Monday, October 13, 2003

Honda-ya - Tustin

I just came back from Honda-Ya...and MAN! I LOVE THIS PLACE! It is owned by operated by the folks of Kappo Honda, and is just as good if not better (actually I think it is pre-cursor of Kappo Honda).

We had:

1. 2 sticks of bacon wrapped okra
2. 2 sticks of bacon wrapped asparagus
3. 2 sticks of quail eggs
4. 2 orders of vegetables with miso dip
5. Fried soft shell crab
6. Homemade crab dumplings
7. Fried sesame chicken (Karaage)
8. BBQ korean short ribs (Kalbi)
9. Spinach Garlic
10. Sauteed Scallop in Garlic Butter
11. Dish of green tea ice cream

Each dish was magnificent. The portions were just enough to savor each distinct flavor of the main ingredient.

The service was attentive and respectful.

The atmosphere was quaint and casual. We sat on traditional Japanese mat.

Total for my companion and I: $55.50 (tip included)

My favorite Japanese place. Period.


At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

please tell me the address of Honda-ya! (really enjoy reading your blog, thanks for your recommendations!)

another orange county resident who loves to eat

At 1:40 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Thanks for visiting!

Here's the address for Honda Ya:

Honda Ya Japanese Restaurant
(714) 832-0081
556 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92780

Hope you enjoy it!

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for your prompt reply! i just read your other blog entry comparing shinsengumi and honda-ya. i've been to shinsengumi and i love the food there but i have to agree with you, it's overpriced. so i'm really looking forward to visiting honda-ya! you mention kappa honda, is that another yakitori restaurant in orange county?

p.s. can't believe you've also been to the fishball house in rowland! my boyfriend loves that place.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Yup! I love that Fishball House! Tasty grub for an unbeatable price. I just wish there was one here in Irvine.

Kappo Honda serves similar stuff to Honda-Ya but has a smaller menu. It is primarily a yakitori-bar, cozier and slightly newer than Honda-Ya. They're owned by the same people.

Kappo Honda is literally right across the street from Shinsengumi.

At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi! can u reccomend any okonomiyaki places in Irvine or around here???

At 6:52 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

I wish I could.

I do not think there is an okonomiyaki place in Irvine or O.C.

If there is, I'd also like to know. I have been dying to try okonomiyaki.

I would guess Honda Ya *might* serve it...but it's never on the menu, so I doubt that.

I'd really hate to go to LA just for this seemingly simple dish.

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, i have an okonomiyaki place to recommend, it's called Gaja, located in lomita (near torrance). it's a long drive but i thought it was well worth it because they offer the cook-it-yourself style okonomiyaki, which made it more authentic, and all the more fun. i went there twice and the pasta in mushroom sauce was great too, the linguini perfectly done al dente. you can also cook your own pancakes! here's their website:

p.s. will finally try honda-ya this saturday!

At 7:04 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Thanks for the rec! I have heard of Gaja and I've been dying to try it. One of these days I will have to go to Lomita to try it.

However, I discovered that there is a place in Fountain Valley called Ebisu that serves it ready made. I tried it recently and thought it was great! Perhaps not as fun as Gaja, but it will do for my first time okonomiyaki experience. I definitely need to do the do-it-yourself style at Gaja however. It looks like the cooking part of it will be half the fun.

Also, I discovered that Honda-Ya also offers one okonomiyaki flavor in its specials menu last week. I didn't try it, but it's there.

Have fun at Honda Ya!

At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, i went to honda ya with 8 other friends last night and it was fun! the yakitori did not disappoint, esp. the bacon-wrapped asparagus, beef tongue and the chicken gizzard (absolutely the best! we ordered 4 sticks and then two more, and then another two!) another dish that i really liked was the eggplant with miso paste--perfect combination. but the fried oysters did not impress me. it was rather dry and the oysters were so teeny that one of my friends actually thought it was tonkatsu that we ordered, ( i guess because she couldn't taste the oyster?) one other comment, we were told that we'd have the table for two hours but the service felt rushed--we had a large crowd and it took us rather long to decide what we wanted to eat, and the waiter seemed a bit impatient. nevertheless, i will definitely go back to try some more dishes other than the yakitori. i think except for the chicken cartilage, the yakitori at honda-ya is comparable or even slightly better than shinsengumi. i'm still thinking about the gizzzzzard.......

At 8:06 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Thanks for your Honda-Ya report! I agree about the service. It is spotty, especially when it's busy. It's quite the opposite of Shinsengumi's overly-attentive waiters.

My friends and I have gotten into the habit of coming to Honda-Ya as soon as they are open at 5:30-6:00 pm to avoid the wait and the rush.

I think all the press that Honda-Ya has been getting on Chowhound, OC Weekly, and blogs like this is overwhelming them. I hope they get used to it before their food quality starts dropping.

BTW, here's a 10% coupon for Honda-Ya that I use at every visit. Just print it out and show it to them as you order.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, thanks! that gives me added incentive to go back sooner. :) i will try kappo honda one of these days too!

At 1:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your post by chance when I was looking for 'Honda-ya' address on web search.
I'm Japanese and came Irvine from NJ today on a business trip, and of course, I had a dinner at Honda-ya!

There is not many great Japanese restaurants in NJ. I envy you!

At the moment when Yakitori was put in front of me, I just felt "Oh, thank you, Mom. I'm very happy to be born as a Japanese!". Now I think I don't have to be a Japanese... to enjoy Yakitori!

I'm very glad to share this feeling "Great Honda-ya!" with you. CA is really wonderful place to enjoy dishes in the world. I love this place!

At 5:01 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I'm glad you enjoyed it and it lives up to your standards. I'm not surprised that it also lives up to the standards of O.C.'s Japanese community! They do it right.

At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

does honda-ya have an all-you-can-eat menu?

At 10:21 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


No unfortunately Honda-Ya isn't an all-you-can-eat place.

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the 10% coupon still good? Thanks

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Japanese characters do not print correctly, will Honda Ya still honor it?

At 3:40 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

The coupon is not honored any more.


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