Sushi lovers in the San Fernando Valley have a new reason to rejoice with the opening of Leona’s on Ventura Blvd. Located in the heart of the shitty parking stretch after Laurel Canyon and Ventura, this new restaurant is sure to please even the most discerning palate.
When I say shitty parking, I mean it is in the heart of the shittiest parking stretch in Studio City It took me 20 minutes to find free street parking.
Upon entering Leona’s, all of my previous annoyances evaporated. Jem and I were greeted by a modern and elegant ambiance, complete with comfortable seating, ambient lighting, and modern decor.
Browsing the menu, it was clear. It’s the food that truly steals the show at Leona’s. The menu is carefully curated to showcase the best of traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern twist. Diners can choose from a variety of fresh sushi and sashimi, as well as creative rolls that are a fusion of Japanese and other cuisines.
To start the evening, I ordered the CHERRY BLOSSOM (Roku Gin, Ohkagura Sake, Orange, Lemon, Grenadin, Cherry, Mint Leaf) cocktail. Jem ordered the SALTY SHIBA (Ohkagura Sake, St. Germain, Grapefruit, Lemon, Salt). When our drinks arrived, we toasted to continued success in 2023. Upon first sip, my cocktail tasted like a smooth fruit punch.
Next served was the EDAMAME (Truffle Butter). Now, I only ordered the edamame because I have not in recent memory had edamame soaked in truffle butter.
When the bowl arrived, piled high with soybeans, my senses were taken over by the olfactory delight of the fragrant dish. The truffle butter was delicious. Next time, I will definitely try the spicy garlic. But, we were extremely happy with devouring what was before us.
Our next course was the ALBACORE CEVICHE ROLL (crab, seared albacore, ceviche tomato, Leona’s ponzu sauce) and YELLOWTAIL CILANTRO ROLL (spicy tuna, yellowtail, cilantro, red onion, Leona’s jalapeno sauce).
Between the two, the absolute stand out dish was the Yellowtail Cilantro roll. The Leona’s jalapeño sauce tasted so savory and delicious that I wanted to buy a bottle and treat myself to it over a week. I wanted to put it on everything.
This isn’t to say that the Albacore Ceviche roll wasn’t delicious – it was outstanding. I actually am happy we ordered that instead of one of the ceviche dishes. But, between the two, the Yellowtail as my favorite.
For our shared main course, dined on the UDON CARBONARA (thick japanese noodles, smoked buta belly, reggiano parmigiano cheese) and the NIPPON CHAUFA PAELLA (clams, calamari, tako, ebi, organic forbidden black rice, spicy saffron amarillo aioli).
The Udon Carbonara was the best fancy Mac and cheese I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. The udon noodles were saturated with cheese – and more cheese.
The Nippon Chafe Paella was so unique. The black rice brought the Japanese influence, while the saffron Amarillo aioli brought in coastal Mediterranean tastes of Spain and France. But, what I really appreciated about the seafood dish was how fresh the ingredients tasted. I cannot under stress this. The shrimp, scallops and clams tasted like they were caught earlier that day. I savored the saltiness of the ocean in each bite.
Overall, Leona’s is a culinary delight that is sure to impress both sushi aficionados and casual diners alike. With its stylish decor, delectable menu, and impeccable service, this restaurant is poised to become a favorite among my go to restaurants in the San Fernando Valley.
Leona’s Sushi House
11814 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, California 91604