Tasty Japanese Restaurants in California

February 10, 2022
Food & Drink
jason wolfe
Main image courtesy of Arizona Foothills Magazine.

Sushi, ramen, gyoza — whatever your preference, great Japanese cuisine is always flavorful and satisfying. And luckily, for the residents and visitors of California, some of the best Japanese restaurants are located in the Golden State. If you’re eager to give your taste buds a treat at the best sushi restaurants and ramen noodle houses in the area, read on. We’ve put together this list to share some of the best and tastiest Japanese restaurants in California.

Eager to visit some of these eateries? Then make sure you’re prepared first with some GiftYa electronic e-gift cards that can be used at all of the locations below. GiftYa e-gift cards download safely and conveniently into your debit card and can be easily sent digitally to all of your friends and family members. These electronic gift cards are good at a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions across the United States, so be sure to look through the GiftYa database to discover what top-rated restaurant or store you can visit next!

Sooda Sushi & Lounge

Excellent Japanese and Korean cuisine at Sooda Sushi & Lounge

Enjoy exquisitely prepared, beautiful sushi dishes at Sooda Sushi & Lounge. Image courtesy of Yelp.

745 S. Oxford Ave. | Koreatown, Wilshire Center/ sodasushi.com

Stop by Koreatown to eat at one of the best sushi bars in town. Sooda Sushi & Lounge specializes in providing its customers with extremely fresh fish, perfectly sliced and prepared for some high-quality sushi dishes. Order the Sushi Roll Sashimi Japanese Set to experience all your favorite delicacies, including the California Roll, Spicy Tuna, and sashimi. Other specialty dishes include the alba crunch roll, rainbow roll, and lobster roll.

While Sooda Sushi & Lounge is famous for its Japanese sushi dishes, you can also find Korean cuisine here as well. The Sooda Galbi Set offers beef lovers the slowly braised beef short rib in Korean soy sauce while the Sooda Bulgogi Set provides classic Korean style hot pot sliced beef with assortments, giving your dining party plenty of options.

“Sooda sushi revolutionized the way I perceive sushi dining experience in Koreatown. The course meal (equivalent to omakase) offered at Sooda (I chose course B) is comprised of top-notch sushi – each piece of pristine fish is delicately sliced and placed on perfectly formed rice with precision and finesse.” — Yelp Review

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Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa

Traditional Japanese sushi prepared by expertly taught chefs

Gorgeous (and delicious) sushi by Sugarfish. Image courtesy of Yelp.

101 S. La Brea | Fairfax/ sugarfishsushi.com

Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa has multiple locations in Los Angeles, giving you some idea of how popular this establishment is. Since 2008, diners have been enjoying high quality sushi here made with the traditional techniques of acclaimed sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa.

By sourcing the best fish and rice and adhering to high standards that emphasize accenting the flavor and texture of sushi with simplicity and balance, the sushi chefs at Sugarfish have created a menu of delicacies where the sushi literally “melts in your mouth” and puts a smile on your face.

You won’t find run-of-the-mill sushi dishes here. Instead, the menu, which includes lunch and dinner options, offers several “Trust Me” selections that include favorites such as the Tuna Sashimi, Toro Hand Roll, Japanese Yellowtail Sushi, and Salmon Sushi. This allows diners to put themselves in the capable hands of a team that is extremely passionate about creating and serving the best sushi possible. And the customers love them for it.

“The sushi is so good it’s ridiculous. I’m smiling making this review just remembering eating that ‘melt in your mouth’ goodness.” — Yelp Review

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Tokyo Fried Chicken Co.

Flavorful and delicious fried chicken made Japanese style

Fried chicken lovers will find their dream dishes at Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. Image courtesy of Yelp.

122 S. Atlantic Blvd. | Monterey Park/ tokyofriedchicken.com

Fried chicken may seem like a simple dish, but the regulars at Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. rave about how crisp, moist, and flavorful each bite of chicken is at this establishment. Seasoning and size are also celebrated, making this one chicken restaurant you’ll want to include on your trip to Monterey Park.

Order party buckets, 2-piece boxes, 3-piece boxes, or kids boxes to fit your preferences. Whether you’re dining in or taking out an order to enjoy on a picnic, Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. will help you redefine how you view (and taste) fried chicken dishes.  

“Drumsticks were so crispy and moist and just everything you could want from fried chicken. Seasoning was delicious, but not the saltiest which allows it to pair well with the ponzu/mayo sauces they offer. They were a good size.” — Yelp Review

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Nakazo Ramen Bistro

The best Japanese ramen in Alhambra

Authentic and delicious ramen at Nakazo Ramen Bistro. Image courtesy of Yelp.

2120 S. Fremont Ave. | Alhambra/ nakazoramenbistro.com

Family owned and operated since 2020, Nakazo Ramen Bistro may be fairly new, but customers are already calling it one of the best and most authentic Japanese ramen places in Alhambra. The cooks here take ramen very seriously, spending 14 hours of slow cooking to produce their savory Tonkotsu Broth and then further enhancing it with fresh and flavorful ingredients.

Order the special Tonkotsu Ramen with tonkotsu broth, skinny noodles, pork chashu, ½ soft egg, and a variety of seasonings including green onion, bean sprouts, sesame seeds, wood ear mushroom, and dried seaweed. Those who prefer a bit more spice will enjoy the Las Carnitas Ramen with cilantro, radish, lime, and serrano pepper, or the spicy miso ramen. There’s also a Veggie Ramen option for vegetarians that includes pure vegetable broth seasoned with miso. For soothing and delicious ramen noodle dishes, Nakazo Ramen Bistro has what diners need.

“If you’re looking for an authentic Ramen Bar, this is it. Food was amazing and service was great, definitely coming back here again!” — Yelp Review

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KazuNori The Original Hand Roll Bar

Delicious Japanese hand rolls made with the highest possible standards

Excellent varieties of sushi at KazuNori. Image courtesy of Yelp.

421 S. Main St. | Downtown/ handrollbar.com

With all the excellent sushi restaurants in Los Angeles, chefs must offer something special to stand out — and Kazu Nori – The Original Hand Roll Bar is up to the challenge. As their name indicates, this restaurant specializes in crafting hand rolls, specifically the cylindrical-style hand rolls first introduced the United States over 40 years ago by celebrated sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa (the same mastermind behind LA’s other celebrated sushi restaurant Sugarfish).

Adhering to Nozawa’s high standards, the chefs here emphasize creating hand rolls with high-quality fish, exceptionally prepared warm rice, and crisp nori wrappings. The result is a menu bursting with flavor that includes favorites like the Salmon Hand Roll, Bay Scallop Hand Roll, Lobster Hand Roll, and Crab Hand Roll. Gorgeous to look at and amazing the taste, each dish is also seasoned with house made sauces for a very distinct flavor. Order from both a counter and to-go menu for added convenience and experience the taste of genuine Japanese sushi in America.  

“My friend has been hyping this place up for MONTHS – you might even think she’s sponsored. Ever since then, I’ve had sky-high expectations coming here, and KazuNori definitely met and exceeded it.” — Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa for KazuNori

Kai Ramen

Flavorful Japanese ramen dishes made fresh daily

Most delicious ramen in Los Angeles. Image courtesy of Yelp.

349 N La Cienega Blvd. | Beverly Grove/ kairamen.com

West Hollywood may seem like an unusual spot for a ramen restaurant, but this family-owned and operated establishment has been offering diners a real taste of Japan in its soups and noodle dishes since 2017. Founded by American born Japanese Chef Nishimura who trained in Tokyo under multiple Ramen masters, Kai Ramen was created to share Nishimura’s techniques and high standards with the LA community.

All soups are prepared fresh every day in their own kitchen and use high quality ingredients. Diners can choose from a wide range of flavorful ramen dishes, from the classic Tonkotsu Ramen with thin noodles, pork belly, flavored egg, scallion, and black mushroom to more distinctive chef’s special dishes like the Bomb Ramen (grounded Minch pork with sprouts, cabbage, scallions, red onion, sesame seeds, egg, and medium yellow noodle).

Chefs can also accommodate for dietary restrictions with gluten free seafood ramen options and Vegan Tonkotsu Ramen. With so many options, it’s no wonder Kai Ramen was voted into the top 5 Japanese ramen restaurants in Los Angeles

“I can’t believe how amazing this spot is! After all our ramen eatings in every city/country we visit, this was one worth writing a review for. We ordered the fried chicken steamed buns to share and I can’t believe the flavors they got into every bite! I could have eaten this all night.” — Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa for Kai Ramen

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