The Best Affordable Sushi Restaurants in LA guide image

photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto

LAGuide

The Best Affordable Sushi Restaurants in LA

Because sushi doesn't have to cost an entire paycheck.

Los Angeles is a glimmering sushi paradise. And it should be–the ocean is right over there. We pride ourselves on having tons of sushi restaurants that know exactly what they’re doing. Matsuhisa, Nozawa, Shunji, Zo. These are some of the biggest names in sushi and Los Angeles has all of them.

But you’re probably not in the market to spend an entire paycheck on two hours’ worth of omakase tonight—or any night really. And that doesn’t mean your only resort is salmonella from an LAX tuna roll. Los Angeles is filled with fantastic affordable sushi spots—you just have to know where to find them. This guide is here to help.

The Spots

photo credit: Jakob Layman

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Ichijiku

$$$$

5629, 1/2 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles
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This neighborhood sushi bar in Highland Park has a lot of intriguing things on its menu, like hand rolls with lobster miso and jalapeño aioli and branzino nigiri (which we strongly recommend). Luckily, almost everything is $10 or less, or you can grab a Sushi Box for Two that includes edamame, 10 pieces of nigiri, and two cut rolls for just $59. Most people are getting the boxes to-go but you can also stick around to enjoy Ichijuku’s lovely outdoor patio. 

The phrase “affordable sushi omakase in Beverly Hills” may seem like an oxymoron, but Sushi Tama isn’t here to mess around. Nigiri hovers within the $4-7 range, and for $50, you can order their 10-piece omakase sashimi set. It’s a heavenly mix of fish, including ikura that bursts in your mouth, silky scallop hotate, buttery otoro, and uni so creamy, we thought we might need to bust out a Lactaid.

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When you get to Hama, you’ll notice signs warning, “No teriyaki, No tempura, No noodle, No rice alone,” so don’t bring your non-fish-eating friend who orders four rounds of gyoza. Both a la carte and set menus are available at this quiet Little Tokyo bar—the latter including various sashimi, miso soup, and a basic California roll for $30. The a la carte offers more wiggle room for sampling, including buttery uni nigiri, some excellent toro, and seared albacore sashimi platter with citrusy ponzu, with prices ranging between $10-14 each. It’s a small space, so get here when they open to avoid long wait times.

There is no shortage of great restaurants in Koreatown, but finding sushi that won’t cost you a half-month’s rent can still be difficult. That’s why you should know about Sushi Hon on Olympic Blvd, a dark sushi bar with a long menu and lots of paper lanterns for some extra moodiness. The most expensive thing on the sushi bar’s menu is $35, with most entrees and rolls falling comfortably under $20. We usually come for the lunch deals, but you can’t go wrong with the sashimi plate, sushi roll combo platter, or a giant donburi bowl.


Sushi Gen is an institution. This Little Tokyo strip mall joint has top-notch sushi, a relatively lively atmosphere, and reasonable prices. You’ll probably encounter a wait at most points in the day, but it’s worth it for the legendary sashimi deluxe platter ($42 at lunch, $45 at dinner). Watching one get delivered to your table is a very necessary LA experience, but you also can’t go wrong with the bar’s a la carte menu.


Seabutter is a modern, subway-tiled sushi bar with a menu offering two distinct sushi experiences. On one hand, you can get some pretty busy-sounding things, like sashimi covered in truffle soy sauce or wagyu sushi topped with uni, or you can take the purist route with simple, lightly dressed nigiri. Order the $40 seven-piece omakase to experience a little bit of both those worlds, including a perfectly torched tuna nigiri and creamy minced yellowtail belly that might’ve been even better. The sashimi platters do tend to come with lots of toppings and sauce, but we don’t mind: the kanpachi yuzu plate with kosho and lime zest was arguably the best thing we tried.

An old guard of the South Bay sushi scene, Kanpachi dates all the way back to 1978, an era when Japanese businessmen from the nearby Honda and Toyota plants made up the bulk of customers. These days, the restaurant is located in a strip mall on the Torrance/Gardena border and chances are you’ll see at least one regular chatting up the sushi chef at the bar on your visit. And despite decades of inflation, the prices here probably haven’t changed as much as you’d think since they first opened: during lunch or dinner, $49 gets you an omakase that comes with 14 pieces of nigiri, miso soup, chawanmushi, and a scoop of ice cream. There are also a few lunch specials like a sashimi plate or unagi bowl that hover around $20, too.

As a general rule, sushi joints attached to fast food burger chains should probably be avoided. Unless that place is Got Sushi? in Northridge. Located across from the CSUN campus, this magic little place has been a secret among students for a while, but the sushi and the overall experience here make it worth a visit. Order the salmon belly with caviar, the rice-less Alex Roll with snow crab and roe, and anything the chef tells you to get off the daily sushi menu.


If you’re tired of hearing about how great Sugarfish is, sorry, we have nothing in common. But if you see where we’re coming from, we ranked every Sugarfish location for you because why not? Our love for Sugarfish really stems from the fact that it’s hard to find consistent, higher-quality sushi at these prices anywhere else in Los Angeles. You’re looking at an eight-course sushi/sashimi experience for around $30, and there’s probably a location within a 15-minute drive of your house.


If you want sushi and a scene in Manhattan Beach, head to Katsuya. If you just want great sushi, period, head to Pisces Sushi. This small mom-and-pop restaurant along Highland Ave. doesn’t offer seating, but for excellent takeout sushi at a great price, locals swear by it. You’ll find a tight menu of the usual sushi bar staples here, but if you want to know what makes Pisces a gem, get their popular chirashi bowl for just under $14. This rice bowl comes decorated with fanned-out slices of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, and scallop, making it very difficult not to eat in the car before driving home. 

Come to Sakae Sushi in Gardena any day of the week (except Mondays when they’re closed) and you’ll find a sizable line of parents, hip Gen-Zers, and grandmas running errands waiting outside this local gem. It’s a cash-only, family-run shop hidden behind an office building that’s been open since the ’60s and serves an old-school style of simple pressed sushi made by hand and filled with cooked or cured items (no raw fish here). Get a box of seven pieces for about $10, wrapped up in beautiful white parchment paper and a green bow, so you can try each type of nigiri on the menu. 

This tiny spot in Sherman Oaks couldn’t be less similar to Katsu-ya, or as we like to call it: clubs pretending to be restaurants. Instead of people in bodycon dresses eating $20 rolls, you’ll find couples on casual dates having a quick meal at the sushi bar before catching a movie. The sushi here is not only better than what you’d get at the Hollywood Katsuya, but about a third of the price, too. It’s a great spot to get a mix of things:a few nigiri, some crispy rice with spicy tuna, and a roll or two.


Hide is—here it comes—pretty hidden on Sawtelle Blvd. But once you make your way into the relatively unmarked corner spot, you will be rewarded with delicious, fresh, and cheap sashimi. For $22.20, you can get an 11-piece sashimi platter, and not just at lunchtime like other similar places around town. Cash only.


This hand roll spot from Sugarfish brings in the crowds, but the quality of fish makes the wait worth it. And once you’re seated, it’s an efficient, cheap, and delicious experience full of warm rice, crispy nori, and delicious seafood (whatever you do, get the bay scallop). Sit at the bar and for $24 you’ll be taken on a five-piece hand roll expedition all within 30 minutes before leaving very content and full until dinnertime.


Sushi Spot is a classic Valley strip mall restaurant with a fluorescent fish-shaped sign glowing in the parking lot. Apart from the whiteboard instructions telling you not to use your phone, the space is bare bones with a standard sushi bar and a few tables scattered around. The sushi, however, happens to be great and pretty inexpensive.  Nigiri and classic rolls are all under $10 and there’s a chef’s omakase option if you’re hungry for $60 that includes 13 pieces of nigiri, plus a blue crab hand roll. 


Hara is not where you go for fresh-cut sushi and sparkling sashimi platters. This is crowd-pleasing, sauce-doused, specialty roll nirvana and we want it all. You go to Hara with big groups because even those scared of raw fish can find something that makes them happy - like sake. Which is 50% off during their all-day Happy Hour, along with basically everything else in the restaurant.


This Santa Monica spot has the same modern/vaguely Japanese look as a Benihana, and a giant combination dinner involving ten different cuts of sashimi, rice, salad, and soup for $30. There’s also an amazing daily Happy Hour from 3-7pm that involves everything from basic sushi to specialty rolls.


Once upon a time, Culver City was a sushi desert but then Uzumaki came along. The calm, wood-filled space and its $24 set lunch menu feel Sugarfish-ish in all the right ways, and the fish is great quality for the price. Expect a few pieces of nigiri, a cut roll, and a Japanese spin on ceviche with your set menu. But if you're not in the mood for omakase, you can also order a la carte without your check getting out of control. Use it for a small team lunch or casual midweek dinner that doesn’t involve an hour-and-a-half wait.


If your taste in sushi involves lots of sauces and crunchy bits, keep on moving. But for those that appreciate straight-up nigiri, sashimi, and classic rolls, Noshi is one of the best options on the Eastside for an outrageously affordable, well-executed feast. We always order three times the amount of food we actually need, and it ends up costing only a third of what you’d pay elsewhere. An example: the spicy tuna roll (one of the best things here) is $5. Just know that this place is no longer a secret—expect to wait.


Walking into Chiba, the massive sushi restaurant in North Hollywood, is like walking into a sushi social club. This multi-roomed restaurant is often filled with birthday parties dining on specialty rolls and solo lunchers making their way through the omakase. But Chiba is more than just a scene—they serve some of the freshest fish north of Ventura Blvd., including chirashi and eight-piece nigiri menus that come to $22 each (plus a miso soup). And if you arrive particularly hungry, upgrade to the deluxe versions for $10 more and get even more fishy goodness, including some cuts of toro and uni. 

LA’s South Bay has a number of great, affordable sushi places, but one of the best bang for your buck is at Sushi Chitose, an omakase spot in Redondo Beach. It’s $65 for the 15-piece omakase, which includes high-quality cuts of fish, a piece of toro, and a great miso soup appetizer. Be sure to call ahead for a reservation—this place fills up quickly.

Yume proves there's always more room for quality sushi in Studio City. This bright, wood-paneled spot is a great place for a quick lunch with a coworker, but we mostly prefer to use Yume for takeout. The name of the game is the Yume Box, which gets you six pieces of nigiri, truffle edamame, and a Yume Roll for $32—all in a nicely divided white box. It’s an excellent value, considering both the amount of food you get and the fact that the Yume Roll (spicy tuna and mushrooms, topped with avocado and more tuna) is $21 a la carte.

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