HAMA SUSHI RESTAURANT
SERVING SAVORY SUSHI IN VENICE BEACH FOR OVER 30 YEARS
A Venice Beach sushi staple, Hama Sushi Restaurant opened in 1979, long before the current sushi craze ever existed. In fact, it’s one of the first authentic Japanese sushi restaurants in the country. So you know they must be doing something right to still be thriving 30 years later, especially in trendy Venice Beach.
At Hama Sushi you’re likely to sit next to a celebrity, as you are a surfer right off the beach located only two blocks away. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, you can opt to sit inside in the comfy and cozy sushi restaurant with sushi bar, or you can sit in the spacious outdoor area that has a healthy and vibrant bar scene. If you like quiet and intimate, even inside this might be a bit of a stretch. A locals’ favorite, it is a loud and festive atmosphere perfect for a fun date or group outing if you’re the gregarious sort.
I recommend starting with the Dynamite Sautéed Scallops that comes with a variety of mushrooms in Hama’s famous dynamite sauce and baked to perfection. The Soft Shell Crab, lightly battered and fried soft shell crab served with a tempura dipping sauce, is also a favorite.
If you’re trying to be healthy and avoiding carbs some will say why are you even at a sushi restaurant but you can circumvent that dilemma by ordering the sensational Sashimi Salad prepared with Chef’s choice of diced sashimi, mixed baby greens, avocado, cucumber and tomatoes tossed with a Hawaiian poke dressing. It’s the perfect combination of tasty protein without the carbs. Most sushi places get mad if you don’t eat the rice so this dish gets you out of that predicament. Guilt free sashimi…gotta love it!
Another excellent healthy choice, especially if you’re trying to be on your best behavior, is the Chilean Sea Bass marinated in sweet miso sauce, grilled and served with micro greens, fresh berries, and pine nuts. Consider the sweet miso a bit of a cheat but it really does add to the taste and the sea bass is excellent.
Now, if you can enjoy sushi rolls and you are eating carbs, try the Caterpillar Baked Eel and Cucumber topped with sliced avocado and sweet sauce. If you’re like me and you’re a fan of eel sushi, which I also wholeheartedly suggest, this order just gives you more. It’s so good.
Another favorite is the Venice Roll with spicy tuna and cucumber topped with seared tuna, avocado, jalapeños, and red onions, sprinkled with black sesame seeds and ponzu sauce. It’s the perfect combination of spice and savory taste. And of course perfect with a tall, cold beer or better yet, a nice cold saki presented in a very clever oversized wooden holder so not a drop will go to waste.
The Surf & Turf roll with shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, and spicy mayo, topped with filet mignon and green onions and seared with a garlic tamaji sauce is interesting and hearty but at $25 you may be better off revisiting a favorite order.
Now for the pièce de résistance, and although it does sound odd, and believe me, even I was reluctant to order this, give the Strawberry Roll with shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, and spicy mayo with snow crab, and strawberries, topped with a sweet sauce and sesame seeds, a try. It is phenomenal. I’ve only seen this roll at Hama Sushi and it’s now a must-order whenever I visit. Like eel sushi, it can almost be considered as dessert and a perfect selection to cap off your night. Personally, I’d rather order this roll than have ice cream after my meal.
A favorite West Side sushi haunt, Hama offers a fun atmosphere right by the beach, is void of attitude and pretension, and delivers quality sushi and the makings for a delightful night out.
Hama Sushi Restaurant is located at 213 Windward Avenue "on the circle" in Venice Beach. Hours: Monday – Thursday: 5 – 11PM; Friday & Saturday: 5 – 11:30PM; Sunday: 5 – 10:30PM; Happy Hour: 5-7PM daily. Call 310-396-8783. Valet parking available.