It’s your LA right and it’s an LA MUST. Yamashiro has been an unofficial LA landmark and has a played a major roll in this city’s history since it was finished being built in 1914. Yamashiro of course was not always a restaurant. It started as a private residence and has since morphed into a variety of places in which to entertain, including an exclusive “members only” bar for the Hollywood industry elite. Yamashiro sits 25o feet above Hollywood Blvd and to this day offers some of the best views of the LA basin. It has been a full service restaurant for a number of years now and for good reason it has stood the test of LA time. You might have heard rumors a little while back that Yamashiro had closed, as I had, but I was happy to learn that the fact of the matter was that Yamashiro closed for all of two days so that new ownership/management could take over. I hadn’t been to Yamashiro prior to the ownership change, but it’s safe to say there’s still plenty of reason to visit and return again and again.
As you can see from the photos, the first impression of Yamashiro is “IMPRESSIVE”. It’s grandiose exterior and classic Japanese design and architecture looks like something straight out of a movie set (and there have of course been movies filmed there) – you truly feel transported. Between the huge incredible space, the stunning surrounding Japanese gardens, the views, the dim cozy lighting and proper Japanese decor… it should come as no surprise that this place is a bit of a jaw-dropper.
Yamashiro is such an LA institution that prior to having visited myself, I was worried might border on kitschy. I was worried about it being more of a Disney kind of experience rather than something genuinely unique. Clearly I was wrong. And where I was most pleasantly surprised and impressed was actually with the food. The food. is. amazing. Executive Chef Christophe Bonnergrace, formerly of Buddha Bar & Little Buddha in Las Vegas, is clearly loving his new role and is having a great time perfecting each of his wonderful Japanese inspired creations – the man does not skimp on quality either, LET ME TELL YOU.
Yamashiro may seem touristy, it may border on $$$, but frankly it really is just one of those places in LA you have to go to, even if it’s just for a drink or for their great happy hour. You can make as big or as little of a deal out of it as you like, I’m just saying if you haven’t been or you haven’t been in a while, go.
Favorite Beverage | the thing with Yamashiro’s cocktails, I’ll be honest, is that they are GORGEOUS, but they’re not my kinds of cocktails. They’re all on the sweeter side (and I just mean their specialty cocktail list), so I opted for wine! That is not to say you shouldn’t try one of them – a lot of them come with flowers in them which is always a bonus.
Must Order | The calamari – it’s possibly the best calamari I’ve ever had. Chef explained to me his process of cooking these and let’s just say whatever he’s doing is working – they are so crispy, so not oily, and so damn delicious. Outside of that you have to get the Asian BBQ Baby Back Ribs (pork baby back ribs slow braised in duck fat for 4 hours, served with spicy bbq sauce), the Scallop sashimi (he has these flown in from Hokkaido Japan!!!), the Truffle Hamachi, and of course Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice. If you save room for dessert don’t miss their Strawberry filled donuts or their Sorbet Trio (made in house).
Perfect Spot For | dinner // special occasion // out-of-towners // something different // something classic // just drinks at the bar // happy hour // events // delicious Japanese food // dinner with a view
Fun Fact | Yamashiro has a great Happy Hour!! It’s from 5 – 8 pm every Monday – Thursday and it’s a great excuse to go up the hill and step outside the norm.
BONUS Fact | Omg. So many bonus facts. If you’d like to read the full history behind Yamashiro (which you should) click HERE!
YAMASHIRO // 1999 N. Sycamore Ave. Hollywood, CA 90068
Sunday–Thursday: 5:00pm – 11:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 5:00pm – 12:00am