2016 NYC Chef of the Year Angie Mar Will Rekindle Your Love of Meat
The newest spot in the #pokexplosion is like a big friendly hug. They somehow have a free parking lot in the middle of Hollywood, the space is huge, and they offer out-there options like octopus and scallops, everything comes with a monstrously delicious sweet citrus sauce, and they’ve got creative toppings like daikon sprouts, chili flakes, and jicama. Get over there soon before everybody figures them out and the line inevitably shoots out the door.
If you’re a poké fiend, you’re gonna want to say aloha to Roy Choi’s Hawaiian Culver City spot. Grab some poké of the day for $15, or try a poké sampler for $16 (including choices like tuna with gochujang sauce, sesame leaves & oil, cabbage, seaweed, and nori, as well as tuna with kukui nut chili pesto and Parmesan). Or grab both, and wash ‘em down with some tangy Hawaiian cocktails like “Missionary’s Return,” with Beefeater gin, lemon, honey, pineapple, apricot, and mint. Roy Choi is a poké wizard.
At Wiki Poke, for under $10, you can build your own bowl with as many toppings as you want for no additional charge, plus two sides (including spicy edamame). Wiki also tries to focus on the food’s Hawaiian roots, with specialty Hawaiian drinks also on the menu.
Silver Lake & Downtown
Unlike many competitors, the fledgling mini-chain Ohana doesn’t have much interest in serving you the standard tuna/salmon/albacore options -- though you can get those, you can also get harder-to-find options like Korean octopus and garlic prawns, or vegan options like soy ginger tofu.
These fine customized-bowl-only Brand Ave poké champions rise above thanks to a ton of not-so-traditional toppings like pickled red radish, soba noodles, and six different sauce options, with no limit to the options you can add on for $10 or $12 for a regular or large bowl.
While you can build your own bowl at Spinfish, you can take the pressure off yourself and go with one of their incredible signature bowls -- like the Caribbean bowl with hamachi and mango salsa, or the Aloha 808 with ogo limu (a type of Hawaiian seaweed), Hawaiian sea salt, chili flakes, green & sweet onions.
Huntington Beach & other locations
The fine human beings over at North Shore Poke Co. feel strongly that poké doesn’t need to come in a bowl: they’ve got poké tacos, poké nachos, and even SASHIMI SANDWICHES ON LA BREA BREAD, which is obviously an idea for the ages.
There’s absolutely no customization at this DTLA spot, so if you have a hard time picking things for yourself have no fear: get an Okipoki 101 full of tuna, avocado, seaweed salad, wasabi tobiko, and pickled kombu or a Truffle Trouble full of salmon, mushrooms, avocado, cucumber, pickled shallots, masago and ginger scallion truffle sauce. Also? They’ll make it a burrito for you. Seriously.
Any old shop can offer tuna and salmon. Mainland offers toro and salmon belly. Any old shop can offer sea salt. Mainland offers red alaea salt. Any old shop can offer shoyu and soy sauce. Mainland offers Sriracha aioli and coconut sauce. And once you dive into their “Ichiban” with albacore, pickled ginger, green onions, tobiko, red alaea sea salt, ponzu, and wasabi cream, you’ll see that Mainland ain’t any old shop.
“Not enough poké shops have specialty musubis!” you’re probably shouting at most times in your life. Though it’s weird that you’re shouting at nobody, Cubed is going to change your mind, with specialty musubis like chicken tonkatsu/pickled radish, egg/bacon/cheese, and jalapeño popper. And, of course, the poké is excellent too (especially the Yuzu Kisu Bowl, with yuzu-marinated salmon, mango salsa, green onions, masago, and edamame over shredded cabbage).
Anaheim & Hollywood
PokiNometry is sure to be your favorite subject once you get in on the sorcery that’s happening on these hallowed grounds: if you’re not feeling white and brown rice you can pile your fishie goodies (which include free scoops of crab meat and avocado) on green salad, chips, and even get it all in a wrap.
Culver City’s newest Korean BBQ spot from the chef behind Seoul Sausage Co. has more than just Korean food on the lunch menu. Hanjip’s singular poké bowl not only comes with incredibly fresh tuna, but also with ikura, something you won’t be able to find at any of the other poké shops in LA. And for $15 you can get a lunch combo going, with poké and your choice of KBBQ meat to throw on the grill.
Sweetfin’s fish quality is next-level, and they’re also one of the only spots in town to boast snapper as a fish option. Base options include unusual choices like cucumber/kelp slaw and bamboo rice, which you can use for custom bowls or specialties like the Kale Snapper bowl (snapper, classic sauce, kale, napa cabbage, and red onion), which totally goes great with a glass of homemade iced tea and a bag of furikake popcorn.
1. AhiPoki Bowl5553 W Sunset Blvd #108, Los Angeles
2. A-Frame12565 Washington Blvd, Los Angeles
3. Wiki Poki3438 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
4. Ohana Poké Co.130 E. 6th At., Los Angeles
5. Poké Cafe120 N Brand Blvd, Glendale
6. Spinfish Poke House36 W Colorado Blvd Ste 7, Pasadena
7. North Shore Poke Co.214 5th St Ste 101, Huntington Beach
8. Okipoki507 S Spring St, Los Angeles
9. Mainland Poke Shop8318 1/2 W 3rd St, Los Angeles
10. Cubed Poke2493 Park Ave #21, Tustin
11. PokiNometry184 S Harbor Blvd, Anaheim
12. Hanjip3829 Main St, Culver City
13. Sweetfin Poke829 Broadway, Santa Monica
This Hollywood poké stop has a free parking lot in the middle of Hollywood, a large space, and even out-there seafood options like octopus and scallops. Along with fresh fish sourced from Japanese vendors, diners can customize their bowls with toppings like daikon sprouts, chili flakes, and jicama, and drizzle the whole thing with their signature sweet citrus sauce.
This Hawaiian Culver City eatery from the Roy Choi is an Asian-fusion collaboration in a totally refurbished IHOP, hopped up with a picnic-type patio and light wood-clad walls. Food's meant to be utensil-optional, with inventive dishes like green curry and a poké sampler including choices like tuna with gochujang sauce, sesame leaves & oil, cabbage, seaweed, and nori, as well as tuna with kukui nut chili pesto and Parmesan.
With quick service and borderline insane prices (for under $10, you can build your own bowl with as many toppings as you want), Koreatown's Wiki Poki is a no-frills spot to check out for its fusion of Hawaiian and Asian flavors. Wiki also tries to focus on the food’s Hawaiian roots, with specialty Hawaiian drinks also on the menu.
Unlike many competitors, this fledgling mini-chain in Silver Lake serves up more than the standard tuna/salmon/albacore options, delivering on harder-to-find options like Korean octopus and garlic prawns, or vegan options like soy ginger tofu. Entrees can be ordered at the counter -- customizable by size, seafood, and toppings -- and are then brought to your table. And while the space is tiny, a large bowl option and a beer and wine happy hour keep the customers loyal.
This small Glendale poke shop serves bespoke poke bowls customizable with endless toppings that include pickled red radish, soba noodles, and six different tasty sacue options. The yellow- and brick-walled restaurant is small, but offers some two-seater tables and a larger seating area for Brand Blvd. patrons.
Tucked in an alley in Pasadena, this poke shop is tiny but offers memorable signature bowls like the Caribbean bowl with hamachi and mango salsa, or the Aloha 808 with ogo limu (a type of Hawaiian seaweed), Hawaiian sea salt, chili flakes, green & sweet onions. Whether you opt for the premade bowl or the build-your-own option, opt for Hawaiian sea salt and outside seating for a more authentic eating experience.
Eschewing the idea that poké can only come in one form, this spot offers poké bowls, sashimi sandwiches, poké tacos, and even poké nachos. The space is colorful and spacious, and its location on a side street off the central Huntington Beach shopping area lends it a casual and especially welcoming vibe.
This downtown fast-casual poke spot offers house-customized bowls of the popular seafood salad, and diverges from most other poke spots by not offering a customizable options. Thankfully, the signature recipes require zero modification and are all made with chewy, textured Satsuki Koshihikari rice. The seating is sushi bar-style, so a casual, pop-in crowd is the norm.
The Mid-Wilshire outpost of the popular poke mini chain, Mainland Poke Shop is turning out variations on the classic Hawaiian raw fish staple from its counter on W 3rd Street. The fast-casual seafood joint, designed by a chef who did time at Röckenwagner and Boa, features a customizable option -- pick your fish preference, base, sauce, and toppings -- for a fresh, personalized take on the popularized poke bowl. For those riddled by indecision, opt for one of the pre-designed, signature bowls, with traditional and experimental bowls to choose from.
Located in Tustin's Union Market, this poke restaurant offers outdoor seating, six signature bowls, and a built-your-own-bowl option. In addition to the poke, the Hawaiian offerings go beyond the standard poke bowl offerings, with specialty musubis like chicken tonkatsu/pickled radish, egg/bacon/cheese, and jalapeno popper.
This customizable concept brings flavor and freshness to Anaheim, with poké as the star of the show. While the venue draws a consistent line any day of the week, efficient service, plus a spacious environment with tons of four-tops and a long counter bar means your eating experience is never crowded.
From celebrity chef Chris Oh and restauranteur Stephane Bombet (Terrine, Faith & Flower, Paiche), Hanjip is a modern Korean barbecue restaurant that's made for groups, especially those without vegetarians. Hanjip's menu resembles a how-to guide for barbecue: you choose your meat (sliced brisket, pork belly, bulgogi) and sides (kimchi fried rice, seafood pancake, beef poutine), and a server grills your meat table-side. The Culver City space is trendy with sleek wooden booths and black-and-white wall art.
If you've ever been to Hawaii and come back bummed that you can't get the awesome raw-fish dish known as poke on the mainland, you're in luck: this Westside 'monger is busting out variations including albacore and salmon, all prepared by a chef who did time on Top Chef and at the W. And unlike most poké shops, this 1,000-square-foot space has room for more than you and another, with a spacious, airy, and bright floor ready to accommodate groups.