Sushi Night in Pasadena: Oba Sushi

shishito peppers

I have a friend who hasn’t been to Little Tokyo in probably 20 years. It’s not that far from her but for some reason,it’s this mysterious place. She’s asked me to play tour guide and one of these days, I will.

ikageso kaarage

But I never remember the option whenever we want sushi (which is very often), so we end up exploring sushi joints in Pasadena. Unfortunately, not one restaurant has wowed me there. There are passable places. Not until after the meal do I remember and wished I convinced her to go to Sushi Gen or try another Temple for Sushi Lovers in Little Tokyo (only because actual Tokyo would be too far).

spicy tuna crispy rice

A couple of weeks back, we were slinging names around and I dredged up Oba. A couple of years ago, someone had mentioned to me it was opening because they knew someone who was a designer for the restaurant space. I stored the information away and then forgot about it until Carina mentioned it again to me this year.

Cajun roll

Oba also has izakaya options. I ordered the shishito peppers and ikageso kaarage to start. The shishito peppers featured the largest bonito flakes I’ve ever seen. The kaarage though didn’t seem fried enough and the legs were a bit “floury.”

My friend decided she wanted the spicy tuna crispy rice. Oba’s version surprised me. I thought it had too much sauce, masking the actual fish but liked that the rice was actually crispy.

Then she ordered the strangest “roll” I’ve ever seen. I refused to eat any of it. I like onions but the mass of fried onion strings on top didn’t seem appetizing to me. Later she reported it was pretty good with the sauce.


I was really torn. So far I didn’t think much of the sushi I was seeing coming from the sushi bar. I decided to play it safe and go for the chirashi bowl. The tamago was sadly greenish and I definitely didn’t like the look of the untidy pieces of fish. My rice wasn’t even seasoned properly.

Sushi? No. Izakaya? Yeah, maybe I’d be back. Luckily I do like the design of the place. And the service was very nice.

We’ve run out of sushi options in Pasadena though so next trip will be to Little Tokyo!

Oba Sushi

181 East Glenarm Street
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 799-8543