Best for: Once-in-a-lifetime kaiseki
This two-Michelin-star dinner at ROW DTLA might require an alarm to get a table, but the chance to experience the transportive power of a meal at Brandon Go's seven-seat counter is more than worth the hassle. Beautiful presentation and world-class level of precision and technique are applied throughout the meal. Since preparation by Go and his small team occurs just mere feet away, this intimate chef's table experience invokes all the senses for a traditional, ever-changing seafood-centric kaiseki meal that varies with the weather, seasons and whatever’s freshest at market.
While L.A.’s devotion to sushi and ramen are so extreme you’d think they’re the only type of Japanese cuisine in town, the vast array of barbecue, shabu-shabu, soba and kaiseki are equally worth checking out the next time you’re in the mood for a taste of Japan. Taking into account both old favorites and newer hot spots, as well as price point, we’ve rounded up the city’s best Japanese restaurants. This list is as equally handy for your next special occasion as it is your next cozy meal out in sweatpants—so take heart in the fact that yes, four-dollar-sign transportive sushi and booze-laced izakayas make an appearance, but food court favorites and South Bay mom-and-pop shops do, as well.