One of Little Tokyo’s Surest Bets: Suehiro Cafe

by Jessica on January 27, 2012

Kid Hit Menu Items: Suehiro is a slam-dunk for Little Tokyo comfort food: miso soup, rice, gauzy crisp tempura, teriyaki, don rice bowls topped with fried cutlets, agedashi tofu, udon and soba noodles, plus a couple kids’ menu items — but that’s hardly even necessary. I recommend saving dessert for a stop at Mikawaya.

Adult Perks: A lot of this is beer-friendly food, so you can drink familiar Japanese beers by the bottle (Kirin, Asahi), or Bud, or some wine that’s worth skipping, and a smattering of sakes. Suehiro is open very late; if you’re reading this site, however, you probably don’t care too much about that. It’s by no means one of Little Tokyo’s preeminent sushi destinations, but there’s a small sushi and sashimi list, with more rolls available at dinner service.

Pros: Suehiro’s low-ceiling room filled with laminate eating surfaces and a mix of booth and table seating has weathered decades of affectionate use. No wonder the service is friendly, and vibe totally relaxed and great for all ages. Plus a comfortable low counter fronts the service area, which is where my kids love to sit. Either order a sampling of smaller side dishes, or get a generous combo, most of which hover around the $12 mark. The corridor lined with drawings showcases what customers can do with a pen and napkin when given a few minutes to unleash their creativity while waiting for lunch or dinner. That’s if they’re not too busy reading the manga comics Suehiro keeps around.

Cons: Folks chasing the more current Japanese food trends in L.A. that lean towards ramen (Daikokuya is a few doors down), izakaya and robata will be disappointed.

Changing Station: Yes

High Chairs: Yes

Parking and Access: Street metered parking or various lots around Little Tokyo.

Other Tidbits: Suehiro Café has nestled into its own spot within the canon of classic Little Tokyo restaurants.  The kind that are short on fads and fanciness, and long on dignified neighborhood tradition. Late hours might distinguish it from the others, but it sits alongside perennial faves that serve up soul-satisfying Japanese cooking; restaurants such as Aoi (our family favorite growing up, which I’ll cover some other time) and Oomasa across the street in the Redevelopment era-Japanese Village Plaza. Suehiro has the charm of being located in the historic century-plus old commercial strip along East 1st, with those checkered tiles out front and a no-frills interior that’s straight out of a mid-century utilitarian supply catalogue. These contrasts help imbue it with that inimitable Little Tokyo character. (Some bamboo screens go a long way.) Combine with a trip on the Gold Line, the Geffen, JANM, etc. and you truly can’t go wrong.


337 East 1st Street, Little Tokyo
(213) 626-9132
Cuisine: Japanese
Price: $
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.; Friday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3.a.m.

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