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Chiba Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar: Can 200 Positive Yelp Reviews Be Wrong?

It was a magnificent feast of a lunch and the best sushi I have ever had.

I first visited back in March when the owner, Shig Chiba, was hosting a .

Chiba was born in Japan and moved to the San Fernando Valley when he was a young boy. He has many relatives from the territory of Miyagi, which was the area most affected by the tsunami. I listened carefully as he told me the horrible news: he lost an uncle, an aunt and two cousins in the disaster.

Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, who went to high school with Chiba's brother, was sponsoring the event, and the councilman sure knows how to pull in a crowd because the place was a madhouse that day and the fundraiser was a smashing success. Several TV news crews were also on the scene, so it was not a good day to sample the sushi, but I promised myself I would come back to try the food.

I finally did last week when I was in the neighborhood. It was a magnificent feast of a lunch and the best sushi I have ever had.

Chiba's is a hole-in-the-wall joint located deep in North Hollywood at the corner of Saticoy Street and Lankershim Boulevard, and is a sit-down establishment with two sushi bars and about 10 tables. The neighborhood is a little dicey and the restaurant is in a strip mall that contains a donut shop, a liquor store and a tattoo parlor, but do not let that deter you from what can be a heavenly sushi extravaganza. There is also something very satisfying about walking into a small strip mall in North Hollywood and finding better sushi than you would at a fancy place in West Hollywood or Santa Monica. Like , it's a true hidden gem. 

I've been there twice now, once for lunch during the week and once for dinner on a Saturday, and it was packed both times. Parking is tough in the tiny strip mall, but Chiba's offers free valet during busy hours. It also is heavily staffed as I counted 14 workers out on the floor and behind the sushi bars serving about 45 people, so I never felt like I was being neglected.

Word seems to have gotten out that Chiba's has some of the best sushi around. After my magnificent lunch that consisted of spicy tuna, spicy salmon and yellowtail rolls, I looked up the place online and was not surprised to find that over 200 yelp reviews had given Chiba's a positive rating for an overall 4.5 out of 5 stars. Many of the reviewers call it the best sushi joint in Los Angeles. I would agree in that I have yet to find its match.

The prices at Chiba's are a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for, and the portions are about as large as you will find. My recent dinner of two rolls and a Sapporo came to $26 and change, but if you crave and appreciate top quality sushi you will not feel overcharged.

Terri Jackson @ Envy Nutrition December 15, 2011 at 05:02 AM
I have loved this restaurant and Shig for years...I remember eating Sushi there when Shig was being trained by his father in the very same restaurant. go baby go !
Evan Atkinson February 10, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Can't wait to try this place!
Motha Flowa March 05, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I don't know why folks like this place. I went 8 years ago, not sure if they were the same people running it, but there was a roach in my salad. I never went back!
Takanori Oku March 06, 2012 at 07:57 AM
I have been to Chiba restaurant long time. They have very fresh fish and very good stuff. Sushi is awesome! of course and Sushi man Shig is really tender to us. OK, back to about Sushi. I love his Spicy tuna hand roll. Many Japanese restaurant produce a Spicy tuna hand roll, but Chiba is best taste ever, just try it! I live in Japan right now, I can't find like a that Sushi in Japan... I really miss his Sushi anyway! I'm Japanese, so my tongue really knows good one.

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