Los Angeles is a glimmering sushi paradise. And it should be – the ocean is literally right there. But perhaps more importantly, we have a well-established tradition of sushi restaurants (and eaters) that know exactly what they’re doing. Urasawa, Matsuhisa, Nozawa, Shunji, Zo. These are some of the biggest names in sushi and Los Angeles has all of them. Take that, NYC.
But unfortunately, we’re not in the market to spend an entire paycheck on two hours worth of omakase tonight. Or any night really. As amazing as all these places are, the sad reality is the common eater will be lucky to hit three of them in their entire lifetime. If you’ve figured out a way to walk out of Urasawa for under $700 per person, please email us immediately.
So what does this leave us with? Salmonella from an LAX Tuna roll? HARDLY. Los Angeles is filled with fantastic, affordable sushi joints. You just have to know where to find them. Here is your guide to figuring that out.
Hara is easily some of the best gringo sushi in Los Angeles. This is crowd-pleasing, sauce-doused, specialty roll nirvana and we want it all. You go to Hara with big groups because even those disgusted by raw fish can find something that makes them happy. Like sake. Which is 50% off during the six-hour Happy Hour, along with basically everything else in the restaurant.
Hide is – here it comes – pretty hidden on Sawtelle. But once you find it, you shall be rewarded, because this sushi joint is one of your best bets for fresh, cheap sashimi on the Westside. For $16.50, you can get an 11-piece sashimi platter, and not just at lunchtime like most similar deals around town.
Noma is a Santa Monica staple because of its large list of cheap specialty rolls and an atmosphere that makes the most of its strip-mall location. It’s got a rustic vibe inside that lends itself well to a more intimate experience. Everything is good here, but we always go straight for the Garlic Lover’s Albacore (pictured).
This shiny sushi joint in West LA has a modern aesthetic and an epic combo dinner featuring eight different cuts of sashimi, one cut roll of your choosing, plus soup and salad all for under $20. Also, the place is crawling with attractive, single business people with deep pockets and that’s a good deal too.
If you’re tired of hearing about how great this upscale, affordable sushi chain is, we have nothing in common. Because you won’t find a higher quality of sushi with these types of prices in all of Los Angeles. You’re looking at an eight-course sushi/sashimi experience for around $30, and there’s probably a location within a fifteen minute drive of your house. Beat that.
Conveyor-belt sushi is usually questionable at best, but know you’re in fine hands at Blue C Sushi. Located in that weird area outside the Arclight Hollywood Dome, Blue C’s bread and butter is good, affordable sushi that will also get you in and out the door in under 15 minutes. Starving before an Arclight movie but don’t have the time to sit down anywhere? Blue C is your move.
Murakami has a fairly extensive menu, but it all boils down to two words: Sushi bowls. For $14-$20, you can mix and match any number of proteins and toppings to get your creation exactly to your liking. If it all sounds a bit too Yogurtland for you, fear not. Murakami’s sit-down service works for everything from a quick, solo lunch to a casual first-date spot.
Another Weho gem mere feet from Echi, Yoshi’s doesn’t have a party vibe quite like its neighbor, but this blink-and-you-miss-it sushi joint is cutting some pretty great fish at very affordable prices. $19 will get you a generous sashimi platter and $12 will get you the Jewelry Mine Roll (one of our favorite rolls in town).
The downtown hand roll concept from our sushi saviors over at Sugarfish is near perfection. It’s fast, simple, cheap, and delicious. Sit at the bar inside and for $17 you’ll be taken on a 5-piece hand roll expedition that will leave you not only happy but actually full until dinner time.
Sushi Gen is a bona fide institution. Not many places have the quality of fish, great atmosphere, and affordable prices quite like this strip-mall sushi joint. You’ll probably hit a wait at most points in the day, but it’s worth it. Why? The legendary sashimi platter ($17 at lunch, $26 at dinner). Watching one get delivered on to your table is a very necessary LA experience.
If your ideal sushi involves lots of sauces and piles of crunchy bits, keep on moving. But for those that appreciate straight-up nigiri, sashimi, and classic roles, Noshi is one of the Eastside’s best options for an outrageously affordable and very well-executed sushi feast. We always order at least three times the amount of food we need, and it always ends up costing about a third of what you’d pay anywhere else. An example? The spicy tuna roll (one of the best things here) is $3.
Yet another popular conveyer-belt sushi spot is Kula. But don’t stick your nose up at this chain quite yet, because it cranks out some very affordable, very solid sushi. Unless you’re the type to seek out the specialty rolls, just skip the belt altogether and focus on the nigiri. Particularly the sake-marinated tuna and garlic ponzu salmon. Two pieces set you back a mere $2.25.
Sasabune is one of the bigger names in high-end sushi in Los Angeles, but lurking in its shadows is Sushi Don, its affordable sushi/donburi concept in the Valley. The menu is concise to say the least (there are only two combinations to choose from), and our move is always Combo A: One full donburi rice bowl, 5 pieces of delicious Sasabune sushi, soup, and salad for $17. Praise.