11 2017 May
Los AngelesTagged food, izakaya, japanese food, sawtelle

If you know Sawtelle Boulevard in West LA, you may know about all the wonderful Japanese restaurants there. Well, if you head a few blocks north and turn left on Santa Monica you can find Nanbankan. A restaurant serving up great Japanese izakaya at a surprising price. While they do have your classic dishes, including your favorite skewers, they do have specials which will have you coming back for more.

It was late, 9pm to be exact. Parking was pretty easy at this hour. Inside, the place was still packed, but we had reservations and our 8 person table was at the ready. Ordering was easy, so easy we had round after round of getting as much off the menu as possible. That’s izakaya for you. And even with a party of our size, we couldn’t cover the whole menu. Probably about half of it. And only one dish was a meh while the others were pretty damn good.

The service was great. Food came out in ample time and our server was never hard to find. Oh that was perfect to keep the drinks flowing.

My only wish was for this place to be open a bit longer. Their hours from 5:30pm to 10:30pm really makes it your starting off point for a Friday night. I guess if they’re opened even later, they’ll have to deal with stupid drunk patrons like myself. But how can one resist pairing drinks with such lovely dishes. I sure can’t. I guess next time I’ll have to start right after work, a happy hour, kinda like how they do it in Japan. Oh wait a second… I see what you did there.


11330 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
+1 (310) 478-1591

Verdict: For an affordable and delicious izakaya experience, you will want to give this a try.

Steamed Asari Clams

Mmmmm they have some juicy little clams cooked with garlic butter and white wine. After we finished off the clams we worked on the remaining juices. Servers kept coming by to take away the dish, but we had stopped them. We should have asked them for some bread though.

$7.00 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Kimo (Chicken Liver)

The chicken liver skewers were cooked with a thick sauce that hides that metallic taste. Still very good.

$4.50 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Nanban Yaki (Top Sirloin Beef)

The top sirloin beef tasted just as it looks, delicious. It could have used a little more charring but no one seemed to mind. The stuff disappeared pretty quick.

$4.75 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Negima (Dark Meat Chicken with Scallions)

Ah, the classic yakitori, but using the dark meat. Oh trust me, it makes a difference. These were in no way dry pieces of chicken. They were perfectly plump and a classic to your izakaya.

$4.00 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Tan (Beef Tongue)

Thinly sliced beef tongue skewered and grilled with just enough seasoning.

$4.75 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Yaki Onigiri

We got three of these grilled rice balls... er triangles. Stuffed inside these were either fish eggs or salmon. I love the crunch and fluffiness of the rice inside. And with the filling, it's total yumz.

$2.50 USD (each)

Ox Impressions: 


This was interesting as a grilled skewer. Not too spicy but I do like having them with bonito flakes better.

$3.00 USD (each skewer)

Ox Impressions: 

Tsukimi (Neck Meat)

Not sure how one gets meat off the chicken neck but however it's done, kudos. Because this was amazing and I recommend getting this if you can. Not a typical item I've seen at Izakaya places here in the states.

$4.50 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Geso (Squid Legs)

Look at those sexy legs! They're just as tasty as they look. So awesome they give you, in my opinion, the best part of the squid.

$3.00 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Black Cod

Nowadays it seems this stuff has become a staple on all izakaya menus and for our meal. Sharing may be difficult, but as long as you're all friends, simply dig in.

$9.00 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Gyu no Tataki

Looks good but I have to admit, this would have been better as the first course of dinner. The new york strip steak slices were chilled and served with a tangy ponzu like sauce. It's a bit odd having it between such hearty and bold flavors.

$12.00 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Bonbochi (Chicken Tail)

These little morsels were surprisingly good. So good we had to take pictures of those that weren't eaten up. And for me, the only good picture of them was the picture I took of my friends taking a picture of it. #foodieproblems

$4.50 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Australian Lamb

Grilled slices of lamb may be hard to share, but we asked for a knife and cut these up into nice plumps pieces. Well executed to the point where you get just a bit of that gameiness.

$13.00 USD

Ox Impressions: 


The star dish of tonight. So good, we ordered seconds. Dipped in that mustard or the yuzu kosho, that juicy duck breast was simply amazing.

$8.00 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Wagyu Beef

How can you not fall in love. Just look at that. Medium rare slices of yum. Sure it may not be the fattiest of cuts, nevertheless they were perfect for us.

$14.00 USD

Ox Impressions: 

Agedashi Tofu

Delicate tofu surrounded by a thin crispy crust swimming in a lightly sweet soy broth. What's there not to like? A good addition to our meal and the last pic in this series of food porn.

$4.50 USD

Ox Impressions: 

The OxPosted May 11, 2017 By the hungry ox

Leave a Reply

Scroll Up
 Previous  All works Next