The Top 5 Places to Sip Sake in Orange County

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Hopefully it’s been a few years since your last sake bomb — you know, with the shot glass plummeting into a glass of cheap beer — and you’ve learned to appreciate the Japanese spirit. If you need some help or if you just want to get a great selection, a visit to any of these top 5 spots is in order. Orange County’s got a great Japanese dining scene whether you want a divey bar or the best in haute sushi, so bottoms up!

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1 Hamamori

With hard-to-find selections and a staff that's more than happy to choose a great pairing for you, Hamamori is the standard that most Japanese spots are compared to. Sleek, modern and sophisticated, the restaurant's menu and sake list are the brainchild of sushi master James Hamamori, one of OC's most celebrated chefs.

3333 Bear St. at South Coast Plaza
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

2 Taiko

With a wait that's always stretching out the door, you know it has to be good. The sushi and sake at Taiko are legendary to Irvine natives and the friends that they share the knowledge with. Huge portions of top quality food get washed down with a great selection of sake, whether you want unfiltered or the sparkling, crisp choices that fill the menu.

14775 Jeffrey Rd. Ste K

Irvine, CA 92618


3 Kappo Honda

A divey Japanese yakitori bar, there are no frills or extras here. Grab your meat on a stick, wash it down with tried and true favorites and you'll think you're in the back alleys of Tokyo eating alongside locals.

18450 Brookhurst St.

Fountain Valley, CA 92708

4 San Shi Go

Sake with an ocean view? Why not? San Shi Go is a favorite spot among locals and has a selection of sake for beginners -- some fruity or infused with flavor -- and die hard fans alike. They'll help you choose what's best with your order and best of all, they even have dessert sakes for a great finish to your meal.

205 Main St.
Newport Beach, CA 92661

5 Honda Ya

Yes, they do have sake bombs on the menu (you'd be hard pressed to find a restaurant that doesn't just for the novelty) but what's here is also a list of great lychee infused sakes and traditional ones. The big bottles on display aren't just decoration -- you can definitely order them. Go ahead, we dare you.

556 El Camino Real

Tustin, CA 92780

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