Japanese Restaurants in Costa Mesa

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Multitudes of sushi, sashimi, and sake selections grace candlelit tables in Sushi Zen Bistro's spacious Triangle Square lounge. Eager diners and Jungian analysts will adore an appetizer of Jalapeño's Dream ($9.95), a piquant fried pepper stuffed with crab, spicy tuna, avocado, and cream cheese, wrapping taste buds in spice and an odd sensation of weightlessness. Choose a robust recipe such as the yaki beef, thinly sliced rib eye marinated in teriyaki sauce ($14.95) or dive into rice-laden sushi and sashimi delicacies. Savory selections include the baby lobster roll (cut roll, $11.95; hand roll, $9.95) with avocado and cucumber wrapped in soy paper, and the baked halibut roll (cut roll, $12.95; hand roll, $7.95) packed with crab, avocado, and asparagus. More particular palates can curb carbs with rice-free rolls ($9.95), soy-paper snuggled and filled with a tasty medley of flavorful ingredients, or keep voracities vegetarian with fish-free options such as the veggie Zen roll (cut roll, $9.95; hand roll, $7.95), loaded with yam tempura, avocado, cucumber, fried jalapeño, and gobo, a Japanese root vegetable. Innovative cocktails ($7.95), red and white wine ($6.95–$9.95), beer ($4.50–$8.95), and more than a dozen varieties of sake ($3–$17.95) complement chopstick choices and make for lavish beginnings to evenings at the movies, dancing dates, or the courting of a comely kraken.

1870 Harbor Blvd
Costa Mesa,
CA
US

When you’ve got a name as bold as Sushi on Fire, it’s do or die to make your restaurant the absolute best. Luckily, this Huntington Beach restaurant manages to wear its name without being pretentious or overbearing. Their sushi truly is on fire. Their secret? They don’t settle for anything less than perfection whether it’s with their chefs, staff, or food. They’re committed to using only the freshest ingredients, prepared by masters of the craft, and served lightning-fast for your culinary enjoyment. In addition to conventional sushi, they also serve an assortment of grilled sushi that provides a fresh new outlook on this traditional Japanese dish.

301 Main Street
Huntington Beach,
CA
US

From the bustling streets of Times Square to the equally vivacious streets of Hong Kong, people walk around with smiles after enjoying the japanese barbecue cuisine at Gyu-Kaku. The restaurant has more than 700 locations worldwide, each rooted in the belief that some of the strongest bonds between friends are forged at the dinner table. Groups dine on a huge variety of Japanese dishes, from popular meat and veggie dishes such as Harami Skirt Steak, Kalbi Short Rib, and Mushroom Medley - to unique Japanese-American appetizers such as the Spicy Tuna Volcano, Pork Gyoza Dumplings, and Chicken Karaage. The real excitement takes place around individual grills, however, where diners can barbecue their own slabs of filet mignon, grilled ahi tuna, or chicken with basil sauce until they are ideally tender or encircled by on-duty firemen.

7862 Warner Avenue
Huntington Beach,
CA
US

Bluefin: A User's Guide

Japanese-European Fusion | Award-Winning Cuisine | Upscale Sushi Bar | Imported Drinks | Tasting Menu

Sample Menu

  • Sushi: Bluefin roll with king-crab tempura topped with albacore tuna
  • Entree: US Kobe strip-loin steak
  • Drink: imported Sapporo beer

Where to Sit: To get a view of the sushi maestros in action, request a seat at the sushi counter.



Inside Tips

  • Chef Takashi Abe watches diners during their meals to gauge their preferences, and sometimes makes suggestions that are passed along via the server. Gayot suggests taking him up on those recommendations. If you do, "then you are in for a rare treat."
  • Not sure where to start? Consider ordering one of the two omakase options on the dinner menu. These feature chef-chosen selections of certain menu items, including sushi.
  • Don’t be ashamed of just sticking with water. Besides importing sake and beer from Japan, Bluefin also brings in bottles of still and sparkling Antipodes water from what's billed as New Zealand's highest quality aquifer.

Vocab Lesson

  • Amuse-bouche: a small, complimentary dish served before the first course.
  • Kampachi: also known as Almaco jack, this relative of yellowtail and amberjack has firm flesh that strongly resembles tuna, making it a popular choice for sushi.
  • Omakase: chef-selected multicourse dinner, typically focusing on sushi. The word can be approximately translated as "I trust you"—a sign of confidence in the chef's craft.
  • Ponzu: a thin, citrusy sauce usually containing mirin, rice vinegar, and bonito flakes; it may also be mixed with soy sauce.
  • Sashimi: sliced raw fish or meat that, unlike sushi, is not served with rice.

If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Wasa Sushi at the Market Place (13124 Jamboree Road, Irvine) serves fish so fresh that, according to the Orange County Register, "[it] tastes like it was just snatched from the sea."

7952 East Pacific Coast Highway
Newport Beach,
CA
US

Pigging out is not often encouraged, but it's a welcome and apt approach to eating Balboa Barbie-Q's Big Pig sandwich. Starting with hearty heaps of pulled pork and hot links, the sandwich then takes on four slices of bacon and a flood of BBQ sauce. Like all of Balboa Barbie-Q's meats - including ribs, chicken, and brisket - the Big Pig's pork and hot links are slow-smoked daily in a custom-made smoker. From there, the meats fill sandwiches or team up with house-made sides like potato salad and slaw on a platter. And due to the freshly made dishes, the tangy aroma of BBQ sauce wafts throughout Balboa Barbie-Q, encouraging patrons to chow down in bayside eatery's indoor and outdoor dining areas, which offer stunning views of Newport Harbor, the Pacific Ocean, and poker-playing seals.

600 East Bay Avenue
Newport Beach,
CA
US

Diners take the reins and forge their own meals at Ka Shabu, an upscale Asian-style fondue joint in downtown Huntington Beach. Premium meats such as Kobe and Angus beef, chicken, salmon, and shrimp simmer in pots according to Ka Shabu's cooking guide before guests fish out the morsels and dip them in customizable sauces alongside fresh veggies, udon and rice noodles, and steamed white or brown rice. Even though all the meal-preparing power and palm-reading information lies in patrons' hands, Ka Shabu's friendly attendants always wait nearby to assist with any questions. Inside the eatery, wood-accented tables and chairs surround a grand open kitchen and a bar that serves up martinis and flavor-infused sakes.

301 Main St
Huntington Beach,
CA
US