At this point in quarantine, even the simplest joys can feel monumental. A drive up PCH, a new show on Netflix, an in-person conversation - in a year largely devoid of regular emotional output, an unexpected rush of serotonin can be downright overwhelming. We know, because it’s exactly what we experienced walking into Ichijiku.

To be clear, no element of this neighborhood sushi bar in Highland Park is actually overwhelming. With a contactless takeout system, a socially distant back patio for hanging out, and reserved spaces out front for pick-up, it’s about as seamless of a restaurant experience as you could hope for right now. But discovering a casual sushi spot with affordable, fresh fish that tastes great? In 2020, that’s more than overwhelming. It feels downright euphoric.

We ordered our food for takeout via their website (you can also walk-in and order at the register), with no plans of dining in. But upon seeing the calm, well-shaded patio, we decided to forgo another car-dinner and enjoy our meal outside, instead. We ate fresh $6 albacore nigiri, multiple baked crab hand rolls, and snacked on crispy lotus root chips. Aside from some truly ingenious vegan rolls (more on that below), this is the kind of fish your novice sushi friends will recognize, but done so well that even the sushi snobs in your life will walk away impressed. And that makes Ichijiku the kind of catch-all sushi spot worth checking out immediately - even during quarantine.

Food Rundown

Branzino Nigiri

This was the best piece of fish we had all night. Light and translucent, with a strong peppery kick, we’d paid double the $6 price point to eat it.

Ichijiku review image

Salmon Nigiri

If a sushi bar can’t nail its salmon nigiri, it’s not a great sign. Luckily, Ichijiku doesn’t have that problem. This isn’t the absolute greatest piece of salmon we’ve ever eaten, but it’s still very good, and should definitely make it into your order.

Ichijiku review image

Yellowtail & Habanero Cut Roll

If you order only one hand roll, make sure it’s this one. The yellowtail itself is fresh and buttery and the habanero mixed in is no joke. Prepare for a decent kick.

Baked Crab Hand Roll

Though this falls in the cut roll section, you can just ask them to make it a hand roll instead. Did we go back up to the counter and order a second one? We sure did.

Ichijiku review image

Beet Roll

We’ll be honest - we were hesitant to try any of Ichijiku’s vegan rolls, but after closer inspection, it was obvious these weren’t just strips of cucumber slapped into seaweed paper. There’s the beet roll with a creamy tofu sauce, roasted red pepper with crispy lotus root, and a natto roll (fermented soy beans with shiso). These are inventive, unique, and delicious rolls that should be on the table - whether you’re vegan or not.

Ichijiku review image

Japanese Omelette Nigiri

Ichijiku’s tamago is sweet, delicate, and the ideal way to end your meal here.

Ichijiku review image

Featured in

16 Quiet Patios Because This Is All Still A Bit Much guide image
16 Quiet Patios Because This Is All Still A Bit Much

The world has fully reopened, but maybe you’re taking things a bit slower.

The Best Sushi Restaurants In Los Angeles guide image
The Best Sushi Restaurants In Los Angeles

Our guide to the greatest sushi spots in LA, from incredible a la carte meals to bucket list omakase options.

45 Great Restaurants That Are Actually Open On Mondays guide image
45 Great Restaurants That Are Actually Open On Mondays

Because you still need good places to eat on a Monday.

The Best Restaurants In Highland Park guide image
The Best Restaurants In Highland Park

From new restaurants to iconic neighborhood institutions, these are our 24 favorite spots in Highland Park.

Suggested Reading

Sushi Fumi review image
Sushi Fumi

Sushi Fumi is one of our favorite sushi spots in LA, where any type of sushi eater will leave thrilled.

Fish Eight review image
Fish Eight

Fish Eight is a sushi bar on Melrose in West Hollywood with extremely high-quality fish at affordable prices.

SUGARFISH | Downtown LA review image

The downtown location of the iconic sushi chain is still some of the freshest fish in the neighborhood.

KazuNori  review image

The only thing we think about after walking out of KazuNori is how to get more KazuNoris everywhere.