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photo credit: Vivienne Killilea

Leona's Sushi House image
7.0

Leona's Sushi House

SushiPeruvian

Studio City

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightSpecial OccasionsSee And Be Seen
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Leona's Sushi House is a modern Japanese-Peruvian restaurant in Studio City that feels like several restaurants crammed into 5,000 square feet. Inside you'll find three distinct dining areas that couldn't clash more if they tried: a chic, white-marbled indoor-outdoor space, a barebones sushi bar, and a dark dining room with gaudy bird nest-shaped chandeliers. These stark differences in ambiance can make choosing a table unnecessarily complicated, which seems to be an ongoing theme here. 

Leona's Sushi House image

photo credit: Vivienne Killilea

Dinner at Leona's requires sifting through lists of small plates, nigiri, Peruvian tiraditos, sushi rolls, Peruvian-inspired entrees, and even a robata menu available only after 8pm. It's a lot to take in, especially when trying to construct a meal of cheesy risotto and sushi that doesn't feel like a weird combo. Most things on the Peruvian-leaning menu fail to leave a memorable impression, including one flavorless chaufa-style paella that can be skipped entirely. The sushi, however, might be Leona's saving grace.

Leona's Sushi House image

photo credit: Scott Uhlfelder

In this Jekyll & Hyde of a restaurant, the sushi bar is the more enjoyable half of Leona's personality. It's quiet, minimalist, and has comfortable booth seating to eat some solid, reasonably priced nigiri. The buttery salmon belly and sweet kanpachi are as good as your average Sugarfish order and come in pairs of two for $5. And if citrusy, refreshing rolls are your thing, Leona's does those pretty well–like the lightly seared salmon roll that comes in a bright ponzu with sliced red onion and capers. There are much better sushi options on Ventura Blvd., though, so Leona's is best for someone who requires a sake cocktail and sceney ambiance with their toro sashimi.

Food Rundown

Leona's Sushi House image

photo credit: Scott Uhlfelder

Blue Crab Croquettes

We did a double take after eating these croquettes. At first, they're perfectly nice fritters: golden, crispy, and a potential safety hazard with their steaming hot filling. But then we wondered where the actual crab was. Also, a creamy tartar dipping sauce for these creamy croquettes is one cream too many.

Leona's Sushi House image

photo credit: Scott Uhlfelder

Sweet Shrimp Tiradito

Silky sliced shrimp should be the main character in this dish, but they get upstaged by all the louder things going on around them. There's heat from ají amarillo, some funk from the uni, and an intense tanginess from the black garlic and passionfruit, all of which are OK when mixed together but prevent you from appreciating the high-quality sashimi.

Leona's Sushi House image

photo credit: Scott Uhlfelder

Yawarakani Octopus

Thou shall not pay $16 for mixed greens at a restaurant. Yes, the octopus on top is really tender and nicely charred, but the pile of leaves it comes with feels like a lazy choice.

Leona's Sushi House image

photo credit: Scott Uhlfelder

Seared Salmon Roll

Salmon, capers, and lemon isn't a revolutionary combo, but it's one that works, like in this delicious sushi roll. It's a light, refreshing bite with a housemade ponzu that's lip-smacking tart

Leona's Sushi House image

photo credit: Scott Uhlfelder

Yellowtail Cilantro Roll

This roll is a mix of spicy tuna and yellowtail, but the former doesn't really make an appearance. It's just another light sushi roll that could use some more personality.

Leona's Sushi House image

photo credit: Scott Uhlfelder

Nippon Chaufa Paella

This lukewarm bowl of black-ink paella hit the table less than five minutes after we ordered, which is typically not a great sign. Apart from being oversalted, the rice lacked the crispy edges we love in a paella and tasted like a mushy mess.

Leona's Sushi House image

photo credit: Scott Uhlfelder

Peruvian Flan

It's just flan.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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