Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sakura Japanese Restaurant

I went to Sakura Japaese Restauant on Centinela in Mar Vista (not to be confused with Sakura House on Washington Blvd) with some friends the other night. We arrived around 6:30, thinking we would be early enough to avoid a wait, but we were wrong. We waited for about 40 minutes for our table. I have been there a couple of time before, and also waited. Ever since I started going to nicer restaurants, where we make reservations, I have become spoiled and have forgotten what it is like to wait for a table. I don't like it. The one upshot of waiting is, it builds up your appetite, so the food tastes better.

Sakura is located on Centinela, near Culver Blvd. We thought we could have a drink at a nearby bar while we waited, but no such luck. Perhaps the lack of bars is due to the close proximity of the police station? Sakura is a great little neighborhood Japanese restaurant.

They have a sushi bar, and also serve cooked Japanese cuisine. They also have a cool, personalized Shag print of the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. As a Shag collector myself, I wonder how they got a hold of that rare print. Once seated, we ordered our sake and big Asahi beers. My friend Frank ordered the sweet raw shrimp for the table, but somehow got lost in translation, because the server brought out whole, fried shrimp instead.

Then we ordered some Gyoza, little fried pork dumplings. They were so good (and we so hungry from the wait), we ordered a second round.

For out main course, Heather, homesick for her college days in Honolulu, ordered noodles, which she loved. Not as good as the little Ramen place around the corner from the UH campus, but Sakura's noodles satisfied her craving.

Frank got sushi (see top photo), not the best ever, but sufficient. I ordered the salmon and tempura combo. A generous, slightly dry portion of grilled salmon, served with salad, miso soup, shrimp and vegetable tempura. Once again, good, not great, but certainly filling and satisfying. I loved the tempura (or course, it is deep fried!), but something about tempura does not quite agree with me. I got to relive the flavor about every 30 minutes after eating it...

Friendly, swift servers, working as fast as they can to move the crowd through. The bill came to just over $100 (all this food plus one sake and 4 large beers). Slightly steep, we all thought. There are certain restaurants (like Lucques), which are expensive, but worth every penny. Sakura was pleasant, but worth just a little less than $100. I would return, but a little earlier in the evening to avoid the wait.

Sakura Japanese Restaurant
4545 Centinela Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90066


Billy said...


tried 'myspace-ing' you a message to no avail.

appreciate the 4-1-1 on Father's Office coming to my side of town (Culver City).

Found your blog via Google and your myspace via the blog.

consider me a loyal reader from now on.

ps - cute pic.

triplecreme said...

Thanks, Billy. Check out some older posts, I have a lot of CC reviews. Send me a friend request on Myspace.

Anonymous said...

Sakura gave me the worst svc I'd ever experienced at a Japanese restaurant... completely forgot my order amongst 6 of us... brought my food cold 15min later - where was it? no answer and no comp... not worth the wait to me...I'll drive 10 minutes further to West LA for better food, better service, and reservations!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the review of Sakura, but I have to totally disagree with you. I've been going to Sakura for 3 years now. Have taken all my family and friends from abroad there as well. Everyone loves the food. Their sushi is to die for. I never order any of the other stuff and I think that was the mistake you made...but then again they are serving it. The wait is annoying but they will take reservations for large groups of 6 or more. I would recommend this restaurant to everyone.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, we've been eating sushi at Sakura for many years, and it's always worth the wait. Especially when you order a beer while waiting. They have generous portions, and always try to accommodate for the large neighborhood crowds they keep pulling in. They have to be doing something right!

Anonymous said...

We have been going to Sakura for years. Except for some of the crazier contemporary sushi creations (like caterpillar roll with octopus eyes), food is authentically Japanese. The wait and parking can be a challenge, but prices are decent and food is good. The fried oyster meal is delicious and a great value! The lady owner is usually working along with everyone else and the whole operation is friendly--if bustling--and efficient.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I just moved to Mar Vista from West Hollywood, and have to admit I am quite disappointed by the lack of sushi delivery places in this area.

Have you found any good ones?

Great blog, by the way - I found you while searching for sushi on my iPhone.

Anonymous said...

Oh my Goodness - I have to say I completely disagree as well. I have been a fan for years. Sakura is ONE sushi place I will drive hours to get to if I have a sushi craving. Sometimes it take bumps in the road to get to the great destination...and the long wait/sparce parking is certainly worth the wait. Just as someone else said, the mistake you made was ordering non sushi items like the salmon. The sushi is so clean, fresh and DELICIOUS!!! Every person I have introduced to Sakura have become fans themselves. The restaurant doesn't advertise, it's all word of mouth, they are busy every day so that holds a huge accomplishment. Great mom and pop restaurant...