Restaurant

Michelin Star Sushi Bars in Los Angeles, California

Originally posted on: Jan 9, 2022, Updated on: Oct 9th, 2022

Amongst my friends in the Asian community, many of us go out of our way to eat at non-Americanized spots (hey, I still eat at Taco Bell, and many teriyaki bowls have crossed my path).

If you can relate, regardless of who you are, read on because that is what we all have in common. We all love the unadulterated culture and craft of Japan. Oh, and I have a list of all the legit teriyaki sauces here.

Michelin Star

When it comes to sushi, there are no Americanized sushi restaurants that have attained/maintained a Michelin Star, so my focus will be on authentic Japanese sushi bars.

One day a Jessica Albacore roll will be appreciated by the French.

A combo (“supreme”) pizza, a 7-layer burrito, to salmon skin handrolls are all part of my diet. Although so are authentic dishes such as parmigiana di melanzane (baked eggplant), birria de chivo (braised goat), and all sorts of nigiri sushi (who doesn’t like it raw).

As an American, I love American cuisine, but the American versions either historically came about out of necessity or through the adaptation/convergence of cultures. Unfortunately, some of our American food culture also came about through pure dumbassery.

Photo Description: the Oishii Desu/Michelin Guide for best sushi in Los Angeles, California.
Is Michelin the end-all, be-all of authorities on sushi? No (I do love Michelin Pilot Super Sports tho), but Bridgestone doesn’t have a guide.

“Made in Japan” Reflects the Japanese Culture and Can Be Experienced in an Authentic Japanese Sushi Bar

The world we live in now is all about which of us humans are down to learn about any given topic (like wanting to experience a culture through food), or you are the type where you are like “naw, I’m good” (get me my eff’n turkey pot pie women). Whichever camp you lie in, it’s all good, except if you are here, I assume you are the former.

Michelin Star

The way I define “authentic” food is that it reflects the country they are touting it to be (if Japanese, it should reflect its 2,600+ y/o food culture). On the same note, if you are doing an “American” or “Japanese inspired” restaurant, have at it because we are an ever-changing and innovative 245-year-old food culture that blends our ethnic roots into a stuffed crust pizza.

Wait till we one up the McRib, the Dorito (invented at Disneyland), or come out with a 51st flavor of a Hot Pocket.

Luckily for many of us in Los Angeles, we have a massive population of first-generation immigrants in this city to expose us to their thousand-year-old food cultures from China, Iran, India, to Japan. It’s these communities that allow us to immerse ourselves into the total experience (without these communities, you have something more like Paris in Vegas).

The Differences From Americanized Sushi

An American place will offer teriyaki, rolls, poke, Chinese food, tempura, to noodle dishes, whereas a Japanese sushi bar only offers sushi. Except the most distinctive difference would be the omotenashi (Japanese hospitality). If you have never experienced it, you will feel like a rockstar/celebrity, and they are not doing it for tips either (no tipping in Japan, but don’t pull that line on the servers in the US).

Michelin Star

Japan ranks 2nd in the world for the most Michelin Starred businesses from restaurants, hotels, and ryokans (France is #1). The numbers are 293 in and around Tokyo and 300 in Osaka/Kyoto.

Multi-generational restaurants and families committed to the craft of miso, yakitori, cutlery, cookware, to sushi are a reflected in the ranking.
Photo Description: the 1-star to 3-star Michelin Star meaning which span from "high quality cooking with a stop," "excellent cooking worth a detour," to "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey."
Not the same type of stars found on Yelp .
Michelin Star

KPCC/Off-Ramp® has an excellent piece on Michael Cimarusti, the 2-star Michelin chef and his experience in Japan where he got to experience the thousands of years behind Japan’s food and knife culture (you can listen to it here).

The late LA Times Jonathan Gold has had named Providence the best restaurant in LA.

Here You Go, Every Michelin and Authentic Japanese Sushi Bar in the Los Angeles Metro Area

I have denoted all the current Michelin Starred businesses with an “*,” and businesses that had received a Michelin star in the past with “(*).” Along with including the head chef/owner of the business, and a link to any information regarding the chef or business owner.

Michelin Star

If you are looking for the best omakase (chef’s choice) in Los Angeles, this is the list you will want to start with.

Well, Tom Cruise in the Last Samurai sort of capture the culture with this movie quote “From the moment they wake they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue. I have never seen such discipline.””
RESTAURANTLOCATIONCHEFMEDIA RESOURCE
(*)AsaneboStudio CityChef Tetsuya Nakao(LA Times/asanebo)
BrothersWoodland HillsChef-owner Mark Okuda(Instagram)
HayamaSawtelleChef-owner Toshi Sugiura(LA Times)
MasakazuWestwood CtChef Shinichi Akazawa(Kevin Eats)
(*)MatsuhisaBeverly HillsChef-owner Nobu Matsuhisama(Matsuhisa)
MatsumotoBeverly BlvdChef Naruki Matsumoto(Matsumoto)
*MorihiroPico BlvdChef-owner Morihiro Onodera(MoriOnodera)
*Mori SushiPico BlvdChef Masanori “Maru” Nagano(Michelin Guide)
Nobumultiple locationsChef/partner Nobu Matsuhisa(Nobu Restaurant)
*Nozawa BarBeverly HillsChef Osamu Fujita(MichelinGuide)
Katsuyamultiple locationsChef Katsuya Uechi(SBE)
*Shin SushiEncinoChef-owner Taketoshi Azumi(LA Times)
*ShunjiSanta MonicaChef-owner Shunji Nakao(Shunji-ns)
Sugarfishmultiple locationsChef Kazunori Nozawa(Wikipedia)
Sushi Enya1st St.Chef Kimiyasu Enya(Sushi Enya)
Sushi Gen2nd St.Owner Toshiyaki Toyoshima(DiscoverNikkei)
**Sushi Ginza OnoderaW. HollywoodExec Chef Yohei Matsuki(Onodera LA)
Sushi Go 55Little Tokyo GalleriaThe Morishita family(Facebook)
Sushi IkiTarzanaChef Hiroyuki Masato & Eddie Okamoto(Voyage LA)
*Sushi I-nabaManhattan Beach Chef-owner Yasuhiro Hirano(Daily Breeze)
Sushi KaneyoshiE. 1st St.Chef Inoue Yoshiyuki(Kevin Eats)
Sushi MiyagiBrentwood VillageChef Shinichi Miyagi(Sushi Miyagi USA)
Sushi NoteSherman OaksChef Kiminobu Saito(Sushi Note LA)
Sushi Sasabunemultiple locationsChef Hiroki/Kusuhara(Sushi Sasabune)
Sushi TakedaWeller CourtChef Hide Takeda(Food Talk Central)
Sushi TamaN. Robertson BlvdChef Hideyuki Yoshimoto(Showa)
(*)Sushi Zomultiple locationsChef-owner Keizo Seki(Sushi Zo)
Tsujita SushiSawtelle BlvdChef Shigeru Kato(LA Times)
UmedaMelrose AveChef-owner Takuya Umeda(Umeda Restaurant)
*QW. 7th St.Chef Hiroyuki Naruke(Q Sushi LA)
This thing took a while to compile, and I hope you get to try them all… or three of them.

Three Standout Michelin Star Spots (Worth a Stop/Detour) For Japanese Cuisine

Japanese cuisine is not all about sushi, and there are tempura, ramen, and kappo to kaiseki cuisine restaurants with Michelin Stars (well, in Japan because that range is not all here in the United States).

Michelin Star

Kaiseki-ryōri is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner and kappo (cut and cook) falls in between kaiseki and an izakaya, it’s more casual.

My favorite izakaya is not Michelin rated, but I love it, it’s Hachi in Torrance.

Whatever Happened to Urasawa in Beverly Hills

Some of you may remember the two Michelin Star Urasawa (chef Hiroyuki Urasawa) and their pricy AF $400 omakase. If you do, you may also remember their labor law lawsuits, and how they just disappeared off the map. So I looked them up, and you can read what happened to them via the Hollywood Reporter. BTW, chicken and turkey pot pie is one of my favorites.

Michelin Star
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