Where to Find Okonomiyaki in the L.A./Orange County Area
Okonomiyaki is a hard-to-find treat in the U.S. unless you already know how to make it at home. Fortunately for you, we've scoured the Southland to find the best okonomiyaki restaurants that will deliver the pancake piping hot, right to your table.
2119 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Photo credit: @foodieonfleek
Chinchikurin is an okonomiyaki shop specializing in Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. They are currently participating in Otafuku's mentorship program, which provides assistance to restaurateurs who want to open okonomiyaki restaurants. If you go, you might see a familiar face on the plates and spatulas (hint: it's us). Chinchikurin has its own menu that ranges from traditional to completely modern, and we're particularly fans of the GOAM! (green onions and mayo). Tsukemen and spicy Tantanmen round out the menu to make this a great place for authentic Hiroshima eats.
21515 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501
14230 Culver Dr, Irvine, CA 92604
Full disclosure: Go Squared2 uses Otafuku okonomi sauce for their Kansai-style pancakes. They offer four kinds of meats to go with your pancake: pork, beef, squid, or a combo of meats, but you can go veg as well. Toppings include okonomi sauce, mayo, aonori and dancing bonito flakes, and you can also add green onions, cheese and soba if you'd like. The Torrance location bakes pink ginger slices right into the batter while the Irvine location tops their cakes with a thin fried egg layer, a la Hiroshima-style. The okonomiyaki is full-sized, meaning it can feed two moderately hungry adults or one really hungry person.
442 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
If you've ever wondered why okonomiyaki is often called 'Japanese pizza', Hashi has the answer to your question. Unlike the first two restaurants we mentioned, Hashi isn't a dedicated okonomiyaki restaurant so their pancake isn't what you'll find in more traditional shops. Instead, they offer a large, thin-crust okonomiyaki cut into chewy triangular shapes, just like a regular pizza pie. Okonomi sauce, mayo, aonori and finely cut bonito flakes are all drizzled delicately on top, with meat mixed into the batter. If you like Neopolitan-style pizza, you'll love its okonomiyaki cousin.
16123 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90247
Similar to Hashi's thin-crust style, Azume serves up their okonomiyaki as a large, flat pancake loaded with toppings. Aonori and bonito flakes feature here, as does the tangy mayo that acts as the main source of flavor instead of traditional okonomi sauce. Inside the pancake, you'll find plenty of cabbage and octopus bites. Spicy pickled ginger on the side rounds out the complex flavor profile for okonomiyaki that's fresh and filling. This dish is only available on the dinner menu.
25310 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505
Similar to Go Squared2, Iccho's fluffy okonomiyaki is loaded with cabbage and topped with okonomi sauce, mayonnaise, aonori and swaying bonito flakes. Pork belly lines the bottom of the cake for a meaty crunch. Unfortunately, Iccho only serves okonomiyaki at dinnertime as an appetizer, but this hearty pancake is filling enough to be a meal by itself.
Five locations throughout L.A. and Orange County
This chain gets an honorable mention for their "okonomiyaki stick", a long, skinny Kansai-style pancake bar filled with cabbage and covered in okonomi sauce and bonito flakes. While it doesn't have the fancy fixin's you're probably used to on okonomiyaki (meat, mayo, aonori flakes), it does have that familiar grilled cabbage and batter taste. You can find this small bite on their appetizer menu, so order a few if you're really craving okonomiyaki.
TOT / Teishokuya of Tokyo
345 E 2nd St. Los Angeles, CA 90012
Just on the outer edge of Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo, T.O.T. is a small restaurant serving up "Okonomiyaki on a Stick". Two corn dog-style cakes come on tiny wooden sticks, topped with okonomi sauce, mayo and dashi flakes. The okonomiyaki are pretty true to the traditional flavor, but the challenge of eating your cake on a stick is definitely a novelty.
Mitsuru Sushi and Grill
316 E 1st St. Los Angeles, CA 90012
If you find yourself in Little Tokyo at night, stop by Mitsuru on 1st St. for a heaping plate of okonomiyaki. This traditional Kansai-style pancake is enough to feed one hungry person or two somewhat peckish people and is full of egg, cabbage, bacon and shrimp. Sauce and mayo in an intricate design decorate the top, garnished by aonori flakes and ginger strips.
Ebisu Japanese Tavern
356 E 2nd St. Los Angeles, CA 90012
Ebisu's "Ring Yaki" comes with two thick pancakes that taste a little bit like regular pancakes. We weren't able to ask why they called these "ring yaki", but we're guessing from the sheer density of the okonomiyaki that they're cooked in tall ring molds that give them their circular shape. Pork belly, cabbage and ginger strips are baked into the batter and the top layer of egg is smothered in okonomi sauce and mayo. A thick mane of bonito flakes sits on top of it all.
Know of any other restaurants in the area that serve okonomiyaki? Comment below!
- Elizabeth Tontz