Poke, a Hawaiian word meaning ‘to cut’ is the newest foodie trend to hit the LA
culinary scene. While this dish has been on the map for years now, it’s only started to take off. It’s a traditional staple of Hawaiian cuisine, with many delicious variations, but the authentic dish usually consists of raw sushi-grade ahi tuna cut into cubes and marinated with onions, soy sauce, and a little spice. Here are the best spots to try this healthy, sushi-esque delicacy.
Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
Even though poke shops have been popping up all over the city, this is the original restaurant that has been serving the community of Venice fresh tuna for years. Located right on the Venice boardwalk, customers can eat their raw fish right out of a plastic bowl while lounging on the sand, which is just how the Hawaiians intended it to be eaten. Truly authentic, they offer it served ‘Hawaiian style,’ which is just raw tuna and onions without any rice to detract from the flavor. Beware as they’re only open for lunch, and sometimes the line can be long, but it’s worth the wait to get the good stuff.
Poke-Poke, 1827 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA, USA, +1 424 228 5132
This has to be one of the most popular poke joints on the Westside. Located right next to a slew of prevalent restaurants and trendy apartments, this poke stop has garnered a lot of attention for their customizable bowls and all gluten- and dairy-free options. Try the signature Mango Albacore, which spices up a regular old poke with some bright fruit flavors, crunchy macadamia nuts, and tangy ginger. Also, their bamboo rice as a base is out of this world, as is the kale citrus salad.
Sweetfin Poké, 829 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA, USA, +1 310 395 1097
Based in Westwood Village to cater to students and office workers nearby, Poke Me (pronounced po-kay), have gained acclaim with their customers for their super fresh fare and generous portions. The price is right too, and they keep people coming back with their frequent customer card, so you can eat fresh fish for lunch every day if you so please.
Poke Me, 1244 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 323 815 1566
Big Daddy’s Poke Shack
Venice and poke go together so well that there are a lot of thriving shops all along the beach to discover. This is a tiny shop that is pretty well established and serves great fresh fish in a lot of different varieties. The wait can sometimes be long but it’s deserved since they cut and mix all the fish as it is ordered as opposed to pre-making it and letting it sit out. They also have some great island vibes going on out on their patio, which helps us imagine we’re really eating in Hawaii.
Big Daddy’s Poke Shack, 79 Windward Ave, Venice, CA, USA, +1 310 400 6853
Oh My Poki
Restaurant, Grocery Store, Japanese, Korean
Oh My Poki
Located in a super cool specialty Asian grocery store in Little Tokyo, this poke shop gives their dishes a Japanese twist. They offer tantalizing toppings such as furikake, seaweed, crabmeat, scallions, and masago, along with nutty Korean brown rice. The key to a great poke is that all the ingredients have to be incredibly fresh, especially since almost everything in it is raw, and this place goes above and beyond. Split the monster bowl with a friend or try the poke nachos for something new.
Oh My Poki, 333 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA, USA, +1 213 628 3489
Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
This spot in WeHo has the stamp of approval from Hawaiian locals. Toppings like fresh avocado are a staple in California poke bowls and only enhance the traditional flavors of yellowfin tuna and white onions marinated in a house ponzu sauce, which is perfectly sweet and salty. Add a little heat with some spicy mayo or some crunch with edamame beans and sesame seeds.
Poke Bar, 8539 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA, USA, +1 310 657 4294