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Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya is not just a sushi paradise, but a sushi heaven.

There’s a reason why Hollywood’s A lister crowd spends their time at Chef Katsuya’s eateries

Justin Bieber. Cara Santana. Ben Affleck. Cal Rosen. Charlize Theron. Sean Penn. Zoe Saldana.

Those are just some of the names who spend time at Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya at all locations, but especially Manhattan Beach. Partly because many stars have places in this enclave (which features some of the highest average prices for properties) but also because it’s Manhattan Beach. Of course, more Zagat rated restaurants in a square mile than most other spots in North America never hurts, either.

And it’s deserved. Chef Kasuya is one of the world’s top innovators and culinary magicians when it comes to sushi and all things Japanese cuisine. He helped Koi get off the ground with their first location 15 years ago, and has had a feature length documentary about him launched in 2015.

But let’s talk cuisine and design! Izaka-ya is located on Highland Ave in the heart of Manhattan Beach, only a few blocks from the ocean. The resto itself is a total open concept with a traditional Japanese eatery feel, with a full view of the wizards weaving sushi dragon magic before your eyes.

Izaka-ya sends me to heaven the moment any of their sushi hits my mouth. It is such a flavour explosion no matter what I taste. Chef Katsu-ya says that the way to the soul is through the eyes, and all you have to do is look at the gallery to see how visually stunning every sushi dish is.

Colour combinations. Colour composition. Plate placement. Flavour combinations not only for taste but for the eyes. The team’s dedication to quality and authenticity is incredible, and the lighting at the restaurant lends to showing the best of each plate that arrives.

The best part? It’s affordable. Unlike some other restaurants who have upped the prices based on their star status, Izaka-ya still has a lunch box for $15. Yes, that was not a typo. $15. Nothing on the menu is over $30, and legendary Izakaya Roll is priced at $15. It’s no wonder reservations are super hard to come by! Quality and price are close to unmatched in LA, let alone anywhere else in the world (except for Barcelona).

The other best part? Family friendly. I was there with my BFF Jaime and her 1 year old. It was her first time having sushi, and she was mowing down the salmon eggs! Little ones certainly know good food when they taste it! Start them young!

My fave? It was the lunch box special for sure. All the best elements of Japanese cuisine in one package. Salad, miso soup, and rice plus a choice of a roll (California, spicy tuna, tuna or cucumber), plus either beef teriyaki, chicken teriyaki, or salmon with tempura. How can you beat that for $15? Impossible.

If you’re in Manhattan Beach, I recommend to make a reso at the resto and enjoy a lunch or dinner. After you can have a gorgeous stroll along the beach, or on the streets of the quaint town, and you never know what stars you may spot while you’re meandering in Manhattan… Beach.

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