While Sushi and Sashimi always steal the show, poor little Tempura rarely gets the foodie spotlight. Not so, Aiko! Kyoto-style Tempura Endo sees beautiful battered bits given the star treatment, with LA finally getting the high-end tempura eatery it deserves.
A lantern-lit stone entry welcomes you, and a tranquil alley-meets-garden ushers you inside. Japanese incense swirls, simple screens fringe portals and ceramic tableware lines the shelves, while soothing neutral tones, fans and flowers ensure Endo is an intimate affair.
This elegant, understated Beverly Hills space offers a few private rooms, but the main attraction is the copper-topped tempura bar, where diners can experience the full omakase prepared by chef Satoshi Masuda. Think batter-encased delicacies like sea urchin, king crab, abalone, and scallop, with an emphasis on seasonal flair and crisp, light and healthy dining (cue high-quality oils).
Vegetarians can enjoy too, with treats spanning eggplant, corn, lotus root flower and tofu. Tasting menus include salads, rice dishes and miso soup, with pricier degustations offering Wagyu and scallop, truffle and caviar combos; wrap up with sherbert desserts and a matcha tea ceremony. Sip on beer, sake, sparkling wine or plum wine. Kampai!
Kyoto is Japan’s ancient capital, so food here keeps with tradition. It also guards its mysteries, such as its delicately seasoned house dipping sauce, made with a secret recipe, and specially selected flavour-enhancing salt. Choose between bar seats, tables or the ritualistic tea room.9777 S Santa Monica Blvd / Beverly Hills / +1 310 274 2201 / 5pm-midnight Mon-Sat / beverlyhills-endo.com