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

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 E Bay Ave
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

The seasoned chefs at Tsunami Sushi augment their tableside cooking techniques with dazzling dramatics, including knife twirling and spatula slinging, as they slice, dice, and sizzle morsels of chicken, steak, and fish atop traditional Japanese teppanyaki-style grills. Sushi gurus also prepare fresh sushi and sashimi rolls as an alternative or supplement to cooked offerings. The full bar offers a lengthy list of liquid meal enhancers, including wine, imported beers, and sake. Valet parking grants patrons a reprieve from finding a space or learning the ancient art of sedan levitation.

17236 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach,
CA
US

Yelpers and Citysearchers give Tuna Town Sushi Bar and Teppan Yaki averages of 3.5 stars. More than 1,000 Facebookers are fans of the restaurant.

221 Main St
Huntington Beach,
CA
US