Tag Archives: sushi


Zipangu is an Asian Fusion restaurant located in The LAB in Costa Mesa.  I’ve seen it a number of times but never went in to check it out.  Finally after a recent shipping trip to South Coast Plaza, the Englishman and I decided to pop into Zipangu and see what it was all about.

We happened to come during happy hour (3-7 every day!), so we decided to take advantage and ordered some drinks and garlic fries.  Yes, garlic fries.

zipangu friesI have never had garlic fries at a sushi restaurant before, but these were delicious!  They weren’t super garlicky, but they were nice and crisp and were perfectly salted.  I may have to come back to Zipangu for the fries alone.

We were both in the mood for some sushi so we ordered some yellowtail, mackerel, and shrimp to share.  I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical since this restaurant has an item on the menu called the Kobayashi which is American Hot Dog Rolled Up with Rice & Soy Paper and Deep Fried, but I decided to give it a shot.

zipangu sushiI’m glad I gave the sushi a shot because it was delicious!  I don’t think it’s quite as good as Shunka or Kitayama, but definitely decent.  I also had a veggie roll, because why not?

zipangu veggie rollThe veggie roll was good, but nothing amazing.  Just your standard vegetable roll fare.

For the grand finale, the Englishman ordered the Chicken Kara-age, which is Japanese style deep-fried chicken.

zipangu fried chickenThe chicken came with a side of chipotle mayo and some peppers.  I only had a taste of the chicken but it was pretty good!

Not going to lie, I’ve never had fries, chicken and sushi rolls all in one sitting before, but somehow it worked.  Zipangu has a lot of other interesting Asian Fusion dishes I wouldn’t mind coming back and trying as well.  Plus, this place has a happy hour on the weekend, so that makes it an instant win.

O Fine Japanese Cuisine

Sometimes it seems like it is impossible to find good sushi at a reasonable price.  Aside from my love Kitayama, it’s been hard to find a decent sushi joint not too far from where I live.  Then O Fine Japanese Cuisine showed up.

O Fine Japanese Cuisine has been a staple in Laguna Beach for a while now, and it wasn’t until 2011 that they decided to open a second location in Irvine.  After hearing decent things, the Englishman and I decided it was time to dine at O.

The interior at O looks like a swanky club with blue lights and beaded curtains that greet you when you walk in.  The restaurant itself isn’t that big, but there is a decent size sushi bar.

The Englishman and I decided to sit at a table and started our meal with a round of drinks.  Sauvignon Blanc for me and Asahi for him.

The drinks were good but pricey.  I’d definitely recommend getting a drink at the wine bar next door instead of having a drink at O.

Next up was the Calamari with Spicy Carrot aka the Englishman’s favorite dish of the evening.

The calamari was good, but nothing earth shattering.  I’m sure I’ve had better calamari dishes at other restaurants, but this tasted just fine.

Then it was on to the sushi – I wanted to keep it simple so I got some vegetable and tuna rolls.

Like the calamari, the rolls were good but nothing to write home about.  The tuna roll even looked like it was put together in a rush as the cuts of fish were all over the place.  Regardless, we both cleaned our plates.

Would I come back to O?  Sure.  It’s in a good location, the fish is good and the prices aren’t too sky high.  I’d like to try some of their specialties next time to see if O has any standout dishes.

I’d recommend O Fine Japanese Cuisine if you are looking for a decent Japanese meal (the restaurant also has teriyaki and tempura dishes as well) and aren’t looking to break the bank.  But enjoy your cocktails at home, or head over to the wine bar next door after dining for a night cap.

O Fine Japanese Cuisine

6731 Quail Hill Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92603

Current Foodie Favorites: What’s up June

Every now and then I like to talk about some of my current (ongoing) food obsessions over at Sweet Potato Bites.  With summertime just around the corner, I felt it was time for another food obsession list.

Without further adieu…

1. The Acai Mojito at True Food Kitchen

There’s something about this mojito that was just so light and refreshing – maybe it was the Veev Acai, or the lemon juice or the fresh blueberries in the drink but it was just delightful.  I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time at True Food Kitchen this summer enjoying these mojitos.

2. Bruxie

Have you been to Bruxie yet?  If not, you really need to make it a priority to get down there and enjoy one of their delectable waffle sandwiches.  Seriously people, these are really good.  You can read more about my first experience with Bruxie here.

3.  Everything at Taco Mesa

I love Taco Mesa (and Taco Rosa) and nothing to me says summertime like enjoying some freshly made tacos and an ice cold beer.

4. The Scones at C’est Si Bon

C’est Si Bon may be a new (to me) food discovery and it’s certainly left an impression.  I spend nights dreaming about their raisin scones.  No, seriously.

5. Watermelon

Now that the temps are warming up – I can’t get enough.  Watermelon for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack?  Sounds good to me.  Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top and it’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

6.  The Calamari appetizer at Kitayama

I love pretty much everything at Kitayama but I really liked this Calamari appetizer.  It had the great calamari crunch but then also had a slightly spicy flavor to it.  Yum!

7.  The Shrimp Quesadillas at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar in Cabo San Lucas

Oh. My. Word.  These quesadillas were pretty fantastic, so fantastic in fact that I had this meal twice.  I plan on trying to recreate this shrimp quesadilla goodness at home, or at least see how Taco Mesa stacks up.  If you ever find yourself in Cabo San Lucas be sure to go to the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar and order the shrimp quesadilla at the Delfines pool bar or Tomatoes restaurant.

I was too busy stuffing my face with quesadillas so I never took a photo, so here’s a view of Cabo instead.


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