Best Japanese Restaurants in Orange County, California

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Orange County CA, has a strong Japanese community with a great culinary scene that you can enjoy on any budget.

If you’re looking to enjoy delicious, fresh sushi, sashimi, or hot dishes like katsu curry, you’ll find lots of well-established restaurants that serve these dishes with great Japanese hospitality.

Best Japanese restaurants in Orange County
Best Japanese restaurants in Orange County, California

In this article, we take you on a culinary tour of the best Japanese Restaurants in Orange County, California.

The Japanese have deep roots in Orange County

Japanese families have been living and working in the OC for more than a century and have been big contributors to shaping the region.

Japanese laborers first came to this part of California in the late 19th century.

Orange County California restaurants
Orange County, California

They were predominantly agricultural workers who have left farms in the southern and western regions of Japan to grow vegetable crops like celery in the US. 

Japanese workers in Orange County were originally laborers and farmhands but progressed to farming in their own right.

Unlike previous waves of immigration into California, the Japanese did not return home but remained and started families.

Many Japanese families were sharecroppers and brought wives and extended family over as they became established in Orange County.

Today, Orange County is home to a 31,000-strong Japanese community, just over 1 percent of the overall population.

The county’s Japanese presence is most visible in restaurants and stores.

There is also an annual OC Japan Fair, one of Southern California’s leading cultural festivals, which showcases Japanese culture and cuisine.

Best Japanese restaurant in Orange County, must-try spots for Japanese cuisine

The OC has such a strong Japanese community that it is one of the best places in California to sample the very best Japanese cuisine.

You’ll find everything from traditional and regional Japanese food to modern, fusion Japanese dishes complete with the infamous California roll.

Here are some of the best spots to visit.

1. Ohshima Sushi and Japanese Cuisine

Ohshima Sushi and Japanese Cuisine in North Tustin Street has earned its regional reputation for serving some of the most authentic sushi in the OC.

Visit Ohshima sushi Japanese cuisine
Ohshima sushi Japanese cuisine

Don’t be surprised if you see queues around the block at opening time, as their reputation for Kanto or Tokyo-style sushi has spread far and wide.

The restaurant also specializes in the vegetable-rich cuisine of the Okinawa region of Japan, which is known for its Chinese and Southeast Asian influences.

This means everyone in your party should be able to find something to enjoy.

About Ohshima Sushi and Japanese Cuisine

Address1956 N Tustin St, Orange, CA 92865
Telephone +1 714-998-0098
Opening hoursMon: 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Tue to Sat: 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and  5:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Sunday: closed 
Take-out/Delivery?Yes – take-out
Dress codeCasual 
Price point 🍣🍣🍣
Are children welcome?Yes
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Ohshima Sushi and Japanese Cuisine opened in 2007 intending to preserve Japanese and Okinawan culinary arts.

Head chef Itamae trained as a sushi chef at the renowned Shinjuku Chourishi Senmon Gakkou in Tokyo.

He is thoroughly committed to the traditional methods of sushi preparation so you won’t find hand rolls or California rolls here!

His Japanese homestyle cuisine includes impeccably fresh fish delicately seasoned using a house-blended soy sauce and Japanese lemon dressing.

Diners comment that the sushi and other dishes are so beautifully seasoned, that there is no need for additional soy or wasabi. 

Ohshima Sushi and Japanese Cuisine menu and specials

Authentic Japanese delicacies on the Ohshima Sushi and Japanese Cuisine menu include:

  • The salmon skin hand roll featuring fresh and crunch salmon skin
  • The slow-cooked pork knee
  • Garlic butter clams with fresh clams steamed in a delicate garlic butter sauce

2. Tabi-ji Japanese Cuisine

Tabi-ji Japanese Cuisine in North Tustin Street is a great destination for traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine in a modern, relaxed setting.

Tabi-ji Japanese cuisine in Orange County, California
Tabi-ji Japanese cuisine

You’ll find crowd-pleasers like sushi, teppanyaki, tempura, and teriyaki alongside a sumptuous dining menu with quality Japanese entrees.

And of course, you can wash it all down with the wide range of sake served.

At Tabi-ji Japanese Cuisine, you can eat in, take out or have the restaurant team cater a private event at the venue of your choice. 

About Tabi-ji Japanese Cuisine

Address665 N Tustin St Suite E-F, 665 N Tustin St, Orange, CA 92867
Telephone +1 714-633-6000
Opening hoursMon to Sun: 5 pm to 8:30 pm
Take-out/Delivery?Yes – take-out
Dress codeCasual 
Price point 🍣🍣
Are children welcome?Yes

Tabi-Ji Restaurant was first opened in Anaheim in the early 1970s by father Toshio, and brothers Steve and Sam Yamamoto.

The business grew to become the OC’s largest privately owned Japanese restaurant with a location in the heart of Japantown.

Tabi-ji has always served fine Japanese cuisine at a great price with authentic features like a tatami room and sushi bar for guests. ​

In 1998, the first Tabi-Ji Restaurant closed, and Steve Yamamoto opened Tabi-ji Japanese Cuisine in its present location on North Tustin Street in 2014.

Steve continues to serve great Japanese cuisine with the addition of popular teppanyaki tables.

Tabi-ji Japanese Cuisine menu and specials

Here are some great specials to eat in or take out from Tabi-ji Japanese Cuisine:

  • Tender and flavorsome soft-shell crab
  • Baked giant mussels
  • Tonkatsu, a panko-coated, deep-fried pork tenderloin
  • Lobster teriyaki 
  • Salmon kama, rich salmon collars cooked to perfection
  • Garlic butter clams with fresh clams steamed in a delicate garlic butter sauce

3. Heemo Sushi

Heemo Sushi keeps it simple with an easy-going menu of quality sushi, sashimi, boxes, and bowls you can wash down with refreshing beers, sake, and soju.

Visit Heemo sushi
Heemo sushi restaurant

You can dine in or take out. Delivery is via Uber Eats, GrubHub, or third-party services of your choice.

Locals love Heemo Sushi’s fresh, locally sourced menu, great service, and giant portions that’ll have you returning for more!

About Heemo Sushi

Address1632 E Katella Ave, Orange, CA, United States, California
Telephone +1 714-997-9953
Opening hoursMon to Sun: 11:30 am to 10 pm
Take-out/Delivery?Yes – take-out and delivery
Dress codeCasual 
Price point 🍣
Are children welcome?Yes
Email[email protected]

Heemi Sushi is run by chefs with more than 50 years of combined experience in sushi preparation.

Heemo Sushi delivers a contemporary menu that has been developed to cater to American tastes while preserving the commitment to serving quality and fresh Japanese cuisine.

All the ingredients used by Heemo Sushi are seasonal, local, and freshly prepared. 

Be prepared for a lively and youthful atmosphere, with loud music and waiters who will enthusiastically serve your Sake-bombs with Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl blaring!!!

Heemo Sushi menu and specials

Heemo Sushi’s contemporary menu is famous for its large portions, perfect for sharing.

Here are some of their crowdpleasers:

  • Massive portions of California roll
  • Hot fresh chicken teriyaki bowls
  • Satisfyingly crunchy baked crawfish rolls
  • Premium king scallop sushi
  • The spicy pork box special is great to-go
  • Satisfying sides like miso soup and steamed edamame
  • Waffle fries

4. Koisan Japanese Cuisine Restaurant

Koisan Japanese Cuisine Restaurant is one of Orange County’s leading Japanese restaurants with a homely and traditional feel.

Visit Koisan Japanese cuisine restaurant
Koisan Japanese cuisine restaurant

You can expect a comprehensive selection of sushi and sashimi prepared with ultra-fresh fish, along with exotic tempura like a shrimp-wrapped quail egg.

Koisan Sushi also serves Sapporo draft beer which patrons can enjoy on its many sports nights.

Don’t pass by its rather basic strip mall entrance, Koisan sushi currently trending with rave reviews online, so it is well worth a visit to experience their Japanese hospitality for yourself.

About Koisan Japanese Cuisine Restaurant

Address1132 E Katella Ave, Orange, CA, United States, California
Telephone +1 714-639-2330
Opening hoursMon to Fri: 11:30 am to 9:30 pm
Sat: 12 pm to 9:30 pm
Sun: 3 pm to 9:30 pm
Take-out/Delivery?Yes – take-out and delivery
Dress codeCasual 
Price point 🍣🍣
Are children welcome?Yes
Email[email protected]

Koisan puts in the effort to deliver an authentic Japanese atmosphere in their traditionally designed and outfitted dining room and sushi bar.

The restaurant was opened in 1978 by Sam and Yoko K. Eryu who were Japanese immigrants. 

Their first small restaurant and sushi bar was in Garden Grove in 1978, with them later relocating to Orange County.

The restaurant was named Kosian, meaning ‘youngest daughter’ in honor of Yoko Eryu.

Apart from sushi Koisan serves the traditional cuisine of Osaka, but has developed fusion dishes that are acceptable to a wider range of patrons.

Koisan remains committed to providing traditional Japanese hospitality, freshness, and quality which is valued by its customers. 

Koisan Japanese Cuisine Restaurant menu and specials

Koisan has an expansive menu with “Bonta”, their signature dish being well received by regulars.

With the ‘best in town’ fish quality their special salmon and albacore sushi is not to be missed.

Here are some other hits from the Koisan menu: 

  • Nigiri sushi
  • Kumamoto, the freshest premium oysters served in a spicy ponzu sauce with freshly prepared wasabi.
  • A delicious skewered and grilled Pork Yakitori served with Shishito Pepper and Zucchini
  • Seared lemon pepper salmon carpaccio served with Japanese salad and house ponzu

5. Taiko Japanese Restaurant

Taiko OC Japanese restaurant has been a staple of Irvine’s restaurant scene for over 40 years.

Taiko Japanese restaurant in Orange County, California
Taiko Japanese restaurant

They are a popular restaurant for contemporary and fusion Japanese cuisine, which retains the traditional quality and freshness diners expect.

If you are determined to eat at Taiko, be prepared to queue around the block as locals love this restaurant’s great service and epic portions. 

About Taiko Japanese Restaurant

Address14775 Jeffrey Rd, Irvine, CA 92618, United States
Telephone +1 949-559-7190
Opening hoursMon to Sat: 11:30 am to 2 pm and  5 pm to 9 pm
Sunday: 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Reservations?Yes – to beat long queues
Take-out/Delivery?Yes – take out and deliver
Dress codeCasual 
Price point 🍣🍣
Are children welcome?Yes

Taiko is one of Irvine’s oldest and most popular eateries and strives to delight its customers with an extraordinary dining experience.

This Walnut and Jeffrey favorite opened in 1980 and is bustling with patrons who visit for its large portions of sushi, sashimi, and hot favorites like sesame chicken. 

Taiko has changed hands during this period but remains committed to serving an innovative menu with bold, but simplistic cuisine.

You can expect the menu to be seasonal and fresh. There is also an izakaya menu served with beer and sake. 

Taiko Japanese Restaurant menu and specials

If you love chunky fresh sushi and sashimi, you’ll be delighted with the Taiko menu.

Here are some of the dishes that reviewers recommend:

  • The sushi lunch comes with decent-sized portions and a healthful serving of miso soup and rice.
  • The sashimi lunch with chunky pieces and miso ad rice sides
  • The Ninja roll with five pieces of delicious soft shell crab, asparagus, cucumber, and avocado combined beautifully. 

6. Yagi Japanese Restaurant

Yagi Japanese Restaurant is a premium Orange Country Japanese restaurant that is famed for its chef-selected and served fine sushi (Omakase).

Yagi Japanese restaurant in Orange County, California
Yagi Japanese restaurant

This family-friendly eatery welcomes diners of all levels of sophistication, with a traditional menu that includes popular American staples like Californian rolls, hand rolls, and crunch rolls.

About Yagi Japanese Restaurant

Address6324 E Santa Ana Canyon Rd, Anaheim, CA 92807, United States
Telephone +1 714-974-4512
Opening hoursTue to Sun: 11:30 am to 2 pm and  5 pm to 9:30 pm
Mon: closed
Dress codeCasual 
Price point 🍣🍣
Are children welcome?Yes

Yagi is a longstanding favorite of the Anaheim restaurant scene.

People primarily visit for the $70 chef omakase, which includes a set menu of 10 pieces of sushi, hand rolls, and desserts like panna cotta.

Yagi restaurant strives to deliver great service which keeps customers returning!

Yagi Japanese Restaurant menu and specials

Apart from the famous Yagi omakase, there are lots of mouthwatering dishes that will satisfy the cravings of any of great Japanese cuisine:

  • The flavorful sweet shrimp sushi is renowned for its soft texture
  • The Waygu beef uni sushi keeps folks coming back for more
  • The garlic edamame is a must-try side

Best Japanese restaurants in Orange County FAQs

Best Japanese restaurants in Orange County FAQs
FAQs about Best Japanese restaurants in Orange County

What is fusion Japanese cuisine?

Japanese fusion food combines the ingredients, flavors, and preparation techniques of Japanese food with food from other cultures, usually Western. Common fusion foods include hamburgers or steaks that are prepared with Japanese seasonings or cooking methods.

What is a sushi bar?

A sushi bar is an informal restaurant or bar setting where diners are served sushi. Diners usually sit at a counter and are served by the chefs directly. 

What is sashimi?

Sashimi is thinly sliced fish or meat that is enjoyed raw. Sashimi is usually served with garnishes like daikon and dressed with soy sauce.

What is a sake bomb?

A sake bomb is a crude beer cocktail that is made by sinking a shot glass of sake into a glass of beer, which fizzes violently. This drink is part of an elaborate beer game where the shot glass is balanced on chopsticks that are placed on top of the beer glass. Participants bang on the table or bar that the beer is on, causing the sake to topple into the beer, which is drunk immediately. 

What is panko?

Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb that is a staple of Japanese cooking. It is different from a Western breadcrumb as it is made from slivers of crustless white bread crust that are heated with an electric current. Panko is light and crispy and tends to have lower salt, fat, and sugar than a regular breadcrumb. 

Rounding up

Orange County is a great destination for fresh and fabulous sushi made by chefs who are committed to serving quality Japanese cuisine.

Quality ingredients, skillful chefs, and great service have set these Japanese restaurants apart as must-visit destinations in The OC, perfect for a memorable meal.

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