N/naka - Palms

The funny thing is, early on (back when reservations were easy) I was worried that N/Naka wasn’t going to survive. Glad I was proven wrong.

Then Netflix’s Chef’s Table happened and they never had an empty table since!

“The funny thing is, early on (back when reservations were easy) I was worried that N/Naka wasn’t going to survive. Glad I was proven wrong.”

I had to check to make sure I didn’t make this post. Word for word I had the same thought. I suspect I was one of their best customers - and it was easy to get in. And then…Chef’s Table brought them fame and fortune and I couldn’t get a fucking reservation! Tock? Great! Looking forward to it.

I had a feeling they might not survive or they were barely surviving before Chef’s Table. At the time I heard it was only Niki and her girlfriend in the kitchen which is a sign of financial hardship usually.

McChelin inflation strikes again! Price went up by a little over 22%.

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reservations can now be made on Tock.

welp, looks like nobody’s getting a res now.

N/Naka, Los Angeles, California, USA

I said it the first time I ate at n/naka more than five years ago, and I’ll say it again now: Meals at Niki Nakayama’s small, elegant restaurant unfold like poetry, flavors and dishes acting as phrases and stanzas in one long, lyrical, and utterly profound experience.

Nakayama was born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles but spent years in Japan training in the art of kaiseki, the traditional, multi-course Japanese style of dining that focuses on seasonality and ritual. In 2011 she opened n/naka in an unmarked building on an unremarkable stretch of road in Palms, a mostly residential neighborhood in West Los Angeles. There, along with her sous chef and wife Carole Iida-Nakayama, Nakayama presents an intensely personal version of kaiseki, one that is almost as Californian as it is Japanese.

Over 12 courses, diners move through a series of complex dishes that showcase seasonal Southern Californian ingredients assembled in elaborate and beautiful combinations. Raw wild sea bream comes curled on the plate, intertwined with celtuce, Jade Beauty green tomato, buddha’s hand citron, and hibiscus and begonia flowers, and seasoned lightly with ume ponzu. Traditional sashimi is followed by a grilled dish of Spanish mackerel with kelp and black garlic oil, then a steamed dish of sweet shrimp with Santa Barbara uni.

Nakayama and her staff practice omotenashi, a style of service that places empathy above all else. N/naka exudes a quiet welcome that touches every aspect of the meal, from when you’re greeted by name at the door to the moment just before you leave when Nakayama appears at your table to sincerely thank you for visiting.

Almost all of the restaurants selected for this list are highly representative of their locations, a way of tasting the true nature of a place through its dining. So why, in Los Angeles, choose a restaurant that looks to Japan for much of its inspiration?

Because L.A.’s greatest asset is its diversity and its cultivation of culture that blurs the lines of influence and origin and arrives at something wholly new. N/naka is not a restaurant that would exist anywhere else: a chef born in Southern California but trained in Japan, working in a format traditionally reserved for men, growing her own produce and paying homage to the incredible edible bounty that’s possible in this specific part of the world. n-naka.com

Even though they moved their reservation system to Tock and upped their pricing by $50, no reservations are open…

Hardly surprising. Hell, the last time I was at n/naka, at least half the dining room had flown in internationally, just to eat there (including my dining companions that night lol).

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that’s insane but great news for LA

I’m been looking for months with no luck. I really wanted to take my friend there next month.

Is there anybody who cannot go anymore on December Friday night or Saturdays?

I’d very much appreciate your help.

Keep in mind that the kaiseki dinners have gone up from $225 to $275 now.

I’m going in a few weeks. I’m curious if anyone can comment on the wine pairing. Looks like 10 glasses split evenly between wine & sake. Wondering the wine selections and if the somm will adjust based on preferences (girlfriend is not a big sake fan)?

Friend of mine has a reservation for 4 on 12/1 and can’t make it anymore, anyone want it?

last time I went I found it was a tremendous amount of booze. I always tend to skip pairings that have more than 5 glasses and just get a few of them a la carte. it’s usually cheaper too. I’m sure the somm will make any and every adjustment, I can’t think of a more accommodating restaurant in LA than N/Naka

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Agree with Matt

Friday December 8 took forever but finally twas the night, err rather late afternoon, of our reservation. n/naka did not disappoint. A Top 5 meal for me. Service is perhaps the best LA has to offer. When Devin, the somm, overhead my lack of enthusiasm for sake, he took on the challenge. We ordered a beautiful champagne from Chartogne-Taillet, yet a few pours of sake were also offered. Thanks Devin!


















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Great report back!

first pic I’ve seen of our caviar on their dish! They use the grand oscietra :smiley:

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@matthewkang coming through with coverage of the updated interior. I’d heard they were doing this, but it really paid off. I love what they’ve done with the lighting and breaking up the sharp corners on walls. Furniture is leaning into mid-century modern.

Contrast that with their opening interior. which was largely what I experienced a couple years ago when I went. N/Naka Serves Refined Omakase in West LA - Eater LA

Sounds like they also took a break and were thinking about the whole dining experience. Looking forward to hearing what people think … if someone gets a reservation.

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