Food & Drink

LA's 15 Best Poke, Tartare, and Crudo Dishes

Wilder Shaw Published On 08/06/2015 Published On 08/06/2015

It's hot. Like, REALLY hot. If you're looking for a way to deliciously cool off but aren't in the mood for another ice cream sandwich (just go with it), check out these: LA's 15 best poke, tartare, and crudo dishes.

Hinoki & the Bird

Century City
What you’re getting: Yellowfin tuna
The raw bar here is packed with nom-iness, including yellowfin tuna (w/ pistachio furikake, cucumber, and ponzu) and hamachi (w/ jicama, kohlrabi, and myoga). It might cost you an arm and a leg, but you won't care because you don’t need arms or legs to eat crudo. Just your mouth.

Poke N Roll

Poke N Roll

Glendale
What you’re getting: Poke salad with yuzu soy sauce
Poke N Roll can be a daunting undertaking just based on the sheer number of options, but take a deep breath and get the poke salad (the fish is nice and chunky). Also: any place where you can get mini sausages with your poke is okay with us.

Takami Sushi & Robata

Takami

Downtown
What you’re getting: Seared yellowtail w/ diced chiles
We don’t really understand why people aren’t running around all day long screaming about how great Takami is. BECAUSE THEY SHOULD BE SCREAMING THAT. Everything on its menu is absolutely killer, and the fact that you’re 21 floors in the air with an spectacular view of Downtown doesn’t hurt either. It's got lots of crudo options, but give its yellowtail a shot. (Or, if you're smart, several shots.)
 

Daichan

Studio City
What you’re getting: Mixed poke bowl
Do your best to ignore Sugarfish and the Armenian Deli at The Greatest Strip Mall on Earth Probably and you’ll find Daichan. Serving appropriately named “Japanese soul food,” Daichan is one of those places where literally everything on the menu is incredible. Daichan's mixed poke bowl is unreal, and goes great with some of its house-made cucumber miso or Hawaiian ginger chicken.

Orsa & Winston

Orsa & Winston

Downtown
What you’re getting: Seafood crudo bowl
Bäco Mercat chef Josef Centeno does a seafood crudo bowl on top of a bed of barley, faro, quinoa, and rice. Nothing this healthy should taste this good, but it does.

Republique

Republique

Hancock Park
What you’re getting: Hamachi crudo
If you live in LA in 2015, you’ve probably been told by at least five people to go eat at Republique. And you should. And when you do, you should get the hamachi crudo w/ ruby red grapefruit, tomato, tarragon, and vanilla.
 

Silver Lake Ramen

Silver Lake
What you’re getting: Salmon poke bowl
Everybody’s favorite place to wait in line is now serving up an amazing salmon poke bowl, and in typical SLR fashion, it’s extremely affordable. Grab a half order for $5.95 and a full for $8.95.

Flickr/T.Tseng

Pot

Koreatown
What you’re getting: Poke Me
Roy Choi is a poke wizard. His family-style sanctum in The Line Hotel brings you a multitude of killer Choi dishes, like his Poke Me -- yellowfin tuna, edamame, sea beans, Maui onions, smoked sesame, and shoyu vinaigrette. And good news: you can eat at Pot on the 20th of any month you choose.
 

Wiki Poki

Koreatown
What you’re getting: Spicy poke with tuna, salmon, and yellowtail
Wiki just might have the best value poke in the city. Just $8.50 gets you a poke bowl with three fish choices and two sides (like spicy edamame and crab meat). Pineapple and three levels of spice give this place a Hawaiian edge over many of the other poke spots. Oh, and it’s pretty quick. Hence the "wiki."

Butchers and Barbers

Butchers & Barbers

Hollywood
What you’re getting: Ocean trout crudo
It was only a matter of time before the Houston brothers ventured into food. Between Dirty Laundry, No Vacancy, and Butchers & Barbers, Hollywood and Hudson might as well just be referred to as Hollywood and Houston. Before you head over to their secret speakeasy or their hidden brothel bar, be sure to grab some ocean trout crudo at B&B first. And then, when you’re done, order another one. And then three more.
 

The Hungry Cat

Hollywood
What you’re getting: Kanpachi
Any old jabroni can get salmon crudo at Hungry Cat's Santa Monica location, but the Hollywood Hungry Cat is the only one where you'll find kanpachi -- amberjack with coconut milk, fried shallots, blood orange, kumquat, cilantro, Fresno chili, and peanuts. Hooray for Hollywood!

Hamasaku

Hamasaku

Westwood
What you’re getting: Salmon crudo
You’ve probably been worrying that all the crudo you’ve been eating doesn’t come with enough pecorino horseradish aioli. Well, thanks to Hamasaku, you can stop worrying. It has a ton of goodies on the menu, including its salmon crudo and tuna poke with shiso salsa, Sriracha dressing, and taro chips.

A-Frame

A-Frame

Culver City
What you’re getting: Poke of the day
Say aloha to Roy Choi’s Hawaiian spot in Culver City (and maybe an extra aloha to the deals for Luau hour). He’s got a poke of the day for $15, as well as a poke sampler for $16. You can wash ‘em down with some killer Hawaiian-style cocktails, and then follow ‘em up with some classic RC munchies like furikake kettle corn and hoisin-glazed short ribs.

Sweetfin Poke

Sweetfin Poke

Santa Monica
What you’re getting: Spicy yuzu salmon poke (or you can just build your own bowl)
Sweetfin exists for the sole purpose of making people who live on the East Side sad they can’t go there for lunch every single day. It's is one of the few poke spots that boasts snapper, as well as an appreciable selection of sauces (like yuzu kosho and Sriracha ponzu).

North Shore Poke Co.

North Shore Poke Co.

Huntington Beach
What you’re getting: Poke nachos
The good people at North Shore Poke Co. don’t believe bowls are the only worthwhile vehicle for your poke, and by Jove, they’re right. In addition to their multitude of poke bowls, they’ve got sashimi sandwiches, poke tacos, and even POKE NACHOS (Waimea-style poke over tortilla chips w/ house hot sauce and furikake).

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Wilder Shaw is a writer and comedian who is psyched that he correctly (?) used two different Hawaiian words in this story. Talk tuna with him on Twitter at @WilderShaw_ and Instagram at @wildershaw.

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1. Hinoki & The Bird 10 W Century Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90067 (Century City)

At Hinoki & The Bird, executive chef Brandon Kida spotlights travel-inspired cuisine at this modern, Californian restaurant. Cosmopolitan dishes -- such as Japanese curry arancini, Jerusalem artichoke soup, and Scottish salmon -- create a global menu with healthful sensibilities.

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2. Poke N Roll 413 S Central Ave, Glendale, CA 91210 (Glendale)

If you've never had poke before, this place may seem a bit daunting. In fact, it could even seem daunting if you have. The sheer number of options is a lot to take in. Take a deep breath, order whatever, and know it should only cost you around $10.

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3. Takami Sushi & Robata 811 Wilshire Blvd Fl 21, Los Angeles, CA 90017

For sushi with a view, there's Takami in DTLA. The 21st-level restaurant has next-level views of Los Angeles and serves pretty darn good sushi to match. The menu is heavy on robata, featuring grilled steak, vegetables, seafood, and chicken dishes. As for drinks, expect plenty of sake, Asian-inspired cocktails, and Japanese beer.

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4. Daichan 11288 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604 (West Valley)

This strip mall challenges everything we believed with THREE spots that are more than just tolerable -- in fact they're seriously good. But for home-made japanese food and awesome poke bowls, go to Daichan. The self proclaimed "Japanese soul food" includes menu items like Hawaiian ginger chicken and house-made cucumber miso.

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5. Orsa & Winston 122 W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013 (Downtown)

Orsa & Winston's is a fixed-menu-only joint, which Asian-American eats like rice w/ uni and Pecorino cream.

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6. Republique 624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (Hancock Park)

Republique hails from a crazy all-star team that includes the married chef duo Walter and Margarita Manzke -- who were among the most lauded in all of LA during their tenure at Downtown's Church and State -- and one of the restauranteurs behind Bestia and Sotto. Their 'tails and fare are definitely worth a weeks-in-advance res.

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7. Silver Lake Ramen 2927 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Silverlake)

With its broccoli and tofu stuffed vegetarian ramen and willingness to swap out perfect-in-every-way pork belly with boring ol’ chicken, this hipster ramen spot is actually pretty darn good.

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8. POT 3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010 (Koreatown)

POT is a group-meal spot for sure. Try as many of the pots as you can but the dirty secret of Roy Choi's excellent Korean menu is that the best stuff is actually NOT in the pots -- rather its side dishes like this gooey, savory, creamy uni-and-rice dish.

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9. Wiki Poki 3438 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010 (Koreatown)

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.

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10. Butchers & Barbers 6531 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

This stunning new bistro is totally firing on all cylinders, with insanely great drinks and killer food, including a damn-near-perfect Gruyere-topped burger, a roasted sunchoke-and-mint-and-goat-cheese dish that'll make you consider going veggie, and popcorn (yep! Popcorn!) that's laden with rosemary and sea salt.

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11. Hungry Cat 1555 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

This slick, beachy seafoodery serves up raw bites like oysters, along with cooked fishes, burgers, and artfully mixed 'tails. Whether for lunch, brunch, or dinner, The Hungry Cat has been the go-to for inventive, LA-style seafood dishes for over a decade. Do it up by starting with a 1-, 2-, or 3-tier seafood platter, and pair your meal with one of the market-fresh cocktails that complement basically everything on the menu.

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12. Hamasaku 11043 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025 (Westwood)

This Westwood sushi spot combines sophisticated and traditional Japanese flavors with Californian twists in an elegant and welcoming space. Tucked in the corner of a strip mall is this beloved roll-zone, as noted for its celebrity clientele as it is for its food. The rolls are deliciously over-the-top (The Lourd: spicy tuna, avocado, tempura flakes, spicy rice, mango and Jalapeño sauce. Tell me that doesn’t sound good.), and the chef takes his omakase very, very seriously.

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13. A-Frame 12565 Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066 (Culver City)

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.

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14. Sweetfin Poke 829 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (Santa Monica)

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.

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15. North Shore Poke Co. 214 5th St Ste 101, Huntington Beach, CA 92648 (Orange County)

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.

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