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Kitayama: the beginning of a sushi love affair

My dad first introduced me to Kitayama back when I was in college and wasn’t so sure about this whole “sushi” thing.  I carefully ordered California and Vegetable rolls and tried to steer clear of anything that had the word raw in it.  My dad on the other hand was happily ordering tuna rolls and sashimi like it was nobody’s business.  He offered me one of his spicy tuna rolls and like that I was hooked.  The roll was full of flavor and did not taste “fishy” or “raw” in the least.  After that I found myself trying all sorts of new kinds of sushi – from soft shell crab to unagi and seared albacore.

I have been to many sushi restaurants (and some ranked quite high in my book), but nothing will ever top the wonderful restaurant that is Kitayama in Newport Beach.  Perhaps it’s because I first learned to love sushi at Kitayama, or perhaps it’s because their sushi really is that good.  And you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it.  Ok, maybe an arm.  Kidding.

Since the Englishman’s arrival in the states, I’ve been dying to take him to Kitayama but kept waiting for a special occasion.  Finally we both agreed we had some stuff to celebrate and to Kitayama we went.  Most of the time I sit at the sushi bar, but since I wanted him to have the full Kitayama experience, we opted to sit inside the restaurant instead and have a proper meal.

We were both planning on ordering sushi, but we decided also to order an appetizer while we enjoyed our drinks (wine for her, beer for him).  Spicy Calamari it was:

The calamari was flavorful and had a nice spice to it.  The Englishman was hoping it was a bit spicier, but I liked it just fine.  We also had a crab and avocado salad but somehow that went undocumented.  Instead we decided to take pictures with chopsticks.

Eagerly Awaiting Sushi Domination

Then it was time for the sushi.  We had decided on the Red Snapper and Albacore Sashimi, a Spicy Yellowtail Roll, a Vegetable Roll and a Soft Shell Crab Roll.

First up was the Soft Shell Crab.

Soft Shell Crab Roll Waiting to be Eaten

Soft Shell Crab Rolls have always been one of my favorites and Kitayama never disappoints.  After the soft shell happiness, the Spicy Yellowtail and Vegetable Rolls were on tap.

Dish of Sushi Delights

Again, the rolls were pretty delicious.  I think next time I would order a Caterpillar Roll instead since while the Vegetable Roll was good, it wasn’t super memorable.

There was also that Red Snapper and Albacore Sashimi but it was devoured so quickly that I didn’t take a picture.  It was that good.

We left the restaurant feeling pleasantly satisfied and glad we finally treated ourselves to a delicious Japanese meal.

While Kitayama may not offer all you can eat, or sake specials, it does offer fresh, delicious fish in a very traditional Japanese setting.  Give me that over the sushi deals anyway.

Thanks Kitayama (and dad) for teaching me to love sushi.  You’ll always be the #1 sushi restaurant in my book.


101 Bayview Place

Newport Beach, CA