Visit Our Showroom - Area Attractions

Torrance is a lovely South Bay town with a wonderful mixture of Hawaiian and Japanese culture, restaurants and shops. It's why I live here. Any visit to our showroom should include a great meal or other shopping in the area.

We highly recommend the following:

Mitsuwa Marketplace & Food Court - A lot of our customers eat here before or after they visit the shop. According to my daughter, Mitsuwa has "the most beautiful food court in the world." Uniformly great Japanese food from seven different vendors including one of the best ramen stands in the area. Santouka Ramen has the best ramen ever and our customers love it. Mitsuwa is only eight blocks south of our showroom.

King's Hawaiian Restaurant & Bakery - One of the reasons we moved to Torrance! Great comfort food in a relaxing setting - it's like being in Hawaii. I recommend the Luau Platter, the Katsu Curry Loco Moco, or for breakfast, the Char Siu & Eggs. The bakery has two signature cakes: the Hawaiian Paradise Cake and the Chocolate Dobash Cake--you can't go wrong with either one.

The Local Place - Just off the 405, this is a casual and take-out version of King's Hawaiian. King's Fried Chicken and Hawaiian Shave Ice are available at the Local Place (but not at the main restaurant)! It also serves Pineapple Dole Whip just like you get at the Enchanted Tiki Room! It is only one mile north of our showroom.

Marukai Gardena - The biggest mainland branch of this Hawaiian / Japanese Market is a cultural immersion with imported Japanese foods, kitchen and house wares, and lots of fun even if you don't buy a thing. There is a section for Hawaiian foods. Stock up on your Lion Coffee and chocolate covered macadamia nuts here. There is a food court with only three stands but "what's there is choice." My favorite lunch is The Express' Sesame Chicken: it's mighty good and a huge amount of food!

Marukai Pacific Market - A bit further North, on Redondo Blvd., another branch of the Hawaiian / Japanese supermarket. The adjoining food court includes: Beard Papa - fresh cream puffs filled when you order. Shin-Sen-Gumi Ramen & Yakitori. If you like your ramen with extra ingredients, extra noodles, or side dishes, then Shin-Sen-Gumi is the place for you.

Musha - "Izakaya style" Japanese cuisine. Small dishes full of flavor that you order and share like dim sum. Everything is good here. Try the Typhoon Fried Rice, the Seared Mackerel, the Shrimp Dumplings, and "Tastes Like Chicken" an amazing tofu dish. We take everyone here. It is only ten blocks south of our showroom (at Western and Carson). Opens at 6pm. Last call is at 2am. Reservations recommended.

Eatalian Cafe - Incredible thin crust pizza, traditional toppings and gourmet. Pizza dough, pasta and gelato made daily on the premises. A factory turned restaurant in an industrial warehouse area, since its rave review in the L.A. Times, it is one of the hottest restaurants in the south bay. I go there almost monthly for my fix.

Hong Kong Bakery & Deli - Excellent Dim Sum and Hawaiian plate lunches from the same shop. They have great Har Gow and Siu Mai, and the best Char Siu which they sell by the half-pound. I love their Kalua Pork and Mochiko Fried Chicken plate lunches.

Tropical Drinks / Cuban Bakery - A lovely Cuban restaurant offering roast pork and roast chicken and Cuban sandwiches. The adjoining bakery offers excellent empanadas and meat pies.

L & L Hawaiian Barbeque - This chain of authentic Hawaiian plate lunch restaurants have sprung up all over Southern California. Honestly, the quality varies from location to location, but this one is definitely great! I get an order of the Chicken Katsu Curry just about every other week! The Grilled Mahi is another favorite. At Crenshaw and Lomita in the Torrance Crossroads shopping center.

China Buffet - An all-you-can-eat buffet that has both Chinese and Japanese cuisine and is very reasonably priced. 3525 Pacific Coast Hwy # G, Torrance, CA‎ - (310) 325-8424‎

Creme de la Crepe - a lovely authentic French restaurant in Redondo Beach serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! It's located in the heart of the Riviera Village, a lovely shopping/dining district near the beach.

Back Home in Lahaina - A great Hawaiian restaurant in Carson. Lahaina's menu features some great combination plates and several Hawaiian dishes not offered at King's. The Leiato Special is my personal favorite: Two eggs and two Portuguese sausage patties over a big mound of bacon fried rice! Drizzle some Sriracha Hot Sauce over it and you'll be in Heaven.

The Farmers' Market at Wilson Park - Every Tuesday and Saturday - excellent plate lunches as well as fresh organic produce from 60 California farms.

Del Amo Fashion Center - This sprawling enclosed shopping mall was at one time - and for a long time - the biggest shopping mall in the country. An open-air section has been recently opened adding an 18 screen AMC theatre. Eat at the Lazy Dog Cafe or Outback's Steakhouse.

Walser's Art Supplies
- They don't have any Blackwings, but you never know what you might find in a big warehouse-sized art supply store like this.

Redondo Beach Pier
- A triangular pier & boardwalk due west on Torrance Blvd. Salt air, sea breezes, and sunsets. Full of seafood restaurants and kitschy souvenir shops. The Printing Museum

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
- A small aquarium and marine science center that is great for kids and families. Very well lit and rarely crowded, so it is conducive to sketching.

Lomita Railroad Museum
- Our local train museum.

Aquarium of the Pacific - This aquarium in Long Beach is the largest aquarium in the greater Los Angeles Area.

 


RAMEN! Four of the top five Southern California ramen restaurants are in the Torrance area!!!

From the Los Angeles Times - January 2, 2008: Five ramen restaurants that'll bowl you over

Here are Rickmond Wong's (Rameniac.com) five favorite Southern California ramen restaurants.

Santouka: Despite their pedestrian locations in Mitsuwa Marketplace food courts, these restaurants are hands-down the best in Southern California, Wong says. "That's right. The best noodler in town is roughly the Japanese equivalent of a Panda Express or an Orange Julius," he writes on his website. "Rich and luscious, Santouka's Asahikawa-style tonkotsu shio broth is the reigning champion of world-class ramen in Los Angeles." 21515 S. Western Ave., Torrance, (310) 212-1101; 3760 S. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, (310) 398-2113; 665 Paularino Ave., Costa Mesa, (714) 434-1101.

Asa Ramen: Wong raves about this new place, open only since early fall. "Already, a bowl of Asa's kotteri shoyu ramen rates among the best in town," he writes on the website. "Though it lacks the institutionalized perfection of a Santouka shio ramen, Chef Kubo's shoyu-tonkotsu creation already stands head and shoulders above nearly everything else in the local game." Furthermore, he says, Asa is one of the few ramen shops in town to source its noodles domestically, from an artisanal maker in the Bay Area. 18202 S. Western Ave., Gardena, (310) 769-1010.

Gardena Ramen: Wong loves the spirit of this place so much that after first eating here he ranked it second, behind only Santouka. But, he now says, the quality may be slipping a little -- or maybe it's just that Asa has come on so strong. Gardena Ramen is a one-man operation run by Isao Nakamura. On his website, Wong describes the soup as a "complex (the key word here) concoction derived from torigara (chicken bones), genkotsu (pork knuckle), and niboshi (dried sardines). It is slightly opaque and just a tad too salty, but flavorful in impossibly distinctive ways. It is sweet yet savory. Rich yet light."1840 W. 182nd St., Torrance, (310) 324-6993.

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen: In Japan, Wong says, Hakata ramen is "super popular, and is actually my favorite style of ramen overall; Shin-Sen-Gumi's version of it comes close to what I miss most about living in Kyushu." Hakata ramen is made with ultra-thin, firm noodles; is a purely pork bone soup with no shio, shoyu or miso; and has a wide range of toppings. 2051 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., No. C, Gardena, (310) 329-1335; 8450 E. Valley Blvd., No. 103, Rosemead, (626) 572-8646; 18315 Brookhurst St., No. 1, Fountain Valley, (714) 962-8971.

Daikokuya: Though this Little Tokyo standard is a favorite among Internet foodies, Wong demurs. "It is a decent place," he says, "but I have to say it's also the most over-hyped place in L.A. You have to wait for hours to get in, and it's just not that great." 327 E. 1st St., Los Angeles, (213) 626-1680.

- Russ Parsons