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Little Tokyo: Where to Dine (Guest Post)

What is the best part about traveling? If you ask one person, it is likely they will have a completely different answer than the next. The scenery, the new people, the thrills, new experiences, history, and the list goes on and on. But I can almost guarantee that you will get at least one answer that involves food! An essential aspect of exploring any new destination, we will explore where to dine in Little Tokyo.

When traveling to a new destination, checking out the local dining options is always a must! In this guest post we will explore the great options in Little Tokyo for local and authentic Japanese dishes to complete your trip to the area!

Little Tokyo: Where to Dine, decorative paper lanterns in Little Tokyo
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Photo by Ken Hilton on Unsplash

Little Tokyo: Where to Dine

Little Tokyo was founded in 1884 and covers about four acres of prime real estate in Los Angeles. Filled with shops, restaurants, and attractions paying homage to Japanese culture, Little Tokyo is a wonderful place to explore. 

While there are several restaurant options inside Little Tokyo, this is a very popular tourist destination, and getting a table at any eatery inside Little Tokyo can be very difficult. You may want to check out some of the restaurants nearby.

Many of the restaurants near Little Tokyo are not overly crowded and it is a shorter wait for a table. No matter what you have a craving for; there will be a restaurant nearby to fill that craving, from sushi to steak to juicy burgers. 

Bring your appetite and find a restaurant, but leave your shopping bags and heavy backpacks in a luggage locker near Little Tokyo. Spend an afternoon or evening sampling some of the delicious cuisines offered in the neighborhood. 

Domingo’s Italian Deli

Domingo’s Italian Deli has been a Los Angeles staple since 1948 has the most delightful menu that brings a taste of Italy to California. Domingo’s is not just a deli but also has a grocery store attached.

Order an amazing sandwich such as the meatball or Italian club or maybe the lasagna or a delicious pizza. Then shop for imported Italian foods and spices. Stock up on olive oils and spices at the store so you can make your own fantastic Italian dishes at home. 

Daikokuya

After touring Little Tokyo, you will want to sit down to a great meal, but Little Tokyo restaurants can be fully booked. Instead, visit Daikokuya for a wonderful Japanese-inspired Asian meal. Vegan options are also available on their menu.

If you love ramen, this is the place to go. Known for its many ramen dishes bursting with flavor and always made with fresh ingredients, Daikokuya is one of the best. Try the Tatsu ramen or the Shin Sem Gumi. Both are amazing. The fried rice served as a side dish is large and delicious. 

Far Bar

Far Bar is not just a bar, but a cozy little restaurant in the Little Tokyo Plaza. Serving Japanese and Asian cuisine, it is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a meal after seeing the highlights of Little Tokyo. 

Order the tater tot appetizer and a cocktail from the bar while you wait for your entrée to arrive. You can even sit at the bar and watch the bartender as they mix drinks with flash and flair. Far Bar offers traditional bar food with an Asian twist. 

Jist Café 

This very small café serves one of the best breakfasts near Little Tokyo. Order the crème Brulee French toast, which is cut thick and sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar. Order a side of the hoo sin pork belly to go with your French toast. 

If not in the mood for the French toast, give the extra-large breakfast burrito a try. Enjoy a cup or two of their fragrant coffee; it will give you the caffeine jolt you need without the bitterness of most coffees. 

There are also vegan and vegetarian options on the menu for those with special dietary needs. Jist Café has very limited indoor seating but there is a large outdoor covered porch for diners to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. 

Authentic Japanese dishes, Little Tokyo where to dine
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Photo by Mahmoud Fawzy on Unsplash

Marugame Monzo

Located inside Little Tokyo, Marugame Monzo makes authentic Japanese udon including their signature handmade traditional Sanuki udon. They have also created unique udon fusion dishes that are absolutely delicious such as the Mapo tofu udon. 

The sea urchin cream udon or the miso carbonara are great options when you dine at Marugame Monzo. Try one of the many types of sake they have on hand or sit back with a draft Asahi imported beer. 

Oomasa

You have not had excellent Japanese cuisine until you have dined at Oomasa. Offering terrific Asian cuisine including sushi and tempura, the menu here also offers vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. 

Order the sushi bento box with miso soup and rice or try the rainbow roll and sashimi. The shrimp tempura is battered and cooked to perfection. The ahi tuna rice bowl with shredded seaweed and ginger is overflowing with texture and flavor. 

Suehiro Café 

Drop-in for the lunch special at Suehiro Café where you can get an amazing meal at a relatively cheap price. If you do not like what is on special, order the pork miso, curry rice, or fish tempura. They are all worth trying at least once.

Order a draft beer to go with your meal and enjoy the freshness of the ingredients used in Japanese cuisine. Each dish is carefully prepared and presented beautifully; many of the dishes are almost too pretty to eat. 

Tamon

Head over to the Miyako Hotel and visit Tamon, located on the second floor, when you are in the mood for authentic Japanese cuisine. There are even American dishes on the menu if you have people in your party who are not fans of Japanese food. 

Enjoy dining on ramen, omakase, sushi, and tepanyaki. The ingredients are fresh, creating culinary masterpieces. Order a few types of sake to go with your meal and sit back for a relaxing good time at Tamon. 

Chinchikurin

Located inside Little Tokyo, Chinchikurin is best known for its Japanese okonomiyaki or Japanese savory pancakes. If you are anywhere near Little Tokyo, stop in for the absolute best Japanese pancakes you will ever have. 

Okonomiyaki is actually a dish that has 11 layers and is bursting with interesting and amazing flavor combinations. Filled with several different vegetables and noodles and best dipped in Otafuka sauce, the okonomiyaki is simply to-die-for. 

Each layer of the Japanese pancake has one ingredient and must be created in a precise order to keep the layers from fully merging and creating a messy pancake. The grilled noodles and fresh cabbage really give it a special texture that is amazing.

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Little Tokyo: Where to dine to find local, authentic Japanese dishes that will leave you both satisfied and with a full stomach
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