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The Best Sushi Restaurants in Los Angeles, Winter 2014

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2008_10_hasmaps.jpgAs a major world city, Los Angeles has a number of culinary specialties, with none more impressive than its dedication and obsession with sushi, the Japanese specialty that first found its way into America in the 1960s. One of those original restaurants still operates in Little Tokyo, and since then there's been an a incredible proliferation of sushi and kaiseki places that range from approachable and everyday, to other-worldly and once-in-a-lifetime. With the confluence of excellent seafood available fresh from large wholesale markets and dedicated chefs who've trained in Japan or from local sushi masters, it's no surprise that sushi is so popular in this city. There are classic omakase experiences, experimental takes on sushi with non-traditional ingredients, and beautiful kaiseki menus that highlight pristine fish and seasonal produce. Updated and refreshed once again, here compiled is a guide to LA's best sushi restaurants.


3/12: Added: Shima, Yamakase, Ootoro, Sushi Go 55, Shunji, Nishimura, Kimagure, Noshi Sushi, Komasa. Dropped: Asanebo
11/12: Added: Nozawa Bar, Sushi Zo Downtown, Sushi Ike, Jinpachi, Hamasaku. Dropped: Go's Mart, Nozomi, Shibucho, Otoro, Noshi Sushi
3/14: Added: Q, Go's Mart, Sushi Sushi

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Urasawa

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218 N Rodeo Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 247-8939

The temple of this city's greatest sushi and kaiseki restaurant, Urasawa stands alone. The master trained under Masa Tamayaka in this space, formerly Ginza Sushi-ko, though Urasawa has perhaps taken it to higher heights with an otherworldly experience, with no expense spared. Reservations required, no photography allowed, but an incredible level of satisfaction is to be expected.

2. Shunji Japanese Cuisine

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12244 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 826-4737

Hailed by local food critic Jonathan Gold as a most "unusual" sushi bar, Shunji takes a vegetable-centric approach to sushi in a former barbecue and chili joint in West L.A. The former founder of the Valley's Asanebo, Shunji wields incredible fish and produce in a way that's only possible in L.A.

3. Sushi Zo

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9824 National Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 842-3977

Sushi Zo might be simple, spartan, and minimal in decor, but the pristine fish served as sashimi and nigiri is anything but. The prices can ratchet up with rare and unique cuts of fish that can't be found anywhere else. Probably the best sushi-only experience to be found in Los Angeles - in a strip mall no less.

4. Echigo Sushi

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12217 Santa Monica Blvd. Ste 201
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 820-9787

An omakase meal at Echigo will be modestly priced, but comprises up to 15 different courses of fish and shellfish. Some of the stars include fresh oysters, monkfish liver, and butterfish. One of the best bang-for-the-buck omakase meals available on the Westside.

5. Mori Sushi

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11500 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
(310) 479-3939
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Though chef Mori is no longer preparing sushi here, the quality still remains at this ultra high-end sushi omakase restaurant, with an extreme dedication to quality in every ingredient, including housemade soy sauce and tofu. The portions can be a little small and the prices are consistently high.

6. Kiyokawa

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261 Robertson Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Most diners opt for the epic kaiseki meals here, where the appetizer plate alone features uni, snow crab wonton, cucumber with bottarga, and halibut carpaccio. Next is a parade of fresh fish including kanpachi, spanish mackerel, toro, and wild scallop, served with freshly grated wasabi, presented beautifully, if slowly.

7. Yamakase

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10422 National Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034

This super-secretive sushi bar in Palms is serving up some of the most exciting sushi and kaiseki in the city at the moment. The fish is pristine and the service impeccable. The courses offer an innovative take on high-end Japanese cuisine, not just an endless parade of sushi. Invitation to the restaurant is required, and is available via application on the website. However, a recent conviction for chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto because of his involvement with The Hump might compromise the long term viability of Yamakase.

8. N/Naka

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3455 s. overland ave
los angeles, California 90034
(310) 836-6252
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An understated, elegant dining room that formerly housed a spa, N/Naka presents a kaiseki and sushi meal that would impress anyone from out of town. Chef Niki Nakayama trained under Takao Izumida and Morihiro Onodera (Mori Sushi), composing stunning plates that are both creative and flavorful. The wine selection and pairings might be the best in town for a sushi restaurant. Reservations recommended.

9. Kiriko Sushi

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11301 Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 478-7769
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This Sawtelle nook of a sushi bar presents some innovative dishes alongside the omakase sushi, though the nigiri is excellent by any standards. The quality is consistently high, making it an ideal stop for Westside sushi hunters and those looking to find a "regular" spot.

10. Sushi Park

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8539 Sunset Blvd #20
Los Angeles, CA
(310) 652-0523
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This pricey West Hollywood sushi spot stands against the roll-tempura-centric places in the area. The blue crab hand roll, unagi, toro, and uni are excellent. A purist sushi restaurant in a most unlikely location.

11. Hiko Sushi

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11275 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 473-7688
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The simple strip mall sushi joint in L.A. is probably best exemplified at Hiko, where one master chef prepares all of the omakase meals before your eyes. The rice is warm, and the sushi is achingly fresh, though selections are a bit more straightforward than other high-end places. To get beyond the set menu with special items, just politely ask the chef for what's available.

12. SUGARFISH

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600 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 627-3000
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The original Sushi Nazi, Nozawa, has created a mini-empire of top-notch sushi restaurants that strip away some of the common elements of a sushi experience and encapsulate them in a simple multi-course meal, depending on how much you "trust" Nozawa. The rice is seasoned perfectly and the fish, hand-selected by Nozawa, might be as good could be at this price point. With locations in Brentwood, Studio City, Downtown, and Marina Del Rey, with Beverly Hills coming soon, it's L.A.'s patented sushi concept, with remarkable consistency and quality.

13. Shima

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1432 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90291
(310) 314-0882

Perhaps the sushi bar with the best overall design in L.A., this Abbot Kinney restaurant does its best to cater to the "locals" by offering brown rice with its sushi. In addition to the sushi, there are specials like live clam in ponzu, lobster ceviche, and steamed black cod to complement the menu. High prices go along with the style and quality of the food.

14. Sushi Kimagure

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220 S Raymond Ave Ste 102
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 535-0880

This Pasadena standout makes very high-quality sushi in a pleasant environment just next to the Metro train tracks. The omakase here yields bluefin toro, uni, gizzard shad, and yellowtail. Chef Ike-san carefully crafts nigiri and other dishes right before diners, leading to a better than expected experience in this part of town.

15. Sushi Gen

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422 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-0552

An iconic L.A. sushi restaurant, this small spot in Little Tokyo is constantly filled to the brim, with a unbelievable lunch sashimi special packing the crowds in. However, ordering directly from the menu or at the bar yields an even better experience, with an expansive selection of nigiri sushi and sashimi that's sure to satisfy.

16. Takao

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11656 San Vicente Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90049-5104
(310) 207-8636

This Brentwood omakase restaurant highlights a rundown of the best of the ocean's offerings, with all the classics choices such as Yellowtail, Red Snapper, and Uni served alongside the likes of Spot Prawn sashimi and Baby Red Snapper.

17. Hama Sushi

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347 East 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-3454

This classic Little Tokyo restaurant has the appropriate look and feel of a Japanese sushi joint. The value is high, with serious chefs putting out fresh sushi of great variety. The spicy tuna roll is a must-order item.

18. Sushi Go 55

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333 S Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 784-3112
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One of the original sushi bars in America, this popular Little Tokyo destination still makes very good sashimi and sushi. The yellowtail, salmon, live shrimp, and toro are especially well done here. Waits can add up during weekends, so plan accordingly.

19. Komasa

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351 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-1792

The waits can be crushing at this popular Little Tokyo sushi spot, but it might very well be worth the excellent spicy tuna rolls, salmon skin rolls, and fresh nigiri sushi served in small confines.

20. Nozawa Bar

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212 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The esprit of Nozawa lives on at this smaller, more intimate sushi bar behind the Sugarfish in Beverly Hills, where a fixed omakase gets served with extreme precision. While the creativity might not be there compared to some of the other high-end spots, the quality of the fish is top notch.

334 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 935-8409

This popular West LA spot gets a second location in the heart of Downtown's Historic Core, where sushi chef Keizo Seki brings his ultra-fresh sushi in an omakase-style counter.

22. Sushi Ike

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6051 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 856-9972

This no-frills spot in Hollywood eschews some of the more off-the-wall rolls and such in this area and stay true to simple nigiri, basic rolls, and sashimi. Friendly service, and a rotating selection of seasonal fish.

23. Jinpachi

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8711 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 358-9134

This high-end spot in West Hollywood has fantastic quality in their omakase, but also has some more "affordable" chirashi bowls that make this an ideal place to stop by during lunch.

24. Hamasaku

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11043 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 479-7636
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With a new sushi chef Yoya Takahashi at the helm of the omakase counter, the level of sushi gets a major upgrade from the more roll-centric offerings on the menu (that are nevertheless insanely popular with celebrities). Takahashi's pedigree ensures a sharp eye of top-quality, seasonal fish prepared to a high degree, but at an approachable price well under $90 a person.

25. Sasabune

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9162 West Olympic Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 859-3878

"Trust Me," declares chef Nobi Kushuhara, at Sasabune, a West LA institution where quality trumps all, including the bland decor. The omakase menu includes classic nigiri pieces such as maguro and toro, in addition to butterfish, albacore and yellowtail. Prices are high to match the quality, upwards of $200 a person.

521 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 225-6285
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A refined sushi den in the heart of Downtown's Financial District, this ambitious new player in the L.A. sushi scene is out there to conquer it all, and the quality of fish speaks for itself. The price is quite high, but a $75 lunch might be a worthy splurge for those working in the area.

27. Go's Mart

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22330 Sherman Way, #C12
Canoga Park, CA 91303

Certainly a drive for many people in L.A., this specialist in a rather unrefined location still manages to produce some of the most unique and adventurous sushi in the city. Not a classic Edo-style place, but rather one that tries to push the envelope with creative preparations.

28. Sushi Sushi

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326 S Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
(310) 277-1165
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Perhaps a bit inconsistent, this nondescript spot in South Beverly Hills has some incredibly hardcore fans that love the quality fish, but some complain of an off ratio of sushi to rice. Either way, there are plenty of believers who would choose to have their last omakase meal here.

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1. Urasawa

218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The temple of this city's greatest sushi and kaiseki restaurant, Urasawa stands alone. The master trained under Masa Tamayaka in this space, formerly Ginza Sushi-ko, though Urasawa has perhaps taken it to higher heights with an otherworldly experience, with no expense spared. Reservations required, no photography allowed, but an incredible level of satisfaction is to be expected.

218 N Rodeo Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

2. Shunji Japanese Cuisine

12244 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

Hailed by local food critic Jonathan Gold as a most "unusual" sushi bar, Shunji takes a vegetable-centric approach to sushi in a former barbecue and chili joint in West L.A. The former founder of the Valley's Asanebo, Shunji wields incredible fish and produce in a way that's only possible in L.A.

12244 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

3. Sushi Zo

9824 National Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034

Sushi Zo might be simple, spartan, and minimal in decor, but the pristine fish served as sashimi and nigiri is anything but. The prices can ratchet up with rare and unique cuts of fish that can't be found anywhere else. Probably the best sushi-only experience to be found in Los Angeles - in a strip mall no less.

9824 National Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034

4. Echigo Sushi

12217 Santa Monica Blvd. Ste 201, Los Angeles, CA 90025

An omakase meal at Echigo will be modestly priced, but comprises up to 15 different courses of fish and shellfish. Some of the stars include fresh oysters, monkfish liver, and butterfish. One of the best bang-for-the-buck omakase meals available on the Westside.

12217 Santa Monica Blvd. Ste 201
Los Angeles, CA 90025

5. Mori Sushi

11500 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Though chef Mori is no longer preparing sushi here, the quality still remains at this ultra high-end sushi omakase restaurant, with an extreme dedication to quality in every ingredient, including housemade soy sauce and tofu. The portions can be a little small and the prices are consistently high.

11500 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

6. Kiyokawa

261 Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Most diners opt for the epic kaiseki meals here, where the appetizer plate alone features uni, snow crab wonton, cucumber with bottarga, and halibut carpaccio. Next is a parade of fresh fish including kanpachi, spanish mackerel, toro, and wild scallop, served with freshly grated wasabi, presented beautifully, if slowly.

261 Robertson Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

7. Yamakase

10422 National Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90034

This super-secretive sushi bar in Palms is serving up some of the most exciting sushi and kaiseki in the city at the moment. The fish is pristine and the service impeccable. The courses offer an innovative take on high-end Japanese cuisine, not just an endless parade of sushi. Invitation to the restaurant is required, and is available via application on the website. However, a recent conviction for chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto because of his involvement with The Hump might compromise the long term viability of Yamakase.

10422 National Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034

8. N/Naka

3455 s. overland ave, los angeles, California 90034

An understated, elegant dining room that formerly housed a spa, N/Naka presents a kaiseki and sushi meal that would impress anyone from out of town. Chef Niki Nakayama trained under Takao Izumida and Morihiro Onodera (Mori Sushi), composing stunning plates that are both creative and flavorful. The wine selection and pairings might be the best in town for a sushi restaurant. Reservations recommended.

3455 s. overland ave
los angeles, California 90034

9. Kiriko Sushi

11301 Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

This Sawtelle nook of a sushi bar presents some innovative dishes alongside the omakase sushi, though the nigiri is excellent by any standards. The quality is consistently high, making it an ideal stop for Westside sushi hunters and those looking to find a "regular" spot.

11301 Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

10. Sushi Park

8539 Sunset Blvd #20, Los Angeles, CA

This pricey West Hollywood sushi spot stands against the roll-tempura-centric places in the area. The blue crab hand roll, unagi, toro, and uni are excellent. A purist sushi restaurant in a most unlikely location.

8539 Sunset Blvd #20
Los Angeles, CA

11. Hiko Sushi

11275 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

The simple strip mall sushi joint in L.A. is probably best exemplified at Hiko, where one master chef prepares all of the omakase meals before your eyes. The rice is warm, and the sushi is achingly fresh, though selections are a bit more straightforward than other high-end places. To get beyond the set menu with special items, just politely ask the chef for what's available.

11275 National Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

12. SUGARFISH

600 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

The original Sushi Nazi, Nozawa, has created a mini-empire of top-notch sushi restaurants that strip away some of the common elements of a sushi experience and encapsulate them in a simple multi-course meal, depending on how much you "trust" Nozawa. The rice is seasoned perfectly and the fish, hand-selected by Nozawa, might be as good could be at this price point. With locations in Brentwood, Studio City, Downtown, and Marina Del Rey, with Beverly Hills coming soon, it's L.A.'s patented sushi concept, with remarkable consistency and quality.

600 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90017

13. Shima

1432 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

Perhaps the sushi bar with the best overall design in L.A., this Abbot Kinney restaurant does its best to cater to the "locals" by offering brown rice with its sushi. In addition to the sushi, there are specials like live clam in ponzu, lobster ceviche, and steamed black cod to complement the menu. High prices go along with the style and quality of the food.

1432 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90291

14. Sushi Kimagure

220 S Raymond Ave Ste 102, Pasadena, CA 91105