Monday, August 20, 2007


In the center of Laguna Beach are a few boutiques mostly selling art, along with a few other clothes and surfer shops. Amongst this is a small restaurant that has been serving sushi for twenty years now. Ever since Hapi Sushi opened in 1983, it's been a local hangout and the interiors haven't changed at all. It looks like a dive and definitely isn't a typical Japanese sushi place especially with the Van Morrison playing in the background. The atmosphere is unique in that way - a casual California version of a sushi bar. There are different rolls on the menu plus some specials listed on the board behind the sushi counter. The menu doesn't list prices but expect to spend about $15 per person for a selection of California-style rolls and a miso soup.

On the evening we went, the place was pack having packed with locals having a quick meal. There were four of us plus my 5-year old who was fast asleep on the banquette. We ordered miso soup and followed with the crunchy roll (asparagus with crispy tempura batter), 79 special (grilled unagi roll with a sliver of strawberry and balsamic vinegar glaze), the special baked mussels, squid-jalapeno tempura), crispy mushroom with spicy mustard and a salmon skin temaki. The rolls were different, not authentically Japanese but delicious. It's only in California that this kind of place could exist.


The Cooking Ninja said...

mmm...sushi...I can never get enough of that.

Gourmet Traveller said...

Hi Cooking Ninja, I love sushi too and it's one of the things I miss living in Spain where I haven't really found fantastic sushi yet.

The Cooking Ninja said...

Me neither in Nantes. In Paris, we went to a real Jap resto - how we know it is real? We see Japs in there and the staff do speak Japanese and the chef is Japanese. :) But it's so expensive. We paid like 40 euros for a Bento set.

Gourmet Traveller said...

Hi Cooking Ninja,

I really appreciate the restaurant prices here especially for good sushi. Have you been to Sushi-Cho in the 8eme? It's pretty authentic but pricey as well.