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Photograph: Courtesy Sushi|Bar/Jakob N. Layman

Here’s where to find the best sushi in Los Angeles

In a city where sushi is king, we found the restaurants with the best sushi in L.A. to curb your appetite for tuna, salmon, uni and more

Written by
Erin Kuschner
&
Stephanie Breijo
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Ask which city has the best sushi in the country, and any toro fiend will tell you: L.A., obviously. In Valley strip malls, Little Tokyo plazas and swanky Beverly Hills dining rooms, you’ll find some of the freshest fish in town perfected by sushi chefs who’ve practiced their craft for years. Often, this isn’t an inexpensive indulgence, though there are some affordable options around the city (after all these years, it’s still hard to beat Sushi Gen’s $23 sashimi lunch special). Still, exploring these Japanese restaurants and sushi bars is more than worth the splurge; for top-notch cuts of mackerel, fatty tuna, salmon and more, check out our favorite sushi in Los Angeles.

Here’s where to find the best sushi in L.A.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown Financial District
  • price 4 of 4

Hiroyuki Naruke’s omakase experience is on another level from the second you enter Q’s doors. Classical music drifts through the refined space, a formal and tasteful dining room that’s home to a handful of tables and the real showstopper, a 10-seat sushi bar where chef Naruke quietly steals the spotlight. It’s hard to say which is more of a treat: the expertly cut fish sourced from around the world, or chef’s artful precision of a one-man show. Q focuses on Naruke’s edomae sushi, a style that highlights vinegar-seasoned rice and high-quality, fresh cuts of fish, and at Q’s dinner omakase—at $300 per person—you’ll also receive a smattering of Japanese small plates, such as torched toro with shishito relish. Of course, if you’re not up for the dinner splurge, Q offers a lunch omakase, too, for $125. Whichever option you pick, day or night, just be sure to make a reservation.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Woodland Hills
  • price 3 of 4

This Woodland Hills sushi gem sources its fish from around the world, flying in toro and scallops and ebi and beyond for some of the freshest, most buttery and flavorful seafood available in Los Angeles. The pricing can certainly reflect this—the omakase can run up to $180 and sashimi can reach $50 for the uni option alone—but it's well worth the splurge, and chef-owner Mark Okuda offers affordable lunch deals and takeout specials that make the Brothers Sushi a must-visit across budgets. The toro here is some of the best we've ever tasted—available in sashimi, nigiri and roll form—but the small plates and à la carte specials, such as dry-aged salmon flown in from New Zealand, are always worth an order, too.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • West Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4

With its years-long—and all-caps—set of rules detailing the likes of “NO CALIFORNIA ROLL, NO SPICY TUNA ROLL, NO TERIYAKI,” Sushi Park might seem like the curmudgeon of the L.A. sushi scene, but go ahead and trust what they do serve: some of the freshest fish in L.A. Located on the second floor of a nondescript plaza on Sunset Strip, Sushi Park is where Angelenos in the know get their sushi fix. Grab a seat at the sushi bar for so-fresh-you-can-taste-the-Pacific omakase, which will set you back around $200. It's steep for the no-frills setting, but the chef will take you through multiple courses of nigiri, sashimi and small plates you'll still be thinking about weeks later.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Encino
  • price 4 of 4

The 17-course, reservation-only sushi spot from Top Chef's Phillip Frankland Lee and expert pastry chef Margarita Kallas Lee is worth seeking out, and fortunately, you no longer have to do much seeking. What began as a hidden sushi speakeasy is now openly part of the Lees' restaurant fold, found up the escalators of the Encino strip mall that’s also home to Scratch Bar and Pasta Bar. You’ll be able to try some of the team’s creative takes on nigiri and the sushi-bar experience, with a nigiri-focused menu that might involve sweet-corn-brushed yellowtail; yam with salmon roe and mushroom dashi; and just-warm sushi rice topped with roasted bone marrow. The tiny counter gets you as close as sushi bars come, with service that’s equal parts congenial and theatrical. After your $145 omakase, you’ll also get the chance to order à la carte specials from the daily chalkboard list—and truly, how can you say no to an Alaskan crab hand roll for dessert?

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Canoga Park
  • price 3 of 4

You won’t see a sign outside of Go’s Mart indicating its presence. Rather, you’ll see the word “SUSHI” in large green lettering, which is sort of an understatement: Yes, there is sushi inside this small Canoga Park strip mall, but it’s sushi topped with 24k gold leaf flakes and a sprinkling of truffle oil. Two tables and a 10-seat sushi bar are where diners come for outstanding cuts of fish from chef Go, who opened this place in 1997. Don’t ask what’s good—“Everything is good,” says Go—but you’d be wise to ask for toro. The plump tuna comes topped with the aforementioned gold flakes, and just the right amount of wasabi gets tucked into Go’s exceptional rice. Japanese eel is slick with sweet unagi sauce and slivers of lemon rind on top, while a cut of meaty butterfish could come decorated with truffle oil and a hint of spice.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Sherman Oaks
  • price 3 of 4

Kiminobu Saito’s haute Sherman Oaks sushi bar serves artful and cleverly modernized nigiri, but it also manages to diversify with something so incredibly obvious it’s a wonder the rest of our sushi bars haven’t caught on: fantastic wine. Pairings match to signature sashimi (the Hamachi Note, with yellowtail, garlic, jalapeño and ponzu is always a treat) and unique options such as the cured gravlax nigiri, one of our favorite bites here. Even for those not imbibing, Sushi Note is also the kind of spot date nights are made of: With limited patio seating out front, and low lighting and a cozy space when the dining room is available, this is a restaurant to linger in and savor. Of course, a little more than date night romance is required to wow diners in the Valley—home to some of the best sushi in all of Los Angeles—and Saito’s artful sashimi, nigiri and a very delicious omakase does it easily.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Westside
  • price 3 of 4

Chef and co-owner Keizo Seki and his team of etiquette-minded cooks artfully prepare squid noodles, bluefin tuna, sweet shrimp and golden eye mackerel in an omakase that’s hellbent on nailing the perfect balance of rice and fish. It’s one of Seki’s tenets, and this dedication is just one of the factors that landed NYC’s location a Michelin star. Here in L.A., with locations in Culver and Downtown, Sushi Zo serves omakase (at around $250) with fresh fish delivered that same morning: You’ll find monkfish liver, black sesame tofu, squid marinated in truffle oil, and more as the meal marches on—with every course as rich, tantalizing and expertly prepared as the last one.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Westwood
  • price 2 of 4

Known for its power-lunch prowess and celebrity pull, Hamasaku has maintained its popularity with a solid, steadfast sushi program on the Westside and a modern, warm-wood interior. The menu features a selection of à la carte rolls, tempura and small plates, but nigiri and sashimi are the real stars here. The omakase runs $80, and involves santen-mori, a rotating cast of three delicate appetizers; sashimi; sushi; chawanmushi; miso soup; and dessert. Barracuda, snapper, big eye tuna and more are usually all available, with a focus on composed plates, sustainably raised and caught fish—and when we say composed, we mean uni balanced on the back of a whole crab, which looks as though it’s going for a stroll atop your plate. Get your phone cameras ready.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Beverly Grove
  • price 3 of 4

Los Angeles is home to some of the best sushi in the country, but for all its hand-roll bars and tucked-away omakase spots and quick-and-casual gems, one thing it doesn’t have an abundance of is sushi restaurants run by vets from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. Thanks to Sushi Tama that's been changing. The Beverly restaurant is run by chef Hideyuki Yoshimoto, who spent more than a decade at the world-famous market and brings hyper-quality fish, rich, fatty cuts and thoughtful, delicate small plates to the sushi bar. The difference here is quality and thought: Yoshimoto’s technique is precise, with cuts so cool, refreshing and clean they practically sing of the ocean. The care and precision extends to takeout options as well, with some of the most beautiful temaki sets we’ve ever seen—or had the pleasure of eating. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Santa Monica
  • price 3 of 4

This Pico Boulevard restaurant looks fairly humdrum from the outside, but Angelenos know to never judge a restaurant by its cover—especially at Shunji, where you can find some of the highest-quality sushi in Los Angeles, including a well-curated omakase. But first, ask about the fried oysters, which will convert even the bivalve-averse among us with its soft, pillowy exterior shielding a juicy helping of mollusk. The omakase specials might have you trying scallop and salmon, bluefin tuna, mackerel, flying fish and more. Chef Shunji Nakao—“the Richard Gere of the sushi world”—knows exactly how much wasabi to hide in each scoop of rice, and when your plate has been picked clean, a steaming cup of green tea helps ease your way into the outside world.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Studio City
  • price 3 of 4

When the craving strikes for a meal at a high-end sushi restaurant, it’s hard to ignore the call of the Valley’s long-time chief establishment for ultra-fresh seafood. Asanebo is a mecca for exotic, inventive pieces: pearl oysters, monkfish with grapefruit drizzle, perhaps, or steamed firefly squid. Chef-owner Tatsuya Nakao crafts a few beautiful omakase options, as well as some truly artful signature sashimi, but if you can’t make that kind of commitment—monetary or otherwise—stop by for rolls and nigiri.

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • West LA
  • price 4 of 4

You’ll be shelling out plenty of dough at this celebrated sushi restaurant in West L.A., but with good reason: The omakases here range from a simple appetizer-and-nigiri experience ($120) to a 20-plus course adventure that borders on sushi nirvana (market price). Founder and namesake Mori Onodera no longer prepares the fish here, but the quality has not been compromised: You’ll find house-made tofu and soy sauce; miso soup studded with fresh, in-shell clams; and beautiful cuts of toro, hamachi, sea pike and more. An ethereal scoop of tofu mousse often finishes the meal, though fans of the more traditional tomago will find that at Mori, too.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Santa Monica
  • price 2 of 4

With locations all over town—Brentwood, Marina del Rey, Hollywood, Studio City, Beverly Hills, Pasadena and Downtown, to name a few—Kazunori Nozawa’s mini-empire favors straightforward, no-nonsense sushi over the usual “Dragon” and “Rainbow” rolls. The emphasis is on trust here, as exemplified by Nozawa’s trademark omakase-style menus, of which there are four: Trust Me, Trust Me/Lite, Nozawa, and the Don't Think Just Eat, ranging from $23 to $52—a total deal by sushi standards. Each menu features the best fish of the day, accompanied by perfectly warm rice and some of the best house-made ponzu sauce in L.A. You can order à la carte, though you’d be in the minority. Better to just trust Nozawa’s instinct, and give yourself over to top-notch sushi at one of the city’s more affordable price points.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Sawtelle
  • price 4 of 4

Hear the name Tsujita and you’ll probably think of the popular ramen joint—but sister spot Sushi Tsujita, another Sawtelle triumph, warrants just as much attention. Offering omakase and à la carte sushi in an elegant setting, the chef’s-choice meal can set you back around $200, and includes upwards of 11 courses—unless you’re stopping by for lunch, when it’s only around $80. In fact, if you get there early enough, you can order one of the hyper-rare bara-chirashi-sushi boxes or the $35 nigiri set—a steal, if you ask us.

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Little Tokyo
  • price 2 of 4

Nestled in Downtown’s Little Tokyo neighborhood since 1980, Sushi Gen has turned into a cult favorite for L.A.’s sushi aficionados. The main draw: a $23 sashimi lunch special. Glut your taste buds on fresh halibut, fatty tuna, sea urchin and oysters at this top-notch sushi spot, and be sure to order the scallop—a favorite among regulars. The only downside is the popularity of this place: Lines can be massive, and you may feel a tad rushed by the staff, who are eyeballing the hungry diners on your heels—but one bite of the decadent monkfish liver and we can almost guarantee all ills will be forgotten.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Koreatown
  • price 2 of 4

Trips to Koreatown for dinner may be mostly reserved for KBBQ, but consider Noshi Sushi the next time you find yourself hungry in the neighborhood. Chef Shogo Noshi opened a small, 30-seat restaurant in 1983, gained a considerable following and moved to his current location to accomodate a growing clientele. While traditional sushi is offered here, the occasional spider roll or California roll is also available. Don’t let that turn you off, though—buttery pieces of salmon, rich eel, plump scallop and more are just as good as the more expensive spots around town. If the thought of parking in K-town makes you panic, remember there’s free parking out back, and free, comforting miso soup inside.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Los Feliz
  • price 1 of 4

Sitting along Los Feliz's busy Hollywood Boulevard stretch, newcomer Sōgo Roll Bar is a straightforward hand-roll spot from the forces behind Sherman Oaks gem Sushi Note, who've teamed up with An Eastside Establishment, the brains behind some of the city's most popular bars and restaurants, including Sōgo's neighbor (and one of the top wine bars in L.A.), Bar CovellKiminobu Saito employs the same care you'll find at his higher-end sushi bar, but here, the menu is streamlined and positively packs the hand rolls with lobster, salmon, toro, crab and beyond. An intimate patio and a stylish 14-seat sushi counter make for a chic setting, but let's face it, the only thing you'll really be looking at are those glorious hand rolls. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Toluca Lake
  • price 3 of 4

This tiny Toluca Lake sushi restaurant has been flying under the radar for years and we’re not sure why, because the sushi here is among the city’s best. Start with some truffle edamame or maybe some crab legs in Japanese hollandaise, then work your way through top-quality fish, expertly made rice and impeccable service, whether you’re having nigiri or rolls. Be sure to order the lime roll, a study of pure balance, or the seared scallop with uni, a lesson in texture. If you’re partial to specific fish or cuts, Sushi Yuzu even offers sampler platters for salmon, toro, yellowtail and more, where you’ll try one piece of fish from different varieties or sourced from different regions.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • West LA
  • price 3 of 4

With a $16 nigiri and hand-roll lunch special, a quality sushi meal at Echigo is attainable at a fraction of the usual cost. Takeout specials can help you savor Echigo's excellent sushi at home for around $45 (even for the omakase), and a dinner visit, though more expensive, leaves diners just as fulfilled. If ordering à la carte, be sure to ask for the monkfish liver, a foie gras-like piece that almost melts in your mouth. The nondescript storefront and bare-bones interior belies the real craftmanship that takes place here, so walk right in, sit down at the sushi bar and don’t look back.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 3 of 4

Those with a long enough memory and a penchant for dancing might remember the Mrs. Fish that—let’s face it—was more of a loud club. But in its current and more refined incarnation, you’re more likely to sip whiskey highballs and nosh on inventive house rolls while surrounded by contemporary Japanese art. There are multiple lounges and a main dining room, but we love the sushi counter, where you can watch the magic happen. The menu is an endless à la carte mix-and-match of Japanese small plates and larger options like uni pasta, but the real star is the sushi, specifically the house rolls: They’re decadence on a plate, where wagyu beef tataki wraps around Maine lobster, and gold flake sits on little rounds of salmon with ikura. And, considering these opulent house rolls are all priced around $16, it’s not much for decadence, we say.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 2 of 4

Sugarfish fans who like to get hands-on, this one’s for you. Brought to us by the same Kazunori Nozawa, this casual sushi spot specializes in hand rolls and speedy service. Simply walk in, take a seat at the U-shaped sushi bar, and pick your meal—you’re choosing three to six hand rolls, priced $12 to $24 per set—or opt for a limited menu of sashimi or a range of à la carte hand rolls. Or, hey, a mix of it all. After all, these hand rolls and the sashimi are so good, why not get a little of everything? Just beware: This spot is no-reservations, and fills up fast.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Encino
  • price 2 of 4

As with most outstanding sushi restaurants in the Valley, Okumura can be found in a sizeable strip mall, tucked into a back corner. Chef Ryota Okumura previously worked at Sushi Zo, Koi and Katana before opening his namesake restaurant, where affordable sushi, sashimi and rolls are composed with the utmost care. Amberjack sushi is treated to a beautiful lime and salt crust, while creamy, custardy chawanmushi lies under tenderly placed uni and ikura. Hand rolls include a black-cod option, as well as a negitoro version where a mixture of fatty tuna and spring onion get wrapped in a crisp seaweed sheath. For a more personalized experience, pick a spot at the welcoming sushi bar, otherwise, there’s plenty of group seating on the outskirts of the restaurant.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Little Tokyo
  • price 2 of 4

Get here early, or at least be prepared for a wait, because this tiny resturant in Little Tokyo is a stalwart and only has around 20 seats—and they fill up fast. Once you’re seated, dive in and start ordering: Eel and Santa Barbara uni are two excellent choices, while the blue crab hand roll avoids some common pitfalls (too much mayonaise, soggy seaweed) and is instead light, crisp and filling. It can be slightly intimidating for newbies here—the service isn’t exactly warm—but order with confidence, always keep an eye on the specials board, take your time and enjoy the chefs’ handiwork.

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