Most people who live in Los Angeles become euphoric when talking about their favorite secret sushi spot.
Here are some local recommendations to try when you’re visiting.
While many sushi restaurants in the United States are on the pricey side, you can get a great meal at Noshi Sushi for under $20, including tip (cash only). That’s obviously the winning attribute for this place — depending when you go, your sushi chefs may be a little on the gruff side.
Wilshire Center, 4430 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles 90004
There’s sushi everywhere in Los Angeles!
This no-nonsense Little Tokyo gem is often packed — for good reason. It’s all about the sushi bar here, which seats at least 30 people, all facing eight chefs aiming to please. It’s an order-as-you go, freestyle kind of place. One quick nod and your next piece is being cut.
Why is the sushi so good at Sushi Gen? Constant turnover. The fish most likely don’t last more than a day, there are so many people eating here. The scallop sashimi is perfect, as is the snapper with a dot of jalapeño. The flavors of the tuna, salmon, and yellowtail sushi are amazing. The spicy tuna roll is definitely one of the spiciest around.
Sushi Gen isn’t cheap, but it’s obvious that the money goes into the quality of the fish and the skill of the chefs. Expect to spend around $45 for a full meal with tip, a beer and parking.
Little Tokyo, 422 E 2nd Street, Los Angeles 90012
You can find Sugarfish in 11 places around Los Angeles — the Brentwood location is a favorite. Run by the legendary Chef Nozawa, the menus lean heavily on his three omakase options.
You’ll always be in good hands with the “Trust Me” selection — regardless of what’s included, it will not disappoint. Example: crazy-good tuna sashimi appetizer with a sweet sauce, a toro hand and yellowtail hand roll, as well as albacore, salmon, yellowtail and halibut sushi. In a town full of gimmicky sushi rolls, it’s nice to be presented with what counts: great fish.
The sushi rice at Sugarfish is among best, and it should be noted that the ginger is the freshest, juiciest around. The restaurant itself has the buzz of people celebrating special occasions — alive and cheerful.
11640 W. San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles 90049
Jalapeño and toro sushi roll
4 on 6 Sushi
At 4 on 6, two sushi chefs serve a room that could hold about 30, and do it with extreme grace. Everyone at the bar seems to be a local who knows just what they like.
Go omakase: all sushi, one piece at a time, without any question of what’s coming your way. If you’re lucky, it’ll include baby jack mackerel, scallop (with a perfect amount of lemon and salt on top), uni, grunt, threadfin bream, seared king mackerel, albacore toro, baby yellowtail, yellowtail toro and gravlax (topped with a spot of something sour cream-y). Save room for the the sake-steamed mussel soup if it’s available.
16573 Ventura Boulevard, Encino 91436
Little Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya
Katsu-ya is the go-to sushi chain for many Los Angeles locals. The food is fusion-y, a mashup of different Japanese treats. In other words, you can get a lot more than sushi, and it’s all very inventive. When it works it’s great (a roll with spicy tuna and popcorn shrimp), and when it fails it’s not a complete disappointment (yellow beets, tuna sashimi, arugula and some kind of creamy dressing).
Even outside of happy hour, you can nab some surprisingly delicious Japanese ceviche, a draft Kirin, and edamame for $7 or so. The tuna and yellowtail sushi are both highly recommended. And Katsu-ya has plenty of options for the vegetarian, including a supreme-tasting garlic pumpkin. This places truly pleases everyone.
4517 Sepulveda Boulevard, Sherman Oaks 91403
Tuna rolls and glazed shrimp