Japonica (Redondo Beach, CA)

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Hamachi collar

Japonica provides an interesting modern take on Japanese food.  While it’s not exactly authentic, it’s got some creative fusions to make it stand out from the rest.  The interior is low lit and mellow.  Feels like a classy winebar in LAX or something.

The food itself ranges from $10-$30 a dish.  Majority of the food is Japanese style tapas.  Which means small, but delicious eats.  I usually get the hamachi collar and karage chicken. Their sushi/sashimi isn’t bad either, but it also isn’t going to amaze you. The atmosphere is more of a date environment than a stuff yourself silly type of establishment.  Parking is in the back and shared with the liquor store/bar. Cool place for a date, but definitely other places around for more bang for your buck.

1304 1/2 S Pacific Coast Hwy
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 316-9477

3-star

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Underbelly (San Diego, CA)

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Underbelly ramen

While in desperate search for ramen in San Diego, I discovered this place via Yelp.
The decor and interior is nothing like any ramen place I’ve been to before.  Its very open, modern, and stylish.  I ordered the Underbelly ramen which came with egg, chasu, bacon, and sausage?

While the noodles were a bit overcooked for my taste, the broth was legit.  A bit salty, but legit.
The meat is where I got confused.  Bacon? and Sausage?  In my opinion, it doesn’t mix well with the broth and ramen.  The sausage literally tasted like a hot dog, out of the 3 people in my group that got the Underbelly ramen, none of us actually finished or enjoyed the sausage/bacon.
Since Yamadaya and Santouka are in San Diego as well, I’d recommend people visit those locations for a more legit ramen experience.

750 W Fir St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 269-4626

3-star