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Nov 4, 2012 10:57 PM

Japanese in Torrance area

This weekend four of us (3 from SF and one from NYC) will be visiting LA specifically for its awesome Japanese food. We're staying with a friend in Torrance, which seems to fit well as so many CH'ers say it's the epicenter of Japanese food in the area. What places would you specifically recommend?

So far we're planning on going to Torihei, Shunji, and a little farther out, Oumi Sasaya. We'd like to get more rec's in our area, especially for sushi, but anything that's unique and tasty would be great. We're all pretty familiar with Japanese cuisine (half of us have been to Japan). A few years ago I remember having make-at-your-table yuba skin at a place in Torrance which was awesome (though I believe it's no longer available), so something unique along those lines would be great too, though sushi / sashimi that's not crazy expensive (Shunji will likely be our sole splurge) is definitely our #1 priority.


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  1. Be sure to add I-naba for house made soba and tempura bar. I prefer to stick with the simple zaru soba or ten zaru vs the other ones with soup. If you go in Saturday and if they have fresh anago, get the anago tempura with fried bones. If its prepackaged you won't get the bone chip.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Porthos

      Torrance/Gardena area is Soba heaven in CA. Never tried I-naba yet. There are also Otafuku and Ichimian for great house made Soba. For Ramen, there are Yamadaya, Asa and Santouka,

      1. re: jblee

        Inaba serves Ichimian soba; They are in the same corporation.

        1. re: jblee

          I am not sure what happened, but it seems like at least the last few months, they have changed their recipes for some items at Ichimian for the worse. I typically order the eel with cold soba noodles and the soup base used to be generally a little "slimy" which I actually like, but now it just seems like regular ol watered down sauce--they seem to have lost their uniqueness and are now just like any other typical soba place.

      2. You might consider substituting n/naka for Shunji. See here: You should also review this thread for Torrance area sushi (very reasonably priced) suggestions:

        2 Replies
        1. re: Servorg

          One more suggestion for Torrance adjacent dining is Izakaya Bincho and you can see a CH photo review here:

          1. re: Servorg

            Shunji is still the best cooked food and sushi and creative dishes joint that has opened in LA in the past couple years in my opinion.

        2. Torihei is excellent and fun--be sure to make reservations as it seems to be crowded no matter when we go. In the same shopping center is Musha, which is a slightly less traditional izakaya. If you like Yakitori, Shin Sen Gumi Yakitoria on Western in Gardena is fun and tasty (they have other locations for ramen, nabe, etc.). There is some good ramen in Torrance too (not my thing but plenty written up about it on the board).

          Kantaro sushi (on Carson a little further E of Torehei) has excellent lunch deals. I've had the chirashi which was good, different from many other places in presentation, and inexpensive. Sushi Ken is also a good deal at lunch for fairly high quality traditional style sushi, though personally I prefer their spicy tuna bowl. Haven't tried either for dinner, Sushi Ken is much more expensive then.

          For more fusion (or new) style sushi, Sushi Honda in the shopping center at the PCH at Hawthorne is good and decently priced (though not cheap). Their oyster special for a $1 each is one of my favorites and I enjoy their albacore "special" ngiri which has sauce, garlic chip, etc. For lunch they have an albacore salad in this style. The $6 burger roll is an interesting idea and worth trying once for a unique so-cal Japanese experience. If that's not your kind of thing then Sushi Ken might be a better bet.

          For Japanese style pastries/dessert Chantilly has beautiful and tasty treats. It is right near Kotosh, which is a Peruvian Japanese place that's been on my list to try.

          Both the marukai on Artesia and the one on Sepulveda often has an okonmyaki (sp?) stand out front mid-day (also with other more street food type items like roasted yams, etc.).

          Enjoy your trip!

          1. I really enjoy Kagura for its unique tonkatsu and other deep fried offerings, especially the mille feuille cut. Part of the fun is grinding your own sesame seeds for the tonkatsu sauce.

            I will second Chantilly for their cream puffs, especially the sesame.

            For udon, Sanuki No Sato.

            I don't have strong recs for sushi/sashimi in Torrance, since West LA will have better offerings there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ogawak

              I know they are know for their pork, but I always get the fish and fried oysters at Kagura. They're super fresh and delicious.

              1. re: mstinawu

                I really love tonkatsu, but one of these days I will have to try the oysters and other items on the menu.

            2. I-naba's Tempura is great, I second that.

              Torihei is great and cheap for what it is, Musha is also a pleasant as mentioned here. Also in that same plaza is Nozomi, which has a really good Unadon if you like sea urchin. There is also Soba Sojibo in that plaza which I've enjoyed.

              For Okonomiyaki I prefer Doya Doya, but Gaja is also good (especially Tuesday nights for Happy Hour). You can also get Monjayaki at Gaja. In the same place as Gaja is Chantilly and Oumi Sasaya which you said you are also visiting.

              Coco Ichibanya is here as well if you miss Japanese-style curry.

              For Sushi I like Kanpachi, the price feels right for the quality. Other places I've eaten were more expensive but not that much better.

              Horon has kushikatsu if you like fried food.

              For Takoyaki there's the Takoyaki Tanota truck, I dunno when it comes around but it's around fairly often.

              Didn't like Kagura, thought it was pretty expensive... low/mid-tier tonkatsu restaurants in Japan are much better and much cheaper.

              9 Replies
              1. re: kainzero

                Shabu-Shabu anyone? King Shabu Shabu is great!

                1. re: coleberd

                  Have they improved? Is this the one on PCH near Hawthorne? The two times I went last year it made me never want to go back. Here was my review.


                  1. re: DrBruin

                    Must have improved, imo. Read your post. No problems with the chopsticks...we just ask for the wood...they provide them. The place has been very busy several times we were going to go there so we tend to a little later for lunch. Service is great, the beef (we do order the prime ribeye) is very good. We don't do fish Shabu Shabu so can't comment on that. However their tofu is great and we always get a side of tofu.

                2. re: kainzero

                  I think the emphasis the o/p is looking for is either fantastic or unique Japanese food. In other words, something his guests might have not experienced in SF or NYC. That Takoyaki truck (if it's the one I'm thinking it is black and more of a trailer) I've usually seen at the Marukai on Artesia on the weekends. It isn't there the whole day so go either a few hours after they open or before they close. They have these interesting "japanese style" (I guess) hot dogs that I find are messy, but not bad. Marukai on Artesia still has that Japanese ramen place with the black, white or red agitama ramen. That might be interesting. I recall there was some discussion awhile back about another Japanese pastry place in Gardena that some people found had a very good cream puff, but for the life of me I can't recall the name. Chantilly in Lomita is great, but it's better to get there early. The display cases are often cleaned out later in the day.

                  1. re: Feed_me

                    Vanilla in the Pacific Square shopping center (with Marukai and Sea Empress and Mottanai ramen) had good cream puffs when they had them. Haven't tried it since it became cafe 99 though.

                    1. re: Feed_me

                      is it bonjour, the shop next to sanuki no sato? the creme puffs are pre-filled so the choux is a little soggy, but they're ok.

                    2. re: kainzero

                      I rather doubt that anything in Los Angeles is as good as what you would find in Japan. Do you know of a tonkatsu place in SF, NY or LA that is as good as Kagura?

                      1. re: Ogawak

                        Katsu-hama in NYC is outrageously good. Especially the premium pork loin. Is Kagura on that level?

                        1. re: Porthos

                          I never make it to NYC. It would be interesting to see how Kagura compares to Katsu-hama. I will say this, nothing in the LA area comes close to Kagura.

                          A favorite reviewer here, Exilekiss, slammed the place a few years back, but my experiences at Kagura have never come close to what he experienced.