Where to Eat Well in Torrance

City Los Angeles County

Torrance has become known for many things since 1921, including food.

Even though Little Tokyo and Japantown have come on strong with a rush of recent openings, more good Japanese meals are still available in L.A.’s South Bay. Thanks to an early boost from Japanese car companies like Nissan (now in Tennessee) and Toyota (soon to be in Texas) that set up North American headquarters in the area, Torrance saw the rise of restaurants that met the needs of autoworkers who were homesick for sushi, yakitori, ramen and more. Now you can also find good food from other cuisines. Learn about 19 of my favorite food options in Torrance.

Numbers on the map correspond to listings below and appear in alphabetical order instead of order of preference.

1. Beni Tora [CLOSED]

Ramen Torrance

Mitsuwa Marketplace is a hub for Japanese food, with a supermarket, regional pop-ups, and a fully loaded food court. The Torrance branch contains two ramen options, including Beni Tora, which started in 1990 in Tokyo and sports a red tiger logo. Step up to a window that has plastic versions of food on display. They specialize in tan tan men based with pork broth. I’d suggest Spicy Red Sesame Tan Tan Men with pan-fried ground pork, red chile powder and chile pods. Black Sesame Tan Tan Men with ground pork and crunchy bean sprouts is also compelling. Big gyoza are oversized pan-fried pork dumplings, and in this case, bigger is definitely better.

MUST ORDER DISHES: Big Gyoza, Black Sesame Tan Tan Men, Spicy Red Sesame Tan Tan Men

2. Habana Vieja

Cuban Food Torrance

Habana Vieja’s hearty arroz con pollo warrants a 40-minute wait.

This Cuban restaurant in Torrance’s CarsonWestern plaza features mottled mauve walls lined with Cuban instruments and decorative crosses. Owners Terra Carrillo and Elizabeth Solis may not be Cuban. Neither is chef-partner Alex Chavez, but he does have 25 years of Cuban restaurant experience, and he’s clearly paid attention, since the restaurant serves some of L.A.’s best comida Cubana. Every meal starts with bean dip, sour cream and toast. From there, I’d suggest rabo encendido starring tender ox-tail braised in red wine sauce; adobo pork legs broiled with sour orange and garlic; and crowd pleasing arroz con pollo. This chicken dish combines saffron rice, skin-on, bone-in dark meat and beer as the finishing touch.

MUST ORDER DISHES: Adobo Pork Legs, Arroz Con Pollo, Rabo Encendido

3. Hakata Ikkousha Ramen

Ramen Torrance

Hakata Ikkousha’s gothic ramen isn’t pretty to look at, but delivers bold flavor.

Chef Kousuke Yoshimura operates more than 20 branches of Hakata Ikkousha Ramen across Asia and Southern California. The latest SoCal outpost is located in Torrance’s Eastgate Plaza. The space features a dragon logo, wall-mounted map of existing locations, wood tables and countertops. Start with tiny Hitokuchi gyoza with thin skins and juicy pork fillings. From there, their ramen menu provides several different paths. Tonkotsu Black packs big flavor thanks to the creamy pork broth, garlic oil and gritty black pepper. Thin noodles, house-made chashu, crunchy wood ear mushrooms, and green onions round out the bowl. You should also add an oozy egg.

MUST ORDER DISHES: Tonkotsu Black Ramen (+ Flavored Egg), Hakata Specialty Hitokuchi Gyoza

4. Hasu Kitchen of Japan

Japanese Food Torrance

Hasu grills juicy tsukune and richly flavored “muscle liver” skewers.

Hasu Yakitori has enlightened an otherwise dark Torrance strip mall since 2009 and specializes in yakitori, chicken-centric Japanese skewers. The name Hasu translates from Japanese as “lotus flower,” and the imagery enlivens an otherwise straightforward space with black banquettes and red oval lanterns. Your cavalcade of skewers should include supple marinated Special Heart, crunchy Cartilage, de-boned Chicken Wing, savory Pork Belly w/Cod, and herb-dusted King Oyster Mushroom. Chicken Gizzard Miso Stew features tender, almost like clam meat, earthy flavor, and zing from ginger and spicy mustard. Seasoned Ground Chicken Bowl arrives on a fluffy bed of white rice with nori and punchy pickled ginger. Chicken & Mushrooms Pot Style is available from October through March and touts dark meat chicken chunks, enoki, shimeji, and shitake mushrooms, and a light chicken broth.

MUST ORDER DISHES: Cartilage, Chicken & Mushrooms Pot Style, Chicken Gizzard Miso Stew, Chicken Wing, King Oyster Mushroom, Muscle Liver, Pork Belly w/Cod Roe, Seasoned Ground Chicken Bowl, Special Heart

5. Ichimiann

Japanese Food Torrance

Ichimiann’s special soba (buckwheat noodles) are fantastic when paired with unagi (freshwater eel).

The Olde Torrance outpost of Ichimiann, aka Bamboo Garden, is also part of a Torrance chain that also includes Inaba, I-NABA Steakhouse and a second Ichimiann in Rolling Hills Plaza. They’re best known for house-made noodles: buckwheat-based soba and springy udon. Explore a variety of toppings, which basically come down to how adventurous you want to get, and whether you prefer hot or cold noodles. I’d suggest their excellent soba soup topped with unagi, or udon in a bonito-based fish broth. Turn your meal into a Tempura Bowl Combo by adding a side of delicately fried shrimp, white fish, squid and vegetables (eggplant, green bean, and kabocha squash).

MUST ORDER DISHES: Soba Soup with Unagi, Udon Soup with Make, Tempura Bowl Combo



Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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