Nestled just east of downtown, Little Tokyo has long been a destination for adventurous foodies on the hunt for the perfect nigiri. This charming enclave still boasts the largest Japanese-American population in North America. Block after block bustles with authentic restaurants and shops. Recently, a bevy of new fusion eateries, funky breweries, and innovative art institutions have moved in, making this historic neighborhood one the city’s trendiest. Below are some of Little Tokyo’s not-to-be-missed hotspots, ranging from the time-honored to the cutting edge.
James Irvine Japanese Garden
Looking for a break from the city hustle? Take a peaceful stroll through this zen garden located in the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center. Find your inner peace as you meander down the intricately designed paths, listening to babbling brooks and waterfalls. The best part: it’s free.
244 S San Pedro Street, Los Angeles 90012
If you are looking for the freshest traditional sushi and sashimi, you’ve come to the right place. There’s typically a wait at Komasa, but it’s well worth it. The family-owned restaurant is renowned for its combination bento boxes with yellowtail, mackerel, salmon, and tuna. You won’t find any rolls here, just a wide variety of mouth-watering à la carte items and combos. The prices are affordable and the portions are big enough to share.
351 E 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Once a police car warehouse, this 40,000 square foot exhibition space was renovated with the help of Frank Gehry’s architectural genius and opened its doors in 1983. One of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s three locations, the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA the space routinely houses some of the most remarkable exhibitions in the city.
152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Angel City Brewery
From their signature citrusy Angel City IPA to the rich and dark Imperial Chai Stout, Angel City Brewery has become one the city’s most beloved local beer halls. Located in the lovingly restored historic John Roebling Building, Angel City is has got it all: board games, an upstairs area with comfortable couches, food trucks, and art exhibits.
216 S Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Wolf & Crane Bar
If craft beer isn’t your thing, Little Tokyo is also home to amazing cocktail joints. Wolf & Crane is a mixology enthusiast’s dream with its full liquor bar, minus the pretension. This simple watering hole sports comic book wallpaper, large communal tables, Japanese snacks, and a lovely patio. It is the perfect place to sip that 12 year old single malt Japanese whiskey you’ve been dying to try.
366 E 2nd Street, Los Angeles, 90012