Kai Japanese Roots

3.5
23 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$31 to $50
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Japanese
Top tags:
  • Happy Hour
  • Authentic
  • Good for Birthdays
Kai Japanese Roots offers a Elevated Izakaya dining experience, and only the highest quality sushi grade fish. Featuring Sushi, Robata and a creative Japanese tapas, we pay homage to classic sushi and innovate with an extensive and changing chef's menu of cooked dishes. Kai Japanese Roots is located in the Historic Core of Downtown LA , offering a beautiful setting, and a menu perfect for a date night or hangout spot. Full bar along with extensive Japanese Whisky and sake list.
What 23 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
3.5based on recent ratings
3.8
Food
3.7
Service
3.7
Ambience
3.6
Value
Noise · Quiet
100% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MD
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

I have lived in Downtown LA for few years now and was looking for a nice date spot for my wife and I that was a little bit closer to our home in the Historic Cor by Spring and 5th. I had been to Kai previously , but it has certainly gotten better since my last visit about 8 months ago. They're manager Liz was very gracious and made us feel extremely welcome , she also let us know that they had recently hired a new Head Chef, and from my experience it is definitely working out as the food was fantastic all around. We arrived during their Happy Hour before 7PM, so we started with their Veggie Gyoza which was perfectly crisped and dressed and a couple of hand rolls. They also had a really cool line up of Japanese Beers in bottle , and I'm always a big fan of Hitachino which they had like 5 different kinds of.
For Dinner, we opted to explore their assortment of tasting and share items as we were advised by our server. the Chilean Sea Bass skewers and their cooked black cod sushi stood out in particular, the sashimi and nigiri we ordered were great all around. My Wife is tried their cooked salmon hotpot which she refused to share, so I assume that was a sign she enjoyed herself. Throw in a few sips of Nikka , and I must say, it made for a lovely experience through and through.
Glad to see Kai getting better, we could definitely use more restaurants like them in the area. I would recommend this place for a date night or a hangout after work because of the chill atmosphere and solid food & drink options.

OT
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on 25 June 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Such a hidden gem right in the middle of downtown!
My friend told me I had to check it out and so glad I did!
Their sushi was incredibly fresh, the cocktails and beer selection was excellent and their staff was attentive and friendly- I would 1000% visit again 👌🏻
If you’re a sushi lover, this is the place for you!

d
Los Angeles
9 reviews
Dined on 20 May 2019
Overall 2Food 2Service 2Ambience 4

Seems better for drinks. Fish wasn’t fresh and service at lunch was slow and disorganized.

OT
1 review
Dined on 9 February 2019
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Made reservations to celebrate a birthday on a Saturday night. Great ambience and staff. Everyone was very friendly and helpful without feeling too overbearing while we were eating. Staff food recommendations were also top notch as well.

Food came rather quickly and was plated pleasantly. Everything looked as good as it tasted. One small knock, would be that they forgot our order of Seasoned Cajun Cauliflower Tempura, but we were a large table (11 guests total) so that's excusable. They brought them right out within about 5 mins of being notified.

I'd definitely recommend the Beef Curry, their Tokyo Mules, Aomori Fries, and the Broadway Street Roll. Will definitely be back!

OT
1 review
Dined on 20 January 2019
Overall 1Food 3Service 1Ambience 1

Reservation was taken but when we got there the server said they were closed.

CR
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on 20 January 2019
Overall 3Food 3Service 2Ambience 3

There were 3 of us, making a total of 7 people in the restaurant. We each ordered a beverage, appy & entree. One appy arrived, followed a few minutes later by 2 entrees, then 1 beverage. We asked about the other appetizers and were told the kitchen was 'slow'. After we had finished the two entrees that had been served, we received the final 2 appys. A full 15 minutes elapsed before we got the final entree. Bizarre and the food wasn't good enough to excuse it. Can't recommend.

JS
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on 19 January 2019
Overall 1Food 1Service 1Ambience 1

Kai was such a disappointment! Where to start...
Restaurant = freezing cold. A restaurant that cold makes you want soup. Miso soup, to be precise.
We ordered four miso soups, each came at a different time of the meal, and one basically came as a dessert course.
The food was regrettable. A curry with almost no meat. An order of 'chicken teriyaki' that was literally sad pieces of chicken with a side of teriyaki sauce.
The service was inconsistent, and non apologetic.

OT
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on 12 January 2019
Overall 2Food 1Service 4Ambience 2

Service was good, but food was not authentic. Highly NOT recommend going for DineLA. Waste money. We ended up going somewhere for 2nd round of dinner.

A
Los Angeles
52 reviews
Dined on 11 January 2019
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

Great DineLA lunch with friendly and fast service

IJ
1 review
Dined on 4 January 2019
Overall 2Food 2Service 2Ambience 3

The sushi was ok. Not good, not bad, just ok. The waitress seemed pretty impressive at first bc she was able to remember our large first round order. However, the service only got worse. Appetizers came out after our main order. No one came to refill drinks even after requesting. And when she did take our glasses to refill our drinks, she came back and handed back our cups at random. I’m positive she had no idea whose cup she gave to whom bc ppl at our table who didn’t order Diet Coke were given Diet Coke and vice versa. Then I noticed that the straw in my cup had lipstick on it despite the fact that I wasn’t wearing any. When we commented on this she said that she had changed the cups out. I pointed out that my straw had lipstick that didn’t belong to me and she said that she changed the cups, but kept the straws. How any of this is supposed to make sense, I have no idea. Definitely will not be returning here.

GE
Los Angeles
56 reviews
Dined on 27 October 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

I had the Hamachi Kama BBQ over coal. It was gigantic. However, because it was so big, the chef did not leave it on the BBQ long enough to cook the deepest parts. The outerlayer was moist and tender, inner layer had a raw segment. Don't get me wrong, I like sushi, but Hamachi Kama supposed to be cooked. I also had filet mignon and Wagyu. Both taste good, somehow, the filet tasted better than the Wagyu, go figure. The bill came out to be about $50/person for big dinner. Easily can budget $30/person for decent dinner here. We were just really hungry. Overall, a nice dining experience.

S
Los Angeles
40 reviews
Dined on 27 October 2018
Overall 4Food 5Service 3Ambience 5

Food extremely good.wait staff needs to communicate with one another.

AD
San Diego
8 reviews
Dined on 24 August 2018
Overall 1Food 1Service 4Ambience 4

I really don’t understand why this place is on open table and why it has such good reviews. The place is in a bad area and it certainly does not look like the pictures.
The food was nasty. The sushi was fishy which is the first sign when it is not fresh. My husband ordered the albacore tuna with fried onions and the onions were STALE! so bad.
We were out on a date night and the vibe got totally killed.
I had the spicy yellowtail that was very fishy I could not eat it.
The only thing that was edible was the crunchy rice and the shrimp tempura. I think it is because they were both fried.
Our waitress was a sweetheart I felt for the poor girl because the place is definitely understaffed and she was overwhelmed.
DO NOT GO THERE. Period.

l
Los Angeles
12 reviews
Dined on 27 July 2018
Overall 5Food 5Service 4Ambience 4

Variety Sashimi are very fresh. The Mochi Desert presentation and taste are great.

r
Los Angeles
173 reviews
Dined on 21 July 2018
Overall 4Food 4Service 5Ambience 4

We had the DineLA menu to try out this restaurant. It was very good, some of the sashimi was not as appealing but most tasted delicious. The surf and turf was very good.
Our server was very nice and tried to accommodate us to our liking. Sushi chef didn't seem very happy and agitated when we had a few requests of what was going to be served. Thank goodness the young man who was our server was nice and friendly. I am sure he got an earful from the sushi chef in Japanese when he asked our questions.
Restaurant is nice but the parking and street area isn't very appealing to walk around.

IH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on 24 March 2018
Overall 2Food 2Service 3Ambience 2

Nothing special nor to write home about. Everything was simply fair.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on 16 March 2018
Overall 3Food 3Service 4Ambience 4

After roaming the streets for parking for over 20 min, my friends and I were surprised to find such a beautiful venue practically empty on a Friday night. We soon found out why.

To get the night started, I ordered a delicious sounding whiskey cocktail. The waitress came back to inform me they were out of the Matcha cream that was integral to the drink. Fine, then I'll try the basil and gin cocktail. Nope, they're also out of basil... No cocktail it is, then.

Also, lesson learned, photos can be deceiving. Most of the dishes LOOKED pretty good, but nothing was actually tasty. Their "crispy" onion topping tasted like it was fried two weeks ago and kept out in the open -- no aroma, no crunch. Their signature sashimi dishes were flat and not spectacularly fresh. Even the fried potatoes tasted like the middle of a frozen hash brown (the part that never really gets fully heated and is just gummy and flavorless.

For fun, we also ordered a special roll that is served with a "side of flames," but before the dish even reached our table, the flame had gone out and the waiter made no attempt to relight it. All he said to us was "it's just salt and vodka, don't dip your sushi into it. Womp womp.

After that, we just had to go. We actually left hungry to go to Guisados a few doors down. Best decision all night.

TL;DR: Ambiance - quiet because there was literally no one else there. Food - subpar and definitely not worth the $$-$$$ price point. Service - fine, nothing to complain or rave about. Parking - horrible, but I guess that is to be expected in DTLA.

OT
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Dined on 22 November 2017
Overall 1Food 1Service 1Ambience 1

Very upsetting. We traveled far to get to this restaurant. Our reservations were confirmed for 730pm. After driving an hour through traffic to get there, the restaurant had a sign that they were closing early at 7pm. Last minute, we had to scramble and try to find another restaurant to accommodate the group.

NF
Central Coast
10 reviews
Dined on 11 November 2017
Overall 4Food 5Service 4Ambience 3

Never been here before and loved the freshness and flavor of our sushi rolls.

H
Los Angeles
11 reviews
Dined on 24 October 2017
Overall 4Food 4Service 4Ambience 4

Restaurant was very quiet as our visit coincided with World Series Game. Great draft beer selection. Had the Omakase Sushi selection which was very good. Server was attentive.

OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 30 September 2017
Overall 1Food 1Service 1Ambience 1

It was one of the most important dates of this year! We were celebrating a 50th birthday. We went to SPIRE 73 for a drink before going here only to read a sign on the glass that said they were closed for a holiday! It was upsetting especially since your site didn't notify oft neither did the restaurant! Upsetting as hell.

S
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on 13 July 2017
Overall 5Food 5Service 5Ambience 5

Since this was a new restaurant I went in with tempered expectations, but I quickly discovered my new favorite sushi spot in downtown Los Angeles. The first thing you notice is the elegant ambiance and decor, next is the warm greeting from at least one server, and the engaged sushi chefs. A lot of thought went into the layout and it really shows. The food was an exhibition of fresh and vibrant ingredients, they know how to be a creative without straying too far off the path of classic Japanese cuisine. A little bit izakaya, a lot a bit sushi gem, I would feel confident in advising any friend to give it a try

MP
Los Angeles
7 reviews
Dined on 19 June 2017
Overall 2Food 3Service 2Ambience 2

Our server was nice but was clearly overwhelmed for a quiet Monday afternoon. Decour is nice. Although there was nothing on the menu that was outstanding or memorable.

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