Best Japanese Restaurant

The sign above Costa Mesa’s Wafu of Japan near the 73 and 55 freeways simply states, “Sushi,” but don’t let the lack of sign­age creativity fool you. Inside this charming, small, neighborhood restaurant, chef Harry’s operation offers inspired dishes ranging from, obviously, sushi to baked dishes, teriyaki plates, salads and noodle soups. Local diners, who’ve been returning here for years, long ago began calling it a hidden gem. That description remains apt. On one of our recent visits, we devoured jumbo portions of fried soft-shell crab, Sockeye Salmon sashimi and the Halibut Dynamite. But the baked oysters—first sautéed, then baked in their shells with a sunrise mayonnaise sauce over beds of warmed fresh spinach—can’t be topped.

320 Bristol St., Ste. G, Costa Mesa, (714) 641-7321;

Readers’ Choice: Tsunami Sushi

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