A food trend ever since, sushi made its grand entrance on the Los Angeles restaurant scene in the early 1980s. However, these bite-sized edibles have been around a lot longer than that for Angelenos to enjoy, especially in Little Tokyo. This lively downtown enclave has been serving this authentic Japanese cuisine for a lot longer than the past 40 years or so–and continues to do so in some of the best sushi houses situated in the City of Angels. Following are a hand full of the best.

(credit: Val Blakely)

Shojin Organic
Little Tokyo Shopping Center
333 Alameda St., Suite 310
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 617-0305

The slogan at this popular outpost is “to be impressive for our dear customers.” Done, especially if vegetarian sushi is your jam. Vegans will appreciate the fare ay Shojin Organic, too, as there’s plenty on the unique carte to cater to this healthy lifestyle, too. Crunchy tiger is one option, which is a roll of avocado wrapped faux chicken made of soy and asparagus topped with crispy potato. Another option of so many? The ever popular Kiss of the Spider Woman roll made of soft shell crab, enoki mushroom, pumpkin tempura, asparagus, avocado and kaiware daikon radish sprouts, all wrapped up in soy paper. A real mind bender.

(credit: Shelby Barone)

Sushi Gen
422 E. 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-0552

Bowing in Little Tokyo in 1980 during the start of L.A.’s sushi craze, Sushi Gen has long been a hit with devotees of this finely crafted cuisine. Lunch deals are big draws for locals willing to line up in order to partake of the no-frills sushi bar, an in house spot that is popular with locals who like to come in the middle of the day when lunch deals are on the roster.

(credit: David W./Yelp)

Hama Sushi 
347 E 2nd St,
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-3454

If you prefer to literally hold your food in your hand, check out this Little Tokyo gem which offers arguably the best sushi hand rolls in the Southland. Among those that satisfy beyond compare are the spicy tuna (which one patron says will “change your life” it’s so good), the spicy albacore, the hamachi avocado and the (off-the-menu) Obama roll. Daily specials, listed on a handy blackboard, are guaranteed to be as fresh as fresh can be. Also, if you need yet another reason to dine at Hama Sushi, know that the service staff is super fast and super friendly.

(credit: Surasak S./yelp)

Sushi Enya
343 E. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(626) 365-3512

Mighty yet tiny, this well received spot’s setting may be considered basic. No worries. That’s all the better for the star of this show: The sushi.  For something special, ask for the monkfish liver, a surprise hit. Also, when you go, realize that this place is extremely popular so waiting may be in the offing. And, partially because of its popularity, realize that parking isn’t easy. However, don’t let either factor deter you if you’re a fan of this particular Japanese cuisine. This place is top notch.

(Credit: Sushi Go 55)

Sushi Go 55
333 Alameda St., Suite 317
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-0777

Talk about enduring. Sushi Go 55 has been around since 1929, serving simple options in a family-owned Japanese outlet that is big on this fish dish of small bites. Some devoted guests don’t even know the proper name of this place yet have been going there for years to munch on all kinds of sushi and sashimi made with such delicacies as sea urchin and a selection of live seafood. Oh, and don’t miss out on the uni shooters when you eat at Sushi Go 55. They’re awesome.

By Jane Lasky