Family owned since 1948, Yamashiro is one Los Angeles landmark that continues to be both relevant and even cutting edge, while remaining true to its rich heritage. This restaurant and event venue not only serves up some of the most breathtaking views in the city, but it also draws in the crowds with its Asian inspired menu – dishes like the aromatic Truffle Hamachi and the decadent Wagyu Steak on a Himalayan Salt Plate prove that there is nothing conventional about their classic specialties. Yamashiro also boasts a Koi pond, which is surrounded by manicured gardens that also serve as fitting backdrops to wedding ceremonies and other special events. The chic dining room is worth visiting year-round, and the new Pagoda Bar is the latest summer destination.Read More ...
A landmark restaurant set on the eastern edge of the Hollywood Hills, Yamashiro is renowned for its spectacular views over Los Angeles. The structure dates back to 1914, when the wealthy Bernheimer brothers commissioned the construction of a suitable showcase for their extensive collection of Asian treasures. The resultant building is a replica of a palace in the Yamashiro mountains near Kyoto, Japan. Most of the original art collection was auctioned off in 1922 following the death of one of the brothers, but the building itself grew in importance, beginning in the “roaring twenties” when it became the host of the exclusive 400 Club, whose members included prominent personalities in the film industry. It’s no surprise that such a charismatic building has been used in many movies over more than five decades, among them Marlon Brando’s The Teahouse Of The August Moon (1956) and, more recently, 2005’s Memoirs of a Geisha.
At the beginning of World War II, the building was clad in board and paint to disguise it from people who might want to damage such a conspicuous reminder of Japan, and used as a military school for boys. When the war was over, the property was purchased by a builder, who added a second story and carved it up into 15 apartments. In 1948 Thomas O. Glover bought what was, by then, a fairly dilapidated structure, intending to flatten everything and redevelop the site. Just in time, he discovered the ornate woodwork and silk wallpaper hidden under layers of paint, and realized the building was too important to demolish. The ensuing restoration took 20 years and resulted in the sublime structure we see today. Yamashiro became a restaurant in the 1960s, but continues to benefit from ongoing improvements to the building and grounds.
Day or night, the views are incredible, although the nighttime ones are more romantic (if you arrive at dusk you get the best of both worlds). But while the setting is undeniably a huge draw, the food shouldn’t be overlooked. Executive Chef Jason Park and Chef de Cuisine Brock Kleweno have devised a well-considered (and award-winning) menu of CalAsian cuisine that, if our recent visit is anything to go by, outshines other supposed five-star restaurants in the city. From start to finish, our evening was a treat.
Yamashiro offers several distinct dining areas: the bar to the right of the reception (where you can have just a drink, if you prefer); the dining room to the left (in fact a labyrinth of rooms stretching around the front and side of the building); and the interior courtyard, with its Christmas lights, landscaped gardens, and stone pools, where the décor is beautiful but the views missing. Each space has its own particular ambience but all evoke a sense of opulent calm, a rare treat in hectic LA. The overall atmosphere is wonderfully intimate, and although there’s a lot of background noise from other diners, somehow it enhances the experience without being overwhelming – you can still carry on a normal conversation. There is music – piped into the restaurant, and live from a DJ in the bar area most Fridays and Saturdays – but it's not intrusive.
Yamashiro appeals to all kinds of diners – small groups of friends, large parties celebrating special occasions, Japanese tourists, businessmen doing deals, and couples on romantic nights out. After all, who can resist spending the evening in good company, with Los Angeles laid out like a shimmering carpet below? Even if your table doesn’t face out directly over the city, there are lovely vistas from the side tables, and you can spend a few minutes before and after your meal contemplating them, perhaps taking a walk along the paths through the landscaped gardens. Be sure to look for the 600-year-old pagoda, brought over from Japan by the Bernheimers and said to be the oldest building in California.
Not surprisingly, the restaurant’s stunning function rooms, which can accommodate between 30 and 1,000 people, are popular for weddings, corporate events, and galas. And if the question of what to wear to such a place poses a dilemma, take heart: you can dress up to the nines or come in casual clothing – this is a place to see not be seen.
For our visit, we had to change the booking at very short notice, but they managed to accommodate us, despite the restaurant being busy. We were seated in the main restaurant, at a table with partial city views. Our server, Tricia, was ultra-friendly, and had great suggestions for wines by the glass and non-alcoholic cocktails (we chose a potent blended Margarita, a smooth Carmel Road Chardonnay, and a Virgin Mai Tai). In hindsight, we’re glad we'd ordered quickly; if we’d opened the extensive drinks list it would have taken us hours to decide from among the huge array of beverages, which include California wines, hot sakes, chilled sakes, bottled and draft beers, plus various elixir tonics and teas. And that's before you get to the cocktail menu, which features no less than nine varieties of Martini.
The food menu is likewise vast, encompassing sushi, sashimi, sushi rolls (aka “Yama's Rockin' Rolls”), soups, salads, steaks, fish, and more. Vegetarians will have a hard time here (though there is at least one meat-free salad and entrée), while fish and sushi lovers will be in their element. And how about these for the ultimate in surf ‘n’ turf: Cracked Pepper Filet Mignon and Australian Lobster Tail, or Wagyu ‘Kobe’ Ribeye and Grilled Prawns?
Our appetizers arrived quickly, and in generous sizes. Yamashiro Crispy Chicken comprised four thick strips of meat coated in what looked like Rice Krispies resting on a pile of succulent apple-cabbage coleslaw in a mustard-tinged dressing. Scattered over the top were 'crispy potato ribbons,' which were more like warm chips. Delicious as it was, we chose not to finish the dish in case we couldn’t manage the entrées.
Our second appetizer was straightforward yellowtail, tuna, and unagi (freshwater eel) sushi, two pieces of each, served simply with hot wasabi and thinly sliced ginger. Delicious and impeccable. If you like sushi but have a hard time deciding which type to choose, note that Yamashiro offers a variety of sushi platters to spare you the agony.
It was a good 15 minutes before our entrées were served – understandable, as the dining room was busy, and we were grateful for the breathing space anyway. The Sweet and Spicy Shrimp was stunning, the five crustaceans coated delicately in a sauce that struck the right balance between the two flavors, accompanied by sticky rice in a cake form and small chunks of pan-fried bok choy and scallions that added a splash of color.
Our second entrée was Chipotle-Citrus Lamb Chops – five small cutlets with a hint of heat, the edges char-grilled to perfection, the middle mouthwateringly juicy. The accompanying wild rice with pieces of palm hearts, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes was competently cooked, if less than thrilling.
The third dish, Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna, was another tour de force – four huge chunks of perfectly seared fish, served with two wedges of yuzu-chili potato gratin, an Asian take on the French gratin dauphinois. The sautéed maitake mushrooms and tomatoes that came as part of the dish were too pretty to eat (almost).
When we had sat down to dinner, we had commented on how difficult it is to eat a three-course meal in most restaurants in this country; however, when it came to the crunch, we found it impossible to resist going the whole hog. Yamashiro’s desserts, courtesy of pastry chef Alejandro Andrade, are dainty but hearty. The Warm Chocolate Soufflé Cake with Hot Fudge Sauce, while – contrary to its description – wasn’t served warm, took precisely three seconds to scoff. The cake was slightly crunchy on the outside, the chocolate not too dark or sugary – in short, it satisfied our craving for something sweet without being sickly.
Our second dessert, Strawberry Preserve Filled Donuts, was devoured in record time too. The donuts weren't particularly light or fluffy, but were freshly cooked. The accompanying 'dip' of crème anglaise was actually a small bowlful – way more than was necessary for the donuts, but we weren’t complaining.
To sum up, Yamashiro is an outstanding restaurant where the talent in the kitchen more than matches the location. Everything we tried – even the lattes – was excellent, and, although you leave with your wallet noticeably lighter than when you came (we paid around $75 per person including service, for two and a half courses and one drink each), I reckon it's worth every cent. For a special occasion or just a 'what-the-heck' moment, a visit to this restaurant is justified. In fact, the only downside we can think of is that the restrooms are located downstairs, so plan your beverage consumption accordingly!
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Yamasiro sits in one the most enviable locations in the Hollywood Hills. As a first time visitor to Los Angeles, it was great to sit back and enjoy the amazing views, whilst being looked after very attentively by the staff. The food chioce is huge and you will not come away dissapointed. A "must do" for everyone who visits LA. I would definately go back
Made reservations for my girlfriend and I's anniversary. Sushi was great (You need to get the Comfort Me, Amore roll), staff gave us the best seats in the house, desert sushi was amazing, Japanese Garden was incredible at night. So yea, definitely go.
GREAT GREAT FOOD AND SERVICE!!!! I loved the setting, loved the service and truly truly enjoyed the food. To die for food.
Awesone place!! I was celebrating my ten year anniversay and all my request were met. From getting a table by the window, to the waiter bringing us a small cup cake with a candle and wishing us a happy anniversary. The evening was perfect. Thank you guys so much!!!
Awesome place!! My wife and I were celebrating our ten year anniversay and all my request were met. From getting a table by the window, to the waiter bringing us a small cup cake with a candle and wishing us a happy anniversary. The evening was perfect. Thank you guys so much!!!
I love it.
The entire dining experience at Yamashiro's makes the evening an event rather than simply a dinner out. The view over Los Angeles is superb. Service is very friendly and professional. The food is what you would expect - excellent. I haven't tasted such fresh and tender sushi ever. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants a great night out.
The restaurant is great, it looks beautiful and the staff was great. My major issue with the restaurant is I spend $265 for two people. However, the food was not even close to being worth $265. Note this was for valentine's day so i know they jack up the price. However, this is not a regular go to restaurant because it is not worth the price. It's great for special occasions.
THE SUSHIS WERE LITTLE SALTY BUT THE STEAK WAS TENDER AND DELICIOUS!
The view was phenomenal, the food was top notch and the service was on point. Definitely take a date here if you wanna get some action!
My wife and I had a wonderful time at Yamashiro for our 17th wedding anniversary. The service and food were great and the view was simply amazing. Great experience overall.
Their New Year's package was wonderful! The multiple dishes (Our party of 3 ordered one of everything!) were beautifully prepared and delicious! The service was excellent with only a couple of minor delays likely due to the complexity of the menu and the enormous number of guests. The atmosphere was cordial, quiet, efficient and every staff member we encountered was courteous, helpful and informed. All in all one of the best restaurant experiences I have had in my 14 years of living in Hollywood!
I researched restaurants on line and found Yamashiro to be highly recommended. I was not disappointed at all. The history, the ambiance, service, and food were all excellent. I also found it to be a good value for the money given the location and caliber of restaurant. I would highly recommend it.
This is a place that you can visit... It's wonderful... Here you can't remember that you're in a big city... Peace, green, and very nice rooms.
I went in for a Valentine's Day dinner and got more than i bargained! It looked nice in photos but it's just a sight to see. The women that work there are dressed in traditional Japanese attire which really shows they put work into it. The wait time was about 10 minutes. Perfect to sit down with your date and talk about the restaurant itself. The service was great! There were a couple of things I didn't know about the menu. Such as what things were on the menu, the waiter knew it all! He gave my date and I suggestions and we went with them! The food there is amazing. Not too pricey for the service you get. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who's in search of a date and wants to try something new!
Make sure you have enough time to be there when the sun is out and then stay there until the sun goes down to see a spectacular romantic view of the city. Bring your girl and I guarantee you will get some. If you have time check out the gardens. I was very pleased.
One of the great places to eat in LA, for LA'ns who haven't been up to Yamishiro they should really go. Can be very Romantic, prices very reasonable, food is as good as Koi's or better, selection is good. Service was great. Views are amazing, make a reservation for the courtyard or main house. Highly recommended!
This restaurant was overall not only a gorgeous and unique location but had surprisingly delicious food. I highly recommend this restaurant for celebrations from birthdays to a romantic dinner for two. Great place to have a party-good variety of drinks and reasonable sushi dishes and appetizers to snack on. Entrees are a bit pricey though..
It is a very nice place to take that special someone for dinner!
Excellent fish, sushi, and red meat options. Great LA view.
Great location, good food but pricy.
This restaurant is absolutely beautiful. We sat in the garden which was so beautiful and the whole experience were very nice. Food is delicious and the staff friendly.
This wonderful Asian restaurant has probably the best views of the Greater Los Angeles area. The food was very tasty, and the portions were large, especially he pieces of sashimi. I'd highly recommend this restaurant for tourists especially because of the view.
Great food for the money (by LA standards). I had the Darth Vader and Seattle rolls, while my wife had the seared Ahi filet, a great combination of Japanese and Californian flavors. The restaurant was very noisy inside, and there was no dress code. Our server was very nice, but took a while to come around at times. The views are spectacular if you have the right table. I would recommend coming here, it is worth the negatives.
Me & my BF spent are anniversary @ the restaurant..The view is amazing. The ambient was satisfactory & exceeded expectations. Although it was a bit pricey..
I visited yamashiro on new years eve and I was very impressed by the view of Los Angeles. All seats have a good view. Awesome restaurant to take a love one and take pictures. But here are some pros and cons. Pros: view, location, service, and ambiance. Cons: food and drinks way over priced, valet parking is mandatory and food is just ok. Overall had an awesome time at yamashiro but way overpriced. Gratuity for party of two was $32!!
love the views and loved the ty ku. I discovered it there and have become a big fan. the food is a little pricey here but the views are worth it.
I would love to bring family & friends to enjoy the wonderful dining experience and great view!
A bit Pricey but still a great restaurant to go to and enjoy a nice evening,enjoy the view and company.
tops for view, ambience, food, service.
View & ambiance were great. The food was actually quite good in terms of taste (we had 2 of the special rolls - sorry I forget the exact names), but were over-priced, but that's the premium for the views. However, the desserts were too rich/sweet. Make sure you drive to the restaurant or be prepared for a good windy walk uphill (less than 1 mile, but seems longer due to the steep incline) to the restaurant up a dark 1-way street.
Great place to enjoy a nice meal with my girlfriend, I will definitely come back again.
Excellent food and views. I would definitely return!
Loved the overall ambiance, decor and vibe. I look forward to returning and trying some of the other items on the menu.
OK, but not special.
If you're like spending money for valet parking and to see views from a high point, you go here. If you're looking for a great meal/dinner that's worth your money, go somewhere else.
Good only for the view
Sushi was average just came from san francisco and suprised my gf wit this place..heard it was all that, a fire truck came blocked the nice view I guess somebody passed out..but yea really expensive for what I thought was average ehhh at least the limo ride was fun
This historic piece of LA history while special is not the romantic hideaway it may have been once. Very touristy and priced accordingly. However, if that is what you are looking for you have found it at Yamashiro. It could use some updatting work in the main restaurant, a bit tired and worn. Food was ok but not worth the price points. Almost double for good Sushi you can find all over LA. Their classic dishes are pushed heavily and while good, will eat into your travel or date budget. I had the ribs which were very tasty and my husband had the black cod also good but not enough for him. I shared my ribs which were plentiful. We had the Lobster roll to start which was also good but pricey. Again our Japanese waitress was charming, friendly and attentive.
Wonderful view, mediocre food.
The restaurant is very nice, but the seats were wayy too close. The waiter was not very nice, he didn't seem like he cared in any way. He made it seem like I was annoying him. The food was not worth the money. LET ME REPEAT. NOT WORTH THE MONEY. I had the darth vader rolls, and some chicken dish. My friend had the seafood platter. We were shocked at how the restaurant was. Not only did i read reviews before going. I thought it was going to be a great experience. People that say this restaurant is soo damn good. Well to the people that thought yamashiro was good, all i have to say to you is you have never tried good cuisine, if you thought this restaurant met your expectations. it was 120 dollars for two people, the experience was not at all I thought it would be. To make matters worse we just felt like we were an annoyance to the waiters life when all we were doing is ordering food.
comments or suggestions i have for u guys is first of all do not include the tip in the total price if it is possible leave it optional over 8%. i think guys should serve more food, more quantity. the food you guys serve your customers look like appetizers. change the prices. reduce the price to a fair acceptable price.
I think with the charge of each plate must be better, and the service is horrible.