with better sushi (in a traditional sense) If you feel like a bit more adventure, you're close to Asanebo or even Nozawa. I personally like Toshi Sushi and Sushi Gen downtown, and Jinpachi in West Hollywood.
            Given your taste leans towards Koi, you probably would not enjoy as much more traditional places like Nishimura, Mori, or even Ike. Disregard anyone who recommends Urasawa, it's not for you.

            1. re: cls

              Agreed with the other posters - if your example of good sushi is Koi, then I don't even know where to begin.

          2. re: cls

            To be fair, the Sushi Roku in Santa Monica (the only one I've been to more than once, FWIW), is actually fairly pleasant and enjoyable at lunch, as long as you're not a staunch sushi traditionalist.

            Dinner, however, is another story, and not a happy one...

            1. re: Bradbury

              i've only been there for dinner, and i second bradbury's assessment of dinner there.

              1. re: westsidegal

                Sushi Roku = poor quality sushi. Nice place for 20 somethings interested in a scene, not food.

          3. re: sillygoosedown

            I even like Koi time to time for what it is, but I thought Sushi Roku was downright terrible. I would NOT go there.

            OP, I think you would like Yatai on Sunset. Solid Japanese small plates, good drinks, and nice ambiance.

          4. Matsuhisa, Nobu's original restaurant in Beverly Hills is wonderful.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wienermobile

              I have eaten at Matsuhisa at least 10 times because people used to drag me there and I always found the sushi mediocre.

              Haven't tried Nobu because Matsuhisa didn't exactly instill confidence in me re the possibility of having first-rate sushi at a Nobu restaurant.

            2. Pamela18, please pardon the snideness your posting has generated. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of sushi snobs on this board; people whose myopia prevents them from understanding that different people have different tastes. If something in the vein of Koi is what you desire - AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT PEOPLE, there are several restaurants which fill that bill. The aforementioned Sushi Roku, Katana, Matsuhisa, Nobu (which, of course, you already have in NYC) and Katsuya should all meet your needs. Have a good time and enjoy, and ignore those who throw their arms up in exasperation and cannot possibly imagine anyone having a decent meal at the restaurants you like.

              4 Replies
                1. re: mc michael

                  Well, they've got the bad sushi part down but the only scene there is obscene... ;-D>

                2. re: pinpei

                  Pinpei, there are pizza snobs and bagel snobs posting here all the time. Bread snobs, too.

                  To be done right sushi requires rigorous training, something that's notably lacking among many preparers of trendy rolls at scenester spots. It wouldn't surprise me if most scenesters wouldn't know good sushi if it bit them, rather than the opposite. Or didn't especially care.

                  I might add Tokyo Delves on Lankershim in the North Hollywood Arts District to the suggestions for the OP. Never been there, no clue about the wine/sake list, but it's really close to Studio City, and it's a scene.

                  Not to mention, "Best Japanese" shouldn't be limited to sushi.

                  1. re: Akitist

                    I've been to Tokyo Delves only b/c it was nearby and someone else wanted to go. Scene is okay (we went early) while the food was meh. Probably a good fit for the OP & 20-somethings who like fun over quality.

                    Pinpei, I applaud your effort to be nice. =) Though I think the OP wasn't clear in her request for, "best japanese in LA." Obviously, she didn't mean food; she meant "best scene with Japanese food in LA" and we can be helpful in that regard.

                3. You might check out Geisha House in Hollywood too. Very much a scene and could be fun for you. Too give you an idea of its look here is one of the many photos you can find on Yelp: