The iconic Japanese neighborhood, Westside gem Little Osaka, runs along Sawtelle Boulevard between Santa Monica and Olympic and is packed with diverse shopping and exciting eateries. Little Osaka’s origins began with the founding of several botanical nurseries by Japanese immigrants in the early nineties, and it has established itself as one of the best places to find real Japanese cooking in Los Angeles.
Start your morning right at Coffee Tomo, Sawtelle’s “serious coffee” café, for espresso or hand-dripped coffee. If you’re looking for an interesting morning nibble, try out one of their freshly baked pretzels, which are filled with flavor combinations such as sweet potato and cheese, or red bean and cheese.
At lunch, line up with the rest of the noodle aficionados for Tsujita’s acclaimed bowls of tsukemen, dipping noodles, or ramen. The Tokyo import’s tonkotsu-style ramen arrives in a luscious pork broth that has been simmered over sixty hours. If it’s after lunch, don’t despair — the newly opened Tsujita’s Noodle Annex across the street serves all the variations of noodles from lunch until midnight. GS: So Tsujita’s is only open for lunch?
Around the corner, casual but delicious Seoul Sausage offers communal benches and tables al fresco. Tasty Korean-inspired sausages, arancini-styled rice balls, and Korean fried chicken are quick and satisfying.
During your afternoon stroll check out Black Market for an assortment of hip bags, trinkets, Japanese socks, and graphic tees. Refresh your eyewear collection at the Little Osaka branch of Hotel de Ville, where you’ll find unique vintage frames and sunglasses. Get a memento of your visit from Giant Robot, the birthplace of the original Ugly Dolls, where you’ll find an assortment of Japanese toys, kawaii (cute) ceramics and playful keychains to take home. Then, make sure to stop by Giant Robot 2 (GR2) gallery, a haven for anime art fans with a well-curated selection of prints and original art for sale.
Cool down at Blockhead’s Shavery, home to the Taiwanese-style frozen-treat of fluffy shaved snow cream, which comes in an assortment of Western and Asian flavors. Customize with toppings like mango, condensed milk, rice cakes, and red bean.
For dinner, indulge in some of the best yakitori in L.A. at Robata-ya for a wide range of skewered delights. If you’re feeling more adventurous, take a seat at the Osaka-style teppanyaki grill, Gottsui. The house specialty is Kansai-style okonomiyaki, an eggy pancake with seafood and pork bolstered with shreds of cabbage. For an umami fix, try the one with spicy cod roe, cheese, and bacon.
If you’ve still got room for another dessert, make your way to Sawtelle Plaza where another popular Tokyo import, Beard Papa, provides late night sweets for Little Osaka denizens. Cream puffs are filled to order with the traditional vanilla or flavored custard of the day. The results are delicate but surprisingly hearty, with just the right amount of sweetness.
In the same plaza, give your pipes a workout by renting a booth/private room at Max’s Karaoke. Keep an eye on the clock — you’ll be surprised how quickly the hours pass when you’re belting out your favorite tunes from their extensive song collection.
2015 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
GR2 (Giant Robot 2)
2062 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Hotel de Ville Vintage Eyewear
1307 Mississippi Ave, Los Angeles
2023 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
11309 Mississippi Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025
2057 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
11311 Mississippi Ave Los Angeles, CA 90025
2119 Sawtelle Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90025
2004 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Mousse Fantasy & Beard Papa’s
2130 Sawtelle Blvd #110, Los Angeles, CA 90025
2130 Sawtelle Blvd #101, Los Angeles, CA 90025