The City of Orange has a number of great sushi restaurants and though there may be more Japanese restaurants in some neighboring cities in Orange County, the humble pueblo of Orange is a definite treasure-trove for the earnest sushi-seeker. Each restaurant offers something rather different, so which you choose depends on what sort of experience you’re looking for. Traditional? Trendy? Delicious? Orange offers them all, so read on!
161 North Glassell St.
Monday – Saturday 11 am – 9 pm, Sunday 4:30 – 8 pm
Located close to Chapman University and the Orange Plaza (commonly know as The Circle), this is a popular place for locals and college students to catch lunch. Its street-front location creates a cozy, urban atmosphere, and all customers eat at tables; there’s no actual sushi bar. However, they do offer a wide selection of sushi that’s quite good and reasonably priced. Besides teriyaki, tempura, bento boxes and the like, there’s also a variety of boba teas available.
Koisan Sushi Bar
1132 E. Katella Ave.
Monday – Friday 11:30 am – 1:45 pm, Monday – Saturday 6 – 9:30 pm.
One of the older Japanese restaurants in town, Koisan has been in Orange for over 20 years and has a bit of a more authentic flair than most Orange County sushi bars. Head Chef Sam worked at a prestigious restaurant in Japan before coming to the states and the waitresses are even all garbed in traditional Japanese styles. Guests can choose to sit at the sushi bar or the dining room.
The dining room is rather elegant, with candles, napkins folded like roses and high-backed booths which feel spacious and private even though the room is not large. The menu is diverse, but mostly with a traditional bent.
The sushi bar is possibly the most intimate in the city, with guests able to chat with the chef and watch him prepare their sushi right before their eyes. Many customers are regulars and each of the two chefs has a loyal following. This is a more upscale restaurant, but not extremely pricey, and the food is excellent.
Quan’s Rockin’ Sushi
1107 North Tustin Avenue
Orange, CA 92867
open Monday – Sunday
Quan’s started out as a Chinese restaurant in 1975 and only added a sushi bar in 2003, and it rather shows. Although they have a variety of popular and contemporary sushi with names like Rockin Roll, Drum Roll and Electric Roll, there’s not much that’s impressive about it. The sushi isn’t bad, but it’s missing something when compared to what’s offered at Koisan and Tokyo CafÃ?Â©.
But that’s not really the point. Aside from being a Chinese restaurant AND a sushi bar, Quan’s is also a night club and karaoke bar. There is live entertainment Wednesday through Saturday, a daily happy hour, as well as pool tables, foosball and air hokey. Those simply looking for cheap sushi should take note that Quan’s offers sushi for a buck from 5:00 until 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm until 2:00 am, although there are cover charges and age restrictions some nights.
20 City Blvd W #602
A more trendy restaurant by the rather trendy and kind of soul-sucking Block at Orange. I haven’t been there, but it does exist and apparently isn’t bad. Go here for a more typical “The OC” experience.
1500 E. Village Way #2203
Part of a chain of Seafood and Sushi Buffets. Apparently they have an unbelievable spread, but I haven’t been there either. They recently opened a restaurant in Hong Kong and won a lot of awards there, which must be good for a Japanese resturant franchise started in California!