Santa Monica’s most notable Japanese restaurant lately is this charming izakaya and sushi bar, which has an original sister location in Silver Lake. A ryokan-like interior is designed to give you a bona fide I’m-dining-in-Japan experience, and the comprehensive menu is equally authentic too. Although you can’t go wrong with smokey skewers (especially the harder-to-find proteins like chicken cartilage, gizzard, and beef tongue), rice bowls (heaped with charcoal-grilled eel or soy-marinated pork belly), and hot pot, the sushi and sashimi here are killer: generously sized, outrageously fresh, and absolutely succulent. Pro tip: Get the premium omakase!
How to book: Walk-ins welcome and reservations can also be made on Yelp.