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Yamashiro: The Hidden Oasis of Hollywood

While Yamashiro is one of LA’s most well-known restaurants, its ideal location tucked away into the Hollywood Hills gives guests a unique opportunity to enjoy the city from a different perspective.

By Roxy De Guzman

Surrounded by lush, blooming gardens and koi-filled water features, Yamashiro offers an escape from the city stress with its serene ambiance and mouth watering menu. With an inviting combination of skyline views, delectable menu items, and Asian-inspired aesthetics, the iconic Yamashiro Hollywood is home to the finest Japanese fusion cuisine that the city has to offer. Warmly welcoming tourists and locals alike, this legendary restaurant continuously proves itself to be the center of the Los Angeles food scene, despite its secluded location.

Originally built as a “Mountain Palace” by and for the Bernheimer brothers in 1914, Yamashiro’s history is rooted in providing a place of residence. The brothers called the palace home for a few years as they filled it with priceless artifacts of Asian history. With extravagant, Japanese-inspired aesthetics, the premises featured terraced hills with a diverse collection of Asian plants and a miniature replica of a Japanese village. After the brothers sold the property, it was transformed into a military school, and later into an apartment complex.

Eventually, it was refurbished in 1948, marking the beginning of the palace’s current era as the charming Japanese fusion restaurant that Angelenos know and love today. This restaurant was also once a safe haven for Old Hollywood’s elite as it was home to the exclusive 400 Club, an organization of entertainers during a time period when entertainment careers were looked down upon by society. Although Yamashiro has changed vastly since then and the 400 Club no longer exists, the restaurant still continues to provide a welcoming homestead for Los Angeles locals and a sanctuary away from home for visitors.

With views overlooking the crowded city below, Yamashiro acts as an oasis of sorts with its emphasis on harmony with nature. As guests first enter the restaurant, they will be greeted by generous hosts and ornate wooden walls adorned with Japanese art. Venturing further into the restaurant, guests will then encounter a tranquil open air Garden Courtyard that is home to a curated assortment of Japanese flora and a peaceful water feature teeming with lucky koi. After over 60 years in business, Yamashiro has mastered the difficult art of creating delicate balances between city life and nature, excitement and serenity.

With quite a few different rooms for dining, Yamashiro is able to cultivate an intimate atmosphere despite the expansive property. With LA’s recent bouts of rain, Yamashiro’s indoor seating provides a cozy shelter with its comforting hot tea, steaming miso soup, and delicious steak garlic noodles that warm you up from the inside out. With the high altitudes, guests are

able to dine in the clouds, rather than underneath them. As the weather warms up, Yamashiro offers options for outdoor dining so guests can enjoy the brisk mountain air with a refreshing Drunken Dragon’s Milk cocktail, plates of fresh Yellowtail Sashimi, and desserts hand crafted with luscious ice cream made in-house daily.

Yamashiro continues its theme of home and harmony through its noteworthy menu developed by world-class chefs. This past season, guests were able to enjoy appetizers like Pork Bao Buns with sweet chashu pork, pickled daikon and carrots, fresh cucumber and cilantro, and creamy yakitori mayo. Yamashiro also served rice and noodle dishes such as Duck Yakisoba partnered tastefully with a balance of mild vegetables and striking red ginger, as well as main dishes like its famous Charred Octopus with spicy wasabi aioli and bright shiso vinaigrette.

The restaurant is also famous for its seafood, boasting menu options like white miso Chilean Sea Bass, Sake Steamed Mussels, and butterflied Branzino served with brown butter and lemon. Some of Yamashiro’s most memorable options for sushi lovers include the Samurai Roll with spicy tuna, fresh cucumber, and umami eel sauce; the Ninja Roll with incredible salmon, crunchy shrimp tempura, creamy avocado, and spicy mayo; and the fan favorite Yamashiro Roll with salmon, tuna, truffle aioli, eel sauce, and crispy onions. Each menu item features meticulously orchestrated ingredients that balance freshness, decadence, and simplicity through unexpected flavors that compliment each other perfectly.

Lastly, the restaurant featured a set of decadent dessert options that allow innovation to harmonize with familiarity. The Sticky Date Cake is a sweet and playful cake partnered with rich toffee sauce, crunchy toasted walnuts, and light whipped cream. For those with vegetarian diets, the My Pear Lady is an incredible option with pink peppercorn and ginger poached pear, black sugar syrup, mochi, and pear sorbet. However, one of the restaurant’s fan favorites are the fluffy and perfectly crispy Churros served with rich hot fudge and toasted rice ice cream made in-house. The lightweight bases of the dessert menu partnered with its richer sauces and accents are the most satisfying way to end your filling meal at Yamashiro.

Currently, Yamashiro is planning its transition to its Spring menu. While the restaurant has not yet released which items will be staying and which will be changed, guests can certainly expect a superb dining experience full of fresh flavors and high quality ingredients. As Yamashiro changes its menus seasonally, guests should definitely try the Winter menu before it changes and plan to come back in future seasons to taste the novel creations of the Mountain Palace.

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