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Los Angeles’ Sushi Row

Los Angeles’ Sushi Row

This stretch of road in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley is a must for sushi-lovers

For many foodies traveling to Los Angeles, sushi is as essential an eating experience as taco trucks and In-N-Out. Luckily, those seeking expertly cut raw fish need look no further than Sushi Row, a collection of restaurants in the San Fernando Valley, an area in Los Angeles that is home to some of the biggest movie studios in the world. Boasting the highest concentration of sushi restaurants in the United States (and anywhere in the world outside of Japan), this strip of Ventura Boulevard is home to more than 100 eateries. The highest concentration occupies a one-mile stretch between Laurel Canyon and Coldwater Canyon in Studio City.

A Brief History of Sushi Row

In the late 1970s and 1980s, the San Fernando Valley’s proximity to CBS Studio Center, Walt Disney Studios, Universal Studios, and Warner Brothers endowed the row’s then-few restaurants with a guest list of entertainment power players. The unmistakably Japanese cuisine fused with a California sensibility was a huge hit, particularly among Hollywood’s elites. Of the six master sushi chefs in America at the time, four were located in Los Angeles, with three occupying Sushi Row.

More restaurants opened, and with the sushi craze in full swing by the late 1980s, Ventura Boulevard quickly became a cultural and culinary hub where Japanese chefs could showcase their skills. This small stretch in Studio City would go on to produce master sushi chefs such as Katsuya Uechi, founder of sushi empire Katsu-ya Group Inc., and Kazunori Nozawa, owner of KazuNori, Nozawa Bar, and Sugarfish, which currently has 15 locations across the U.S.

Where to Eat on Sushi Row

Today, Sushi Row remains an epicenter for Los Angeles’ itamae (sushi chefs), offering everything from fast-casual shops to high-end sushi bars. Start with this list of seven great Los Angeles sushi restaurants as you prepare to explore the famed Ventura Boulevard stretch.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shin Sushi (@shinsushicorp)


Shin Sushi, Encino

Don’t let the outside fool you. Inside this inconspicuous Encino strip mall, sushi connoisseurs will discover some of the most creative omakase (directly translated, meaning “I leave it up to you” or chef’s choice) Los Angeles has to offer. Helmed by chef-owner Taketoshi Azumi, this Michelin-starred restaurant specializes in unusual nigiri not commonly found in most sushi joints, like cherry trout and Shigoku oysters. With few seats and high demand, a reservation is an absolute must. Diners are known to flock to the eight-seat bar to watch Take-san—as he’s referred to by patrons—prepare their meal, offering insights as he goes.

Asanebo, Studio City

Asanebo is a go-to spot for the sophisticated sushi enthusiast. Signature dishes include live sweet shrimp sushi, flaming sazae conch, and chawanmushi with uni, or sea urchin, suspended in a delightful hot or cold egg custard. Aside from its impressive set of three omakase menus, Asanebo also offers a substantial lineup of familiar favorites for the less adventurous eater. Weekends are especially busy, so be sure to secure a reservation beforehand.

Katsu-ya, Studio City

Dine at the one that started them all. Opened in 1997, Katsu-ya is still going strong at its original home on Ventura Boulevard. Must-try dishes include the miso-marinated black cod, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño and crispy rice topped with spicy tuna. Credited with modernizing sushi for a western palette, master chef Katsuya Uechi’s sushi empire now includes a total of 25 restaurants worldwide.
 


The Brothers Sushi, Woodland Hills

In 2018, former Asanebo chef Mark Okuda purchased The Brothers Sushi and transformed the once-unremarkable restaurant into something special. While the name remained, Okuda’s masterful inventiveness transformed the restaurant into a thriving, creative eatery. Order à la cart for a colorful mix of seasonal dishes and artfully-crafted sushi. The menu also boasts a sizeable sake and dessert menu, with dishes such as Japanese yuzu cheesecake and purple sweet potato Mont Blanc.

Teru Sushi, Studio City

Established in 1979 and located just steps from the CBS Studio Center, Teru Sushi introduced many L.A. diners to sushi. More than 40 years later, Teru remains a mainstay for those seeking a large selection of inventive rolls in a chic, relaxed setting. Popular rolls sport catchy names like the “Sexy Roll” and “Fresh n’ Easy.” Sashimi here is defined by unique flavor combinations like scallop with kiwi, halibut carpaccio with fingerlime, and kumquat sea bream carpaccio. Score a seat outside for views of the Japanese garden and koi pond.

Sushi Note, Sherman Oaks

Not many sushi restaurants can boast a Wine Spectator award four years running. At Sushi Note, however, wine is expertly paired with each omakase course, resulting in an unexpected and unforgettable dining experience. Additionally, every single piece of sashimi and nigiri is cut to order. Chef Kiminobu Saito’s delicate hand and clean flavors earned the restaurant a Michelin nod in 2021.

Sushi Iki, Tarzana

While there may not be any California rolls to be found on this menu, diners can satisfy their cravings with elevated ingredients like caviar and foie gras instead. Chef Eddie Okamoto has a knack for balancing decadent ingredients with clean flavors, resulting in delectable bites like halibut with truffle and sweet king crab legs.

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