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13 Great Sea Urchin Dishes to Try in Los Angeles

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2008_10_hasmaps.jpgIn past years, the lowly sea urchin had been relegated to a small portion of local sushi shops and the Japanese export market. Recently, more chefs and restaurants are adding sea urchin, or uni, on menus, giving the spiny ocean floor dweller the limelight via pasta, toasts, and composed dishes. It's easy to find pretty great uni at local sushi bars, but this list is about using sea urchin in more creative ways. With convenient sourcing from the Pacific Ocean, LA's local uni is considered some of the best in the world, giving Angelenos a reason to celebrate this delicacy. Herein, Eater presents 13 Great Sea Urchin Dishes to Try in Los Angeles.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Sea Urchin Spaghetti at Locanda Portofino

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1110 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 394-2070
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This quaint Italian restaurant on Montana Avenue is both rustic and elegant, though the star of the menu is the sea urchin spaghetti, priced near $30 and worth every penny for its decadence.

2. Uni Toast at Paichẽ

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13488 Maxella Ave
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 893-6100
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Ricardo Zarate's new seafood-centric restaurant in Marina Del Rey does a great uni toast that uses a chunk shrimp paste as a base then tops it with a rocoto-honey sauce for a sweet finish.

3. Spaghetti Nero at Gusto

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8432 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782-1778
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The spaghetti nero is a squid ink noodle that's tossed in a rich sea urchin sauce seasoned with calabrian chiles and anchovy bread crumbs, and then topped with a whole fresh piece of uni for an incredibly rich bowl of pasta.

4. Uni Toast at Black Hogg

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2852 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 953-2820`
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The uni toast at this minimal yet inventive Silver Lake restaurant is presented as a simple crostini, laced with rich plugra butter, then topped with scallions and a sprinkling of sea salt for a satisfying starter.

5. Uni with Scrambled Egg at Providence

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5955 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 460-4170
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Presented beautifully in a cut eggshell, this signature sea urchin dish resembles an Arpege egg, only with uni lurking under the soft-scrambled eggs and a champagne beurre blanc.

6. Uni Tiradito at Picca

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9575 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 277-0133
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Ricardo Zarate is a master at melding the flavors of Japan and Peru, and this uni tiradito, a crudo-like dish that stars fresh scallops topped with luscious sea urchin, is no exception.

7. Uni Burrata at Son of a Gun

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8370 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 782-9033
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This deadly simple dish combines similar texture - the stringy-creamy bite of burrata with the briny flavor of uni, then sides it with button mushrooms and yuzu for balance.

8. Uni with Oxtail & Congee at Le Ka

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800 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 688-3000
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This comfort dish takes a simple congee and then centers a dollop of umami-rich braised oxtail and then tops it with a fresh piece of sea urchin for that extra sumptuous bite that melds the flavors of Asia and France perfectly.

9. Sea Urchin Linguine at RivaBella

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9201 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 278-2060
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This delicious, handmade linguine uses a rich sea urchin sauce that tastes exactly like the ocean, perhaps very much like the Amalfi coast at this massive Italian restaurant on the Sunset Strip.

10. Uni Ankimo En Croute at Hamasaku

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11043 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 479-7636
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This creative appetizer starts with a thin brioche toast, then layers on ankimo paste and a yuzu marmalade and then tops with translucent lardo, or cured pork backfat for an ultra-luxurious bite.

11. Wakame Spaghetti at Superba Snack Bar

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533 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 399-6400
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Chef Jason Neroni ingeniously uses wakame, or Japanese seawood, to add flavor to this spaghetti, then tosses it with lumps of fresh dungeness crab, miso butter, and pickled jalapenos. The kicker is the creamy, rich sea urchin that gets imbued into the sauce.

12. Chawanmushi at Yamakase Sushi

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10422 National
Culver City, CA 90034

This special Japanese egg custard gets filled with gingko seeds, halibut, truffle butter, crab, and of course, sea urchin for the ultimate chawan mushi dish. [Photo: Chris Hei]

13. Santa Barbara Uni at Red Medicine

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8400 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(323) 651-5500
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Presented in a precious glass fish bowl, this delectable dish gets sided with cauliflower powder and dices of smokey Chinese sausage with pieces of sea urchin mixed in. [Photo: Darin Dines]

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1. Sea Urchin Spaghetti at Locanda Portofino

1110 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

This quaint Italian restaurant on Montana Avenue is both rustic and elegant, though the star of the menu is the sea urchin spaghetti, priced near $30 and worth every penny for its decadence.

1110 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403

2. Uni Toast at Paichẽ

13488 Maxella Ave, Marina del Rey, CA 90292

Ricardo Zarate's new seafood-centric restaurant in Marina Del Rey does a great uni toast that uses a chunk shrimp paste as a base then tops it with a rocoto-honey sauce for a sweet finish.

13488 Maxella Ave
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

3. Spaghetti Nero at Gusto

8432 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

The spaghetti nero is a squid ink noodle that's tossed in a rich sea urchin sauce seasoned with calabrian chiles and anchovy bread crumbs, and then topped with a whole fresh piece of uni for an incredibly rich bowl of pasta.

8432 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048

4. Uni Toast at Black Hogg

2852 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

The uni toast at this minimal yet inventive Silver Lake restaurant is presented as a simple crostini, laced with rich plugra butter, then topped with scallions and a sprinkling of sea salt for a satisfying starter.

2852 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

5. Uni with Scrambled Egg at Providence

5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Presented beautifully in a cut eggshell, this signature sea urchin dish resembles an Arpege egg, only with uni lurking under the soft-scrambled eggs and a champagne beurre blanc.

5955 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

6. Uni Tiradito at Picca

9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

Ricardo Zarate is a master at melding the flavors of Japan and Peru, and this uni tiradito, a crudo-like dish that stars fresh scallops topped with luscious sea urchin, is no exception.

9575 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035

7. Uni Burrata at Son of a Gun

8370 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

This deadly simple dish combines similar texture - the stringy-creamy bite of burrata with the briny flavor of uni, then sides it with button mushrooms and yuzu for balance.

8370 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048

8. Uni with Oxtail & Congee at Le Ka

800 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

This comfort dish takes a simple congee and then centers a dollop of umami-rich braised oxtail and then tops it with a fresh piece of sea urchin for that extra sumptuous bite that melds the flavors of Asia and France perfectly.

800 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90017

9. Sea Urchin Linguine at RivaBella

9201 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

This delicious, handmade linguine uses a rich sea urchin sauce that tastes exactly like the ocean, perhaps very much like the Amalfi coast at this massive Italian restaurant on the Sunset Strip.

9201 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

10. Uni Ankimo En Croute at Hamasaku

11043 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

This creative appetizer starts with a thin brioche toast, then layers on ankimo paste and a yuzu marmalade and then tops with translucent lardo, or cured pork backfat for an ultra-luxurious bite.

11043 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

11. Wakame Spaghetti at Superba Snack Bar

533 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291

Chef Jason Neroni ingeniously uses wakame, or Japanese seawood, to add flavor to this spaghetti, then tosses it with lumps of fresh dungeness crab, miso butter, and pickled jalapenos. The kicker is the creamy, rich sea urchin that gets imbued into the sauce.

533 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291

12. Chawanmushi at Yamakase Sushi

10422 National, Culver City, CA 90034

This special Japanese egg custard gets filled with gingko seeds, halibut, truffle butter, crab, and of course, sea urchin for the ultimate chawan mushi dish. [Photo: Chris Hei]

10422 National
Culver City, CA 90034

13. Santa Barbara Uni at Red Medicine

8400 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Presented in a precious glass fish bowl, this delectable dish gets sided with cauliflower powder and dices of smokey Chinese sausage with pieces of sea urchin mixed in. [Photo: Darin Dines]

8400 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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