Tempura is a type of batter that results in a light and crispy structure when fried and is often found in Asian cuisine. Seafood and vegetable tempura are the most common dishes, but of course, as culinary boundaries expand so do the possibilities of what can be slathered in this exquisite batter. Whether it’s shrimp or vegetables or something more exotic, check out these five LA hotspots for the best tempura.
2506 E. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Otomisan Restaurant is known to many as one of the best places for tempura in Los Angeles. This delicate batter is always perfect whether you order the shrimp, seafood or vegetable. The spicy tuna tempura roll is a common favorite and the seafood tempura (crab, shrimp, white fish squid, salmon and vegetables) is huge and worth every penny. But then again, all the portions are generous no matter what you order. This place is small and fills up quickly. There’s no delivery, but take out service is pretty quick.
Related: Best Late-Night Asian Eats In LA
337 E. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Located in Little Tokyo, Suehiro Cafe is a great lunch place with good lunch deals and a great selection for tempura. The combination plate section is packed with tempura vegetable and fish. Looking for noodles? Get the best of both worlds with the tanuki, tempura and the nabeyaki udon dishes. Perfectly battered and fried, the tempura is light in color and texture but full of flavor. Late night tempura craving? No problem. Suehiro is until 3 a.m.
Sawtelle Tempura House
1816 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
If you’re looking for tempura, it makes sense to go to a place with tempura in the name. Sawtelle Tempura House is indeed one of those places. The place is small in size, but everything that comes out of the kitchen is big in flavor. They make things besides tempura as well, like the chicken hamburger and teriyaki bowls, but it’s the tempura that’s the real deal here. Perfect nearly every time, you can smell the batter being fried as your meal is being prepared. If you’re really hungry, the tempura bento box is the way to go. It’s packed with vegetable tempura, a couple of shrimp and rice that’s under ten bucks and big enough to feed two people.
766 S. Santee St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
If you like sushi, rolls and tempura you can get them all together at Nabeeya in Downtown. Nabeeya has a whole section of their menu dedicated to tempura and baked rolls. From spicy tuna, crab, lobster, eel, shrimp and a crunchy California roll that will make your head spin, Nabeeya is at the top for tempura. The sushi bar in the heart of downtown is extremely small with only two tops available and no room to put tables together, but that just adds to the authenticity of the restaurant. This is one place you don’t want to miss.
7160 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
If you’re looking to take your tempura experience up a notch, head over on Melrose to Murakami Sushi. Not only does Murakami have excellent sushi, but they have fantastic tempura. The six-piece veggie consists of sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, shiitake, broccoli and eggplant, and there’s a three piece shrimp tempura and a mix of four shrimp with pumpkin, broccoli and zucchini to choose from as well. All of them prepared with the most flavorful, crispy and light tempura batter. The agedahi tofu with tempura fried shishito peppers is also delicious.