My Favorite Sushi Restaurants

My Favorite Sushi Restaurants

Photo of Jonathan Gold

In Los Angeles, where fine dining has meant uni instead of caviar for at least a couple of decades now, the sushi is swell. Here are a few of our favorites.

10 Places
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    Fresh Japanese wasabi grated on sharkskin. Microscopically serrated cucumber. Chef-pickled ginger. Fan-cooled rice. Great sushi is in the details as much as it is in the fish.
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    The hidden second-floor restaurant is famous for combinations that are simultaneously odd and delicious -- Santa Barbara spot prawns with uni, say, lobster tempura, or the infamous apple pie with eel.
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    You will pay more than a thousand dollars for dinner for two, sometimes way more if you have expensive tastes in sake, and your experience will be directed with a severity of which other sushi chefs can only dream.
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    Relatively overlooked despite its high-profile location, Sushi Sushi is one of the most solid traditional omakase restaurants in town. You will pay for the high quality of the sushi and sashimi here.
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    This is probably the best sushi bar Pasadena has ever seen, where halibut and tai and mackerel flash beneath Ike-san's knife, sweet shrimp begin the meal alive, and you can almost always talk him into making you a crab roll.
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    Nakao's sushi is excellent, but you can get through an omakase meal of exquisitely sourced Japanese fish here without seeing sushi at all.
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    How many needlefish is too many needlefish, or is such a concept even possible? You may prefer the sushi at Zo, Nishamura or Urasawa, but know that Mori's partisans are ready to fight you to the death.
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    The great specialty of the restaurant is actually cherrywood-smoked Copper River salmon with mango, a dish that certain local sushi masters would rather die than serve.
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    Shinji Murata is a gifted chef, and his sushi melts away on your tongue like good chocolate, leaving behind just the clean smack of fish and rice vinegar. He flirts with extreme acidity, but the flavors seem to balance themselves as you chew.
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    Hide Sushi serves neither the most famous sushi in the neighborhood nor the best. But it does serve among the cheapest sushi in town in a dining room that usually seems closer to an old-line New York deli than it does to a serene temple of fish.
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