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Artelice Pâtisserie’s well-lit tray of French desserts and pastries, with lots of chocolate on Sawtelle
Artelice Pâtisserie
Matthew Kang

12 Delectable Restaurants in LA’s Sawtelle Japantown

Japanese yakitori, matcha desserts, and soba noodles

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Artelice Pâtisserie
| Matthew Kang

Sawtelle Japantown, formerly referred to as Little Osaka, is a bastion of delicious Asian cuisine on the Westside. This bustling dining hub is positively brimming with noodle shops, Sichuan specialists, and reopened karaoke lounges, so just park the car and walk the corridor to enjoy the sights and tastes. Here now are 12 essential Sawtelle Japantown restaurants.

Added: Anzu, Artelice Pâtisserie, Dan Modern Chinese, Kaz The Soba Place, Matcha Village, Menya Tigre, Sonoritas Prime Tacos

Removed: B Sweet Dessert Bar, Kato, Killer Noodle, Kiriko, Mala Town, Marugame Udon, Red Rock (closed)

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Nanbankan

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This brightly lit yakiniku spot writes its daily specials on a marker board. Pair the fantastic tsukune (chicken meatballs) with one of the restaurant’s draft sakes. Late diners beware — popular skewers tend to run out before closing time.

Shinji Osaku has a dual presence on Sawtelle as partner at Menya Tigre, plus his kaarage chicken spot, Anzu. In addition to their kaarage fried chicken, try the Japanese hot dogs, burgers, or curry rice bowl with ground beef and curry and a sunny side up egg.

Sonoritas Prime Tacos

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Sawtelle is filled with Asian food, from Filipino and Japanese to Korean and Chinese, but Sonoritas prepares some of the best quality carne asada using actual steak cuts — something one would see in Mexicali and other places in Sonora.

Menya Tigre

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Anzu’s Shinji Osaku and chef Daiki Tanaka opened Menya Tigre in April, with a nod to Japanese curry ramen. Go with friends to fill up the table with the choice of the signature curry noodle dish, tsukemen, or keema noodle with ground pork with add-ons like nori, corn, or fried garlic. The curry rice, rice bowl with marinated chashu pork with a side of fried shrimp is also a delight.

Big Boi Filipino

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B Sweet founder Barb Batiste opened Big Boi to honor her late father, and the homestyle Filipino restaurant dazzles with modern takes on classic dishes. Big Boi is one of LA’s early successful modern Filipino upstarts, with favorites like chicken adobo, beef giniling, and sisig, plus pancit and garlic rice on the side.

Big Boi combo plate
Big Boi combo plate
Matthew Kang

Tsujita Annex

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Located across the street from Tsujita, the Annex location has become just as popular as the original. With thicker noodles and an ultra-rich broth that's chock-full of garlic and pork back fat, this isn’t a noodle soup for the faint of heart. The dip-able tsukemen, tinged with a vinegary kick, is always a good bet.

Tsujita Annex
Tsujita Annex
Wonho Frank Lee

Kaz The Soba Place

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Sawtelle is soba noodle central, so Kaz The Soba Place is right at home. Open in late 2020, Kaz’s buckwheat strands come in traditional and innovative ways including “the Shanghai” served in a Sichuan soup, or “the Genova” with Italian soup stock, basil, bacon, and cherry tomatoes.

Dan Modern Chinese

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In mid-2020, Dan Modern Chinese moved into Sawtelle with traditional favorites like scallion pancakes, xiao long bao/soup dumplings with options like pork and Dungeness crab, noodles, baby bok choy with garlic, or large plates featuring shrimp and shishito peppers and mapo tofu.

dan modern chinese dumplings in Pasadena, California
Dan Modern Chinese
Farley Elliott

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle

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This veteran ramen shop still has all the makings of a worthy dining destination — dependably solid food and fast service. The pork broth ramen never fails to please, while the dipping ramen has a cult-like following.

Ramen from Tsujita Artisan Noodle, Sawtelle
Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle
Wonho Frank Lee

Yakitoriya

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The namesake dish at this Sawtelle staple come in enough varieties to please everyone. Yakitori beginners can start with the popular chicken thighs before graduating to things like gizzards and hearts.

Artelice Pâtisserie

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Known for its stunning pastries, Artelice Pâtisserie opened on Olympic and Sawtelle in early 2017. There’s even a Burbank location to help increase the bakery’s output including macarons, tarts, eclairs, and some of the most gorgeous cakes in the city. Visit and gawk at the display case, especially the sun-colored pistachio sponge cake with mango, banana, and passion fruit.

Matcha Village

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Matcha Village’s Sawtelle location is only one of many Chinese chain restaurants to move into to Los Angeles in recent years. Matcha Village’s goal is to introduce locals to Chinese-style matcha desserts. The showstopper is the matcha mille crepes, which has 69 layers and takes 48 hours to make.

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Nanbankan

This brightly lit yakiniku spot writes its daily specials on a marker board. Pair the fantastic tsukune (chicken meatballs) with one of the restaurant’s draft sakes. Late diners beware — popular skewers tend to run out before closing time.

Anzu

Shinji Osaku has a dual presence on Sawtelle as partner at Menya Tigre, plus his kaarage chicken spot, Anzu. In addition to their kaarage fried chicken, try the Japanese hot dogs, burgers, or curry rice bowl with ground beef and curry and a sunny side up egg.

Sonoritas Prime Tacos

Sawtelle is filled with Asian food, from Filipino and Japanese to Korean and Chinese, but Sonoritas prepares some of the best quality carne asada using actual steak cuts — something one would see in Mexicali and other places in Sonora.

Menya Tigre

Anzu’s Shinji Osaku and chef Daiki Tanaka opened Menya Tigre in April, with a nod to Japanese curry ramen. Go with friends to fill up the table with the choice of the signature curry noodle dish, tsukemen, or keema noodle with ground pork with add-ons like nori, corn, or fried garlic. The curry rice, rice bowl with marinated chashu pork with a side of fried shrimp is also a delight.

Big Boi Filipino

B Sweet founder Barb Batiste opened Big Boi to honor her late father, and the homestyle Filipino restaurant dazzles with modern takes on classic dishes. Big Boi is one of LA’s early successful modern Filipino upstarts, with favorites like chicken adobo, beef giniling, and sisig, plus pancit and garlic rice on the side.

Big Boi combo plate
Big Boi combo plate
Matthew Kang

Tsujita Annex

Located across the street from Tsujita, the Annex location has become just as popular as the original. With thicker noodles and an ultra-rich broth that's chock-full of garlic and pork back fat, this isn’t a noodle soup for the faint of heart. The dip-able tsukemen, tinged with a vinegary kick, is always a good bet.

Tsujita Annex
Tsujita Annex
Wonho Frank Lee

Kaz The Soba Place

Sawtelle is soba noodle central, so Kaz The Soba Place is right at home. Open in late 2020, Kaz’s buckwheat strands come in traditional and innovative ways including “the Shanghai” served in a Sichuan soup, or “the Genova” with Italian soup stock, basil, bacon, and cherry tomatoes.

Dan Modern Chinese

In mid-2020, Dan Modern Chinese moved into Sawtelle with traditional favorites like scallion pancakes, xiao long bao/soup dumplings with options like pork and Dungeness crab, noodles, baby bok choy with garlic, or large plates featuring shrimp and shishito peppers and mapo tofu.

dan modern chinese dumplings in Pasadena, California
Dan Modern Chinese
Farley Elliott

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle

This veteran ramen shop still has all the makings of a worthy dining destination — dependably solid food and fast service. The pork broth ramen never fails to please, while the dipping ramen has a cult-like following.

Ramen from Tsujita Artisan Noodle, Sawtelle
Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle
Wonho Frank Lee

Yakitoriya

The namesake dish at this Sawtelle staple come in enough varieties to please everyone. Yakitori beginners can start with the popular chicken thighs before graduating to things like gizzards and hearts.

Artelice Pâtisserie

Known for its stunning pastries, Artelice Pâtisserie opened on Olympic and Sawtelle in early 2017. There’s even a Burbank location to help increase the bakery’s output including macarons, tarts, eclairs, and some of the most gorgeous cakes in the city. Visit and gawk at the display case, especially the sun-colored pistachio sponge cake with mango, banana, and passion fruit.

Matcha Village

Matcha Village’s Sawtelle location is only one of many Chinese chain restaurants to move into to Los Angeles in recent years. Matcha Village’s goal is to introduce locals to Chinese-style matcha desserts. The showstopper is the matcha mille crepes, which has 69 layers and takes 48 hours to make.

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