Yamashiro2

Los Angeles, California

Sarai and recently I spent a week in Los Angeles, extending Memorial Day weekend by a couple days on either side, and made a point of hitting a few old familiar spots. Saturday evening we went bar hopping with Nathan, starting off with drinks at Yamashiro, overlooking Hollywood and downtown LA.

Yamashiro cocktail menu

Yamashiro is actually a Japanese restaurant, but the restaurant bar has a great view that, in itself, makes the trek up the hill worthwhile. On a clear day you can see Catalina island from here (the tricky part is getting a clear day in LA). By nearly all accounts, the food here is overpriced and fairly mediocre — I’ve never tried it personally — but the view makes up for it, especially from the bar.

Los Angeles, as seen from Yamashiro
Los Angeles, as seen from Yamashiro

We ordered from the specialty cocktail menu: Sarai had the Green Tear Drop, made with citrus vodka and green tea liqueur, Nathan had the Blue Sapphire Martini, made with vodka, sake, lychee juice, and blue curacao (and garnished with a lychee!), and I ordered the ill-advised Yuzu Pom Pom Martini. The name should have tipped me off on this one. The Pom Pom is made with vodka, pomegranate puree, and sweet-and-sour, and was entirely too sweet. The sugared rim didn’t help either. Both Nathan’s and Sarai’s drinks were better; I’ve had the blue lychee one in the past and it’s pretty good, if a bit sweet as well.

Cocktails at Yamashiro
Yamashiro’s signature cocktails

On the down side, parking is valet-only and they’ll ding you $6 for the convenience. I don’t mind paying for valet parking if I have a choice (although I’ll nearly always choose to park myself), but mandatory valet parking should be free, especially at the prices they’re charging for food and drinks.

The specialty cocktails are $12 each, and while the view is great, the bar really isn’t our usual scene, so we left after our first round. Come here for one drink, then move on.

Comments 2 Comments So Far

Mai Tai Lover

Wow, you were really hard on Yamashiro’s.

How can you say the food is mediocre if you haven’t tried it? Plus, the fact that the drink was “too sweet” for you, doesn’t mean it was a bad drink, it just means it wasn’t the drink for you. I had Norman’s Mai Tai, and it’s the best Mai Tai I’ve ever had.

I recently read an article that listed Yamashiro’s as the BEST restaurant in LA. So, next time you’re in town, you might try to slow down a little and appreciate it as it is meant to be…leisurely.

I’ll agree with you on the forced valet parking, only in that it costs something. But the restaurant is nestle amongst the tiny, rolling Hollywood Hills streets, and they have to force people to park in their lots or else the neighbors would not be happy.

The views are breathtaking, even when it is a little smoggy.

Kenn | kennwilson.com

How can you say the food is mediocre if you haven’t tried it? Plus, the fact that the drink was “too sweet” for you, doesn’t mean it was a bad drink, it just means it wasn’t the drink for you.

From where I sit, that’s exactly what I said. I admitted that I hadn’t tried the food and was reporting what others have told me, and I didn’t even say the drinks were _bad_, just that they were too sweet, particularly the one I ordered.

But thanks for your thoughts anyway.